Below are some tips which may be able to help you if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of landing in the middle of a plumbing emergency.
People only tend to think of plumbing or plumbers when something goes wrong. Most people will regularly have their cars serviced, but do you have your central heating and plumbing systems checked each year? Think of the value of your car compared with your home. Many disasters can be avoided if discovered soon enough. The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering advises that you take the time to get your heating and plumbing systems checked over once a year to find any faults before they turn into majaor problems.
Unfortunately sometimes plumbing emergencies such as burst and frozen pipes do happen, but you can take steps to limit the damage while you are waiting for your plumber to arrive. Keep in mind that if you are a regular customer a plumber is more likely to drop other work for you in times of emergency.
Try not to panic! The first thing to do is to prevent water passing the point of the leak. Start by turning off all stop valves (sometimes called stop cocks, often found under the kitchen sink) and if the escaping water cannot be controlled immediately, open all cold water taps so that the pipework and storage system drains quickly. DON’T TURN ON HOT TAPS. Turn off the central heating system and, if it uses a solid fuel boiler, allow the fire to die out. Switch off any electric immersion heater, then call your plumber.
If a pipe freezes, turn off the mains water supply at the stop valve inside your home (if fitted) – these are often sited under the kitchen sink. If there isn’t an internal valve, turn off the water at the external valve which may be under a cover in your garden or path. If the frozen pipe runs from a storage cistern and is not controlled by a valve, check that it hasn’t split. If it has, empty the cold water storage cistern either by opening the cold water taps and flushing the WC or by siphoning the water from the cistern with a garden hose, then call your plumber. If the pipe isn’t split, thaw it out by applying hot water bottles or by careful use of an electric hair dryer.
- Don’t try to thaw it too quickly as there may be splits in the pipe which are not immediately noticeable.
- Never use a naked flame to thaw a pipe.
- Always start thawing a pipe at the end nearest the tap.
- If any part of the hot water system is frozen, there could be a risk of explosion if the boiler (or other heat source) is kept alight, so ensure it is turned off, or for solid fuel systems, extinguish the fire.
Be careful because although water may be flowing from taps, other parts of the system may still be frozen.
If you do not have a regular plumber you can take steps to ensure you employ a competent person. Please check our site and our references and consider choosing us.
If you have an emergency such as a burst or frozen pipe, first take the actions described above. Call First Call Plumber if you are in Edinburgh, Fife or the Lothians on 0131-669-1007. We have the qualifications, experience and a 24 hour emergency service without call-out charges.
- If you have the situation under control for the time being, it is always a good idea to get at least three different quotes. When you are describing the problem on the phone be as clear as you can.
- Do not pay money before the job is completed.
- If the problem involves an appliance that uses gas, you must use a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Transco operate a free emergency 24 hour telephone number that you can call if you believe you have a gas leak on 0800 111 999.
If you can smell gas you must:
- Never light a naked flame/smoke/strike a match etc
- Never turn on or off any electrical switches
- Always put out naked flames
- Always open doors and windows
- Keep people away from the affected area
- Turn off the gas meter at the control valve
- Transco is the UK gas transportation and emergency service, for more information please visit their website by clicking here.
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