Essential Plumbing Tips: Part 1

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Essential Plumbing Tips: Part 1

Causes of Discoloured Water

Discoloured water coming from the taps in your home can be the result of
algae, iron, resin beads or magnesium in the water and it should be tested by a water specialist.

Causes of discoloured water include:

  • Rusting from galvanised or steel pipes (rust colour)
  • Resin beads escaping into the water from a water softener (black residue)
  • Iron in the water (pink and orange colour)
  • Blocked drains
  • Old pipes degrading

Energy Efficient Boilers

If you have an older boiler installed in your home, it is useful to know that any new boiler installation is required by law to meet a high standard of energy efficiency.

Modern Boilers are assessed for energy efficiency by The Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers (SEDBUK) and rated from G (least efficient) through to A (most efficient). All new boilers must be A-rated by SEDBUK according to UK law.

A-rated boilers offer a significant increase in performance and savings on your heating bills as they reuse much of the heat that older boilers would emit into the atmosphere as waste fumes.

Toilet Water Levels

In order to flush properly, a toilet bowl requires a certain amount of water. If you experience problems when flushing such as the bowl not clearing out or the water level is too high then you may want to adjust the water level.

You can check the water level in the tank to see if there is enough water available. You can increase the water by adjusting the height of the float.

Another cause of water levels being too high or low is a blockage in the drainage. You can attempt to relieve the blockage using a plunger.

Discovering Mould Around the Toilet

If you begin to notice the appearance of mould around the base of your toilet and surrounding floor area, your toilet has developed a leak in the wax seals on the toilet pipes.

This problem can be fixed by lifting the toilet from the floor and replacing the old wax ring with a new one. You can prevent further problems by cleaning out the pipes beneath the toilet to prevent further pressure build up.

Mould can be killed and removed using vinegar or bleach and a well ventilated room will prevent it from reoccurring.

Noisy Pipes

When you experience noisy or rattling pipes then the type of noise will give you an indication as to the cause of the problem. Noisy plumbing can be caused by the following:

Rattling: Pipes have become loose or
High water pressure.

Banging: Valves shutting too quickly, water has escaped into the air chamber.

Squeaking: Pipes rubbing against the cushioning which has become worn.

Cracking: Non insulated pipes expanding from changes in temperatures.

Whistling: Whistling is usually caused by a blockage in a pipe, faulty valve or replacing a washer.

Failing Sump Pumps

A sump pump is used to prevent flooding in basements. Excessive water entering your basement can cause significant damage to your building structure resulting in expensive repairs and mould growth. Signs of a faulty sump pump include excessive flooding following a storm.

Sump pump failure can be a result of the following:

  • A power failure
  • Mechanical issues
  • Frozen or blocked pipes
  • Poor maintenance

You can avoid sump pump failures by carrying out regular maintenance checks, ensuring that there is a back-up power supply when the mains fail and ensuring that all pipes are free from blockage. You can test your sump pump by pouring water down it and checking that it performs correctly.

Waste Disposal Blockages

If you’re waste disposal system becomes blocked it requires you to identify what type of material is causing the blockage before you can carry out any repairs.

If the blockage is caused by food, it can be broken down further using a long handled tool with the addition of plenty of water.

If the blockage is caused by plastic, cutlery or other materials, you will need to remove the object.

Remember that the disposal unit blades are sharp so ensure that all power and water are turned off to the system before you begin. Never put your hands inside as there may be sharp objects such as broken glass inside. Use a long handled tool to remove the blockage.

Preventing Burns from Showers

The average adult can experience a burn from water at a temperature of 120 degrees F after eight minutes exposure. A child’s skin, however is a lot thinner and children can become scolded by hot water in much less time.

Many water heating systems can be adjusted to reduce the temperature of the hot water using a thermostat. But beware, as there are some (especially older) thermostats which are unable to offer a heat reduction below 140 degrees as this temperature is required to produce adequate water heating.

The recommended solution to preventing scalding showers is to install a temperature actuated mixing valve. If you have a temperature actuated mixing valve already in place and the water remains too hot, please contact a trained plumber as soon as you can.

Hard and Soft Water

The mineral content of your water determines whether you have hard or soft water. The more minerals contained within your water the higher the level of hardness. A good indication that you may have hard water is by noticing residue left behind after use and spots or film on washed materials and appliances.

Soft water contains only sodium and hard water contains lime and chalk. Both are safe to drink but hard water is better tasting.

Exposed Pipes

If you have exposed pipes in your home you may be tempted to hide them behind a wall but this can be expensive and make your room feel smaller.

Recent trends in home decor actually incorporate the exposed pipes into the interior design. Using a complementary paint colour or extending pipework to become light fixtures or shelving can complete the look.

You can also build storage space around the exposed pipes offering a concealment whilst also making practical use of the area.

If you are determined to get rid of your exposed pipes another option is to re-plumb the pipework to keep them hidden.

Plumbing and Heating Services in Lancashire

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