Police told Kristy Jasper that fraudsters may have been able to steal from her because she had the same password for 12 online accounts – Jeff Gilbert
The typical person has 26 online log-ins – with the associated passwords and other ID – so it is no wonder that most of us use the same passwords for more than one service.
But this can be dangerous.
Kristy Jasper, 28, had almost £4,000 stolen from her business account by fraudsters 18 months ago and police told her the likely cause was her use of identical passwords for numerous online accounts. These included PayPal, Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook and a website used to buy office supplies.
Upon checking her accounts she noticed nine online payments totalling £3,800 had been made to high street retailers such as Argos and Currys.
The crime was reported to the police and Metro Bank, the account provider, straight away.
“We couldn’t understand how this had happened,” said Ms Jasper.
“The police suggested it may have had something to do with our passwords plus other information the criminals found about us on social media.”
The police never fully explained how the fraud occurred. Metro Bank repaid the money – so it ultimately bore the cost.
Angela Sasse, professor of human-centred security at University College London and director of the UK Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security, said most consumers were unaware of the data accessible via login details.
She said: “Our emails alone could contain plenty of financial information. How many of us have sent our bank details to friends, business partners or guesthouses?”
But that’s not the extent of it.
If you’ve got the same password for your social media accounts, fraudsters could glean personal information from friends and contacts, enabling them to develop a more detailed personal profile.
This would enable them to impersonate you or “steal your identity”.
Once criminals have your password and username for one service, they can check to see if they’ve been reused on other sites using free online software known as “credential stuffers”, said Chris Underhill, chief technical officer at Equiniti, the cyber security firm.
“Fraudsters enter millions of emails and passwords into this software. Once they click ‘go’, the software starts to build a database of other sites they can access with your information,” he said.
Your details can then be sold on or traded, broadening the risks to which the original owner is exposed.
The prize for the criminals is to be able to access bank accounts or other payment accounts, including PayPal, where payments can be made or money transferred.
In another twist, fraudsters could take over your email or social media account and ask your contacts to send you money, perhaps because you are abroad or have lost your cards, said Nick Mothershaw, director of fraud and identity solutions at Experian, the credit reference agency.
Ms Jasper and her business partner have since changed their passwords and have different ones for each of their accounts.
“It’s a huge lesson to learn and we won’t be making the same mistake again,” she said.
How do the fraudsters get your password?
Emails that appear to be from genuine firms are often able to garner personal information from recipients by suggesting their accounts have been compromised or that they need to verify their identification.
These messages may also contain links to sophisticated copycat sites, such as an online banking page, which asks for consumers to enter their security details, such as passwords and account details.
Fraudsters also send out “malware” via email which, when accidentally installed by an unknowing user, could access passwords saved on your computer.
“All it takes is one click in a cleverly disguised email, one promoting a special offer, for example, and the malware is downloaded without you realising,” said Mr Mo
Nigeria’s former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday declared that the citizens were yet to witness the change promised them by the All Progressives Congress-led administration.
Atiku spoke at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, in a lecture series organized by the Senior Staff Club of the University.
Addressing a large crowd made up of academics, students, politicians, Igbo leaders, among others, he stated that Nigeria had failed to realize her potentials as a result of refusal of the political leaders to restructure the country.
“Restructuring will help to bring the benefits of change we promised the people in the last election which we have not seen.
“We need restructuring in order to address the challenges that hold us back; these problems will remain unaddressed unless we restructure.
“Issue of restructuring is beyond resource control; there are more important issues. In my own vision, restructuring will not make some states richer and some poorer; it is a win-win situation for all the States. Nigeria will derive more revenue after restructuring”, he declared.
Those present at the event include former governors Chief Okwesiieze Nwodo, Obong Victor Atttah, Ohanaeze President, Nnia Nwodo, Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, among others.
In a remark, Nwodo who chaired the event said “at no point have we had the kind of political tension we have today; it is in time like this that leaders exhume courage.”
He advocaed for a Constitution that will reflect the wishes of the people, stressing that the people of Nigeria subscribed to previous constitutions because they had no choice.
Atiku was earlier invested as a fellow of the Senior Staff Club.
His lecture read in full:
We have spent the last few years making the case for the restructuring of our federal system. This is in response to the cries of marginalization by various segments of country as well as the realization that our federation, as presently constituted, impedes optimal development and the improvement of our peoples’ aspirations.
As you all know, virtually every segment of this country has at one point or the other complained of marginalization by one or more segments, and agitated for change.
We have made tremendous progress in our advocacy as more and more of key stakeholders have come to realize the critical importance of restructuring for our country’s health, its unity, and its future. The proponents of what we now call restructuring do not necessarily mean the same thing, and do not necessarily have the same expectations in terms of outcome. That is normal.
The agitations and propositions are fueled by feelings of historical wrongs, of marginalization, of being short-changed, of resentment and envy and of fear of domination. But one thing they all agree on is that our country, as presently constituted, does not work well and will work significantly better with changes in the structure of the relationships among its component units.
Those opposed to restructuring capitalize on the differences of opinion dismiss the agitations pointing to what they regard as the imprecise nature of the definition of restructuring or they claim that the proponents want to dismember the country.
In this presentation I shall state my understanding of restructuring, and some of the steps we need to take to bring it about in a peaceful, democratic manner. I do not intend to dwell so much on why it is important as I can see an emerging consensus on that, even as disagreements remain on what it should look like and who gets what when actualized.
Different ideas have been floated including resource control, fiscal federalism, true federalism, restructuring.
I said a week ago at another forum in Abuja that it is normal for us to have different positions on restructuring.
Eventually we shall sit down and discuss, negotiate and arrive at a model that will be suitable for our country and which will help ensure rapid development and mutual and respectful coexistence.
Before I proceed, let me caution us all that restructuring, by whatever name, is not a magic bullet that would resolve all of Nigeria’s challenges or those of any section, region or zone of the country.
Listening to some people, even those who seek to dismember the country, you would think that once their dream is achieved their part of the country or the country as a whole will become paradise. But as we all know, life is not that simple. We need restructuring in order to address the challenges that restructuring can help us address, and which will remain unaddressed unless we restructure. Period. This also answers the cynics who question whether restructuring is even important since it won’t solve all our problems. No system would.
To me, restructuring means making changes to our current federal structure so it comes closer to what our founding leaders established, in response to the very issues and challenges that led them to opt for a less centralized system. It means devolving more powers to the federating units with the accompanying resources. It means greater control by the federating units of the resources in their areas. It would mean, by implication, the reduction of the powers and roles of the federal government so that it would concentrate only on those matters best handled by the centre such as defence, foreign policy, monetary and fiscal policies, immigration, customs and excise, aviation as well as setting and enforcing national standards on such matters as education, health and safety.
Some of what my ideas of restructuring involve requires constitutional amendment; some do not. Take education and roads for instance. The federal government can immediately start the process of transferring federal roads to the state governments along with the resources it expends on them. In the future if the federal government identifies the need for a new road that would serve the national interest, it can support the affected states to construct such roads, and thereafter leave the maintenance to the states, which can collect tolls from road users for the purpose. The federal
government does not need a constitutional amendment to start that process.
The same goes for education and health care. We must reverse the epidemic of federal take-over of state and voluntary organizations’ schools and hospitals which began in the 1970s, and also transfer those established by the federal government to the states. We do not need a
constitutional amendment to transfer federal universities and colleges as well as hospitals to the states where they are located. The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Ife (now OAU) were built by regional governments when we had a thriving
federal system. We all know what then happened.
The federal government, awash in oil revenues took them over, rapidly expanded them, and began to build more federal universities in response to the inevitable demand from states that did not have any located within their jurisdictions. The result is what we have today: universities, including the first generation ones that are no longer taken seriously anywhere in the world.
Local control makes for quicker decision-making; makes for adaptation to local needs; makes the adoption of new technologies and methods of teaching and learning quicker.
At the American University of Nigeria, which I founded in Yola, we are currently building the largest solar farm in the North East to provide power to the University and reduce our reliance on the national grid and also reduce our carbon footprint. We have since established an E-Library, which gives our students access to tens of millions of library materials from around the world. Can you imagine if we were part of the federal system of universities and were to wait on the federal government for these investments? Take another example. When the current security crisis in the North East began to grow, we quickly decided to recruit a large number of security personnel, trained and equipped them to provide security within and around the AUN campus to complement the efforts of already over-stretched national security forces. We did not have to wait for a distant organ in Abuja to come around to a decision on what should be done to protect our students and staff. These kinds of decisions and investments are not just easier with private organizations. They are easier within a decentralized system where decisions are made by local authorities closer to the relevant organizations. If you at UNN have to deal with a government at Enugu that has a clearer understanding of the local conditions, needs and aspirations, you are likely to accomplish more and return the UNN to its past glory.
These are possible first steps and would be easy wins for the federal government and the country. They will in part show the goodwill of the federal authorities in dealing with this very serious issue, and complement the important consultations which the Acting President has undertaken in recent times to douse tension in the country.
Indeed the federal government can voluntarily withdraw from most of the items listed in the very thin Concurrent Legislative List of our Constitution. I believe that the benefits accruing from these first steps will help us as we move towards the changes that require amendments to our Constitution. Let me mention a few critical ones just to illustrate.
- Creation of and Funding of Local Governments by the Federal Government. Few things illustrate federal overreach into state matters than the creation of direct funding of local governments by the Federal Government. As I have said on numerous occasions, this makes a mockery of the word “local.”
No good evidence has been produced to show that our local governments are now doing better than they were prior to federal intrusion. That intrusion must stop. Local governments are not federating units. State governments should have the freedom to create as many local governments as they wish or not to have local governments at all.
Citizens at every locality would then know that it is the responsibility of their states to provide services for their welfare. A possible compromise to help reduce opposition to this needed change is for the existing number of local governments to be maintained during the transition with the federal funds going the respective states as part of devolution of resources. Henceforth local government administration should be the responsibility of state governments. Period.
- A constitutional amendment allowing for the establishment of State Police is another critical element of the required restructuring. With that, the Federal and state governments should be able to decide on jurisdictions and which matters would fall under federal statutes and which under state statutes, and where there would be joint jurisdiction (in which case the federal government can take over in cases of conflict). One thing about federalism that we seem to have forgotten is that it is about freedom, autonomy and choice.
State police would not be mandatory for every state. Those states which, for whatever reason, prefer federal police would work out arrangements with the federal police on cost-sharing and other matters related to policing their jurisdictions.
- Reduction in the Number of Federating Units. I strongly believe that we need to reduce the number of federating units. The decades of excessive reliance on oil revenues and the relative neglect of other revenue sources as well as our near addiction to states-creation mean that even the increase of the resources transferred to the states may not make many of the financially non-viable states to become viable.
Those calling for new states seem oblivious of the fiscal crisis the existing states are in and how dependent they are on transfer payments from Abuja. If we are to maintain the current state structure, how do we ensure their financial viability? Obviously they would have to diversify their economies and revenue sources, but what happens to those unable to do so? One option that I have suggested is a means-test requiring states to generate a specified percentage of their share of federal allocations internally or be absolved into another state. Or we may revisit Chief Alex Ekwueme’s suggestion that we use the existing geopolitical zones as federating units rather than the current states. Using the zones would ensure immediate financial viability and scale and also address the concerns of minorities about domination by our three major ethnic groups.
- The issue of Resource Control is perhaps the most contentious. It is the big elephant in the room but the one most proponents and opponents of restructuring prefer to dance around while often throwing insults at each other. Fear, greed, envy, and resentment are at the centre of our disagreements on resource control. On the one hand, those who feel they are better endowed with the currently important or exploited national resource, oil, express some level of greed and resentment and a desire to monopolize those resources. On the other hand, those who feel less well-endowed express some degree of fear, envy and resentment. We must start from the point of view that no country’s regions or localities are equally or uniformly endowed. Diversity is the norm, and often the strength. And there are also historical swings or changes in fortune: the well-endowed areas of today may become less so tomorrow. Sharing is part of human existence and part of what makes human societies possible. I have consistently advocated for local control of resources but with federal taxing powers to help redistribute resources and to help address national priorities. Local control will encourage our federating units to look inwards at untapped resources in their respective domains and promote healthy rivalry among them.
I must point out that all of these do not have to be done in one fell swoop. Change is often difficult, especially for those who feel that they are beneficiaries of the status quo. We can start with the less contentious ones, including state police, and returning jurisdiction for local governments to states.
Discussions and negotiations among leaders from across the country can be speeded up to ensure timely resolution of these contentious issues. Our generation cannot afford to be the one that is unable to negotiate and bargain for a workable federal system that truly serves our peoples and enables them to live in peace and harmony with mutual respect.
The Nigerian federation is a work in progress. We just have to continue that work, a truly serious work, to build bridges across our various divides.
That’s what we need in order to create the kind of country where our young people can thrive and realize their full potentials, young people such as Ms Immaculata Onuigbo, the best graduating student and Valedictorian for the Class of 2017 at the American University Nigeria, Yola. We owe it to them and the generations to come.
I thank the Senior Staff club of the UNN for inviting me to share these thoughts with you and for honoring me today. Thank you for your attention.
Loyalists of sacked national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Buruji Kashamu (PDP-Ogun East) on Wednesday dumped the party.They defected to the Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) at its Oyo state secretariat in Ibadan, the state capital. A correspondent gathered that the building is owned by Kashamu.
Among those who defected are the Senator’s Senatorial Liaison Assistant (SLA), Otunba Adeleke Adekoya and Ebenezer Alabi, running mate to Jimoh Ibrahim, factional PDP Ondo candidate backed by Kashamu and Sheriff. Recall that the Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP) on Tuesday announced that it will change its name to Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN).
National Chairman of the party, Hon. Hamisu Santuraki, said the party registered in August 2010 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would also change its logo and move to its new national secretariat in Abuja. He explained that the new name would be ratified at its emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting coming up on July 25 in Abuja. The party said other issues for consideration at the NEC meeting are preparations for the November 18 Anambra State governorship election and the state of the nation.
“We are on top gear for the Anambra governorship election coming up in November 18.
“We are also working for the 2019 general election and part of our strategies was changing the party name to Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) from the Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP). We are also changing the logo.
“This is the wish of party members to rebrand the party for greater achievements. The NEC would also discuss the state of the nation and come up with its position formally,” Santuraki said.
NDE to train 360 artisans in basic business skills
Targets two million jobs this year
Plans are underway by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to train 360 artisans and petty traders in basic business under its Small Scale Enterprises (SSE) programme for operators of micro and small-scale enterprises.
Its deputy director, Information and Public Relations, Edmund Onwuliri, quoted the Director General, Ladan Mohammed, as saying that the 360 trainees were drawn from Kaduna, Kebbi, Yobe, Bauchi, Plateau, Nasarawa, Imo, Anambra, Ogun, Lagos, Cross River and Edo states.
Mohammed stated the beneficiaries would participate in basic entrepreneurial skills training to enable them manage their businesses more effectively, adding that this was done with the belief that micro-businesses boost development and growth, which will curb rural-urban migration, reduce poverty and unemployment.
He also disclosed that the NDE plans to create two million jobs this year.while speaking with the Country Director of the German Cooperation Deutsche Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Nigeria, Thomas Kirsch.
He revealed that the new jobs would be created in the agricultural sector and through other demand driven vocational skills-set.According to him, the NDE will reach out to the unemployed and create jobs in the 36 states of the federation, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and the 774 local councils.
His words: “NDE will focus on agriculture, essentially on Economic Trees, we have already secured vast lands from some Local Government Areas to enable us engage the youths in modern farming and other micro enterprises to stem the tide of criminality and social vices in the country. We have about 35 hectares of land in Sabuwa, Katsina State and another in Akunnu, Ondo State. We shall introduce the ‘Green Cash for Nigerian Youth.
“Under the scheme, selected youths would be engaged in Date production using improved Date Palm seedlings which require nine to twelve litres of water on daily basis but matures between nine and 12 months. 420 beneficiaries shall be engaged for this purpose from each of the benefitting states. Once people are engaged in productive activities, criminality and social vices will reduce.”
He observed that the collaboration between the NDE and GIZ, which began in 1991, has been beneficial to the NDE.He noted that all the prime movers and caravans for NDE School on Wheels (SOW) were purchased from Germany in the late 1980s. He, therefore, solicited the collaboration of the GIZ in the area of provision of improved seedlings of economic trees such as Date Palm, which the NDE plans to commence its commercial cultivation in the Northern part of Nigeria soon.
Speaking, Country Director, Thomas Kirsch observed that GIZ has been in partnership with Nigeria since 1974 adding: “We have facilitated socio –economic development of many Nigerians in many areas such as agriculture, enterprise start–ups, sports development, IT training and the like. We are assisting private companies to finance their businesses and create jobs.”
By Okere Onyebuchi Moses
Of the many psychological needs of man, fashion remains undeniably fascinating. It is per se as old as humanity. It is the construction of the mind combined using fabrics to form tangibly and visibly beautiful designs. It is the expression of a beautiful mind in regalia. Fineries are made fine through the inclination of the mind towards artistic framework. To succeed as a good fashion designer, one must have a mastery of drawing, skillful use of sewing machines, graphic design and aesthetic sense.
Understanding fashion designing requires that one must be patient enough to endure the stress involved in it. One should also be calculative enough to understand the dimension of measurements. Placing the measurements in the rightest proportions is quite paramount. Knowing a good textile and understanding how it drapes and moves when worn is not a thing to be undermined. Developing your own catalogue from nature, places of events, colourful and inspiring art works can make you an excellent fashion designer. Learning from other professional fashion designers can also stand you out amongst your contemporaries in the fashion world. Get your own signature styles from those of others. For you to be a professional at what you do, you must read or learn from those who had done it before. Essentially, you must learn to research on the existing trend so as to introduce a trend yourself.
Getting a degree in fashion makes a great sense. So go to a good fashion school if you can. You can also become an apprentice. Learning to upgrade your skills should be your prime goal.
Do the following:
- Advance your knowledge of art history and fashion design history;
- Enhance your technique with manipulating clothing textiles
- Practice sketching, drawing, combining textiles, clothing and accessories;
- Attend fashion shows and events, workshops taught by professionals;
- Learn how to develop and manage a fashion house;
- Create a portfolio containing your fashion design work and ideas.
Understand your fashion world and be ready to be critiqued so that you can improve on knowing your mistakes. Enjoy what you do and be happy to optimize; you become an international fashion designer.
Old habits are hard to break!
Here are some things you do every day but have not really thought about the health implications of it.
1. Using your smartphone before going to sleep.
Well, our bodies at night produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep and when we wake up. According to research, using artificial light at night suppresses it. The effect is that low melatonin can lead to depression, cancer, heart diseases and a very fragile immune system. So turn off your phone way before you go to sleep.
2. Using synthetic perfume.
In order to get really strong scents, most perfume companies use synthetic materials as they are cheaper than natural oils. Have you wondered why you are warned not to spray perfume in your eye? Well, the synthetic materials can irritate your eyes and skin, and cause nausea and dizziness. You are better off using essential oils instead.
3. Brushing your teeth after eating.
According to Dentist, it is best to brush your teeth at least 60 minutes after eating. That is because high acidic foods can affect the enamel of your tooth as well as the layer underneath it. During brushing, the movement of your toothbrush pushed the acid close to the layer below your enamel.
4. Wearing skinny/tight jeans.
I know these are latest trends in town but know that the constant press on your skin can cause discomfort that can lead serious nervous system issues. There’s a reduction in air flow to your legs and this causes tingling and itching that can make your legs numb.
5. Drinking freshly squeezed juice.
Juicing is the order of the day, and yes, freshly squeezed juice is good for you but only in small quantities. There are instances where juice can very harmful to your body. For instance, grape juice is not recommended for those with diabetes.
6. Stopping yourself from sneezing.
When we close our mouths and pinch our noses in an effort to prevent a sneeze, our intracranial pressure increases significantly. The blood flow to our brains is disrupted, and our blood vessels and nervous tissue are compressed. This can lead to headaches, damage to vessels, and even hearing problems. Never stop yourself from sneezing.
7. Keep foods in plastic containers.
Many plastic boxes contain artificial chemical substances, such as phthalate and bisphenol, that help to maintain their flexibility. If kept for a long time in plastic boxes, such substances can creep into the food. It’s a much better idea to store food in containers made from glass, stainless steel, or ceramic material.
BY ANKELI EMMANUEL,
The disturbing degree of youths unemployment in Nigeria remained a time bomb waiting to explode if not hurriedly managed, Abdulsamad Dasuki has warned.
Dasuki, who in the member representing Kebbe/Tambuwal federal constituency of Sokoto state at the national assembly, also observed that, Nigeria should abolish the age limit in getting federal employments except for military recruitments.
Speaking at the Sokoto State University auditorium where he presented 50 pieces of laptops, printers and other computer accessories to outstanding students from his constituency, Dasuki assured vowed that support for their education remained one of his greatest priority.
“The need of my people is my priority in Abuja. I lay emphasises on electricity, water and education as my priority target for my people. However, education has always been at the forefront of my mind”.
While stressing that, he will continue to support education of his constituent through provision of required modern tools, Dasuki urged them to embrace technology, saying, the world is already digital ehcne the need for all to be computer literate.
Hon. Dasuki, however decried the extent of unemployment in Nigeria, saying it’s a time bomb in waiting if nothing is been done to urgently address the scenario.
He further revealed that, the National Assembly is doing everything within it’s limit to ensure that the trend is reversed for good.
According to him, the 8th National Assembly has so far passed 1064 bills since its inception, with 50 as executive, 993 as private and 21 as concurrent bills respectively.
NASS has also initiated meetings with the business community as a prerequisite towards unbundle the looming unemployment criss.
Speaking on his part, the Vice Chancellor, Sokoto State University and Chairman of the laptop, computers distribution committee, Prof. Sani Dangogo assured that he will ensure justice and fairness in the distribution excessive.
According to him, beneficiaries would be outstanding students from Kebe/Tambuwal federal constituency drawn from across all the higher institutions in the state.
Has your air conditioner just developed strange problem? Do you feel so uncomfortable with this problem that you do not want to wait for a repairer? Below are a few things you can do. But if the problem persists, do call an air conditioner repairer.
- Make sure the problem isn’t the furnace
Set your thermostat to A/C mode and lower the temperature setting. If the furnace fan kicks in, the problem isn’t in the furnace. If the fan doesn’t run, try resetting the furnace circuit breaker. (If the fan still won’t start, call a professional—the fixes shown here won’t work).
Next, check the outside condensing unit. The compressor (which sounds like a refrigerator) and fan should be running. If not, follow the troubleshooting and repair procedures shown here.
Caution: Turn Off the Power
Turn off the A/C and furnace breakers in the main electrical panel before pulling the outdoor disconnect or removing the condensing unit’s access panel. Then use a voltage tester on the wires coming into the contactor to make sure the power is really off.
- Buy parts
The contactor (relay) and start/run capacitor(s) (see illustration below) fail most often and are inexpensive. So it’s a safe bet to buy and install those parts right away, especially if your A/C unit is older than five years.
To buy replacement parts, find the nameplate on the condensing unit (not your furnace). Jot down the make, model and serial number (or take a photo). Get the parts at an appliance store, furnace dealer or online.
- Anatomy of a Central Air Conditioner
Central A/C systems consist of two major components: a condensing unit that sits outside your house, and the evaporator coil (often referred to as an A-coil) that sits in the plenum of your furnace or air handler. The refrigerant in the A-coil picks up the heat from your home and moves it to the outdoor condensing unit. The condensing unit fan blows outside air through the condensing coil to remove the heat. The condensing unit houses the three parts replaceable by a DIYer: the contactor, the start/run capacitor(s) and the condenser fan motor. The condensing unit also houses the compressor, but only a professional can replace that. The A-coil has no parts that can be serviced by a DIYer.
You’ll need to know these components before you undertake your DIY air conditioner repair.
Central air conditioner components
Start with the easy fixes:
- Shut off the power
Open the electrical box next to the condensing unit and pull the disconnect block straight out. Check inside the box with a voltage sniffer to make sure the power is really off.
If you’re getting little or no cold air, check these three things first. Make sure all the registers in the house are wide open. Then be sure the furnace filter is clean. Then go outside and clean off the condenser coils (Photo 2). If several registers were closed or the filter was clogged, the reduced airflow could have caused the evaporator coil to ice up and stop cooling your home. If you’ve changed the filter and opened all the registers and you’re still not getting airflow at the registers, deice the A-coil. Move the thermostat mode switch from “Cooling” to “Off” and move the fan switch from “Auto” to “On.” Let the blower run for at least 30 minutes or until there’s good airflow at the registers. Then turn the A/C back on to test it. If it works for the next 12 hours, you’ve solved the problem.
If the condenser coils are clogged, the compressor can overheat and shut down. You’ll experience intermittent periods of minimal cooling, followed by no cooling. Even if you’re “sure” the condenser coils are clean, clean them again. Turn off the power. Flip the A/C and furnace circuit breakers in your main electrical panel to the “Off” position. Next, turn off the power switch right at the furnace or air handler. Then yank the disconnect block (Photo 1) and clean the condenser coils (Photo 2). If the A/C still doesn’t work properly after you’ve cleaned the condenser coils, installed a new filter and opened all the supply vents, proceed with the following repairs.
- Test the fuses
Check the fuses in the disconnect block
Set your multi-metre to the lowest Ohms scale and touch the red and black leads to opposite ends of each fuse. If you get a numerical reading, the fuse is good. But a zero, a minus symbol or an infinity symbol (∞) indicates a blown fuse.
Many disconnect blocks contain two cartridge fuses. Check them before you proceed with repairs .A blown fuse is a sign of a failing part inside the condensing unit. So don’t just replace it and think you’ve solved the problem. Instead, replace the parts we show here. Then install new fuses and fire up the unit. If it blows again, call a professional—you’ve got more serious issues.
- Inspect the inside of the access panel
Discharging a dual start/run capacitor
Remove the capacitor from the retaining bracket. Then touch an insulated screwdriver between the HERM (or “H”) terminal and the COMMON (or “C”) terminal. Do the same between the FAN (or “F”) terminal and the “C” terminal. On single-mode capacitors, just make a short between the two terminals.
Follow the electrical conduit from the house—that’s where you’ll find the access panel. With the power off, remove and store the access-panel retaining screws and remove the panel. Before you replace any parts, check for rodents’ nests or evidence of chewing on wires and electrical connectors.
If you find broken wires or chewed insulation and can safely handle electrical repairs, discharge the capacitor first (Photo 4). Then repair the wires and clean out the nest. Otherwise, call a pro.
- Replace the start/run capacitor(s)
Install the new capacitor
Slide the new capacitor into the retaining bracket and tighten the bracket screw. Secure the wires with a zip tie.
All A/C units have at least one capacitor. The capacitor stores electricity and releases it during compressor and condenser fan startup to give both motors an extra jolt of power. And it smooths out voltage fluctuations to protect the compressor and condenser fan motor from damage.
Capacitors can degrade slowly, providing less startup power over time. Or they can fail in an instant. Gradual capacitor failure can go unnoticed for a long time, stressing the compressor and condenser fan motor windings, resulting in their early failure. Since capacitors are cheap, it pays to proactively replace yours about every five years.
Replacing a capacitor is easy. Just take a photo of the wires before disconnecting anything (you may need a reference later on). Then discharge the stored energy in the old capacitor (Photo 4). Use needle-nose pliers to pluck one wire at a time from the old capacitor and snap it onto the corresponding tab of the new capacitor. The female crimp connectors should snap tightly onto the capacitor tabs. Wiggle each connector to see if it’s tight. If it’s not, remove the connector and bend the rounded edges of it so it makes a tighter fit on the tab. When you’ve swapped all the wires, secure the new capacitor (Photo 5).
WARNING: Discharge the capacitor before disconnecting wires or removing it from its bracket.
- Replace the contactor
Swap out the contactor
Yank a connector off the old contactor and move it to the same location on the new part. Tighten the connectors where needed. Then secure the new contactor in the condensing unit.
A contactor is a mechanical relay that uses low-voltage power from the thermostat to switch 220-volt high-amperage current to the compressor and condenser fan. A/C contactors can wear out and are at the top of the list of common A/C failures. Even if your contactor is working, it pays to replace it every five years or so. Unscrew the old contactor before removing the wires. Then move the wires to the new unit.
- Test your repairs
- Replace the fan motor
Mark the blade to show which side is up. Loosen the fan blade setscrew and carefully pull it off the motor shaft. Then swap in the new motor. Route the motor wires through the old conduit and secure with zip ties where necessary. Don’t skip the zip ties or the blade could cut the wires.
Reinstall the access panel and disconnect block. Turn on the circuit breaker and furnace switch. Then set the thermostat to a lower temperature and wait for the A/C to start (see “Be Patient at Startup,” below). The compressor should run and the condenser fan should spin. If the compressor starts but the fan doesn’t, the fan motor is most likely shot. Shut off the power and remove the screws around the condenser cover. Lift the cover and remove the fan blade and motor. Reinstall the blade and secure the cover. Then repower the unit and see if the fan starts. If it doesn’t, you’ve given it your best shot—it’s time to call a professional.
- Be Patient at Startup
A/C units and thermostats have built-in delay features when they’re shut down and then repowered. The delay can be as long as 10 minutes. And, if you’ve subscribed to an energy-saving device from your local power utility, the unit can take even longer to reset. If you’ve installed the parts shown and reinstalled the disconnect block, repowered the circuit breaker, turned on the switch at the furnace, moved the thermostat to A/C mode and lowered the temperature below the indoor temperature, and the unit doesn’t fire up after 30 minutes, it’s time to call a pro.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Insulated screwdrivers (2)
You’ll also need a multi-metre.
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
Condenser fan motor
By Banji Ojewale
WHEN next I visit the barber’s shop, I won’t go for a haircut. I will go for tips on how to handle the human head. When next I’m at the barber’s, I won’t be there for gossip; I’ll reach out to him to educate me on how he manages to manipulate the head. When next you see me at the barber’s, I won’t be surrendering to the tic-tac of the scissors and clippers; I will be seeking the secrets of the barber’s trade: how does he completely dominate the one under his instruments? So lastly when next you see me head for the barber’s, I plead with you to join me; we shall be returning with sack load of tricks we must deploy to turn the willful heads of our leaders and rulers for truly salutary enterprise in nation building. We shall look for ways to make them submit to the will of the people. My study of the “absolute” powers of the “lowly” barber over the head of the mighty began years ago when I was the editor of an evening newspaper in Lagos. The editor-in-chief brought me a weather-beaten sheet of paper wherein was some priceless handwritten information about the travails of then detained MKO Abiola, the undeclared winner of Nigeria’s presidential election in 1993. Held in Abuja by the military authorities for his insistence to be sworn in as president, Abiola was said to have been visited by a barber provided by his captors. According to the paper given to me, the haircut revealed that MKO’s hair, full of dandruff, was falling off. The document said this condition suggested that the wealthy politician suffered from serious health challenges including anemia. Deep in the anonymously done report was this claim: a man pulled a gun on Abiola as he rested in his ill-ventilated cell. After my hesitation over whether to publish or not, we ran the report with the caption: Gunman Rattles Abiola. The publication, needless to say, also rattled the military junta of Sani Abacha. It likewise rattled the intractable cat-and-mouse relationship between his government and our titles. I have since been fascinated by the deceptive dissembling mien of the barber. You’re at their mercy when they handle you. If you sink into their swivel chair or they visit you for a home affair, they take over your life even if momentarily. Whether it’s a low-cut you want or a mere trimming exercise, they are in control. They are in total command of your head. Never mind if you’re the head of state or commander-in-chief of your nation’s armed forces, or if you’re a very important prisoner or the richest man in Nigeria or in the world. The barber’s comb, brush, scissors and clippers make him your boss since he is in charge of your exposed powerhouse. He pushes it as he wishes, not as you wish. If you swing left, he moves it to the right. That’s not where you want it; but at that moment you don’t own your own head; that’s the way it goes when the barber is at work. He may sometimes politely suffix his request with “Sir”. But irreverent thoughts about your deciduous hair or yam head may be staging a competition in his own head while his hands are on duty on your pate. For those of us who fall for the false lullaby of the barber’s instruments, our head carer has several options. If sleep attempts to wrest control of the head from him, he either rocks the chair hard to rouse you or (if he is impish) he drives the scissors into your skin without drawing blood. Others would push the decibel of their music system to the maximum volume. None of these has been known to fail. Either way, the barber would say after snatching you from slumber: sorry sir… ema binu sir! Would you suspect mischief after such a patronizingly unctuous apology by someone going to great lengths to make you look fine for a low fee? Elsewhere in his mind he’d be charging you with the unpardonable offence of indiscipline, sleeping on duty! Now I think Nigerians need the skill and subtlety of the barber to tame our leaders. Don’t we, seeing these heads (public office holders, politicians and the great army of power wielders in the society) have moved us around aimlessly these scores of years since Independence in 1960? Those Asian countries with whom we started the race have left us far behind because our leaders (heads) at the centre, states and local governments never seriously thought of a prosperous life for the citizens after Independence. We’ve not outgrown the pangs of war we fought to preserve the country. The battle to dislodge the British colonialists ended alright in 1960. But the decades following have seen us in more bitter conflicts with those who replaced the white lords. As I write, Nigeria is in utter dysphoria. There is distrust among the “federating” constituents. There is unhealthy scheming going on in the hot political atmosphere. The president’s health is “in the hands of God” according to members of his inner circle, suggesting rather despondently that it has defied what the human mind can attempt to understand. 2019 poll is the talking point in 2017 when there is little to show for the 2015 mandate. The arranged gyration towards a one-party state or disintegration frighteningly portends bad times. But the drums and the dance steps haven’t stopped. A predictive analysis turns in the verdict that the ordinary citizen is the stuff on the slaughter slab, as he has always been. And our heads’ barren policies are the architects of our woes.We need therefore to turn the heads of our leaders from their fixed gaze on the jejune philosophy that celebrates so-called development of infrastructure without a superior emphasis on the superstructure (human development). via mass education, inviolate social welfare programmes for the people, vocational training and support for the weak and vulnerable. This neglect is a recurring bad penny which has found its way again into the 2017 budget at the centre and in the states, to wit the paltry allocation to the education sector. We’ve stayed too long on the challenges we started with in 1960: poverty, ethnicity, corruption, divisive politics etc. Like bushy heads that require clipping, our leaders could do with an encounter with the barber. They need thorough primping that will result in a clean cut, completely shaved to the skin. The barber will rouse them from the deadly sleep that has kept us back while less endowed nations are light years ahead of us. So when next I visit the barber, please follow me, it is a mission to save the nation.
*Mr. Ojewale, a writer, wrote from Ota, Ogun State.
CREDIT: Vanguard Newspaper
There was a time when rain was deemed a blessing by all; a time when people would clamour and even pray for rain. There was a generation of kids who enjoyed dancing in the rain at every opportunity. Then, a wet ground was a sign of divine approval and a possible sign of bounties to come. Those were the times when Lagos was planned for the population it accommodated. Sadly, the story started changing many years ago and administration after administration came but none could proffer a lasting solution to the problem of flood in the State. Weather forecasts hinted of torrential rains this year and one would expect that every stakeholder would listen to the voice of reason and adequately prepare for the likely unpleasantness that comes with the rains.
Many consider Lagos as a model city in Nigeria considering the level of business activities that characterize the city, the many elitist estates and generally the boisterous lifestyle Lagosians radiate. The Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, confidently declared in 2016 on the TV show, Lagos Global, that if Lagos were to be a country, it would have been the 5th largest economy in Africa with a GDP that is more than that of Kenya and Ghana combined. This is no surprise since the State is often touted as the commercial nerve centre of West Africa. The Economic Confidential Annual States Viability Index (ASVI) reveals that Lagos State with an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in excess of 300billion naira generates more than 31 states combined. This is to show that the State is not in want of funds to execute any project it chooses.
So the question is: why has it become impossible to address the problem of flooding in Lagos? The Governor recently claimed that the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, denied the State the ecological fund due to it, but we also understand that the National Economic Council approved N2billion each for 19 States, including Lagos, earlier this year. How then can the 5th biggest economy attribute its inability to deal with flooding to the denial of ecological fund? We can proudly boast that Lagos is blessed with technocrats running the affairs of government, which suggests that they possess adequate understanding of the immediate and systemic causes of the flood. Yet, we keep reclaiming land for the construction of expensive apartments without commensurate plan to prevent and mitigate the attendant flood. The Lekki axis that is often worst hit by the flood is surrounded by waters, including the Atlantic Ocean, and therefore requires properly connected drainage system with massive canals to curb this carnage bedeviling the State, but the reality on ground is far from the solution.
The recent flood that ravaged the State has undoubtedly resulted in economic loss for many businesses that had to shut down for the day. Similarly, individuals whose vehicles were submerged in the flood are being compelled to expend unplanned funds to fix their vehicles. Let us for a minute imagine that what happened on Saturday July 8th happened on a Monday when people had left their homes for work. Imagine the magnitude of economic loss that would be to the State. Let us admit that the 5th largest economy in Africa could bear the one day economic loss, what about precious lives that could have been lost to the flood? Imagine that school children were on their way to school on a week day?
Our government officials in Lagos really need to be more responsive and aggressive about dealing with the flood. As a matter of urgency, let there be mobilization of relevant agencies to clear and dredge the canals in Lagos. If we need to pull down structures to make way for the water to express itself, I think it is worth the effort. We should not wait till the time we begin to lose lives to flood. There is also need for massive campaign against uncleanliness as we see in some environment. How an individual would see rain as an opportunity to empty a full litter-bin into a flowing canal obviously shows an unfathomable level of ignorance. Yes, there are campaigns on radio stations and selected TV stations but the government needs to treat this as an emergency working with other stakeholders like religious institutions and educational institutions. Let organisations encourage volunteers to engage in community efforts that will lead to a cleaner environment.
To overcome this challenge requires collective effort, which must be spearheaded by the government. It is better we start now before a supposed regular flood transforms into another Tsunami. And please do not say it cannot happen!