Advice is always free, please don't hesitate to contact us.
General plumbing advice (a stitch in time...).
- Know where your stop tap is. Under the sink is a good place to start, or where the main water enters the building. There is always one on the boundary to your property, often in the pavement, or near the driveway. If you cannot find it, phone the water company and they will locate it for you.
- Make sure that it works. Unused stop taps become stiff and difficult to turn. Just turn it on & off every couple of months to keep it free. At the same time turn it off and check that the water stops - the washer may need changing. If it's in a difficult to reach place, it could be relocated.
- Check pipe and tank lagging in attics and unheated spaces. Pipes laid above the ceiling insulation need snug fitting lagging with a wall thickness of at least 25mm, and tank jackets should be 75mm thick. Check and upgrade before it's too late.
- Keep the plumbing well maintained get any leaks fixed, don't ignore white spots or blue/green marks on pipe work, joints and cylinders.
Burst pipes and leaks.
- Turn off the stop tap.
- Turn off the boiler and/or immersion heater.
- Turn on all hot and cold water taps and leave them running until the water stops.
- Turn off the electricity at the main switch if any water is dripping from lights, switches, sockets etc.
- If water is dripping through the ceiling, poke a screwdriver through any bulge to drain trapped water.
Blocked w.c. (toilet slow to drain).
- First dont keep flushing the toilet, If there is already alot of water in the toilet pan, repeated flushing may cause it to spill over.
- Do you suspect that something has been dropped down the toilet? Mobile phones, toys, clip on fresheners are all favourites. If something is down there, it is likely that it will be caught in the bend at the back of the pan and it will have to be physically removed. Make sure you use protective gloves etc. In an emergency a thick bin liner or similar could suffice.
- If you know that there is no foreign object causing the blockage, then using a plunger is probably your next step. An old style string mop makes an excellent plunger. Push the head of the mop quickly and repeatably into the outlet area of w.c. pan in a plunging action. This often enough to clear small blockages of paper etc.
Condensing boilers (frozen condensate pipe).
- In the winter it is not uncommon for the condensate outlet pipe on condensing boilers to become frozen. This usually results in the boiler locking out and as a result no heating or hot water.
- Locate the condensate outlet pipe. It should be plastic and should terminate at a drain/soil pipe or similar.
- locate the frozen areas and thaw the pipework. This can be achieved by using hot water bottles, towels soaked in hot water, and if on ground level consider pouring warm water over the affected areas. Care should be taken to ensure any excess water on the ground will not create a slip hazard. Boiling water should not be used.
- When the condense pipe work has been fully thawed and drained the boiler can be re-started.
- Now that the heating and/or hot water has been restored, you need to identify what measures can be taken to prevent the pipe from freezing again.
If you are leaving the property (holidays etc).
- Turn the water off if you go away. You DO NOT need to leave it on to run the central heating! The heating header tank holds enough water to keep the boiler going for months. With the water turned off, the worst that can happen is the leaking of the 70 gallons or so of water that is stored in tanks. Conversely, a burst main in the attic can easily leak 100 Gallons an hour, for every hour of your holiday.
- Leave the heating on at a reduced temperature setting, a few extra pounds on your gas bill is nothing when compared to the damage and disruption an unattended burst pipe can cause.
- If you have pipework and tanks in a roof space, leaving the access hatch open a few inches will allow a small amount of warm air into the loft, helping to stop pipes from freezing.
- Have your boiler and other gas appliance serviced regularly, it could save you money on untimely repairs and excessive gas consumption, it could even save you life.