How often have you heard of somebody needing to call out a plumber and consequently being charged a not-so-small fortune for a job which takes only a few minutes to fix?
I have assembled these hints and tips based on my own experiences to save you the time, money and incovenience of such call-outs. Each hint or tip is within the ability of all homeowners and landlords.
1. Know the location of the main water stop valve
Make sure you know the location of the main water stop valve; this, in most cases is under the kitchen sink or under the floorboards at the front door. It should shut off the cold water to all the taps in the property in the event of a plumbing emergency. Occasionally this should be checked to ensure it is working correctly and effectively ceases the flow of water into your property.
2. Use isolation valves
Isolation valves are generally used on most new installations and are recommended to isolate individual appliances i.e. tap or wc in case of servicing or leaks so that they can be turned off without turning off the whole water supply to the property.
3. Repair leaking and dripping taps quicky
If you notice a leaking tap or dripping overflow make sure you repair it as soon as possible as it can lead to further damage or harm at a later stage to you or your property.
4. Insulate pipe work
It is a good Idea to make sure that pipe work and storage tanks are well insulated to protect against freezing in exposed positions such as roof spaces.
5. Don’t panic!
In the event of an emergency don’t panic. Turn off the water supply via your main stop valve and drain down the leaking pipe work. If you are unsure where the leak is coming from the best thing to do is to turn off the water, open all taps in the house (to empty your ‘in house’ supply), turn off the heating system and by putting a hose on a drain off point on one of your radiators, open the drain off and vent the radiators therefore emptying all the pipe work in the house and sometimes reducing the damage caused to the property and call a plumber.
6. Get recommendations for plumbers and check qualifications
It is best to get a plumber that has been recommended to you by a friend or family member. You should ask if they have the relevant qualifications to carry out the required work and whether they do both plumbing and heating call outs in case of an emergency. And ask them what kind of work they carry out; some plumbers and heating engineers tend to specialise in certain jobs, and only do those jobs.
7. Use a new plumber to do a small job in your house before using them for a large project
It is also a good idea to get a plumber out to do a small job in your house so you know how they work, and ask them if the would mind making a list of any remedial work that may be needed in your property. It is also a good idea to get a couple of estimates and ask specifically what they are going to do and what type of material they are intending to use, as the cheaper estimate may not be the best as some do tend to compromise on materials to make an estimate seem more attractive.