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You’ve Got A Dripping Tap? Here’s How You Can Fix It!

Dripping tap

Drip… Drip… Drip… Drip… 

Annoying, right? 

Well, far more than it being a huge annoyance, a dripping tap or a leaky tap can cost you hundreds of pounds quite literally down the drain! Leaking taps like these are one of the most common causes of unexpected high water consumption in the UK, costing each household an average of 25 litres of wasted water daily, according to research by Opinium for Direct Line Home Insurance

Some would immediately google “how to fix a dripping tap,” for DIY or home guides. Meanwhile, a good percentage of UK households would, unfortunately, not attempt to fix their leaky or dripping taps because they consider tap repairs an unnecessary expense, or just aren’t too bothered by it to get it fixed as soon as possible. However, an unchecked or unresolved tap leak could cause further damage such as mineral deposits/stains, drain clogs, overflows, and water damage throughout the home. Furthermore, repairs for these kinds of damages will cost far more money than fixing the original leak in the first place. 

At this point, you would either call a plumber to start working on that annoying leak, or get out your handy tools and start fixing the leak yourself. If you fall in the latter category and think you’re up to the task of getting this task done by yourself, feel free to use this short step-by-step guide to walk you through the process:

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Turn off the water supply

This first step is extremely vital to the success of your DIY repair. By making sure the water supply is turned off, you are preventing any kind of further damage that may be caused by the leaking water. Additionally, this prevents you from making too much of a mess during the repair. 

Take apart the faucet

Before you do this, make sure that the sink is plugged. This prevents any small parts of the tap from getting lost down the drain. Once you have that secured, use a screwdriver to begin taking apart the tap by removing the tap handle and unscrewing the tap mechanism. Be sure to place the parts you have unscrewed in order to make the reconstruction much easier. 

Identify the problem

While taking apart your tap, you will be able to see which parts are corroded, damaged, defective, or covered with mineral deposits. Once you’ve figured out which parts need replacing, make sure that the new component fits perfectly into the tap. Otherwise, this will only cause further damage. You may want to take a photo of the damaged component, or better yet, take the component itself when you go to the hardware store to make sure that you are getting the replacement component in the correct size.

Here are the commonly damaged components you should be on the lookout for: 

  • Ceramic disc
  • Rubber washer
  • O-ring

Fixing a leaky tap as demonstrated by HowToLou, a YouTube channel dedicated to DIY demonstrations: 

Reassemble

Once you’ve gotten all the parts replaced and ready to go, you may start putting the tap back together. Make sure to do it carefully, and in the correct order. Tighten all screws to make sure everything is in working perfectly. Turn on the water supply and check for any more leaks. Ideally, for a traditional tap, the order should be as follows: washer/o-ring, stem or cartridge, packing nut, screw, and tap head or handle.

If you would rather call for a plumber to help you with the tap repairs, here are some things you should remember:

Find someone you can trust

Whether it’s by checking for a license, asking for their qualifications, or looking for job recommendations from their previous customers, it is important that you get to know the person you are dealing with. You are letting them into your home after all. 

Working with a plumber you can trust also means you will also be able to ask them questions freely whenever the need arises. You wouldn’t have to worry about them misleading you or taking advantage of you when you make it seem like they do not know anything about plumbing. 

Take the chance to make other necessary repairs 

Plumbing issues are sometimes hard to detect. If you’ve already got a plumber around, and you’ve got some time and maybe some cash to spare, take the chance to get your house’s plumbing work inspected. You will then know if your plumber has to fix leaks, do some work on the kitchen sink, or help you get both your hot and cold water running.

Be aware of all the costs before having the job done

Nobody likes surprises, that is a fact. So, be sure to confirm with your plumber just exactly how much repairing a leaky tap will cost, and whatever project he may find during the inspection. You wouldn’t want to have any monetary issues anywhere during the whole process. 

Make sure your house is prepared

Although a dripping tap is hardly considered major plumbing work, it is important that you are prepared for a professional to come into your home, just as you would for any other kind of home maintenance. Do not leave hanging around anything that may hinder the repairs.

How To Make Cooker, Hob, and Oven Installations Safe and Smooth-Sailing

Cooker, Hob, and Oven

So, you’re looking to get a new gas cooker, and you’re not quite sure about how much work that would entail exactly. Well, people, despite how often they use gas appliances, do not realize just how much risk misusing and mismanaging gas appliances could be. Merely having them fitted or installed will require a lot of planning and a lot of research on your part, especially since accurately performing any kind of gas work is literally a matter of life and death. Something seemingly as simple as a cooker, hob, or oven installation, should be handled with the utmost care, as getting this wrong could result in gas leaks, fires and explosions, or worse, carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Don’t get it wrong, though. This isn’t some ploy to get you to change your mind about getting a new gas cooker or oven. You, however, need to know that you can’t just decide to get one and go about installing it and using it just like any electrical appliance. So, here are some ways to make sure that your quest to getting a new cooker, hob, or oven goes as safely and as smoothly as possible:

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  • Be prepared

In any type of home improvement project, checking for compatibility is always a priority. As technology is ever-changing and constantly developing, some appliances available in the market may be too advanced for some houses, especially older ones which have been built to only accommodate more traditional gas appliances. It is very important to make sure that your purchase is compatible with your gas line at home. Bypassing any kind of compatibility issue is a risk you would not want to take, as this would only make you more vulnerable to gas-related accidents and problems down the road. Also make sure to find out what kind of hoses, valves, or pipes you will need. The last thing you would want is to be underprepared for the actual installation. 

It is also best to be completely sure your cooker, oven, or hob completely fits the area where you wish to install it. How you’ll be positioning the unit is also going to be crucial because of how you’re going to connect it to the gas line. Knowing the gas appliance’s proximity to the other fixtures in your kitchen is also a must. This helps you prevent any kind of accidents when you start using your new appliance. 

Read up on gas cooker, oven, or hob installations. You will need all the information that you can get. It is best to know what to expect of the process before it actually begins. 

  • Take the chance to make safety checks

Since you’re already making some changes, it is advisable that you also take the chance to make sure your home is gas safe and is in tiptop shape. Before you get your new appliance installed, check for other faulty gas appliances as well as gas leaks and damages to the gas line in your home. 

Waiting until there is a dire need to make such necessary repairs could mean doubling your expenses in the future. Since gas leaks are virtually undetectable, the best thing you could do is take the necessary methods to prevent it. 

  • Secure the necessary permits and clearances (if applicable)

As there are a lot of safety hazards involved in gas work, it is better to make sure that you do not miss a step. Whether it be permits, clearances, or even just a small revision to your home insurance policy, do it before doing any kind of gas work. 

  • Do not DIY

Doing this on your own can be very dangerous. In fact, doing any kind of gas work on your own is not at all advisable.  Again, the installation of gas appliances needs to be done carefully and correctly. 

Oven fitters exist for a reason. The Gas Safe Register, the official governing body sees to it that these services are only provided by adequately trained and highly qualified individuals or companies. By letting experts handle your oven installation, you won’t have to worry about making a mistake that could cost you your safety and the safety of those around you. This also decreases the probability of any gas emergency from occurring in your home. Additionally, hiring a Gas Safe engineer assures you that you will be provided with exceptional and satisfactory service.

And while doing the installation yourself can help you save a little money, do not forget to consider the fact that any mistake you might commit in the process could cost you a whole lot more in the future. 

If it hasn’t been reiterated enough, your safety is of utmost importance. There may be no way of ever making sure that a gas leak, fire, or explosion will not occur, but as the old saying goes, prevention is always better than finding a cure or a solution. So, find a gas safe engineer and trust that you and your home will be in good hands! 

What Is The Gas Safe Register?

Gas, according to the Health & Safety Executive, has caused a great number of injuries and deaths in the past three years alone. A huge percentage of the gas fires that occur was caused by illegally installed, poorly fitted, and damaged appliances that use natural gas for power or heat. One way to prevent gas leaks, as well as other gas-related incidents like explosions or fire, is by making sure that you employ licensed professionals for any gas-related work you may encounter. They’re called gas fitters or gas safe registered engineers. This means making sure that the person, or company, that you hire to install, check, and repair your gas burners, ovens, boilers, and the like are accredited by the Gas Safe Register. This should be your top priority as it is you and your house’s health and safety that we’re talking about.

What is the Gas Safe Register?

The Gas Safe Register is the official gas registration body of gas engineers and gas companies in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey. They have the authority to inspect, facilitate, and implement such provisions that will ensure businesses and individuals in the field of gas work are all qualified, adequately trained, and equipped to work on gas. 

Required by law to be on this register before being eligible to work on gas, engineers will have to go proper training and assessment to be deemed qualified in terms of gas safety, while businesses will only be recognized if they have at least one gas safety qualified engineer on their roster. 

The Gas Safe Register also raises consumer awareness and conducts the implementation and investigation of policies, sanctions, and cases of illegal or unsafe work. If you have yet to find an engineer for the job, the Gas Safe Register website also has an engineer-finding feature, which helps you locate qualified gas safe registered engineers in your area. 

The Gas Safe Register ID

Knowing that there is a governing body that oversees gas safety is one thing, but knowing which engineers are actually accredited is another. In order to determine if your engineer is gas safe, be sure to check their Gas Safety Register-issued ID card. It is also very important to remember that not all engineers are qualified to work on all kinds of gas-related services, so be sure to check their ID card for these details as well. 

Gas Safety registered engineers are provided with an ID card which should contain the engineer’s photo, the validity dates of the ID, license number, the Gas Safety Register security hologram. On the backside of the ID card, there should be a list of services your engineer is qualified to perform.

Check out this video by the Gas Safe Register for more information on how you should check your engineer’s gas safety ID card:

 

Alternatively, you may also call the Gas Safety Register at 0800 408 5500 or visit the Gas Safe Register website to check the registration and qualifications of your employed engineer.

Keeping Safe

While making sure that your gas engineer or gas service provider is an accredited affiliate of the Gas Safety Register is important, this does not completely prevent gas-related incidents such as gas leaks, fires, and explosions. In order to help lessen the occurrences of such, here are some other tips you should follow:

Hire a Gas Safe Registered Engineer to conduct annual safety checks. This is a regular service that almost any gas safe engineer should be able to provide. By the end of the inspection, the engineer must provide you with a Gas Safety Certificate or a CP12.

During a gas safety check, an engineer should be able to ensure that: All gas appliances are operating with the same amount of pressure, gas is being burned properly, there are enough ventilation and airflow in the appliances, and that all gas devices are not damaged and working properly.

Additionally, if you think a gas safe registered company or engineer has unsafely installed any of your gas appliances, then you may nominate your appliance for a free inspection as conducted by representatives of Gas Safe Register. However, whenever you have any safety concerns, you may also raise a gas safety concern at any time.

Regularly check for any symptoms of a gas leak, especially if you have a gas boiler. Such symptoms include physical effects to humans, plants, and animals, damage to the gas line, a sulfuric or rotten egg smell, hissing sounds, and flames of orange or yellow hue.

Install gas detectors where gas is likely to accumulate. This will alert you of any gas leaks within your property.

Keep your gas appliances well-maintained. It is also best to ensure that they are properly turned off or unplugged when not in use. 

Gas Leaks: How To Deal With Them and How To Avoid Them

gas heating

According to the Health & Safety Executive, there have been nearly 22 deaths and 1000 gas-related injuries in the past three years alone. This is because natural gas is commonly used as a source of heat and power for common household appliances such as boilers and cookers. The common line “Do you smell gas?” has a scary connotation. Despite how often it is used, not many people are aware of its potential risks and dangers, especially when the appliances are illegally installed, poorly fitted, damaged, or left unchecked. Natural gas is also odourless and colourless, making it much impossible for an untrained or unaware individual to detect even just a small gas leak immediately. Leaks in the home can result in a house fire and explosion.

Don’t worry, though! Being helpless in such situations can be easily prevented. You simply have to be knowledgeable and calm. To help you be more prepared, here’s a basic rundown of how to identify an ongoing gas leak, the risks an unchecked gas leak, what to do when there’s a gas leak, and how to prevent one from ever occurring. It is actually quite easy to prevent gas emergencies from happening that will put you in immediate danger.

Knowing Something’s Wrong

As natural gases are virtually odourless and colourless, you will have to rely on other signs or symptoms to know that one is occurring. It is, however, essential to note that not all symptoms will manifest at the same time, or even at all. Just always be on the lookout for one or any of these signs:

A Faint Odour

Although natural gases are odourless and colourless in their pure form, suppliers often add a hint of the scent of a rotten egg or sulfur, just to make it easier for consumers to identify the presence of gas in the air. This is so users can be alerted when they smell gas. Should you smell gas, the first thing to do is to immediately call a gas safe registered engineer to inspect your gas pipes. Open your windows also to let in the fresh air and let the gas dissipate into the outdoors where it won’t be able to turn into a huge fire and explosion. A Carbon monoxide leak can also be detected by a carbon monoxide alarm.

A Hissing Sound

A whistling or hissing sign near the gas line could potentially mean that there is a leak present. A faulty appliance can also show the signs of a gas leak.

Corrosion and Damage

Your gas line or pipeline should ideally be in tiptop shape all the time. If there is extensive corrosion or damage to your gas line, it is likely that there is a gas leak.

Dead Plants and Browning Grass

When there is a gas leak, the carbon monoxide overpowers the oxygen in the air, thus depriving plants of fresh air, which they need to survive.

Physical Symptoms

Upon gas inhalation, humans may manifest physical symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, weakness, headache, shortness of breath, and fatigue. If you smell gas for a long time and start to experience these symptoms, it’s better to go to the outdoors and breathe in the fresh air. 

Orange or yellow flames

Gas appliances normally emit blue flames, have them checked for gas leaks once they start emitting flames with yellow or orange hues. They may have become a faulty appliance. 

Risks Of An Unresolved Gas Leak

On top of the usual symptoms, further exposure of a gas leak may lead to dire consequences such as the following:

Fire and explosion

When gas builds up within your home, something as simple as lighting a match or turning on a stovetop burner could ignite it to go up in flames. Gas-induced fires may also cause other appliances that use natural gas to explode. This can result in a series of catastrophes that could blow up everything you’ve ever worked hard for.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Gas leaks may lead to carbon monoxide emission. Exposure to such could cause gastrointestinal problems, allergic reactions, high red and white blood cell counts, migraines, unconsciousness, or worse, death by suffocation. 

What To Do When There Is A Suspected or Confirmed Gas Leak

When you suspect or have confirmed a gas leak, immediately do the following:

Call the Authorities

The National Grid Gas has a hotline (0800 111 999) which residents can call in the event of an occurring, or even a suspected, gas leak. A Gas Safe registered engineer can easily verify whether you do have a gas leak or not

Vacate the Premises

Do not wait for the authorities to give specific orders for you to evacuate. Once you know or suspect that there is a gas leak, vacate the premises to avoid gas inhalation. If possible, turn off the gas line before vacating the premises. 

Avoid Igniting the Fire

Whether you suspect, or have confirmed, a gas leak, it is best to steer clear of smoking, lighting matches, and using candles. Also, unplug or turn off any electrical appliances that may at any moment emit sparks that could cause explosions and fire.

How To Avoid Gas Leaks

Preparedness is one thing, but it is still best to take the necessary precautions to prevent gas leaks from occurring in the first place. 

Regularly Check For Leaks

Now that you know how you can tell if there is a gas leak in your home, be sure to regularly check for any of these signs. Regularly hire a professional to do annual gas safety checks. Aside from this, you may also have a gas detector alarm which can regularly monitor gas levels in your area. Badly fitted gas pipes can also be a reason for leaks.

Keep Your Appliances Well Maintained

This is very important, especially for appliances that use natural gas. Make sure there are no damages, like broken pipes or valves, that could lead to an actual gas leak. Any change in pressure, air flow, and ventilation could lead to dangerous consequences. A faulty appliance need to be instantly replaced so it does not transcend to a major problem.

Employ Legal Gas Workers

Be sure to have a professional help you out with any gas-related work. Find out if your engineer, or their business, is authorized by the Gas Safe Register.  This does not only ensure your safety as a consumer, but also your safety as a homeowner. 



What Is A Gas Safety Check?

Gas Check

A Gas Safety Check is an annual legal requirement which calls for a Gas Safe Registered Engineer to manually inspect all the gas appliances in the household (i.e. cooking appliances, boilers, and even chimneys). Any gas appliances in your home that use gas or emits fire needs to undergo an annual check to ensure their safety and efficiency. Your gas pipework is also checked. Tests are run to determine whether there are any issues i.e. micro leaks present in your pipes that could bring a much bigger problem in the future.

What Is Included In A Gas Safety Check?

The Gas Safety Check will include a comprehensive examination of all gas-related fixtures of your property. For example, gas appliances such as cookers, hob, and ovens need constant inspection as broken cooking devices are one of the most common causes of house fires. For your health and safety, it is better to push for an annual check than being left unaware of the issues in your heating system, gas appliances, etc.

The Gas Safe Registered Engineer will conduct thorough safety inspections of the flues, chimney and even your smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Left unchecked, these broken appliances may lead to several unfortunate incidents like a house fire or even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Who Can Make A Gas Safety Check?

Only Gas Safe Registered Engineers can sign off on your Gas Safety Record. Gas Safe Registered Engineers go through extensive training that allows them to pick up even the smallest risk present in your gas appliances, which is crucial for your safety.

Do I Need An Annual Gas Safety Check?

Yes. The Gas Safety Certificate expires every 12 months which means you need to book an appointment with a Gas Safe Registered Engineer before it expires. This is in accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Over the months, wear and tear can affect the performance of your gas appliances. These micro damages, in the long run, could prove to be a catastrophic headache for you. It is this exact reason why it is mandatory to renew your Gas Safety Certificate every year. When you move to a new apartment, it’s best to immediately ask for the Landlord’s Gas Safety certificate

How Long Does A Gas Safety Check Take?

This would depend on the number of gas appliances and pipes that you need to have inspected. On average, however, a regular-sized household will not take more than an hour if everything is perfectly working. Make sure that you talk with your Gas Safe Registered Engineer if you have plans on that day. It might be best to book on a weekend when your schedule is free. Your engineer may find something that needs to be repaired or he might want to discuss some safety advice. Rushing the gas safety inspections will not be beneficial to your health and safety.

Who Should Get A Gas Safety Check?

It is your landlord’s responsibility to schedule an appointment with a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. The law requires all residential areas to have a valid Gas Safety Certificate to ensure their safety.

How Much Is A Gas Safety Check?

This depends on your Gas Safe Registered Engineer. Generally, during the call, he would give you an estimate depending on the gas appliances that you have, your location, and which tests your property requires.

How Do I Know If My Property Had A Gas Safety Check?

The Gas Safe Registered Engineer should be able to provide you with a Gas Safety Record. Before moving home into a new apartment, your landlord should give you a copy of the Gas Safety Record of the unit as proof that it has been inspected by a professional Gas Safe registered engineer. You can also ask your landlord for a copy if you’re already residing in the property. The landlord’s failure to provide this document can act as grounds for legal action.



How to unblock a clogged sink

sink

There’s nothing more frustrating than having clogged toilets and blocked sinks. You’ll have dirty water floating about, a boatload of unwashed dishes lined up, and if you’re really unlucky, an unpleasant smell wafting about your kitchen that even white vinegar couldn’t mask. It is also important to note that sink unblocking should be done as soon as possible as these may cause further damage to your drainage system as a whole. Furthermore, damaged drainage systems may cause leaks into the walls and flooring of your home, possibly damaging the structural integrity of your property. 

Chances are, you will want to get this all over with immediately. Sadly, it’s not as easy as snapping your fingers and calling out, “unblock sink!” for this to happen. Now, you’re probably thinking, “I should just call a plumber.” However, before you do that and risk making an unnecessary expense, try and see if the problem is simple enough for you to work on and solve on your own. 

Calling a professional for the slightest of troubles can cost you hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds. Going DIY on some plumbing projects can be beneficial to your wallet. 

Here’s a list of techniques and cleaning hack that you can use not to get your sink up and running, but also to avoid spending thousands of pounds on something that could have been totally unavoidable:

Use A Drain Plunger

A drain plunger can be quite tricky if not done right, but if done properly, this technique is probably the quickest and easiest way to get rid of those blockages. Just make sure to clear the plughole of any debris, and keep the area between the plughole and the mouth of the plunger airtight. Gently pump the plunger until the blockage is dislodged. 

Pour Some Hot Water

Remove as much standing water from the blocked sinks as you can before pouring the boiling hot water onto the sink’s drain. The clog should start moving pretty quickly. You will notice this when the boiling water starts flowing down the drain. If the boiling water stands, let it cool, remove from the sink, and then try again. Usually, blocked sinks are caused by grease and fat poured down the drain which solidifies when cooled down. 

Get Experimental With Some Baking Soda and Vinegar 

If you think the clog isn’t so bad, try pouring some vinegar into your drain followed by some baking soda. The combination of these two items should cause a chemical reaction or fizzing that can help move the blockages out of the way. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar is a great drain unblocker. Drain cleaners and industrial-strength limescale remover can be too harsh on your pipes. It may cause a bit of damage that can even worsen the problem. It’s best to use a mild cleaning product that will do the job but won’t affect the integrity of your pipes.

Clean Out Your P-Trap

The P-trap is part of the drain line found under your sink. Because of its naturally bent shape, it usually houses a lot of debris. You will simply have to disassemble this drain line, with a basin big enough to catch the drain water ready, and scoop out all foreign objects out of the P-trap. Once satisfied, you may replace the drain line and check if the water is flowing freely into the pipes.

For a comprehensive demonstration on how to clean out your P-Trap, refer to this video by HowToWith GEO, a YouTube channel dedicated to making how-to videos for viewers needing assistance in completing their projects.

Use a plumber’s snake

This cleaning hack will need some expertise and precision that people who have unblocked the sink before can do easily. The plumber’s snake will require you to disassemble your drain pipe further. Here, you will have to remove the trap arm in order to reach deeper into the drain line which runs through the wall. This is where you will insert the snake, guiding it inwards until you feel resistance to break the clog. After pulling out the debris, you may reassemble the drain pipes and run some water to check if the gunk has been completely cleared. Repeat the process until water starts flowing into the drain hole freely. 

Wire Hanger

Straightened out wire hangers work quite similarly to a plumber’s snake. However, this will have a limited range compared to the aforementioned tool, as it is only a DIY alternative. Nevertheless, this will work for superficial clogs and minor blockages

  • To avoid sink blockages and drainage system damages, the Hull City Council advises its residents to do the following:
  • Do not get rid of food waste (even just a bit of food can accumulate to a major problem), cool fat or oils, and other solid matter through the drainage system. 
  • Likewise, do not put paper products such as nappies, female toiletries, and the like into the drainage system
  • Add degreasing agents like vinegar, lemon juice, cornstarch, borax, baking soda, and castile soap into drains to prevent clogging or build up in the drainage system

Common Causes Of Boiler Breakdown

repairing-gas-boiler

A boiler is one of the more important parts of the house. When it stops working properly, it can result in countless problems. There is never a good time for your boiler to stop working. Your bathroom experience can get pretty harrowing if your boiler becomes dysfunctional during the colder seasons. It can lead to an overall unsatisfying start to your day or even health concerns. Extreme temperatures can cause not only discomfort but also health complications that could’ve easily avoided with a well-maintained boiler.

Unless you enjoy freezing cold showers, it is better to have your boiler working at optimal condition all of the time. Wear and tear can be the common culprit as to why your boiler is working inefficiently. However, there are other causes of boiler breakdown like faulty installations and incompatible parts. This is the reason why we recommend hiring a licensed engineer to install your boilers.

Your boiler functioning inefficiently can cost you a lot of money through your bills or even in its replacement. Boiler replacement is quite expensive, which is why it’s best to identify and fix any issue when it arises instead of letting damage pile up until it breaks down. Boiler maintenance is so much better than boiler repair.

If you have boiler cover or home insurance, then boiler breakdown, though still a bad thing, will not affect your finances as much as households without boiler cover. Home repairs, especially for low- to middle-income families, can create quite a disturbance on the household’s finances, even force them to take personal loans just to pay for repairs.

In this article, I shall discuss how to avoid boiler breakdown, including common boiler problems, how to diagnose whether your boiler isn’t working properly, what to do during a gas boiler breakdown, and when to give up with DIY repairs and call for a boiler breakdown service.

Some of the common boiler problems include:

Low Boiler Pressure

Boilers come with a built-in pressure gauge. If the boiler pressure is below 1, then chances are your boiler won’t be able to function properly. Low pressure is caused by many factors: water leaks, overused pressure relief valve, and a bleeding radiator. Low boiler pressure can put you in quite an inconvenient situation. Check for any signs of a leak and immediately call a Gas Safe Engineer if you find any. Even if you do not locate any, if you think that there is a problem with your gas central heating system, you should contact a gas engineer registered in England already to fix your boiler. There may be micro leaks that would be hard for the untrained eye to detect.

Radiator Not Heating Up

What use is a cold radiator? Usually, sludge, rust or air can build up inside the gas central heating system. Because of this build-up, cold patches in radiators are caused by an unequal distribution of heat. In most cases, this will not need an engineer as all you have to do is bleed out your radiator and relieve your boiler of pressure. However, if the problem still persists, there may be a bigger underlying problem that is best left to a plumbing and heating professional.

Frozen Condensate Pipes

Over time and frequent use, the small traces of condensation left in your pipes accumulate. During the winter or cold seasons, the condensation goes back to liquid form and freezes, causing a major blockage. Never subject your pipes to direct heat like a propane torch or an open flame as this can result in a fire. Instead of just dealing with boiler insurance, you might be dealing with life insurance if the fire comes in direct contact to your gas line. Only use thermostatically-controlled heat tape to thaw out your pipes. Pipe insulation can be bought from any home improvement store and is cheaper than dealing with the consequences of burst and seized pipes.

Boiler Switching Off

Your boiler automatically switching off can mean several faulty problems: the boiler pressure is too low, there could be a blockage in the pipes which is restricting the water flow or that the water is not being circulated properly due to a malfunctioning pump. 

Unreliable Thermostat

An unreliable thermostat can lead to unsatisfying home experience. Before panicking and calling for a Gas Safe Engineer, inspect your thermostat if it’s in the right position. Usually, the knobs can get a bit loose after years of use. It may be set incorrectly.

Another factor that you have to take into consideration is that your house may not exactly be optimized to lock in temperature. Check if your windows and doors have the proper insulation. Your houses’ temperature may already be higher than the temperature you’re setting, making it impossible for your boiler to reach your desired temperature.

Leaking

Boiler leaks can be quite dangerous for so many different reasons. Locate the spot where there is a leakage and determine whether it’s from a broken internal component, burst pipe, or just wear and tear. It is best to leave any repairs of boiler leaks to the professionals. Make sure that you hire only a Gas Safe registered Engineer so you know that you and your house are in safe hands. 

Usually, micro-leaks can go undetectable for many months or until they turn into a bigger problem i.e. corrosion of pipes and tank. This is why it’s recommended for household owners to call a Gas Safe registered engineer to perform an annual boiler maintenance check. Make the sensible decision of replacing your boiler should there be any major damage. Your safety should always be your priority.

Kettling

One of the unavoidable occurrences that happen with boilers is a limescale build-up. If you happen to live in an area whose water supply has high mineral content, then kettling will be one of your issues.

Hard water is formed when deposits of limestone, chalk, or gypsum accumulate over time restricting the flow of water and causing it to overheat and boil. When hot water evaporates, it leaves small residues of minerals. Kettling will not only drastically decrease your boiler’s lifespan but also cost you more on energy bills as the boiler has to work twice as hard.

 

FAQs on Gas Safety Certificate

Gas Safety Certificate

A Gas Safety Certificate is also called a Landlord’s Gas Safety Record or a CP12. In accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, all rental accommodations in the UK are legally required to get a Gas Safety Certificate.

A house fire is one of the most tragic and devastating situations that can happen in an individual’s lifetime. In just one instant, all of your material possessions can be engulfed in fire and transformed into ashes. Fire causes billions of dollars worth in damages. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a home fire occurs every 87 seconds.

The Home Office Statistics recently published a study noting that 48.3% of house fires are caused by cooking appliances, whether it’s connected to gas and electricity. This is the reason why it is crucial for landlords to regularly book gas safety checks to identify any unsafe or malfunctioning gas appliances. Make it a habit to ask your landlord for a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate for your own peace of mind.

This article will attempt the most frequently asked questions regarding Gas Safety Certificates.

What Is A Gas Safety Certificate?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 requires landlords to apply for a Gas Safety Certificate for all of their rented units with gas appliances present. It is only given when a Gas Safe Registered Engineer deems all present gas appliances to be working safely and properly. 

How To Apply For a Gas Safety Certificate?

Landlords need to book a Gas Safe engineer to do an extensive gas safety check to ensure that all gas appliances are performing properly and without any damage. Gas safety checks will identify whether the rental property needs any repairs or replacement, i.e. boiler repair or boiler replacement. A CP12 Certificate will also reduce the chances of a gas fire ever happening.

What Is The Gas Safety Certificate Cost?

The price varies depending on the Gas Safe Registered Engineers that you book. Several factors are also included in the computation such as the number of tests done, amount of gas appliances to be checked, and where your house is. However, the average Gas Safety Certificate Cost is around £30.

How Long Does a Gas Safety Certificate Last?                                

The Gas Safety Certificate expires after one year, which requires landlords to have their units checked annually. This is an important thing to remember. Make sure that you ask your landlord for a copy of the new Gas Safety Certificate every time the old one ceases to be valid. A lot can happen in a year. The daily activity of a tenant can slowly accumulate damage, rendering gas appliances unsafe for use.  

How To Get A Gas Safety Certificate?

A Gas Safety Certificate can only be signed by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. Landlords need to book an appointment with a Gas Safe registered engineer who will come on the site to inspect all gas-related fixtures and appliances of the house. Tests are also required to be done on the pipework to make sure that there are no gas leaks, no matter how minuscule.

If you’re a landlord, make sure that you ask your Gas Safe Registered Engineer for a copy of your Gas Safety check. It should include all the results of the tests that were done inside your property. Remember to also give your tenants a copy of the Gas Safety Record form.

Three Common Types Of Boilers

Many take having a gas boiler and central heating system in their homes for granted, barely paying proper attention to its maintenance and upkeep. For most, it’s just one of those things in the house that you don’t even give a second thought to…until it breaks down. Then everyone is on Google researching about “Boiler Repairs” and “Emergency Boiler Repair” and how to keep themselves warm. 

Nothing is worse than having a broken boiler in the middle of a harsh winter season. It can send anyone scrambling for their phones searching for ‘boiler repair near me’ or ‘how to fix your boiler’ at 1 AM in the morning. You do not want to spend a cold night, shivering under the blanket, teeth-rattling, unable to sleep and at risk of catching hypothermia so it’s best you take care of your boilers instead of ending up needing emergency boiler repair. 

There are a dozen ways to guarantee that your house is warm during the winter. You can opt to have installed a gas furnace, an electric furnace, a heating cover, a fireplace and chimney, or a heat pump. However, and many would swear by this, a gas boiler is still the best way to go. 

Since boilers give off radiant heat, objects in a room warm-up faster as compared to say an electric furnace which warms the air in a room first meaning objects heat up more slowly. Many prefer gas boilers than other centralized heating systems because they provide a more balanced heat throughout the room.

Unbeknownst to most homeowners, there are multiple types of gas boilers and you shouldn’t just choose a random one for your house. Each type is best fitted for a certain manner of use and house. There are numerous factors that you have to consider as to which type of gas boiler you should get. The number of residents, number of rooms, type of house, and even the electricity and gas costs in your area will affect your decision. Gas Safety should also be a priority.

The market is already filled with different boiler brands. It is definitely for the best if you do some research and take everything into consideration before deciding on getting a specific gas boiler. After all, you do not want to end up with an unnecessarily huge and expensive gas boiler, do you? Or worse, a cheap gas boiler that will not provide adequate heating for you and your family. Take also into account that certain items in your house like wooden furniture, or even the flooring, will not fare well with the constant cold meaning your centralized heating system must be up to the task of staving off winter.

Only trust Gas Safe registered engineers with handling your boiler installation and emergency boiler repair. This will ensure your safety. A non-registered engineer with cheap fixed pricing can be tempting especially if you’re on a tight budget. However, you and your house’s safety is not guaranteed.

Here are the three most common types of gas boilers together with a short discussion on their advantages and disadvantages.

Condensing Boilers

Condensing boilers are best known for being cost-effective and energy-efficient, able to extract over 90% of the heat from the fuel that they burn. The residual heat from flue gases is not wasted as they are also used by condensing boilers. From the get-go, they may be slightly more expensive than other types of boilers available but the savings, in the long run, will pay it off.

The problem with condensing boilers though is that it will require a regular checkup of whether you have frozen pipes or not. You need to make sure that these pipes are quickly melted through proper methods (i.e. pipe insulation and NOT a propane torch). A frozen condensate pipe can result in pressure build-up and cause a major problem that will cost hundreds of pounds to fix your boiler.

Pros of Condensing Boilers: 

  • Energy Efficient
  • Cost-Effective
  • Compact Design

Cons of Condensing Boilers: 

  • Frozen Pipes
  • Expensive Costs To Fix Your Boiler

Combination Boilers

Combination boilers are a type of condensing boiler but are smaller, making it ideal for smaller properties. Combination boilers also act not only as a centralized heating system but also as a water heater. There are numerous factors that became the reason why combination boilers have become the most popular type of boiler used, accounting for almost half of the UK like the need to downsize, easier and cheap to install, and the small amount of space needed.

Combination boilers also save a lot of resources as it only heats up water once you need it avoiding the circumstance of wasting energy on heating up water just for storage only for it not to get used. With combination boilers, you will also have hot water on demand eradicating those awful cold showers.

Pros of Combination Boilers: 

  • Small and could fit anywhere
  • Hot water on demand
  • Energy-effective
  • Cost-Efficient
  • Great water pressure
  • Easy and Cheap to Install

Cons of Combination Boilers: 

  • Requires Good Water Pressure
  • Incompatible With Some Showers
  • Can’t Accommodate More Than One Shower Every Time
  • No Water Storage

System Boilers

A system boiler is a heat-only gas boiler that has additional features inside the boiler itself like an expansion vessel and a pressure release valve. This will also need a hot water storage tank which will take up space. However, it doesn’t need a cold water storage tank so it’s still more compact than regular boilers. Because of the small hot water storage tank, once all the hot water has been used up, you need to wait for the boiler to heat the water again which takes a considerable amount of time.

Pros of System Boilers: 

  • Easy to Install
  • Can Accommodate Multiple Taps Being Used
  • Requires Less Space Than Regular Boilers
  • Compatible With Solar Thermal Systems

Cons of System Boilers: 

  • Will Need A Hot Water Storage Tank
  • Requires A Lot Of Space
  • When turned on, it heats water and stores it in the tank. Over time, the heat is lost resulting in a waste of energy
  • Limited Hot Water Storage

Given this knowledge, you can now determine which type of boiler you will need for your home. For example, a household with only one to three residents would really only need a combination boiler. It really depends on your needs and use. You can always talk to a gas safe registered engineer first before you choose to buy a gas boiler. It’s important that it fits your requirements perfectly.

Don’t make the mistake of buying from cheap boiler brands whose products can be quite flimsy. Boiler repair costs can quickly offset or even exceed the amount of savings you get. The hassle of calling for an emergency boiler repair should also be taken into account.






Tips On Taking Care Of Your Plumbing

plumbing

Owning a house can be tricky. There are hundreds of things that you have to take into consideration. Unless you’re a trust fund baby, money, when owning a house, will always be an issue. Every month, you need to take care of your house mortgage, car loans, electric bills, gas bills, etc. It will never end. On top of that, there is the maintenance and upkeep of the property. You have to worry about plumbing, lawn and garden aesthetics, lighting, security, mould, etc.

Plumbing, for example, when left unchecked can wreak serious havoc on your property. Flooding caused by a burst pipe, for instance, will not only ruin your floorboards and possessions but can also drastically lower the overall market value of your property. Your plumbing, when maintained improperly can cause serious damages. Make it a habit to regularly inspect your piping system such as your copper piping, plastic pipe, kitchen taps, bathroom taps, compression fittings, to ensure that everything works perfectly.

A house’s internal plumbing system is one of the fixtures of a real estate property that is often taken for granted. A new homeowner can honestly go for years without encountering any plumbing problems. However, once the problem starts, it’s a huge one. This is because wear and tear can accumulate over the years. Your copper tubes may already have micro leaks since year one but it only presented a problem in year four. By this time, there is already irreparable damage and the costs are far higher than you would’ve expected. Even your pipes need regular maintenance to avoid any major problems that would require a plumber to come to your house with his power tools to fix the issue. 

It is of utmost importance that your plumbing runs smoothly. If not, this can cause severe repercussions such as a sky-high water bill, rotting, mould growth, damage to walls, floor tiles and floorboards, flooding, and even weaken the structural integrity of your house.

While it is understandable that you want to save money by DIY-ing small plumbing repairs with your own plumbing tools and plumbing supplies. A few hand tools, a wrench, a plunger, a sewer snake and your knowledge of plumbing from browsing YouTube videos and WikiHow articles just will not do when it comes to major damages. It would be better to hire someone instead of taking on a task that requires the expertise of a professional plumber. You might do more damage to your pipe and tubes.

Having said this. The best thing to do is still prevention. Why pay a plumber to fix your central heating system, line guttering, and pipe insulation when you can take steps to avoid them in the first place? A few tips to reduce the wear and tear of your plumbing system will keep the plumber away for another day.

Here, I have outlined some of the best tips and tricks on how to take care of your plumbing. 

Prevent Clogs

Clogs are perhaps one of the most common plumbing problems that you will encounter. A clog happens when there is foreign material that’s blocking the natural pathway of water (your pipe and tubes). This is, more often than not, caused by food scraps, tissue papers, sanitary napkins, and human hair. Proper waste disposal must be maintained.

Avoid clogs by throwing these in a trashcan instead of down the drain. For food scraps, make sure that you’ve scraped all the food off of the plates before you do the dishes. After doing the dishes, let your tap run for a few seconds to help rinse debris down the drain reducing the chance of buildup. Tissue paper and sanitary napkins can go straight to the bin. Make it a habit to rid your shower drains of your hair on a regular basis. Installing a screen will also catch foreign materials and stop them from going straight down your pipe and tubes.

Pipe Insulation

Frozen pipes can cause a major headache. If your pipe and tubes have insufficient pipe insulation, the water inside can accumulate and freeze. Gradually, this could result in a major build-up. Extreme cold can also turn your plastic pipe and copper tubes brittle and prone to leaks or bursting. Because there is a blockage on your pipe and tubes, the pressure builds up which usually leads to your plumbing system breaking down. During winter, make sure that you prepare your pipes with the right pipe insulation materials.

NEVER use a propane torch to melt your pipes as this could pile up to more damage to your pipes, or in extreme cases, a fire.

Avoid Pouring Foreign Liquids Down Your Drain

If it’s not soap or water then it shouldn’t pass through your drains. It has become common for homeowners to just pour their liquid grease down the drain along with the rest of their food scraps. Liquid grease, when it cools down even for the slightest bit, solidifies. Just think of your pipes as arteries. When a person eats too much oil, the chances of arteries getting blocked is higher. This is because the pathway is blocked by solidified grease. If you have a blocked pipe, try to pour hot water to melt down the fat. This habit of yours can cause pressure buildup and end up with you having a burst pipe.

On the other hand, you may think that using commercial drain cleaners regularly is taking care of your pipes, right? Right?

Wrong.

Commercial drain cleaners that advertise themselves as industrial-strength clog removers can cause your pipes a lot of harm in the long run. Drain cleaners have harsh chemicals that can cause your pipe and fittings to go thin and brittle which could result in leaks or bursting. 

Look For Leaks

Did you know that the United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average household’s leaks account to almost 10, 000 gallons of water wasted every year? This is because 10 % of American homes have leaks that waste over 90 gallons of water or more on a daily basis.

Everything may be working out fine for you but in reality, leaks start off as micro leaks with the tiniest amounts of water wasted that doesn’t affect the water meters. By ignoring them, not only are you weakening the structural integrity of your pipes but you are also wasting water and spiking up your water bills. It can even be from loose pipe fittings. 

Do a regular bi-monthly inspection of your home plumbing. Look for leaks along pipes, faucets, pipe valves, showerheads, radiator valves, toilet flappers, and pipe fittings. A musty smell, puddles of water, and mould growth are some sure giveaways that there is a leak nearby.  Take care of them immediately by buying pipe sealant. However, if there is already a crack or that the damage is too bad, sealant will not work and a professional must be called immediately.

Don’t Crank Your Water Heater Too High

Hot water can easily shorten the lifespan of your plumbing. While hot water is essential for daily chores such as washing dishes and taking a nice hot bath, you really don’t need to crank it up that high. Adjust the temperature of your water heater to keep it from damaging the pipes. Be aware also that sediments gather at the bottom of your hot water tank over time which shortens its lifespan due to rust and corrosion. If your water supply has high mineral content, hard water can form from the accumulation of minerals. Rid your water tank of residue once in a while.

Adjust Your Water Pressure

Yes. I get it. You’re impatient and want to finish the dishes immediately by blasting the plates with powerful bursts of water. However, one thing you should know is that high water pressure causes great stress on your pipes and may cause leaks. A pressure reducer can prevent your pipe from bursting due to pressure buildup. This also saves you from paying too much on your water bill.