Plumbing Advice

Common faults

Leaking/Burst Pipes Pump failures
Central Heating Breakdown Blocked Toilets
No Hot Water Immersion Heaters
Air Locks Overflowing Water Tanks
Waste Disposal Units  


Information, tips and hints about plumbing – things you can do to help yourself prevent an emergency or at least minimise the damage until the professional comes along.

My Water Heater Seems To Have Stopped Working?
As this may well be a problem with the pump it’s important that the first thing you do is turn the power off, or you may well burn it out. As there are high voltages associated with this part of the heating system it is NOT recommended that you do any DIY investigating unless you really know what you are doing.

A pipe has burst what should I do?
The first thing to do with burst pipes is turn off the mains stopcock. This will stop any more water coming into the house, and reduce the pressure of the leak. However, if the loft storage tank is full then there could still be quite a lot more water to flow out, so opening all other taps will probably help in reducing the amount coming from the leak. Get buckets etc to catch any remaining water coming out, and then deal with any flood water and damage. If there is any significant damage to furnishings, it’s worth taking pictures for insurance purposes!

How do I fix a burst pipe?
Cutting out the burst section and fitting a new section of pipe yourself is not really feasible for anyone other than the very competent DIY enthusiast who understands plumbing joints etc. So this will be a job for the plumber.

What should I do until a professional gets here?
Hopefully the pipe will be visible, or simply behind a kitchen unit or in the loft where it is still reasonably accessible. In which case the plumber will be able to cut in a new length of pipe quickly and efficiently – they’ve done it thousands of times before! Clear everything away before they arrive and make as much room as possible for them to operate in.

What cases Dripping Taps?
This is almost invariably due to a faulty tap washer.

How can I fix a dripping tap?
You can simply fix a new tap, or replace the washer. Both jobs are within the remit of the competent DIY enthusiast with the right tools, but there can be complications, so if in any doubt get the professionals in. If you’re buying new taps it’s worth trying to see what diameter base and inlet pipe the original has, to make swapping them as easy as possible.

Things to check for yourself

  • Make sure all your pipework in the loft is properly lagged to alleviate the possibility of pipes freezing
  • Check that your storage tank is lagged and has a proper plastic snap-fit lid.
  • Check that your loft insulation doesn’t actually extend beneath the storage tank. This allows warmth from below to take the chill off the tank.
  • If your boiler is in an exposed position, i.e. garage or outbuilding, make sure a frost stat is attached. If not, get this rectified!
  • Take extra care with pipes in cold weather. Open the loft door to warm the roof area.
  • Have your boiler regularly serviced.
  • If you own or are in a rented property, all gas appliances must be serviced annually and the tenant should have sight of an up-to-date Gas Safe Register Landlord Certificate.
  • Make sure there is a stopcock on the header tank in the roof.
  • Only allow Gas Safe Register qualified plumbers to service your gas appliance.
  • Do not allow any unqualified person to touch your gas appliances. They could, if reported, receive a huge fine.