Essential Plumbing Tips for your Home: Part 2

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Essential Plumbing Tips for your Home: Part 2

Problems with a Dripping Tap

A leaking tap is often overlooked as a major plumbing problem. But every drop of water that drips down the drain is costing you money on your water bills.

Most dripping tap problems are caused by worn washers, seals or O-rings. To repair a dripping tap you will need to turn off the water supply to the tap. Disassemble your tap and identify which part is causing the problem.

A good tip whist working on a tap repair is to ensure that the plug is placed over the drain to ensure no parts fall down. Remember: You must replace the exact same size of washer if you want to create a seal that works.

Problems with Toilet Plumbing

If you experience problems with your toilet it may be caused by one of the following issues:

Faulty flapper: The flapper opens the water inlet when the flusher is pulled. If the chain or connection to the flusher is broken you may experience a constant water flow into your toilet.

Float and valve: The float and valve keep the water level in the tank from becoming too low or high. You can easily adjust your float to keep your valve providing adequate water levels.

Moving seat: If the bolts which hold the toilet seat in place become loose you will experience a shifting seat when sat upon. You can tighten these bolts easily to fix a moving seat.

Blocked drain: A blocked toilet will prevent water from escaping and fill up the toilet bowl. You can usually use a plumbing snake or a plunger to resolve most blockages but for major problems you may require the toilet to be removed.

When you Should Replace your Steel Plumbing

If you have galvanised steel pipes in your home it may be worth checking that they are still in good condition. Steel pipes can become corroded and develop leaks over time. If the pipes begin to rust they deposit minerals into the water supply and can make the water discolour or flakes appear in your water supply.

Replacing the pluming in your home is less expensive and easier if your pipes are already exposed. If you are carrying out any refurbishments and your pipes are exposed during the work, it may be a good time to replace them. You may also consider replacing exposed old pipes in the basement or loft before you carry out any conversion work which will hide them.

Bad Smells from the Kitchen Sink

When your kitchen sink begins to release a horrible odour, it can resemble the smell of sewers. Kitchen sink smells may be caused by rotting food in your waste disposal unit, bacteria growth or sewer gas being let in through your drains.

To prevent smells emerging from your sink you should:

Clean your waste disposal unit once a month by pouring hot water and liquid detergent inside the unit whilst it is running. You can also clean the blades by pouring ice inside whilst it is running.

Check your U bend or trap that it is not allowing smells to escape from the sewers. U bends, P traps, S traps or bottle traps are designed to permanently keep a water barrier between your sink and the sewers. You can try clean out your trap using baking soda or other cleaning products. If you find that there is no trap below the sink or that it has a leak you should get a new trap installed straight away.

Fixing a Water Leak Temporarily

When your plumbing springs a leak it can cause chaos in your home until a plumber arrives to fix it. Whilst you are waiting for a plumber to arrive, you will want to temporarily stop the flow of water.

Before you carry out any temporary repairs on your plumbing you need to turn off your water from the mains and allow any remaining water to drain out by turning on a few taps. Dry the area properly around the leak before you begin.

Pipe repair tape: If the pipes are corroded or rusted, you may need to smooth the area around the leak. Seal the leaking area using pipe repair tape, epoxy or pipe wraps. Epoxy will need to be left for an hour to dry before continuing.

Hose Clamps: To reinforce the epoxy or pipe wrap repair, you can wrap a strip of rubber around the repair area and clamp it in place using hose clamps.

As these are temporary repairs, you should not leave them too long before seeking a more permanent solution.

Why you Should not Put off Plumbing Repairs

If you notice a leak in your plumbing you should ensure that it gets attended to as soon as possible. Leaving your plumbing problems for too long can result in the following:

  • Expensive water damage to your property
  • Mould growth
  • Expanded water bills
  • Structural damage to the building
  • Bad odours
  • Problems with electrics

Saving Money on Your Water Bills

As more and more people switch to water metres in the UK it is important to watch the amount of water that you use to keep your bills low and reduce your impact on the environment. You can save water in the following ways:

  • Fix any dripping taps
  • Replace baths with showers
  • Keep your shower time less than 5 minutes
  • Water lawns at night to reduce evaporation
  • Check your toilet flapper is not letting water silently escape
  • Use a water saving shower head

Refurbishment Plumbing Mistakes

If you are carrying out any refurbishment work on your home you may not have thought too much about the plumbing. If you hire a professional plumber, they will ensure that all of your plumbing is attended to accordingly, but if you plan to carry out the plumbing work yourself you should avoid these common mistakes:

Know what sink you want before fitting the plumbing and cabinets. Choosing a sink later may result in the sink not fitting or the plumbing not matching up correctly.

Measure distance of the toilet from the pipe outlet to where it meets the wall. Your replacement toilet may not be an exact match to the previous installation.

Match your pipes to the previous plumbing. Using wrong matched pipes can cause corrosion. Your pipes should also meet building standards, be adequate for your appliances and should not be overloaded by connecting too many fixtures to a single pipe.

Make sure that your shower drain slopes to ensure that the water flows toward the drain. Level shower drains result in pools of stagnant water collecting.

Ensure your sink is vented to avoid vermin and stenches from emerging out of the sewer.

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