If the car won’t start, we lift the bonnet and check what’s going wrong. If the power switches off, we check the fuse box and repair the fault if possible. But with heating and plumbing issues, we are reluctant to even try. Why? Because it’s an area that is completely alien to us. There are, however, some tips that can not only save us money on a ‘call out’ but can also help to narrow down the potential problem areas, making it easier for a plumbing company to fix the issue quickly and for less.

Here are a few DIY plumbing problem checks:Drain

  • Drains – Treating the drains, once a month with a non-toxic biological drain cleaner, and removing hair and other dregs from plug holes will help to prevent this gunk from getting into your pipes and potentially causing blockages and damage.
  • Main stop valve – Find the household main water stop valve (stopcock) so that if necessary, you are prepared to turn it off to prevent bigger problems throughout the building during a major leak. It is usually located near to the boundary of your home, and if you have a water meter, it will be found in the same location as the meter. Note that not all properties will have an outside stop valve fitted and this is quite common if your home is very old, or if the incoming water supply supplies both your home and one or more of the adjacent properties. You may need to obtain a valve or universal stopcock key from a DIY chain or plumber’s merchants, and be aware that if your home is on a shared water supply, turning the valve off will affect your neighbour’s water supply also. The inside stop valve is usually located under the kitchen sink, but it may alternatively be found in an airing cupboard or under the floorboards near the front door. Turning the valve clockwise will reduce the flow of water until it eventually stops completely. Turning the valve anti-clockwise will turn the water back on.
  • Water heater – If there is a problem with a hot water heater it is worth draining it before checking anything else. To maintain the performance of your heater, removing sediment and build up through draining a few gallons every few months is essential.

If after doing checks and maintenance you are still having problems with either blocked pipes, water leaks or water heaters, than call a plumber. Here at Dorchester Heating & Plumbing we cover a wide area of London and the surrounding counties, and we have many years of experience in domestic and commercial heating and plumbing. Our work is covered by guarantees and all of our major installations come with 10 year warranties.

Even if you’re not sure you need a plumber – contact us today. We are here to help.

[Photos by krosseel and Gracey]