The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Don't be a DIY disaster - common sense prevails

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Don't wait until disaster strikes to find your stop-cocks and gate valves. Opening and closing them four times a year will ensure they easily work when you need them to.

Don't let a blown fuse leave you in the dark: keep a repair kit near your mains fuse box, with a torch - check the batteries regularly - screwdrivers, spare fuses, bulbs and fuse wire, rubber gloves and insulated pliers, a trimming knife and insulating tape.

Keep your head: if any of your tools has a loose head or handle, replace the whole tool or have it repaired by a professional.

Keep a tool box tidy for easy access and always use the cover guards which come with tools such as saws, knives and chisel blades.

Buy equipment and household appliances which are made to a British or European standard or carry an approved product quality and safety mark. There will be a label on the product.

Get it taped: cover electrical switches which are broken. Switch off at the mains and remove the fuse to that line, and keep it with you, so even if the power is switched on accidentally the line will still be dead and not you, while you carry out a job. The tapes are a reminder for you and a warning to others. Call in professional help if you don't know what you're doing.

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Extra care with old paint. Some old paint could give off harmful dust and pose a poisoning hazard if ingested by small children. You must not burn off old paint or rub it down with dry sandpaper or a power sander; you should clean up properly, using a high efficiency industrial vacuum cleaner with heavy duty filters. A free leaflet giving more detailed advice on this topic is available from: PO Box 236, Wetherby, LS23 7NB or by ringing 0870-1226-236 (fax 237)

Have a basic First Aid kit easily accessible.

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