Essential Plumbing Tips for your Home: Part 3

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Essential Plumbing Tips for your Home: Part 3

Preventing Pipe Freezing

When the water in your plumbing freezes, it will expand putting pressure on the pipes. If the water expands enough, it can cause the pipe to burst causing flooding in the home or putting your company out of business until it is fixed.

You can avoid your pipes from freezing by using pipe insulating foam or electrical pipe insulation. You should especially protect pipes which are exposed to the outdoors or which feed through the wall to outdoors.

Another tip to avoid freezing is to keep your tap gently running throughout particularly cold periods. You will have to consider the benefits of having working plumbing over the amount of water that you waste.

If your pipes are already frozen you could try to thaw the problem area using a hairdryer. If the pipes look damaged, avoid thawing until a professional plumber has fixed the situation.

What can be Put into a Waste Disposal unit?

The easiest way to remember what items are able to be put down a waste disposal unit is to ensure that you only put down edible waste products.

Do not put the following items into your waste disposal:

  • Non-biodegradable items
  • Plastic items
  • Large animal bones
  • Coffee grounds
  • Grease solidifies when cool and can obstruct the pipes
  • Potatoes will become a thick paste once ground
  • Fibrous food materials like celery, onion skins or corn husks will become tangles in the grinder
  • Pasta and rice will expand when it comes into contact with water
  • Harsh chemicals which can cause a hazard and cause corrosion

Fixing Toilets that Won’t Flush

For most toilet blockages, you can try to dislodge the cause by using a plunger or a plumbing snake. A plunger uses a trust of water to push the obstruction through the pipe out into the drain. A traditional cup plunger is best for sinks, showers and bathtubs, but a flange plunger is more suited to create a seal within toilets.

When plunging a toilet ensure that all air is allowed to escape from the plunger cup before use. Following 10 – 12 rapid thrusts of the plunger should push through the blockage. If it is still a problem you may need to seek further measures.

If you are using a plumbing snake, push the snake cable through the drain until it hits the obstruction. At this point start to turn the crank to clear the blockage.

If your toilet problem is not fixed following these methods then you may need to hire a professional plumber to dismantle your toilet to locate the source of the problem.

Why Flushing Changes the Water Temperature

When you flush a toilet and the temperature in the shower changes, this is due to the amount of cold water available being reduced by the water used in the flushing.

A common cause of this is that the original plumbing is unable to provide adequate water to all appliances. If the pipes which distribute water from the main supply are too small they cannot carry enough water for the demand.

You can fix this by having the pipe diameter increased that supplies the water which can incur major plumbing work and cost. You may also consider replacing your toilet with a water efficient toilet or installing a mixing valve in the shower.

Plumbing Safely

When undertaking any plumbing work within your home or place of work it is essential that you take precautions to stay safe. Here are some safety requirements when undertaking a plumbing project:

  • Use gloves to protect your hands when using sharp objects or tools, adhesives or chemicals.
  • Protect your eyes from chemicals and substances within pipework.
  • Use a face mask and ventilate any room when working with chemicals or small particles.
  • Always follow manufacturers guidelines when using their products.
  • Ensure that all work follows the local regulations and safety codes.
  • Never work whilst under the influence of alcohol or other inhibiting drugs.
  • Always use tools for the jobs they were designed for.
  • If you smell gas clear everyone from the building and contact the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 24 hours a day.

Is your Plumber Qualified?

Inviting a plumber into your home to carry out important plumbing work can be a risky undertaking. If you let an untrained worker attempt to resolve your plumbing problem they could provide low quality work that can become a major hazard in the future creating property damage and requiring expensive repairs.

Within the UK a qualified plumber will need to have completed a City and Guilds Certificate in plumbing. The qualification required is a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Mechanical Engineering Services/Plumbing (Domestic). For small plumbing jobs a level one certificate is adequate but for larger projects ensure that your engineer has a level 2 City and Guilds Certificate. A level 3 NVQ will qualify your engineer to work with unvented systems.

If you require any work to be carried out on a gas boiler or any gas appliance within your home or business the engineer is required by UK law to be Gas Safe registered. Engineers with an OFTEC certificate can work with LPG or solid fuel appliances.

Pros and Cons about Tankless Boilers

For homes with less storage space, a tankless boiler will present a great saving alternative to boilers which use water storage tanks. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of tankless boilers.

Pros

  • A typical house can save about 50% on your water heating costs by using a tankless water heater.
  • There is never a lack of hot water supply as long as the demands are not more than the output of the heater.
  • You can expect your tankless water heater to still work after 20 years.
  • Your boiler unit can fit in a small cupboard or take up less space in a kitchen or utility room. Since there is no need for a water storage tank you can make use of additional loft space.

Cons

  • The cost of a tankless heating unit is more than a traditional heating system.
  • You will require additional piping and ventilation which increases installation costs.
  • If you have a high demand on your hot water supply at one time, a traditional water storage tank can handle the higher requirements.

Plumbing and Heating Services in Lancashire

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