In a modern age when children are focused on computers and television, a recent HomeServe study has confirmed that Brits aged 19 to 24 are less competent with basic DIY than ever before. HomeServe has valiantly decided to crusade against this ignorance by releasing instructions for the 5 most necessary skills, in the hope of releasing parents from the drudgery of daily tool-cupboard trips for simple tasks.
Rewiring a plug.
A staggering 90% of young people in the UK say they cannot rewire a plug, indicating that many a good appliance may have been binned unnecessarily. Being understandable worried about being electrocuted this fear has not been removed by coaching from a young age in what is, ultimately, a simple and safe job. And while the Internet offers a wealth of simple diagrams for the procedure that the computer-savvy can follow, the alphabet is also a useful guide. The Black wire connects with the Brass screw, the Ground wire goes with the Green screw and the White wire joins the White screw.
Unblocking a drain.
60% of our youth don’t know how to unblock a drain. This is usually left to dad, but this will be a problem when these kids grew to be parents themselves. Admittedly it is not the nicest task, but neither is throwing money down the drain by calling a plumber for something that can be done using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Pour approximately ¾ of a cup of dry baking soda down the hole, add ½ a cup of vinegar and then plug the hole with a damp cloth. As any budding chemists will know, the two ingredients will react and break down most blockages. Leave this experiment to run its course, and after 30 minutes rinse clear with hot water.
Changing a light bulb.
Sorry Edison, but 1/6 of our future adults can’t change a light bulb. The only really taxing part is knowing which way to turn the bulb if it’s a screw-type fitting – bayonet versions can be popped out with gentle persuasion. A good rule is to remember “righty-tighty”, “lefty-loosey”, so turn clockwise to install, and anticlockwise to remove. And if you’ve forgotten whether the switch is on or off and don’t want to burn or blind yourself, with UK light switches down means on.
A concerning 48% of our working aged Brits would struggle to strip wallpaper, and have a lot of explaining to do when their friends see childhood wallpaper sheepishly lining their rooms. Some find this job so tiresome they get a professional decorator to do it for them. Fabric softener works well here and is considerably cheaper than paint thinner. Mix it will hot water; spray on the walls and after a short time the glue and wallpaper will soften enough to scrape off. If any bubbles appear, prick them before applying a thin layer of paste to the area.
Bleeding a radiator.
66% of our youth would struggle to bleed a radiator, or know this means there is air in the system stopping hot water flowing in and a special key will release it. This task is not nearly as difficult as the uninitiated assume and knowing where the thing needs bleeding is as important as the task itself. If the radiator is cold at the top and warm at the bottom when you turn it on, then it needs bleeding. However you’ll need to call in a plumber if it’s cold in the middle or at the bottom.
About the Author
Lee is a DIY enthusiastic who’s just getting the hang of this blogging malarky. Follow him on Twitter @DIYlee