Plumbing emergencies are always stressful, annoying, and frustrating. By learning a few simple plumbing tips and tricks, you can avoid those big emergencies, and ensure you handle them swiftly and efficiently when they do arise. Here are our four top plumbing tips and tricks…
Know your valves
It’s important to learn where your stopcock or mains water valve is, so you can switch it off in the event of an emergency. It’s a lot easier to find these things when you’re calm and there’s no pressure. Once you know where they are, you’ll always be able to quickly and calmly find them and switch them off should the need arise. Take a little time to search out the other top valves in the house, figure out what they all do, and label them. It’s important to turn your valves off, then on again, a couple of times each year, as they seize up in time if they don’t get used. Another handy plumbing tip where valves are concerned is leaving them slightly less than completely open, as this reduces the chances of them getting stuck. If you’re installing new plumbing, fit isolation valves so you can isolate aspects of the system, rather than needing to shut everything off.
Dealing with drips
If you have a dripping ball valve or tap, don’t leave it. It’s much better to sort the problem out as soon as it becomes apparent, rather than leaving it to grow worse. If there’s a ball valve with a perished washer inside your water storage cistern, for example, it will eventually fail unless you replace it. You’ll have water coming out through your overflow. If you’re using a wrench, a good tip to prevent scratching is to cover the item with an old cloth first.
Appliances like dishwashers and washing machines are connected with flexible hoses that you should check annually, looking for indications of wear. These hoses endure quite a lot of pressure from the water. It’s important to check their connections at each end, and ensure there aren’t any drips that might escalate into serious issues.
If your toilet cistern fails, for any reason, you can use a bucket of water to flush it while you’re waiting for it to be fixed.
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