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Archive for the Plumbing Category

5 Simple Tips To Prevent Fat Blocked Pipes



Every year I get dozens of call-outs to blocked sinks, basins and baths. Not a nice job for the plumber and not always that cheap for the householder.

Fat drained from fried food, for example, when cooled will return to it’s solid state. This will mix with food pieces, hair and all manner of other things and lead to blocked waste traps and pipes.

Not only does this block your pipes but it also helps to create blockages in the main sewer pipes under our towns and cities. This is costing the tax payers millions per year, something that Burton-on-Trent knows about as it’s the worst for blocked drains.

There are several things we as home owners can do to help prevent this.

  • Only flush normal human waste and toilet paper
  • Tampons, face wipes, sanitary towels and ear buds should all go in the black bin.
  • Drain cooking fats into your black bin.
  • Be aware of ‘industrial strength’ sink un-blocker. Some products will ‘burn’ through your plastic pipes!
  • Buy a sink strainer to collect long hair and food bits. Then empty this into your black bin

Advice for going on holiday

When going away for extended periods of time, try to arrange for a trusted relative or friend to ‘pop in’ to check on your house. Ensure he or she knows where the main stopcock is. If in doubt, call us so we can show you where everything is before you go. Give our number to your friend and if there is a problem we will be aware of where things are and sort problems quickly.

In cold weather, set your heating to come on twice a day, once in the morning and once last thing at night, just for an hour or two to prevent freezing of pipes.

Waste outlets

If a bath, shower, sink or basin appears to take a long time to drain, it could be blocked. Remove blockage before it becomes a major issue. The trap beneath the sink is designed to capture unwanted items. However, if it’s not checked then a blockage can form.

Never put waste oil, such as pan fat, down the drain as this will quite quickly block up your sink!

If you think you have a blockage then please don’t hesitate to call!

Pipes and cold weather

Prevention is better than cure here. Frozen pipes can easily become damaged, leading to leaks when they unfreeze. Ensure any pipework exposed to freezing conditions is properly insulated. Insulate any tanks in loft spaces.

If you have an outside tap, isolate it during the cold weather. To do so, turn off  the isolation valve to the outside tap and open it until it runs dry.

If you are in doubt, please call us as soon as possible

Hard water

If you live in a hard water area, your plumbing systems are more likely to be affected by limescale. Use a suitable limescale remover to prevent the problem becoming expensive, washing machines can be damaged in this way.

Make sure you have the relevant system inhibitor in your heating system (Please check your system can have this as some types of system don’t allow an inhibitor to be added).

If you have the budget and the space a water softener is a good idea.

For advice and more, please contact us and we will arrange a visit.

Keep an eye on your pipes and hoses

The flexible hoses on appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines should be checked annually. Make sure there are no drips which could develop into something more serious if left. Check for cracks and any sort of wear and tear on the hoses themselves.

If in any doubt, please call us and we can pop round and check it out for you.

Checking your taps, stopcocks and valves

Find out where your mains water ‘stopcock’ valve in your house is located. Make sure your valve turns fully off, if it doesn’t turn off fully, get it replaced.

Find out what each valve in your house does, label them if necessary and make sure they all work. Do not try to adjust a valve if you don’t know where it leads to.

Check valves once or twice a year to make sure they turn on and off, this will stop then from seizing up.

Deal with dripping taps and valves as they appear. Once a washer starts to wear it won’t get better on it’s own!