Sunday, 19 July 2009

Leaking Stopcock Repair or Replacement

Leaking Stopcock Repair or Replacement

Replacing leaking or faulty stopcocks often means having to freeze the incoming water supply in order to stop the water flow.

With our professional pipe freezing equipment Silver Saints can safely and efficiently maintain or replace faulty stopcocks or service valves.

The process of freezing the incoming supply normally takes 30 – 40 minutes. Once the water flow has stopped we can begin the work. The pipe freezing equipment keeps the water supply frozen for as long as the work takes. Only once all the work has safely been completed the water flow will be restored.

If you have a leaking stopcock or would like a new or replacement stop cock fitted to your property give us a call on 02070 999 199, email or book online.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Sash Window and French Door Renovation

Sash Window and French Door Restoration

Our Silver Saints handymen change sash cords and draught proof sash windows and French Doors on a daily basis. But if your windows need a bit more attention we also offer a full renovation service.

Using the latest technology in wood restoration products Silver Saints can give your windows back their structural integrity and return them to the features they once were.

The restoration process is as follows:

1. We strip back any flaking paint and cut away any unsound or rotten wood.

2. Treat the sound wood to prevent further decay

3. Rebuild the window using new timber and a flexible wood compound.

4. Redecorate the window.

The end result is a structurally sound and newly decorated window at the fraction of the cost of replacement windows.

The optional extras which are offered with our window renovation service are:

- Application of our full draught proofing system
- Replace sash cords and rebalance windows
- Supply and fit new pulleys, catches and locks


A replacement sash window typically cost £2000-£4000. Renovating rather than replacing your current windows will cost hundreds rather than thousands of pounds per window.

For an initial fee of £35+VAT we will carry out a full survey and estimate visit to inspect the work that is required to bring your windows back to life. We will then issue you with a detailed quote including a number of optional extras for you to choose from. If you proceed with the work we will deduct the survey fee off the final cost.

To arrange a survey and estimate visit call our Operations Team on 0207 0999 199, send an email to or book online.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Office repairs and maintenance

About 45% of the work we do is for offices. The most common jobs we do for commercial customers include:

- Repairing Toilets
- Unblocking Toilets, Urinals & Sinks
- Changing Light Bulbs
- Hanging Whiteboards and Pictures
- Repairing Office Furniture
- Fixing Dripping Taps
- Repairing Door Handles
- Hanging LCD TV's

Although most London offices will have a maintenance contract for larger works through the buildings management, they often battle to get smaller repairs and odd jobs done. That is why companies love Silver Saints London Handyman Service. We provide a multi-skilled handyman who can take care of all the general jobs listed above as well as many more specialist tasks.

Not your average handyman service

Many people who use our London handyman service for the first time are pleasantly surprised when a well spoken, polite and neatly turned out person turns up to tackle their 'to do' list.

All of our handymen come from professional backgrounds: Don is an Oxford graduate, was a pilot in the Royal Air Force, a government liaison in China, Chairman of a Charity and also has a honours degree in french studies. He picked up most of his handyman knowledge and skills while renovating his own and friends properties. Don has been working as a professional handyman for six years now and is attracted to this job because no two days are the same. Nick graduated from Brunel University with an engineering degree, he worked for KPMG for twenty years as a management consultant, is an avid yachtsman and skippers commercially owned yachts in his spare time. Nick describes himself as semi-retired even though he works a full five day week. The aspect of this job he likes the best is meeting new and interesting people everyday. Robin has been in the building trade working as a Quantity Surveyor for over twenty years, he is an advanced motorcyclists and often takes groups of motorcyclists on guided trips to Europe. His depth of building and technical knowledge is massive and he pursues carpentry projects as a hobby.

It should be obvious from the profiles above that we are no ordinary handyman service, when you book a Silver Saints handyman, you are getting someone who can communicate well, is used to working in high pressure environments, has excellent problem solving skills and have chosen to do this job because they understand the importance of customer service and love DIY. All our handymen have had successful professional careers but have left the confinement of the office behind to pursue a flexible, fun and rewarding career as a mobile professional London handyman.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Shower Repairs - faulty non-return valves.

Silver Saints cover a massive range of plumbing jobs. One of our more specialist jobs is the repairing of faulty thermostatic showers and electric showers.

In fact we have repaired and fitted hundreds of showers. We recently had two showers at separate properties within a week which proved to have the same unique fault. Both showers appeared to only be getting hot water. On the lowest temperature setting no water would flow at all. We originally thought that there must be an airlock in the cold supply as both showers were been supplied by a tank in the loft. But after a bit of investigation we found that the non-return valves fitted to the cold supply within the shower valves had become stuck and were preventing the cold water from entering the shower valve.

The solution was to remove the non-return valves completely. As the cold water was tank fed there was no risk of contamination to mains water so these valves were not needed. Of-course if the cold was been fed by mains we would have replaced the faulty non-return valves.

On reflection we suspect that the problem with the non-return valves were caused because the cold water was tank fed while the hot supply was fed off a shower pump. Because the pump ran on for a few seconds after the shower flow was shut off, the hot water putting trying to flow into the cold supply, allot of pressure onto the non-return valve on the cold supply every time the shower was turned off. Eventually it just jammed closed.

In eight years of working with showers we have seen this exact problem only 3 times. So not exactly a common cause for failure, but an interesting problem none the less.

Monday, 30 March 2009

London Handyman Service

Silver Saints is London's premier handyman service. Our team of handymen can take on a massive range of plumbing, electrical, fitting, fixing or assembling jobs.

We will send you one handyman to take care of your 'to-do' list which may in the past have required various separate tradesman to complete.

As well as taking on general odd-jobs and repairs around both homes and offices, our handymen also undertake more specific and specialised repairs. These include:

Electric shower repairs
Thermostatic shower repairs
Unblocking sinks and toilets
Draught proofing sash windows
Sash cord repair
LCD TV Installations
Driveway Jet washing
Waste disposal repairs
Light fitting repairs
Replacing grout

So whether you have a list of repairs or just one specific task, Silver Saints Handyman Service are the company to call.

To find out more visit our London Handyman website:, give us a call on 0207 0999 199 or just drop us an email at

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Aqualisa Shower Repairs

Aqualisa is one of the most common and popular shower manufacturers in the UK. They do make a wide range of quality shower valves and have been on the forefront of shower technology for the last few decades.

However given the harsh water conditions that these shower conditions are exposed to in London they do need servicing and repairing. All our Silver Saints handymen have many years in dealing with all the most common shower faults. Given the prevalence of Aqualisa showers in the UK we have repaired and service hundreds of their valves over the years.

The most common faults that thermostatic shower valves develop are either a constant drip through the shower head or they fail to hold a steady temperature. Both these faults are easily repairable.

If you have an Aqualisa shower that needs repairing or servicing please give us a call on 0207 0999 199 or visit our dedicated shower repair webpage:

Waste Disposal Repairs

Whether you call them waste disposals, garbage disposals or insinkerators the are the same thing and they do need repairing, servicing or even replacing after extended use.

Silver Saints, London's premier handyman service, can repair or replace your faulty waste disposal.

So if your waste disosal is making a strange humming noise, is blocked or is completely dead give us a call on 0207 0999 199 for help.

You can also visit our dedicated Waste disposal repair webpage at

Repair Sash Cords

As we move in to spring and summer many people will be opening their sash windows for the first time in many months only to find that the sash cord has snapped or the window is jammed.

Silver Saints is London's premier handyman service and one of the many jobs we specialise in is the repairing of sash window cords.

Replacing a broken sash cord is actually a fairly simple process and should only take a couple of hours. The exact time it takes depends largely on which cord is actually broken as accessing the cords attached to the outer sash means taking out the bottom sash.

We therefore offer a range of fixed prices for replacing sash cords:

Replace one inner sash window cord - £65+VAT
Replace one outer sash window cord - £75+VAT
Replace both inner sash window cords - £75+VAT
Replace both outer sash window cords - £95+VAT

To find out more about our London handyman service and sash cord repair in particular visit

Or give us a call on 0207 0999 199.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Lessons from Electric Showers

Just one of the more specialist jobs Silver Saints undertakes is the repair and replacement of faulty electric showers. Many people have electric showers and when they fail they are not sure whether they should call an electrician or a plumber. (In fact most plumbing firms themselves will tell you to call an electrician). But since all our London handymen are experts in both plumbing and electrical repairs, fixing electric showers is right up our street.

Recently however all our knowledge and skills have been put to the test by a customer who had a 25 year old electric shower which had completely died. On inspection we found that it had developed an internal leak which had shorted out a number of electrical components. Given the age of the shower it was definitely time for an upgrade.

The handyman checked the electrical set up and decided that a 9.5kW or 10.5KW shower would be most suitable. Our normal procedure is to order a replacement shower from our own suppliers and return on another day to fit it. However the customer was desperate to get a working shower installed that day and asked if he would just go down to the closest Homebase and buy the cheapest suitable shower they had. The handyman agreed and set off.

On his return from Homebase our handyman fitted the replacement shower, a Triton Opal II 10.5KW shower. He commissioned it and tested it. All appeared to be working perfectly.

The following morning we received an email from the customer to say that the new shower was not working properly. It was not maintaining a steady temperature and was cycling between scolding hot and freezing cold. We were a bit flummoxed as we have never had a new shower we had fitted malfunction before. We immediately assumed that the unit must be faulty. After a number of conversations with Tritons own technical team we managed to narrow the possible fault down to two options. Either a filter within the shower was blocked or the water inlet pressure was high enough for the shower to operate correctly.

As the customer lived on the top floor of a very large block of flats we suspected that it was indeed a problem with the water pressure in her flat. As we had fitted the shower in the afternoon, not many people were probably using the buildings water, which was mains and not coming from a communal storage tank, so when we tested it we were getting enough flow and pressure for it to operate correctly. However when the customer had a shower that evening, most of the other occupants of the building were home from work and her pressure and flow were reduced below the required operating pressure as others drew off water.

A bit of further investigation revealed that the minimum operating pressure for a Triton Opal II 10.5 kw shower was 1.5 BAR. However other brands and more expensive models can operate on a minimum pressure of less than half of this, 0.6 BAR. We therefore returned to the property the following day armed with a Mira Sport 9.8KW shower, a more expensive model which could operate at a much lower inlet pressure.

We fitted the replacement shower and tested it, the customer has been using it for two weeks now and reports that it works perfectly.

The two lessons we learnt on this job were:

1.) Always check that the inlet water pressure before specifying a shower
2.) Buy cheap buy twice!

Friday, 20 February 2009

The Economic Vibe

You can't turn on the news or pick up a newspaper at the moment without been told another economic statistic which indicates the current state of the economy. Business reporters love to quote repossession rates, the rise and fall in average house prices, unemployment figures and even the amount of new mortgage applications this month compared to last.

Using financial indicators are basically a way to quantify what I describe as the economic vibe. You know, the economic vibe, that's the feeling you get about the state of the economy through conversations with others or your own finances that the economy is doing well or not.

If you and your friends are buying new cars, going on exotic holidays or dabbling in the stock market the vibe is good. If your friends can't sell their cars, are driving to Blackpool for their holidays and lost their shirts in the stock market your economic vibe is bad. All you need to do is turn on the news to hear the latest unemployment figures and your vibe is confirmed.

As a handyman service we have our own non-financial indicators which confirm our vibes about how things are going. We look at the amount of bookings that came in this week versus last, the increase or decrease in the average length of jobs, the percentage of time billed out versus dead time. Lately I've noticed that significantly less people asked us to hang LCD screens for them in February than did in January. This may just be because there were so many good deals to be had on LCD screens in the January sales that everyone who was going to buy a LCD TV did so last month. But it could also indicate that there is less disposable income out there for luxury goods like new 55" Flat Screens. Truthfully, it must be a bit of both, but the vibe I get is not a good one.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Extreme Pidgeon Proofing

A few weeks back I posted a blog entry on a job that required us to abseil from the 3rd floor balcony of a customers house. The job was to fit pigeon spikes to the horizontal pipes that feed into each floor of the property.

The customer, as with most of her neighbours had built a conservatory onto the back of her property that covered most of the garden. This caused two problems, the first was that pipes provided the perfect place for pigeons to perch out of the wind over night, this meant that every time one of the pigeons relieved itself it relieved itself onto the glass conservatory roof. The second was that because the conservatory covered most of the back yard we could not use a ladder to gain access to the pipes or to clean the conservatory roof.

The only way to clean the roof and gain access to the pipes was from above, so we bounced the problem around the office and came up with a plan.A few months back a friend got me interested in the sport of climbing and after a few trips to the Castle indoor climbing centre in north London I was hooked. I kitted myself out with all the necessary harness, belay devices, etc so felt confident the best way to tackle the problem was to set up a rig from the third floor balcony and abseil one of my handymen (Manfred) down to the pipes.

After waiting for all the materials to arrive in our office and favourable weather the job eventually went ahead last week Friday and was a huge success. We set up an extremely safe rig and abseiled Manfred down all 3 floors several times. We even landed up washing the conservatory roof with a pressure washer which we suspend from a rope.

Another job well done which virtually no other handyman service would take on.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Use Google to scratch that itch

When companies design a Google adwords campaign they spend a lot of time trying to think up all the words and terms their potential customers will be typing into Google. Competition on generic terms like 'plumber' or 'handyman' is fierce. So the idea is to try and think of more specific terms that describe your service or product more precisely.

Sophisticated search engine users know this so when looking for a specific product they will be very specific in their search terms and almost always find exactly what they are looking almost immediately. The problem is however that there are millions of searchers out there who aren't searching specifically and therefore might not be finding exactly what they are looking for at the best price.

In the past people used directory publications, like the Yellow Pages, to find services they needed. But to find a service they would need to know what category that service would fall under in that specific directory. Many people still search for services in this way. But if they are more specific about searching for the exact service or product they are looking for they will find companies offering exactly what they want.

Here are two examples:

One of our customers used our service recently to unblock her toilet. Once the job was done the handyman asked her how she found Silver Saints. She told him how she had initially searched on Google for a 'plumber'. Of course she got thousands of results so she refined her search to 'London plumber' and called three of the companies she found. They all told her a similar story, it will cost her minimum of £100 for one of their plumbers to come out and investigate her blocked toilet. Unsatisfied with this she refined her search even further to 'unblock toilet London' and found our web page dedicated specifically to our unblocking toilets service for which we charge a fixed price of £70+VAT.

The second example relates to Electric showers. If you ask 10 people who they would call if their electric shower stopped working. Five of them would say a plumber and the other five would say an electrician. But the beauty of Google is that you don't need to think, they will do it for you. If you need an electric shower repaired all you need to do is search for ' electric shower repairs' and you will find numerous companies specialising in electric shower repairs.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Market Karma

When I first moved to London seven years ago Foxtons were operating at full tilt. They seamed to be the agents for almost every rental property we looked at. I remember been flabbergasted that they could get away with charging prospective tenants to find a property as well as the landlords to full their properties. Foxtons seemed to treat everyone like they were idiots looking to be squeezed for cash.

After two years of working for London's biggest handyman service we were approached by Foxtons to undertake maintenance jobs in the properties they managed on behalf of landlords. They dictated to us what our hourly charge should be, which was almost the same as we were charging anyway, but then deducted 20% as a commission after the landlord had paid the full invoice amount for themselves. They would also charge the landlords a fee for managing their properties for them. Once again they were using their market position to squeeze anyone they could.

So when I read this article, Foxtons stuck in housing market slump, I felt a great sense of satisfaction, as if justice had been served. I'm sure there are thousands of Londoners out there who would be happy to see Foxtons fall on their faces. Like gluttons they grabbed as much as they could in the boom and now many will be smirking as they suffer in the gloom.

I am a firm believer in market karma or economic justice. If you treat your customers badly or turn your back on business ethics the market will one day exact its revenge. The founder of Foxtons, John Hunt, obviously saw this moment of reckoning coming and just like a Banana Republic Dictator he escaped just in time with all the loot before the whole thing collapsed.

I'm just glad I'm not trying to sell a mini motorcar, because the second hand market is about to be flooded with them.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Blocked Sink or is it a Toilet?

One of our handymen had an interesting job last week. We were called by a housing charity to unblock a small hand basin in one of their properties. The house had a number of bedrooms all with their own hand basins in one corner. This particular basin was the only one blocked in the property, so we knew the blockage had to be local to the basin and not a problem with the main down pipe.

The handyman unscrewed the u-bend to inspect it for any sign of a blockage. He found that the whole u-bend and waste pipe were completely blocked with what seemed to be cement. After a quick call to one of the senior handymen the cause of the blockage became clear.

The cement like substance was actually limescale which had been encouraged to grow so aggressively due to the constant presence of uric salts and bacteria found in urine. The tenant had obviously been using the basin as a urinal for some time which had resulted in the u-bend and waste pipe becoming the ideal environment for limescale to build up quickly until the basin waste pipe was solidly blocked.

Once we knew that the problem was limescale we were able to treat it with an acidic solution known as 'Spirit of Salts' which over time will dissolve the limescale. Using this acidic solution combined with 60 minutes of traditional roding we were able to clear the blocked waste pipe. We fitted a new u-bend and instructed the tenant that he should not pee in the sink.

A strange job, but an interesting one among handymen and plumbers who deal with blockages.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Rats for Christmas

We received a call from an office manager just before the new year asking us to repair a faulty toilet flush. The cause of the fault surprised us all.

The inner workings of the toilet concerned were concealed behind a decorative panel. All that was visible on the panel was the pneumatic flush button. These buttons work by compressing air within a rubber tube the increased pressure is enough to operate the flush valve and the toilet flushes. In this case the rubber hose had become disconnected from the button and as a result the toilet was not flushing when the button was pushed.

On closer inspection the handyman noted that the end of the rubber tube was jagged as if a rodent had been chewing on it. He cut off a bit of the tube and refitted it to the flush button which restored the correct operation of the toilet. The whole process only took 20 minutes.

A few days later we got a call from the same customer to say that the toilet was not working again. We sent the same handyman back to investigate. This time he found that most of the flush button had been eaten away by rodents. The extent of the damage to the button can be seen in the photo.
It emerged when discussing the problem with the customer that they had come back from the Christmas break to find that rats had run riot through their offices chewing on anything from computer cables to coffee cups.
The rats were using the toilet cisterns as their water supply and once they had had a drink were pausing to nibble on a bit of rubber to pass the time.
The answer was to prevent the rats from getting into the toilet cisterns and this meant removing the decorative panel, filling all access holes with steel will and expanding foam and then reinstating everything. This was done in conjunction with an exterminator laying poison and traps throughout the office.
We completed the work and are confident that the rats won't gain access to the men's toilet again. However we got a call this morning to say that the woman's toilet now won't flush. I believe politicians call this phenomenon 'crime displacement'.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Loose Taps

In conversation with one of our London handymen recently, he pointed out how common it is to stumble upon a loose set of taps while doing work at customer's properties. Normally these are monobloc kitchen sink taps which require a special box spanner to fit or tighten. Not the kind of tool an average household would have in their B&Q toolbox.

The problem is that most people don't think it is worth paying a plumber the best part of £100 to tighten a loose tap and therefore just live with the problem. What they don't realise is that you don't need a plumber to undertake most plumbing jobs within a property. A professional handyman can do almost all of them for you at about 50% of the cost.

All our handymen fit taps and therefore carry a full set of box spanners with them. It only takes a few minutes to tighten a loose tap if you have the correct tool. It's the kind of job that a customer should just tag onto their 'to-do' list when they have a handyman round to take care of all those niggly jobs. However if a loose tap is really getting on your nerves we don't mind coming out for any on small job and our minimum charge is only £40+VAT.