Category Archives: Plumbing Tips & How To’s

How to fix blocked drains in London

Blocked drains in London

People who experience blocked drains in London usually resort to calling in a plumber to fix the problem. Its one of the services we provide here at CW Services Plumbing and Heating.

Some people who are keen DIY enthusiasts may consider clearing the blockage themselves, so here are a few tips on how to go about it.

Some useful background information

It’s useful to bear in mind that underground pipes are laid in a straight line most of the time. When a change in direction is required, the bend that is incorporated is usually less than 90 degrees. There is often an inspection chamber at this point.

Inspection chambers normally have manhole covers over them, but in the old days, they used interception chambers. These tend to be located close to the boundary of a property, near where the property drain meets the main sewer.

Early warning signs to look out for that indicate you could have a blocked drain could be:

  • Water draining very slowly from WCs, baths and showers.
  • An overflowing inspection chamber or an overflowing gully.

If it’s an overflowing gully this can be cleared simply by cleaning the gully out and in the process removing any obstructions. Should the blockage appear to be in the drain itself, you will need to clear it with rods. These can be hired together with various heads. A word of warning – you should wear rubber gloves before starting work.

The tools you will need

Here is a brief summary of the tools and chemicals you will need.

  • Drain clearance rods and a 100 mm diameter rubber plunger
  • A pair rubber gloves
  • A garden spade
  • A length of hose
  • A large bottle of disinfectant
  • A watering can

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Unfreeze frozen pipes and avoid having to have a frozen pipe repair in London.

It’s that time of year again when you need to be aware of the danger of your water pipes freezing up. If this happens then, in all likelihood, the pipe will burst. It’s because when water turns to ice, it expands, and in terms of when water freezes in pipes, this can lead to a pressure of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch being exerted on the walls of the pipe. A frozen pipe repair in London can prevent the pipe from bursting, or, fix a pipe that has already burst. All you have to do is call us here at CW Services Plumbing and Services.

Burst pipes can be expensive

The fact of the matter is that a frozen water pipe can leak as much as hundreds of gallons of water per hour. The cost in excess water alone could run into hundreds of pounds. Then, of course, there is the inconvenience, not forgetting the cost of the repair. It can amount to quite a sum.

Which pipes to be wary of

Water pipes are at their most susceptible to getting frozen when they’re located in:

  • Outside locations
  • Under sinks – especially if situated on the inside of an external wall
  • In unheated basements or cellars
  • In unheated crawl spaces

If you have a water pipe that has become frozen, but it has not yet burst or ruptured, you need to that it straight away. There are various ways of unfreezing frozen water pipes, and these depend on where they are found.

One word of warning – wherever the pipe is located – don’t use a naked flame (i.e. a blowtorch). This sort of direct, intense heat can easily damage the pipe.

With a pipe that is exposed and easily accessible there are a number of ways to can try to thaw it. Whichever way you opt for, you must apply the heating from the faucet end of the pipe towards the frozen part. This will permit any water to flow out of the tap as the thawing progresses.

Using a hairdryer

This is one of the safest options. One quick tip if this is the remedy you opt for, is that if the pipe is attached or close to a wall, place silver foil behind the pipe as this will help to radiate the heat onto the rear face of the pipe.

Using a heat lamp

Heat lamps come in the forms of infra-red lamps and incandescent lamps. As when using a hair dryer, if the pipe is adjacent to a wall, place some silver foil between the back face of the pipe and the wall.

Using a portable heater

Portable heaters can be used for unfreezing water pipes that are inside the property, under kitchen sinks and bathroom cabinets. Remembering to work from the tap end of the pipe, apply the heat to the frozen section of the pipe. This is similar in principle to using a hair drier, but the heat is a little more intense.

Using heat tape

Heat tape is a more recent invention. It is basically a tape that contains electric wires that act as heating elements. All you have to do is to wrap the tape around the frozen section of pipe; plug it into an electric socket and hey-presto.

Prevention is better than having to organise a frozen pipe repair in London

Prevention, as they say, is always better than cure. If you can stop your pipes freezing in the first place, you won’t have to organise a frozen pipe repair in London at all. There are several ways you can do this:

  • Try leaving the tap dripping slightly when a freeze is forecast
  • Open any under-sink or under-cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate
  • Wrap insulating tape around the pipes
  • Wrap the above-mentioned heating tape around the pipes and plug in when necessary
  • Fit a permanent heater

If you decide to try the permanent heater route, do not use a portable heather as these shouldn’t be used unattended.

Emergency frozen pipe repair in London

If you these solutions do not work, or you don’t want to try them yourself, or your pipe has already burst, call CW Services Heating and Plumbing, and we will come to your home and carry out a frozen pipe repair in London. We operate a 27/7/365 emergency call-out service. Call us anytime on 020 7733 6812 or 07949 095 184.

Do I call a 24 hour London plumber if my pipes freeze?

If you suddenly find yourself without running water in the middle of a cold spell, when snow and/or ice is around, you might have frozen pipes. If you do and you live in London, or the problem is at your work premises in London, you are going to need the services of a 24 hour London plumber.

When pipes are in danger of freezing

If you have exposed pipes outside or in an unheated part of the building, they will be in danger of freezing when the temperature drops to zero or below. The usual way of preventing this would be to have any exposed piping lagged. You can buy lagging material from any DIY supermarket or outlet that sells plumbing materials and it is not difficult to fit. It’s simply a case of wrapping the piping with the lagging and fixing it in position with staples or ties. This should prevent them freezing.

If it’s too later however, and your pipes have already frozen, there is a considerable chance that they will burst when the ice melts. If you find yourself in this situation and you need a 24 hour London plumber you can contact us here at CW Services Plumbing and Heating.

The DIY ways of unfreezing your pipes

You may decide that first you would like to have a go at unfreezing your pipes before calling in the professionals. If this is the case, you need to follow the correct procedure or you could easily cause the pipes to burst. Here is what you should do.

Stage 1

The first thing you must do, before carrying out any pipe warming activities is to open any taps so that any steam caused by the warming is able to escape.

Stage 2A

The least risky way of trying to unfreeze your pipes is to use hot water. You mustn’t apply this directly however. Instead, use a heavy towel or similar, to wrap around the section on piping. Position a bucket under the pipe then pour hot water over the towel. The towel will concentrate the hot water to the area you need and it will retain the heat for a while.

Stage 2B

As an alternative to hot water, you can use a naked flame, but this does present certain dangers. The best tool to use is a propane torch fitted with a flame spreader.

The first hazard you must consider is setting the wall alight behind the pipe. To prevent this, position some sort of flameproof material behind the pipe.

The next risk to be aware of is causing the pipe to burst. To prevent this you must keep the flame constantly moving backwards and forwards. Be careful not to leave the flame in one spot. If you do ii could cause the pipe to burst. Look out for any soldered joints and avoid them if you can, or use the hot water method instead.

If you have plastic pipes, don’t use the naked flame method as you will probably melt the pipe

Stage 2C

As an alternative heat source you can always use a hair dryer to heat the air around the pipe. This is much slower than using a propane torch of course, but potentially safer. You won’t need to use a towel, but you should position a bucket under the pipe just in case.

Call a 24 hour London plumber – call CW Services Plumbing and Heating

If you are not DIY minded, the best thing to do is to call a 24 hour London plumber and they don’t come any better than us here at CW Services Plumbing and Heating. You can call us on our landline which is 020 7733 6812, or on our mobile which is 07949 095 184. 

Where to find plumbers for South London toilet repairs

If you need to find a plumber for South London toilet repairs, salvation is at hand. You can get in touch with us here at CW Services Plumbing and Heating.

We all tend to take our toilets for granted. They are one of the great conveniences of modern times; indeed the name “WC” could just as well stand for a water convenience as water closet. But if our toilets go wrong it is an immediate catastrophe which is one of the reasons that we offer an emergency call-out service specifically for South London toilet repairs.

About our South London toilet repairs emergency call-out service

If your toilet is flooding it is an emergency that needs handling straight away. Luckily we offer a 24/7/365 emergency call–out service, so, no matter what time of day or night, or even if it’s a bank holiday, you can call us in to help.

An easy home-fix

Blocked toilets usually mean that something has got stuck in the water pipe just out of sight around the U-bend. You could tackle the problem yourself if you so wish.

A quick and easy fix that costs nothing is to get a wire clothes hanger, mould it into the correct shape to manoeuvre it around the U-bend, and do so using the hook as the head. This may solve the problem.

If the wire clothes hanger trick doesn’t work and you want to try and unblock your toilet yourself, you are going to have to get hold of either a special chemical or a specific tool.

DIY toilet unblocking with a chemical or a tool

You can buy a proprietary chemical for unblocking pipes from any DIY supermarket, or Amazon. Because they contain caustic chemicals, you should be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. If a chemical un-blocker doesn’t do the job, then you are going to need a tool called an auger.

Augers come in different shapes and sizes, but in essence, their operation is the same. You need to expose a length of auger (a long, flexible length of piping) from the body of the tool. 1 metre is usually sufficient. You then tighten a nut to prevent the auger pipe from retracting. Introduce the pipe into the toilet and push it round the U-bend. Then twist the handle. This will cause the pipe to rotate and break through any blockage.

Once you’ve completed the operation and the toilet is unblocked, you then need to clean all parts of the auger with a household disinfectant.

Call in the professionals

If you are not a keen DIYer, or you simply don’t want to do the operation yourself, then call someone who specialises in South London toilet repairs like CW Services Plumbing and Heating. We can pop around, unblock your toilet and get it working properly again in a jiffy.

If your toilet cistern won’t refill after flushing, or water is constantly running, it probably means that you have a problem with the ball-cock or valve– we can handle that too.

All you have to do is call us on 020 7733 6812 or 07949 095 184.

Noisy boiler? Find a plumber in Brixton

Do you live in Brixton? Is your boiler noisy? If it is, it could be a sign that it is in need of maintenance or repair, or even that it needs replacing.

What many people worry about when looking for a plumber in Brixton, or anywhere else here in the UK come-to-that, is that they might employ a “cowboy” plumber who simply wants to earn a fast buck and who will tell you your boiler needs replacing even when it doesn’t. Unfortunately there are plenty of these cowboys around, so if you want to be sure of getting a plumber in Brixton you can trust and rely on, call us here at CW Services Heating and Plumbing.

Your boiler may be kettling

If your boiler is making curios or frightening noises (banging, gurgling and/or whistling) you ought to have it looked at sooner rather than later. Any of these noises could be a sign of something that we call “kettling” here in the trade.

Kettling comes about when limescale is allowed to build up in your boiler’s heat exchanger. It’s something that most people associate with kettles, hence the name. If you call a plumber in Brixton quickly, you might be able to forestall costly boiler repairs in the future, or delay the need for having to buy a new boiler.

Of course it’s not just kettling that causes boiler noise; it could be that you have low water pressure, or that you have a dodgy water pump. In order to determine exactly what the problem is, and deal with it, track down a plumber in Brixton, like us here at CW Services for example and give them a ring.

If you want to have a go at sorting out the problem yourself, here are few handy tips of what you can do.

De-scaling your heating system

If you suspect the noise is the result of a build-up of limescale, you can try using a chemical agent to de-scale the system. You can buy these from most DIY stores or from a plumber’s merchant. The process involves shutting the system down, adding the de-scaling agent into the feed and your expansion tank, and leaving it for several days. Then flush the system out and refill with ordinary water.

Check the thermostat

Your thermostat may be set too high, or it could be faulty. Try resetting the temperature lower. It may mean that your rooms won’t be so warm, but it is a compromise you may be willing to make to get rid of the noise.

Checking the water flow to your boiler

Poor water pressure is often the cause of boiler noise. Although it sounds a little obvious, just check that the mains water supply is properly switched on; especially if you have been fiddling with it for some reason or other. If it’s fully open, the next thing to do is to check the feed and expansion tank.

It could also be a problem with your float valve. If you can find the float valve in the tank, check to see that it isn’t stuck. If it is, jiggle the metal arm in order to free it up.

You can also check the safety vent pipe to ensure it has been properly installed.

Winter freeze

If you have ice in your water pipes, this could cause the noise. Beware, as when any ice melts, it can all too easily cause your water pipes to burst

Call in a professional plumber in Brixton

If you are not sure of what you are doing when it comes to plumbing, the best thing to do is to call in a professional plumber in Brixton if that’s where you live (or work). We here at CW Services Plumbing and Heating are experts at boiler repair and new boiler installation.

If you’re worried about being ripped-off, don’t be. We provide quality work (we are Gas Safe registered and CIPHE approved) and we will only do what is necessary. Our first aim is always to repair rather than replace. Call us on 020 7733 6812 or 07949 095 184.