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A guide to resolving first world problems: the homeowner edition

“First World Problems.” Yep, in the West, most of us experience at least one of these at fairly regular intervals. Perhaps your television screen always starts transmitting a storm of seemingly endless static-snow the minute your favourite show or a crucial sports event comes on? Or maybe you continually find that horrible carpet stains seem to appear overnight, and always just before your hard-to-impress in-laws are coming for Sunday lunch?

Don’t worry; help is at hand in the form of our guide to help sort out the top three “First World” issues experienced by homeowners:

Poor TV reception

Terrible quality television pictures and sound are amongst the most common irritations in the home – and they have a real impact on our relaxation time. Fortunately, TV problems can usually be resolved by addressing one, or more, of the following:

  • Is you signal being obstructed by a tall tree or building?
  • Perhaps your TV mast or antenna is damaged in someway?
  • Has your antenna installation been carried out correctly?

The best way to find a remedy is by getting a professional to check the antenna and its position. If none of the above turns out to be the problem, the fault may lie within the television itself, so you should seek the help of a qualified engineer.

Ineffective Air Conditioning

You know it’s working by the size of your electricity bill, but somehow your room still feels clammy? There could be one, or more, things wrong with your Air-Con. The best strategy for solving the problem is to tackle each potential issue one by one:

  • If your air-con has stopped working altogether, the first thing to do is check if the batteries in the remote control are still functioning. It might sound obvious but it could prove to be a very cheap solution to your problems.
  • Ok, the batteries check out. Next stop – your fuse or main electrical junction box. Has a circuit breaker or safety switch tripped? If it has, try re-instating it and turning the air-con on again. If it works, great! But beware – if a switch keeps tripping, it may mean that there is something seriously wrong with your system. Before you call out an engineer check out the options below.
  • Has ice formed inside the unit? To find out, switch off the air conditioner and lift the cover to check whether any ice crystals are visible on, or behind, the filter. If there are, just switch the unit off and allow it to defrost. Remember to move rugs and furniture out of the way and put down some towels to soak up the water that will seep out while it thaws.
  •  Check the thermostat sensor (which measures the temperature of the air being blown). Has it be knocked or moved out of position?
  • If none of the above work, the situation may be a little more severe. Is your air conditioner leaking refrigerant? Look for puddles on the floor of the unit and/or on the floor underneath it. If you find a leak, don’t be tempted to just top up the fluid – it will just keep seeping out and could prove dangerous. The best thing to do is to contact a reputable technician to try to locate and seal the source of the problem.
  • If your unit is particularly noisy and making a loud banging noise, it could have a displaced or worn out fan belt. This is a relatively easy fix – but it’s still a good idea to have it carried out by a professional to avoid injury, including electric shocks.

Carpet Stains

Spilt juice and milk are the bane of every parent’s life. Adults aren’t much better either – who hasn’t experienced the joys of trying to remove red wine stains from a light-coloured carpet? But, fear not, here are some great tips on how to remove even the most stubborn of stains:

  • Act quickly – the sooner the liquid is soaked up, the more successful the removal attempt is likely to be.
  • Resist the urge to scrub the stain area; this can sometimes aggravate the problem by spreading the liquid and driving it deeper into the carpet fibres. Instead, use a paper towel or cloth to dab the area and absorb the moisture.
  • Baking soda is your friend. Not only does this magic powder absorb liquid in a way that a cloth can’t, but it also acts to neutralise unpleasant odours. Sprinkle soda on the stain, allow it to dry for several hours and then vacuum the area thoroughly.

So if you’re experiencing any of these “first world” problems in your home, don’t keep putting them off. There’s a good likelihood that the solutions are at your fingertips or, failing that, at the end of a phone.

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