Tuesday, 30 December 2008

LCD TV Installation

Hanging an LCD TV or Plasma screen is one of those jobs that most people would prefer to have a professional do for them.

Silver Saints is London's Premier Handyman Service, all our multi-skilled Handymen are experts at fitting LCD & Plasma screens and we promise fantastic service from booking to billing to every customer.

Call our friendly and experienced Operations Team on 0207 0999 199 or email us at fixit@silversaints.co.uk to book or discuss your LCD installation. We are more than happy to offer help or advice about LCD TV installations.

How much?

Take advantage of our ‘Peace of Mind’ fixed labour price for LCD installations:

Any screen up 42” in size - £80+VAT
Any screen larger than 42” - £95+VAT

How long?

Exactly how long fitting a LCD TV or Plasma screen takes depends mainly on the size of the LCD screen (generally the bigger the screen the longer it takes to install) and the type of wall on which the bracket will be fitted (fitting a screen on a plasterboard wall takes a bit more preparation and care)

Who brings what?

All you need to have on site is a suitable bracket and the LCD screen. if unsure, call us for advice on choosing a suitable bracket. (Try http://www.dekomount.co.uk/ for good bracket deals online)

We will supply all the tools, fixings and screws needed to install your TV screen securely and professionally.

Hiding cables?

Some customers do want to have the cables and wires hidden within surface mounted trunking or actually into a wall or chimney breast. Although cable management is not part of the standard LCD installation; it is a service we offer.

If you would like a fixed price for concealing cables, please email your requirements to fixit@silversaints.co.uk.

Why close down?

I was surprised to see a report, click here to read it, stating that thousands of small businesses have decided to shut down for two weeks over the Christmas period to save on their electricity bills.

I can’t believe that small businesses would close to business because they want to reduce their electricity bill. After all the biggest liability for most businesses is payroll and they still have to pay their employees during the shutdown period. There is no doubt that things do slow down over Christmas and businesses know that it is going to be their quietest time of year (besides retailers and airports of course). They know that a large portion of their employees will take holiday anyway and allot of their clients will shut down over the Christmas period.

Current legislation dictates that permanent employees are entitled to 24 days holiday each year. All small business owners and managers know how frustrating it is to have employees request holiday during busy periods. By closing down for two weeks over Christmas the small business owner gets to ensure that at least 10 of each employees 24 days statutory holidays are taken over the quietest period of the year.

Companies closing down over the Christmas period has never been a contentious issue as it corresponds with school holidays, a time of year when extended families want to come together and pretty much everyone wants to get out of England to a warmer climate or at least go skiing. The fact is that even though they don’t really have a say in it, employees want to be on holiday over the Christmas period.

Now I may or may not believe all I have just argued, but I think it is allot more believable than small businesses are shutting down for two weeks to save electricity. One other thing that caught my attention in this very week article was the photo comparing traffic across Westminster Bridge this December with a December day a few years ago. The picture they have chosen to demonstrate a past December day was the ‘last ride’ parade of the 159 Routemaster bus. You can even see the police motorcycle escorts in the photo!

Silver Saints decided to stay open to business this Christmas and we have been very busy. Most likely because many of our competitors have closed down until 5th Jan.

Friday, 19 December 2008

My Windolene

If anyone has seen the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' they will remember the ongoing gag throughout the film where the brides father believes that windolene is the cure for almost anything. Including the pimple she gets on her wedding day.

Well for me my windolene is silicone grease also known as plumbers grease. It properties are magical and its uses are endless. Its intended use is on rubber plumbing seals such as push fit connections or o-ring seals but as a London Handyman who takes on a lot more than just plumbing I use it on any rubber, plastic, metal connection that comes in contact with water or needs a good seal. I also use it on sticking sash windows in order to get them to slide freely as well as on the tip of self tapper or wood screws just before I drive them into position. It’s lesser known lubricating uses include:

- Stiff Locks
- Sticking flush valves
- Bicycle chains
- Rusty bolts
- Drill chucks
- Pretty much anything that suffers from friction or needs protection from damp.

Silicone grease has in the past been very difficult to get hold of. It's not the kind of thing that B&Q or Homebase will stock in their plumbing section. In fact most plumber’s merchants in London don't even stock it, which in itself has become an indicator for me on how good a plumbers merchant is. If they have silicone grease on the shelves, by default they must be good.
I'll have to keep you all posted on the additional uses I find for silicone grease, at the moment I'm testing it as a sun screen.

Draught Proofing Sash Windows

Draught Proofing Sash Windows

Silver Saints London Handyman Service offers an effective, great value sash window draught proofing service.

The procedure we follow is to remove the lower sash, replace the two existing parting beads with ones that contain a draught proofing pile. We fit draught proofing rubber strip on the top face of the upper sash rail where it meets the head jam and another strip on the bottom face of the lower sash rail where it meets the window sill. We then use a router to cut an 8mm channel into the meeting rail of the bottom sash and insert another pile type draught sealing strip. The window is then reassembled rattle and draught free.

The cost to draught proof a sash window is £90+VAT, inclusive of both labour and materials.

uPVC Window Repairs

Repairing uPVC windows.

One of our motivating beliefs at Silver Saints is that if something is repairable we should be able to repair it. Our handymen have decades of experience between them in almost every trade area, there really aren't many jobs they can't do. If there is a gap in any one of the handyman's know how it doesn't take long for him to pick up the information he needs from one of our other handymen who has the necessary experience in that particular task.

But every once and a while there is a job that pops up that just stumps all of us and it normally has something to do with a new product or an imported technology that we have not seen before. Lately we have seen a big increase in the amount of people asking us to repair faulty uPVC windows. These are fairly new to the UK but have been widely used throughout the rest of Europe for many years because of their sound and insulating properties. They are normally double or triple glazed, have multiple seals and manufactured to fine tolerances. These modern uPVC windows also have ingenious opening and locking mechanisms which make them both very secure and capable of opening in multiple orientations. Any mechanical engineer would tell you that these windows are excellently designed.

The problem is however that we in the UK just aren't used to these windows yet and unfortunately the full set of operating instructions they are supplied with don't seem to be passed on from the installer to the user and so most people are forced to figure out their correct workings by themselves. It's often like watching a baby girl discover that the square shaped toy does not fit into the oval shaped whole. But after a few attempts they discover that the square toy into the square hole fits just fine. However little boys aren't so quick off the ball, they will pick up the square toy, try and insert it into the oval hole and on finding it does not fit will persist until the square toy becomes oval. Unfortunately when this principle of stubborn determination is applied to very heavy finely engineered windows the result is normally the failure of the window mechanism, which in the end results in a window that either does not open or does not close properly.

In the past we have always advised customers with faulty uPVC windows to contact the manufacturers or the company who installed the windows to repair them. This solution however easy to say was becoming a very unsatisfactory response to both the office staff and the handymen, who all like to solve any and all problems that they are presented with, or at least give it a go. So on our latest desperate request from a customer in Battersea we decided it was time to dive in head first to try and repair a triple glazed uPVC window that was not closing properly. We gave the customer a 'no win, no fee' offer, so if we did not fix the window we would not charge her for our time. We set aside a few hours and assigned two handymen to the task, knowing that the window would need to come off the hinges and would be very heavy.

It was clear as soon as the window was taken down that the window had been swung open rapidly, probably blown open by a strong wind, which had completely bent the top hinge by more than 90 degrees. The window was never going to close without us changing the hinge. As a temporary measure we removed the top hinge altogether and secured the window in place.
That same day we called the window manufacturers in Italy and they gave us the contact details of their agents in the UK. The agents promised to send us a replacement hinge in the post and we will return to reinstate the window fully as soon as it arrives.

It's good to know that the next time a customer calls to enquire about the repair of a faulty uPVC window we will be able to offer assistance.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Commenting on another tradesman's work

Silver Saints employs a team of the most experienced handymen in London. But with experience and knowledge comes the ability to quickly spot shoddy workmanship done by other tradesman or handymen. The difficulty is pointing out to the customer that things are not right without sounding like a salesman trying to build up a job.

We went out to draught proof sash windows in a West London last week. When we arrived we found four of the biggest sash windows I have ever seen. On inspection we found that they were under weighted and as a consequence they did not stay open. The sash cords were also way to thin for the weight of the window. It was clear that the person who had last worked on these windows tried to save on materials costs and as a result had left the customer with very poorly functioning sash windows.

The temptation is always to demonstrate your knowledge to the customer by pointing out all the things that the other tradesman had done wrong. But this doesn't really help anyone. Instead we opted for a direct approach. We simply told the customer that the windows were not functioning very well and asked if she wanted us to sort them out and then draught proof them or if she just wanted us to do the draught proofing. We then gave her a price for both options.

She chose to have the repairs carried out to the windows as well as the draught proofing. In the end everyone was happy and we didn't have to slag off any other tradesman.