Plumbing Repairs

Owning your own home is a big responsibility. Keeping it well maintained can also work out to be very expensive. Luckily, there are a number of repairs you can do yourself and save money. With the most basic of tools and skill set, the following three repairs are possible.

Repairing a Kitchen Tap

A dripping tap is an incredible waste of water. It can also be very annoying if you’re lying awake at night listening to the constant drip of water. Almost any single-lever tap can be replaced in an hour, and it’s much easier than you think. Even a complete plumbing novice shouldn’t have to endure such torture as long as you’ve got the basic tools near to hand.

Firstly, you need to determine where the drip is coming from as a leak around the base of the spout requires a different repair to one that’s coming from the end of the spout. The second step is to turn off the mains water. There might be a shutoff valve under the sink, or you’ll have to close off the mains water to the whole of your house. Open the tap to drain any water left in the system and cover the plughole with a rag, so you don’t lose any small parts down the drain. To make it easier, make a mental note of the order and orientation of the parts as you remove them.

Replace any worn parts and reassemble the tap. Open the tap halfway and then release the shutoff valve to turn on the water. Leave the tap open until the water flows freely.

Unblock a Drain or Plughole

Unblocking a sink is one plumbing job you’re very likely to be called on to do at least once in your lifetime. There are professional companies that can come and do it for you if you’re really not sure about plumbing repairs. The most common sink that tends to require unblocking is the kitchen sink, which has something to do with all the food scraps that find their way down there. Generally, the blockage in a sink occurs in the U Bend.

The first sign of a blocked sink will be water that is taking longer to drain away than normal. This is when you need to take action because the blockage is only going to get worse. Leaving the repair for another day could lead to costly damage. Damage that will require considerable expense to put right.

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The first step is to try to dislodge the blockage by using a plunger. You could try to do it using your hand, or an old-fashioned sink plunger works just as well. There are also a number of different gadgets you can buy.

If none of these remedies work, the next step is to remove the U Bend, making sure you put a bucket underneath it to catch any water. Clear the blockage with a piece of flexible wire or a screwdriver and replace the pipe.

Bleeding a Radiator

To keep your heating system running efficiently, you may need to bleed your radiators. A common problem with wet central heating systems is a radiator that’s not as warm at the top as it is at the bottom. This is usually caused by a build-up of air pockets in the radiator. There are a number of reasons why this can happen, for example, corrosion in the system or air entering the system when the water is being topped up. Similarly, if the whole radiator becomes cool, it means it’s completely full of air and also needs bleeding.

There is an air bleed valve or bleed screw at the top of the radiator. Open this using a special bleeding key or radiator key, and it will allow the air to escape and lift the water to the top of the radiator.

Remember to switch off the central heating system before you start bleeding your radiators and always wrap a towel or rag around the valve and key to catch any water that leaks out. When the air has been removed from your radiator, it should function more efficiently.

On rare occasions, you may need to bleed the entire system. This will flush the system out and remove any rust. Drain the radiators until clear water replaces what is slightly dirty. To prevent further corrosion, try adding an anti-corrosion liquid.

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