Fixing Common Plumbing Problems
Most of us haven’t a clue what to do when something goes wrong with the plumbing at home, and the first thing we do is call in the plumber. If something has gone seriously wrong and you have water pouring through the ceiling then this is most definitely the right course of action, but with many common problems there are a few simple steps you can try yourself to solve the issue before calling in the professionals.
Over the summer months when we are not using our central heating, air can build up in the system and when your radiators start working again in the autumn they are either noisy and “clicky” or are warm at the bottom and cold at the top. If this is the case, then the radiators have to be bled to let the excess air out. The only tools you need to do this are a radiator key which you can get from any large DIY store and an old towel. Starting upstairs, turn the valve slowly at the top of the radiator and listen for the hiss of air escaping. As soon as water starts to drip out catch it in the towel and quickly close the valve again. Repeat for every radiator in the house. If this doesn’t solve the problem or you think the fault may lay with the boiler, do not attempt any more involved repairs and call in the professionals to take a look at the entire system.
There’s nothing more annoying than lying in bed at night and not being able to sleep because of a tap dripping somewhere in the house. Failure to deal with a leaky tap which drips constantly could cost as much as £100 a year on your water bill, so it makes sense to tackle the problem immediately. It’s a very simple job for a plumber, and one many competent DIY’ers can take on by themselves. Firstly and most importantly, turn off the water supply to the taps or coming into the house. Unscrew the pieces of the tap, taking care not to damage the threads. Once the tap is in pieces, remove and replace the washer which is the small plastic disc causing the tap to drip. Then put everything back together again and once it is all tightened up, switch the water back on. If these measures have not solved the dripping tap, it’s time to call the plumber. See our comprehensive guide on fixing a leaky tap.
Blocked Sinks and Toilets
Sinks and toilets do occasionally get blocked, either due to a build up of hair, grease or debris, or because someone has put something down the loo which should have gone in the bin. If the blockage is severe and you have water or sewage flowing back into the house, call the plumber immediately. If the problem is less severe, then you can tackle it yourself using a sink plunger, lots of plastic sheeting on the floor around the drain causing the problem, and thick rubber gloves. Once the blockage has been dislodged, either remove it by hand or flush the system through using special unblocking products. In order to stop it happening again, use mesh covers on plugholes to stop large items falling through.
Smelly Washing Machines
We’re all being encouraged to wash our clothes at 30°C or even lower to save the planet, but using low temperatures for our wash can lead to mould or bad smells building up inside the machine. Modern detergents are also designed to be kinder to our skin, and don’t contain chemicals or bleaching agents which killed off bugs in the past. The easiest way to tackle this problem is to get into the habit of running your machine on empty at its highest temperature on a monthly basis, and using biological washing powder rather than non-bio. After doing a load of washing, leave the door ajar rather than closing it immediately and this will give the machine a chance to dry out and stop any bacteria or mould spores from taking hold and growing. If a run through on a high temperature does not solve the issue, take advice from your plumber as there may be something more seriously wrong.
Check out a video on How to Bleed your Radiators
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