Water and plumbing

If you've moved into your new home and have an issue with water and plumbing, check out our frequently asked questions below. If we can't answer your question here, please contact us.

What precautions should be taken before working on the plumbing system?

Always ensure that the main stopcock has been closed before beginning work.

What shall I do if the water system has been drained?

Do not light the boiler or switch on the immersion heater until the system has refilled as you may risk ‘burn out’.

What do I do if I want to lay carpet?

Before you lay your carpets, make sure you know where the pipework is situated as even carpet nails can cause damage to it.

What do I do about frozen pipes?

Make sure the stopcock on outside taps is shut off during the winter and that the pipe is drained to prevent it freezing. If you think the pipes are frozen, do not turn the hot water taps on as this will empty the hot water tank.

We haven't got any water, what do I do?

Check with your Water Board to see whether there is a local stoppage and report your own lack of water. Don’t run off water from your boiler in case of ‘burn out’ in your water heater.

We have a main plumbing leak, what do I do?

Turn off the main water valve, usually situated under the sink before seeking assistance.

We've got a leak from our bath or shower. What do I do?

First check the sealant for damage. If not, turn off the water at the fixture and call for customer services. Don’t use the shower or bath until the problem has been inspected.

What do we do about water spots or damp patches on our ceiling?

You may have a water leak. Try to find the source of the leak and turn off the water supply to the appliance that is causing it. If you can't find the leak, turn off the water service for the house and call for assistance.

We've got damp patches on the walls. What do we do?

If damp patches appear in the kitchen, bathroom or wardrobes, it may be because you haven’t been ventilating sufficiently during use. Open the windows or doors in the case of wardrobes, allowing each room to dry out. Wipe away any mould that has appeared with bleach or water solution. You may need to retouch paintwork.

What do we do if the basin, shower or bath drains away more slowly than before?

This is usually due to a build up of hair and soap. The waste outlet can usually be cleared by taking a piece of wire – bending the end into a small hook – and using this to fish carefully down the waste outlet to bring up the matted hair which is causing the problem. Do this gently to avoid damaging the waste trap.

What do we do if the sink won’t empty?

This is caused by a build up of fat, tea leaves, hair etc. in the waste pipe. Try pouring hot water down the plughole, or flush through with proprietary cleaner or water containing caustic soda crystals. 

If this fails then:

  1. Empty the bowl or sink. Bail it out with a cup or jug.
  2. Block the overflow opening. Place a rag tightly over it.
  3. Clear the blockage. Place the plunger over the plughole and work forcefully until the blockage clears.
  4. Clear out the u-trap situated immediately below the plughole. Place a bowl under the trap, unscrew the joints and remove the trap – then clean and re-fit, checking that the seals are in place and that the joints are screwed up tightly.

If the above procedures fail to unblock the sink you will require the services of a plumber.

Why is our radiator cool at the top?

This usually means an air lock in the system. This reduces heating efficiency and, if the air is not removed, it can also lead to rusting inside the radiator. To release the air:

  1. Turn off the heating
  2. Attach the radiator key to bleed valve and turn anticlockwise. 
  3. Open the valve with care – it can come out completely. Just open it enough to hear the hiss 
  4. of air escaping. Hold a cloth under the bleed valve to catch the water when the last of the air is released.
  5. When water comes out, close the bleed valve. (Radiator keys are available from any DIY or hardware store).