Winter time is when a vast majority of plumbing problems can take place. There’s the added pressure on your boiler, for example, which leads to things being more likely to go wrong. The cold weather can cause other issues too, such as pipes which freeze and crack or clogged drains.
It’s important to note that certain, more serious, plumbing problems, especially those which involve work on gas appliances, are ones you should always call out a heating and plumbing professional for.
It’s also vital to check that anyone who carries out work on gas appliances is listed on the Gas Safe Register. However, there are some plumbing problems that, with a few plumbing DIY tips under your belt, you can resolve, stop from getting worse, or prevent from occurring in the first place.
In addition to the cost and inconvenience of finding a local plumber in an emergency, the coldest weather is the worst possible time to be left with no heating, bathroom facilities or hot water. It’s a busy time of year for plumbers, so having the benefit of some plumbing DIY tips could be what stops you from being left out in the cold for too long.
Winter plumbing DIY tips
Try the following winter plumbing DIY tips to help yourself stay warm and comfortable in your home.
Firstly let’s start with those plumbing maintenance gems which help you avoid the problems taking place.
Avoid blocked toilets and drains
Only put toilet paper and sewage down the toilet. Baby wipes, nappies, sanitary products etc can cause huge blockages which can be costly and time consuming to repair. In areas with old pipework, these problems can even affect neighbours, too.
Avoid clogged pipes
Never pour hot oil or grease in the sink, this will only harden as it cools and block the pipes. Instead, pour the oil into a container and when it goes hard, you can throw it in the bin with the rest of the rubbish. Similarly, try to scrape food scraps into the bin and reduce the amount that’s going down the sink.
Look after your pipework
Don’t hang garments or anything else from any exposed pipework. This can weaken them and make them more likely to burst or spring a leak. Also, consider insulating pipes in colder areas of the home during the winter months.
Remove hair from plugholes
It’s not a pleasant job, but it will prevent a more serious and costly one. Buying a drain cover for your shower will also catch it all before it goes down the sink. In the same way, make sure all outside drains and pipes are kept clear of leaves and other fallen debris.
DIY Winter Plumbing Tips
These winter plumbing DIY tips could help you tackle a problem when it presents itself or stop it from getting worse:
- Know where your water mains shut off valve is
In the case of a burst pipe causing a flood in the home, your first port of call should be to turn the water off at the mains. The stopcock is normally under the kitchen sink, but can also be located in an airing cupboard or somewhere near the front door. Turn it clockwise to shut off the water supply at the mains. Then call a plumber.
- Repressurise a boiler system
Sometimes a loss of heating and hot water can come about from a drop in your boiler pressure. In many cases, getting your boiler back up and running can be as simple as repressurising the system.
To find out if this is the case, a good plumbing DIY tip is to take a look at the pressure gauge on the front of your boiler. If the pressure has dropped below 1 bar, that’s likely to be your issue.
So, here’s what to do:
- Switch off your boiler and allow it to cool.
- Identify your filling loop on your boiler – these should have two taps or valves.
- When you turn them both, cold water should start to run back into the system.
- Then, once the pressure gauge reaches 1.5 bar, turn the taps back off again.
This should leave your boiler at the correct pressure and have it working again. If not, then call in a heating and plumbing professional to help diagnose and fix the problem.
Spot problems before they become worse
Often issues are easier and much more cost effective to fix the earlier they’re identified, so look to tackle any plumbing problems as soon as you spot them.
Remember, also, to have your plumbing and boiler system regularly checked by an experienced professional plumber or heating engineer. Effective plumbing maintenance and servicing means much less chance of things going wrong.
For any emergency plumbing repairs, servicing or plumbing maintenance, get in touch with the team at Paine Manwaring today. Our qualified plumbers, electricians and heating specialists cover the whole of Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire and we are always pleased to help.