Caring For Your Pipes This Winter

The cold months are creeping upon us all. Today, we are going to share with you some ways which you can care for your pipes and plumbing this winter.

Firstly, it is well known that the colder months can cause some serious damage to pipes in your businesses and homes. This is due to water expanding as it becomes colder. This is why it is extremely important to protect your pipes. One of the main ways to do this is by considering insulating your pipes. This will help to prevent the water from becoming colder and expanding. You should also repair any leakages which you may currently have. You should hire a professional to do this as it can be extremely dangerous to use DIY kits. The final way to help to protect your pipes from winter damage is by keeping your heating at a low level throughout winter. This helps to keep your pipes warm.

What to Do for Slow Drains

Is the water draining very slowly down your sink drains? It is very easy for pipes to slowly build up a sludgy film inside of the pipes. In bathrooms, there is often hair and dirt that builds up and kitchens tend to have grease of food waste build up. There are a few ways you can try to fix these things yourself, but if that doesn’t work, then you will probably need the services of a plumber that has the proper tools for clearing pipes.

Things to try

1. First look into the drain and see if there is a clog of hair or other waste that is near the surface causing the issue. If so, simply remove it and discard.

2. If the issue continues you can then take one-half a cup of baking bicarbonate and pour it in the drain, then pour one-half a cup of white vinegar in the drain. Have a wash cloth available to immediately plug the drain so that the fizzy chemical reaction goes down into the pipes to help break up the build-up.

3. If this does not help, sometimes a plunger could help break up a clog.

Boiler Basics – Upgrading And Maintaining Your Boiler

Boilers can be a very touchy subject. We all seem to be in darkness with when we should upgrade our boilers. I am going to share with you some basic facts on upgrading and maintaining your boiler.

Firstly, your boiler should only need upgrading every 15 years. This is the average amount of time they last. However, I would recommend upgrading before you have reached this mark to keep it to its best quality.

You should always have a yearly check up on your boiler. These will be documented and should be passed on to any new home owners. They help you to know that your boiler is working to the best of its ability. If there is anything wrong they can advise you to help your boiler to last longer. They will also be able to warn you when your boiler is going to be due an upgrade.

Maintaining Your Water Pipes At Home

Today I am going to share with you some easy tips to help to maintain your water pipes. Helping you keep professional plumbers away for longer!

1- Keep Them Clean
Keeping your pipes clean helps to prevent any blockages and damage occurring. This involves keeping your sinks and toilets clean too. A cleaner area like the toilet will help to prevent the build up of limescale which damages your pipes.

2- Not Using Chemicals To Unblock
When we first discover a pipe is blocked in our home, the first thing we turn to is chemicals. Especially drain unblocker. However, this can cause much more damage to your pipes. Try using a basic plunger or even sticking some thick rubber gloves on and getting your hands in there. Sometimes this can do the trick just as well.

3- Get Your Pipes Winter Ready
In the winter water freezes. This means the water expands, which can cause damage to our pipes. Having your pipes winter ready can help prevent this.

Getting Rid of Limescale Build-up

Limescale is one of the most common problems for much of the UK. It can pile up quickly and not only be unsightly but cause issues with faucets, showers etc. One helpful, inexpensive and eco-friendly option to ridding yourself of limescale build-up and helping to prevent it, is using lemon juice and vinegar. Here are a few tips to how to use it:

• Lemon juice and vinegar, combined in equal parts, can be used in many areas. You could use a clean spray bottle to create the mixture and then apply and leave to sit at least an hour, or overnight, if you prefer, then scrub away.

• The lemon juice and vinegar solution can be sprayed regularly on tiles, basins and taps as a limescale preventative. (Do not use solution on plated taps, such as gold and it can damage the finish)

• For kettles simply add half vinegar and half water and leave to sit overnight and scrub away the following morning.

• For dishwasher and washing machines, add a large cup of vinegar and a large cup of lemon juice into an empty machine and run a normal cycle.

What should I do if Asbestos Piping leaking?

Firstly, if you are in any doubt ask a plumber to take a look at the pipework, but always follow your own intuition.  If your property is of an older style, then the likelihood is that Asbestos maybe present.  Call an Asbestos Specialist who will take a sample of material away for analyst.  If the pipework is indeed asbestos, it is your responsibility to ensure all asbestos is disposed of correctly and a certificate provided.  A plumber can not do this for you.  Once the pipework has been removed a plumber can then come and finish the rest of the repair.

Some Councils do allow small amounts of undisturbed Asbestos to be removed and disposed of at the designated disposal centre, however you will need to contact your local council regarding this service to see if it is appropriate for the pipework you have.    

Asbestos removal can be costly so if you are buying a property with Asbestos ensure your offer reflects the costs involved.

Five Things to Avoid Putting Down the Drain

Keeping your pipes flowing smoothly is very important so as to avoid costly clogging and pipe back-ups. Some things may seem harmless but can actually cause quite a bit of trouble.

1. Stickers- from food items or any other stickers may seem ok but really even small amounts of glue, like on the back of stickers can cause build-up. They can also cause issues if they get into wastewater pipes and pumps.

2. Chemical fluids- such as household cleaners are not a good thing to put down the drain as they may contain toxic contaminants that should not be introduced into the water system. If you must dispose of these chemicals in the drain, consider switching to all-natural cleaning products which are less harmful.

3. Paint- not only is it illegal to pour paint down a drain it is very harmful due to the toxic chemicals inside that can contaminate water. Paint can also coat the inside of your pipes causing them to narrow and make blockages more likely.

4. Medications- can contaminate water, streams and lakes which could harm wildlife and ecosystems as wastewater treatment systems are not designed to extract medicines from the water. Unwanted medications should ideally be turned in to a pharmacist or if unavoidable, thrown away in a bin.

5. Coffee grounds- are not water soluble and can cause major clogging problems in your pipes. Instead you can either compost coffee grounds or put them in flower beds and pots as fertiliser.

Do I Need A Professional Plumber?

There are lots of plumbing problems which may occur in your household that you don’t actually need to call out a plumber for. For example if your toilet or drain is blocked. However, there are many scenarios when you would need to call out a plumber. But how do you know if you need a plumber?

If you have no water running at all then you need to call out a professional plumber. Having no water is a sign that something major has gone wrong. if your neighbours are having the same problem a plumber will help you contact who you need. If it is just you, they will be able to help you solve the problem before it becomes worse.

Another reason why you may need to call out a plumber is if your toilet won’t stop overflowing. If there is no sign of a blockage you should call a plumber to help solve the problem.

Two methods to clean your drain pipes

Cleaning your drain pipes can be a difficult task as often they are difficult to access and to reach inside of, therefore it really isn’t a manual job you can do. Luckily there are other ways you can flush your drain pipes to remove grease, debris, blockages and odours.

Method 1 – traditional drain cleaners – most general supermarkets and shops sell several different drain cleaners. You can purchase foam types, foaming or enzyme cleansers. Enzyme cleaners are made from natural ingredients and better for the environment. Once you have chosen your drain cleaner, follow the instructions to use.

Method 2 – Boiling water and dishwasher detergent. This method works really well and is simple to do. Simply boil water using your kettle or stove, mix in dishwasher detergent and carefully pour down the drain. If your pipes are plastic please wait a few minutes to ensure the boiling water doesn’t damage your pipes. Run your hot faucet for a couple of minutes to make sure the process has worked. If you are still experiencing issues, repeat the process.

Tools That Every Plumber Needs

Whether you are a beginner plumber or one by trade, I’m here to tell you your tool must-haves!

A snake is a simple coiled metal cable. Threading this through the pipes whilst twisting helps to unblock the toughest clogs.

Basin Wrench
The Basin Wrench is not like any other wrench. This one has a turning head and long handle. Extremely handy for tightening nuts in the hard to reach places.

Stubby Screwdriver
A Stubby screwdriver is exactly what it says on the tin. A much shorter than a normal screwdriver. This is perfect for tightening screams in the difficult places where a normal screwdriver would never fit.

Plumbers Tape
Simple white tape. Using this tape helps your two pieces of pipe to seal better.

These are my four must-have tools for your toolbox. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, check your toolbox and ensure all of these are present.