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IN APARTMENT PAGE

Apartment

00 Contacting Staff

KITCHEN

34 How do I clean my cooker hood?

14 Does your kitchen tap get in the way?

13 Kitchen: Bosch equipment warranties

96 What make are the kitchen units?

SHOWER ROOM

24 Shower room ~ Heating the towel rail

33 My shower does not drain, what can I do?

26 Showers~turning up the water  temperature

LOUNGE

21 TV Catchup and i-players

22 TV Channels ~ Freeview, Freesat

18 Use a remote control for power in your lounge

UTILITIES

31 How does the “boiler” work?

19 Gas unit and standing charges

30 My radiator is cold - and so am I!

29 Wasting cold water waiting for hot?

15 Electricity  Eon tariffs

16 Electricity: Have you got your EON remote display

17 On-Off balcony lights

SECURITY

94 Tunstall Security

12 Getting familiar with your Tunstall

VENTAXIA

32  How does the Ventaxia work?

35  Is my Ventaxia boost working?

WINDOWS

95 Window cleaning

27 Fixing windows and doors open when windy

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00 Contacting Staff

For all minor concerns staff are happy to help. Where some action or research are required or you wish to contact a specific person you can find a  “Homeowner Communication Slip” on the reception desk.

Requests and comments can then be passed on to the person best able to respond.  The suggested categories are:  Menu; Repair; Invoice; Complaint; Compliment; Other. Your written words are probably more accurate than word of mouth. You can obtain the phone number for the duty manager from Reception or on the contacts page.

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4.1aKitchen


34  How do I clean my cooker hood?

The cooker hood instruction manual advises that the metal filters should be washed every 4 months, but nothing is said about the two circular ‘carbon filters’ attached to each end of the electric motor, although something very similar is described in the instructions as ‘throw-away’ filters (Page 8). They collect deposits of fat on the fabric inlet surfaces in the same way as the metal filters. The Bosch support office advise that they should be replaced every year, but they are priced at £60 a pair. The support office also agreed that they may be washed in soapy water to keep them going for a little longer. They may be removed by an anticlockwise turn.
(Contributed by SH at Savoy House)

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14 Does your kitchen tap get in the way?

This is aimed at those with the sink on the right and the tap in the middle.  If you find the kitchen tap control gets in the way when you want to rinse a small item or top up a glass of water then it could be better if it is turned 45 degrees clockwise. You can then turn on and off by pulling the lever towards you. Easy to get used to and there is less tapping of china on the tap. Our plumber was doing other work and there was no extra cost to turn the tap.

See picture here

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13 Kitchen: Bosch Equipment warranties

You were probably given documents with details of different warranty schemes for your Bosch  appliances.  If you are content with the free, two year, warranty you do not need to register. Provided you can prove when you moved in, your warranty starts from that date.  

If you want to purchase a warranty for a longer duration, then do take action as soon as possible. The telephone line is helpful and will wait while you find hidden serial numbers. Local call rate 0344 892 8979 (option 5)

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96 What make are the kitchen units

Most Tudor Rose Kitchen Units are Woodbury white ivory   from Symphony  phone 01226 446610

The  worktop is “dark ash” (matt finish) . Full symphony additional units catalogue is on this website ( large) file here 2MB PDF  .  Design advice can be obtained e.g. locally from SBS Kitchens  phone 02392 734 291 ( See What we have had done.)


4.1b Shower room


24 Shower room ~ heating the towel rail

When your central heating is on then the control at the bottom of the radiator works.  When the heating is not on the radiator can be heated by electricity using the switch outside the bathroom.  

Your towel rail takes a while to warm up using electricity. The temperature limit is probably for safety reasons. Experiments show that it will take at least 30 minutes to be warm enough and up to an hour to reach full temperature.  We think it costs about 5 pence an hour to run.

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33 My shower does not drain, what can I do?

The drains are of an unusual design and the pipe has very little fall. There are a number of things that might help.  Firstly, it may seem obvious but check the drain is the lowest point and that water runs towards it. A suggestion was contributed by SH at Savoy House and our showers have the same problem. Several home owners report odours emanating from the drain and the situation has not been resolved (November 2019)

If the shower tray no longer drains as quickly as before, it may be that the drain is beginning to clog with soap deposits. The drain needs to be cleaned once every few months, either with a damp cloth or, if the blockage is more serious, with a flexible circular brush. Be very careful, though, not to lose the brush down the drain, otherwise you are in serious trouble. The drain cover can be removed by the two screws using a 2mm Allen key. If you don’t have one of these, they are available from Robert Dyas in Palmerston Road, or perhaps you could borrow one. Once removed, you may choose to leave the screws permanently off for the next time, since the cover is quite safe without them.

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26 Showers ~ turning up the water temperature

Beware - it can be turned up too hot!

The temperature control lever has a button on one side. Test it: point the showerhead away from you, e.g. at the floor. Press the button briefly to get the lever past the stop point. It will be too hot when the temperature is at the maximum - take care.  Click here for a pop-up example


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4.1c Lounge


21 TV Catchup and i-players

Our broadband has been very slow. When usingcatchup TV and i-players you may see a rotating circle on screen when it cannot cope. New for March 2020 - you can now order fast fibre for your apartment giving from 20 mBs upwards.

Run a broadband test on your computer, e.g. Microsoft’s “Network Speed text” on windows, to see how fast your line is working. It can vary a lot. Tests here would show a maximum of 2 mBps but a minimum down to about 0.2. It is normally sufficient for a standard TV programme (but may struggle with high definition).  If you want to watch Netflix, BBC i-Player or other catchup service some of them can adapt to the low broadband speed. If the picture breaks up it will mean that it is not a good time to keep trying. Some services will reduce the picture quality when they detect the line cannot cope with the signal.  Poor internet speed is why some suppliers would not provide a service here.

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22 TV Channels – Freeview, Freesat

Our provided connections offer Sky (paid), Freeview and Freesat and they mostly work well.  If you are missing some channels on freeview, retune and try again. There should be around 70 channels of TV plus radio.  A number of apartments were incorrectly cabled and only a few channels found. Much less than this means you may need to have your aerial connections tested. See Hint 21 for thoughts on TV catchup.

Freeview is prone to signal breakup around 9pm. If your TV has a socket for a satellite signal then a connection cable for about £10 in Robert Dyas will give you a very good Freesat signal from the dish on the roof.

Some frequently used channels are now scattered across the number range. A programmable remote control such as the Logitec Harmony is a really useful device - once it is set up. Your favourite devices and channels can be obtained by pressing one button.

There is a free (red colour) A5  booklet “Your Guide to Freeview” in most TV stores - useful if you watch lots of different channels. The internet has a freesat guide here or you can upload a (possibly out of date) version here.

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23 Pausing your TV programme

If you are used to using a Sky or Virgin box you are probably familiar with pausing the programme when you get a phone call or want a break. To achieve the same effect (without using the internet) your TV needs somewhere to store the current programme at that time.

There are TV recorders that can do this. Some televisions are capable of doing this  with the help of just a USB memory stick.  Recent models (e.g. Panasonic) allow you to do this.

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18 Use a remote control for lights and power in your lounge

This suggestion does not involve any “smart” device or computer!

If you have several lamps or have difficulty with the switches try a remote control. There are several different versions. In principle you have a remote control and  3 to 6 or so sockets to plug in for a lamp or other device.  The remote control has an “on” and an”off” button for each and an “all on” and “all off” button. It is then easier to turn off several lamps with one click and save electricity. At dusk we can turn all lamps on and at bed time all off using one button on the remote control.

An example is the Daewoo  3 pack for £26  (November 2019) from Robert Dyas. (Or search for “remote control socket” on Amazon for up to 6). Check the maximum wattage as some are only intended for lighting.

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4.1.1. Utilities

Heat Exchanger - hot water, radiators, gas bills & electricity

INTRODUCTION


31 How does the “boiler” work?

Technically it is not a boiler. It uses hot water from the main gas boilers on the ground floor to heat your cold water for use in hot taps, radiators and your shower. It is called a “heat exchanger”. The meter in your box calculates how many therms (i.e. how much heat) you have used to heat your water. (The difference between the very hot water in and the slightly cooler water out.) We are charged for each kilowatt hour of heat used and a standing charge per month.  These charges are calculated from the bill that McCarthy and Stone are sent by the gas supplier.  

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19 Gas unit and standing charges calculation

The gas supplier specifies a standing charge for Tudor Rose Court and a price per kWh used. The standing charge is divided by 66 (the number of apartments), the daily rate is calculated and billed each month.

(As of October 2019 the daily standing charge per apartment is 17.466 pence and the unit charge is 1.731 pence per kWh plus VAT ) This works out at about £7.40 for 100 kWh in a month.

On your bank statement, your Bistro bill is added to this and one direct debit is charged.

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29 Wasting cold water waiting for hot?

Do you turn the hot top full on when you want hot water?  That is not good. It is better to put the hot tap on a LOW pressure. Wait for it to warm up and then turn it full on. It should take less time to heat up, but it will certainly waste  less water. This method was advised by the plumber and our testing confirmed that it worked. Just make sure the water is not too hot when it does warm up!

You might want to know why this works? The water is heated by a heat exchanger. This is kept cold for safety reasons when no hot water is requested. Once hot water starts to be drawn it is heated and takes a while to get hot. Running a hot top on full pressure immediately, delays the exchanger getting to its full temperature. Running the hot tap on a low pressure helps it heat up faster and wastes less water at the same time.

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30 My radiator is cold - and so am I!

Follow these steps:

i) Is your wall thermostat set high enough? If other radiators are on, then it is high enough.

ii) Is your radiator’s thermostatic valve turned full on? If not, turn it up to 5.

iii) Is the bottom of the radiator warm and the top cold?  If so, you need to let some air out

If another radiator is hot, your thermostatic valve is full on and all the radiator is cold then you cannot fix it.  Ask the Estate Manager to arrange for it to be sorted out.

If you need to let air out (technically to bleed it), you will need a special key or a screwdriver. Staff are not allowed to do this for you.

If it is not clear whether the thermostatic valve is set on zero or 5, try both or set it on 4. (Some valves have wall paint concealing some of the numbers.)

If no radiators are coming on, ask staff to show you and set it at a suitable temperature. You can then turn it on and off yourself.  (It is also possible to set it to go automatically to different temperatures at different times of day - but not simple to set it up. User Guide for the central heating control can be downloaded)

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15 Electricity:  tariffs

When you moved in you were probably on a high EON tariff. There will be a standing charge initially 27.39p per day plus 16.9p per kWh.  You may wish to change your tariff In June 2018 I saved over £40 per year.

My one year EON fixed price contract changed to 15.64 pence per day and 15.38 pence per unit (plus VAT).  If possible use an online comparison tool. I now pay about 9 pence per day plus 13 pence per unit.

Check online or phone EON on 0115 843 4373

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16 Electricity: Have you got your EON smart display?

Have you been given the smart display?

If not, then ask your supplier for one. If you stay with EON it displays the tariff you are on, gives instant, daily and weekly usage figures and sends reading in automatically. Try it as all the adverts say it saves you electricity. NB in reality it does make it easier if you are trying to save electricity. If you change supplier it will still tell you what you are using but not submit readings and the cost may well be an overestimate.

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17 On-Off balcony lights

De lighting your Balcony – some switches are unusual

If you have two bedrooms and a balcony you may have a switch in each of 3 rooms that turn on the balcony lights. However, they may only be turned off by the one that turned them on.  Beware some bedroom switches were installed with off when you press the top and some with off when you press the bottom.  If two switches do get turned on then those two must both be used to turn the lights off.


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4.1.2.  SECURITY

94 Tunstall Security, Intercom, intruder alarm

Tunstall provide the communication boxes in our apartments.  Only the talk, door and help buttons are active. Staff can contact you via the built in speaker. They can hear you without you having to press “talk”.


When you are called from the front or car park doors you can speak to the person at the door by pressing the “talk” button and the “door”  button can open the door.


The help button on the panel, red cords and the portable emergency alarm button will alert the duty manager. They will attempt to speak to you using the speaker in the panel.  If they are already occupied the  Tunstall Support Centre will be alerted.

If the need is less urgent you can call the duty manager from any telephone. The telephone number is on the wall behind reception. Maybe put this on your mobile phone.


An intruder alarm can be found, usually in a cupboard near your front door.  It came with three keys. When a key is turned it will arm the alarm. You should take out the key and leave the apartment promptly. Balcony doors can be locked on the inside but keys fro the outside have not been provided.

 

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12 Getting familiar with your Tunstall

Are you happy to operate the equipment?

If you have not tried something, plan to check how it works. You may think you will never need to use it …. until you do. You are paying for it!

* Ask staff, or get a friend or other house owner to call you from the front or back door. If you have freeview TV  first tune to channel 400 so you can watch.

* WARN STAFF and then test your “alarm” button Try pulling a red cord and pressing  the “help” on your wall panel.

 

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4.1.3. Ventaxia


32 How does the Ventaxia work?

The Ventaxia unit runs in three modes, “normal” in the background,  “boost” when you press the boost buttons or it detects a need, and “purge”  to clear the air faster. It send out stale air and replaces it with air from outside (slowly, faster and very fast for each mode). The actual controls are quite adjustable but can be complicated. You can detect the mode in use by tapping on the little LED screen on the front. The unit has a heat exchanger that takes the heat from the air being expelled to heat the incoming air. This is accepted as an efficient use of technology. The inbuilt filter means that you get “clean” air into your apartment.  

To change the current setting, tap the window once to wake it up the use the left  and right arrows to change the setting then tap it again to sent the length of time you want the change to last.


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35  Is my Ventaxia boost working?

If you think it is not working, check the little display panel on the Ventaxia unit.  Can you hear it working?  Tap to make it light up. Check there is not any error message at the top.

There has been some interest in how to check that the vent  “boost” switches are working. In principle the boost  buttons in the kitchen, cloakroom and shower room increase the extraction of air in all three places. At the same time there will extra fresh air added in the living and bedroom(s).

Often a  change of sound can be detected in these rooms when the boost is working. If in doubt, take a thin piece of A4 paper and place it against the extractor vent. (Use a broom or similar and balance the paper on it.)  If the paper hesitates and then falls off you are not on boost.  If the paper is held (by suction) against the vent then your boost is working. See pictures here. Do not leave the paper there!  Boost should be triggered when moist or hot cooking air is being extracted.

HOT WEATHER ALERT

If your room is hot from the sun, but the air outside is cool then it is possible to use your Ventaxia controls to cool your room. Normally the system endeavours to recover the indoor heat when ventilating.  There are two modes called “Summer Bypass”. They can be set to work in the evening, or overnight.  They will boost the rate of exchange of air, but will not recover the heat expelled.   NB selecting “purge” will accelerate the rate of exchange but may still attempt to recover some of the heat from the air expelled. You can find instructions in the MVHR manual near the bottom of the Info TRC page

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4.1.4. Windows

Our service charge covers the cost of the bi-monthly cleaning of the outsides of windows and doors. Also the monthly cleaning of ground floor glass.  In practice this has been at the start of even numbered months. (2019)


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27 Windows ~ when the wind blows

Balcony doors can be fixed open by lifting the handle, but windows that tilt can get blown shut. They can be fixed open a crack and the catch closed as there are two little holes it can lock into. A convenient way to fix them more open is to use a, preferably empty, butter container as a wedge.   Lurpack is a very good size. Fully open the window and wedge the container horizontally at one side.

Click here for a pop-up example.

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Do not forget the black box that was supplied with the apartment.

The index numbers are not meaningful, they relate to the order the suggestions were made.

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The big green arrows at the top take you to the home page or to the previous group.

Notes have had minimal updates since 2019.

In House