Category Archives: Plumbing Tips & How To’s

Kitchen sink blockages and how to deal with them

Kitchen sink blockages

Kitchen sink blockages can often be easily avoided by doing a simple bit of maintenance. It doesn’t require any tools or special products. All you need is some vinegar or washing-up liquid and a good quantity of boiling water.

Washing-up liquid contains a degreasing agent. That’s what cleans fat, grease or oil from your dirty dishes. If on a regular basis, (say every two or three months), you pour one generous tablespoon of detergent down the kitchen sink plughole, followed by the boiling hot water this will remove any build-ups of grease. When you pour the boiling water, do it a little at a time.

Using a sink plunger to unblock kitchen sinks

Many kitchen sink blockages can be removed with a sink plunger. All you have to do is place the rubber bell section of the plunger over the plughole. Once it is positioned, apply downward force to the plunger handle, repeatedly depressing and releasing in rapid motion.

To work effectively, there should be enough water in the sink to cover the dome of the rubber bell section. If there isn’t any water because it drains away slowly, you need to add some. Boiling water works best but be careful not to splash and scald yourself when pumping.

Proprietary unblocking agents

The other thing you can buy from DIY stores and supermarkets are proprietary unblocking agents such as Buster or Mr Muscle. Many supermarkets also sell their own brands. These should generally be poured and left overnight before flushing through with water.

Sometimes kitchen sink blockages can be too stubborn and cannot be removed with vinegar, washing -up detergent and hot water, or even by using a plunger. Going to the next level of removing blockages involves using specific tools like drain unblockers. These are the best things to use if the obstruction is located around bends in the water pipes.

Time to call in a plumber?

If none of these solutions works or you are not a DIY enthusiast, it is time to call in the professionals. People who like and or work in South London can call us here at CW Services Plumbing and Heating. We come highly recommended as you can see from the commendations posted on our website. No job is too large or small, and we are very competitive.

We also operate a 24/7/365 emergency call out service. If you are in trouble and you need immediate assistance, all you have to do is call us on 020 7733 6812 or 07949 095 184. Whether you are a homeowner, a business owner, a tenant or a landlord, we can help. We are just a phone call away.

Underfloor heating pros and cons

Underfloor heating pros and cons

Learning about underfloor heating pros and cons will enable you to make better an informed decision. Is it worth the potential benefits? Does it perform as well as other methods of heating your home? Read on and find out.

Putting in underfloor heating (especially a wet rather than electric system) can be costly and messy. On the other hand, it’s a great way of taking the chill off a cold floor in the bathroom. Let’s find out more.

The pros of underfloor heating.

Luxury – This is one of the top pros when considering underfloor heating pros and cons. Most owners of underfloor heating appreciate the luxury of having warm floors in winter. There is nothing much colder on your feet that stone of tiled floors in the cold of winter.

Even heat distribution – With other forms of heating, the warmest part of the room is inevitably near the source of the heat. With underfloor heating, you get an even spread of heat across the entire floor area.

Lower running costs – Underfloor heating when correctly installed, will heat a bigger area than a single radiator. In addition, it runs at a lower temperature providing you with a potential cost saving.

Cut down on waste – Even when doors and windows are left open, or there are cold draughts around, your floors will always be warm.

Out of sight out of mind – Another pro that is often voiced when talking about underfloor heating pros and cons is that it cannot be seen. Not only is it invisible beneath the flooring but it means no ugly radiators or storage heaters. A room’s décor remains unblemished.

Compatible with most types of flooring – As long as you don’t have a solid concrete floor, underfloor heating can go below any kind of substrate. The only qualification to this is carpeting. If you like carpeting, a tog of more than 1.5 is recommended.

Value for money – Chances are that having underfloor heating installed will add value to your property. It will undoubtedly add desirability especially for buyers seeking that touch of luxury.

The cons of underfloor heating

Cost – The most significant concern when thinking about underfloor heating pros and cons is that of price. Wet heating can involve considerable installation costs; especially if the floor has to be modified to accommodate it.

Takes longer to warm up – Underfloor heating first has to heat the floor before any warmth can radiate out. This means it will take longer for the benefit to be felt.

Impact on furniture – It can impact on certain items of furniture or fittings. You may have to consider doing away with some pieces. At best you may have to think about how you arrange your furniture.

Size matters – Choosing the right size of heating is essential. You could find you have a warm floor but that certain areas of rooms remain cold. You might have to have radiators in specific positions too. That defeats certain objectives.

Another thing to think about when dwelling on underfloor heating pros and cons is the DIY aspect. Competent DIYers can buy and install electrical heating. Wet systems need to be installed by qualified professionals.

If you live in South London and you want a quality underfloor heating installation, call CW Services Plumbing and Heating. It doesn’t matter if you are contemplating electric or wet systems. We can visit your home, discuss underfloor heating pros and cons with you and carry out a no cost, no obligation survey. Call us on 020 7733 6812 or 07949 095 184.

5 tips to prevent blocked drains in the home

Prevent blocked drains

If you would like to prevent blocked drains in your home, we are going to offer you five tips that will help you to do so. The place to begin is knowing why it is that your drains become blocked. Once you know this you can begin figure out ways of keeping them clear.

There is a fundamental difference in what blocks kitchen drains as opposed to what clogs up bathroom drains – something we go into in more depth below. So, let’s get started. Here are our tips.

The DIY approach to bathroom drains

To help prevent blocked drains in your home you can use two basic household substances – gold old table salt and vinegar.

Bathroom drains usually get gummed up because sticky substances are poured down them. These substances include things like soap, shaving cream and toothpaste.

The other culprit is hair. These are all everyday, ordinary substances which are part of our daily routines. You cannot simply stop using or shedding them.

What you can do to prevent blocked drains is to pour a minimum of one tablespoon of salt down the drain, then empty a quarter cup of plain white vinegar on top. Allow the mixture to sit there for at least one hour. Once the time is up, pour in plenty of hot water. To get the best results you should do the whole operation twice.

Keeping sinks clean

As well as using the salt and vinegar routine described above to prevent blocked drains, you should back this up every now and again by pouring a little household bleach down the drain. For maximum effect pour it in before you go to bed. Then allow it to remain there overnight. The minimum amount of time for it to work is one hour. Overnight is better.

Degrease your kitchen sink

Unless you take appropriate measures, over time a build up of grease will occur in your kitchen sink. You can prevent blocked drains like this in the kitchen sink quite easily. Pour liquid dish detergent down the plughole followed by a large volume of boiling water.

You need to use red-hot water. Just fill a large pan and bring it to boil on your cooker. Just before the water boils, pour a minimum of one tablespoon down the sink. Follow that immediately with the boiling water – adding a little at a time.

The detergent acts to dispel the grease in the same way as it does when you use it to wash your plates. The hot water will remove any grease deposits that have built up. It is wise to do this two or three times in succession.

Don’t use hot tap water

Don’t be tempted to use hot water from the tap; not unless you have a boiler tap. Ordinary hot tap water just isn’t hot enough to remove the grease – even with detergent.

Although you wouldn’t expect a large build up of grease in your bathroom sink or bath, it is still recommended you use boiling water. You can also use dish detergent if you wish.

Cold water and garbage disposal units

If you have a garbage disposal unit connected under your sink, don’t wash the garbage through with hot water from the tap. This is because the hot water melts and softens any grease and fat. It encourages the grease to wash through and it can then coat the pipes.

It’s best to use large volumes of cold tap water. This keeps the oil more solid allowing the disposal unit to break it up. When cleaning and degreasing a sink with a built-in garbage disposal unit, boiling water it again best.

Outside drains

As far as outside drains are concerned, these too can get blocked from time to time. The culprit is usually a build-up of fallen leaves. The easiest way to prevent this is to cover the drain with something like chicken wire.

Do you live in South London? Did you not think to prevent blocked drains inside or outside your property? Do you have a blockage that you cannot clear with a rubber plunger? You may need professional help.

Preventing blocked drains is just one of the many general plumbing services we provide here at CW Services Plumbing and Heating. Call us on 020 7733 6812 or 07949 095 184. We also offer an emergency call out service.

Doing a DIY frozen pipe repair

defrost frozen pipe

Did you know that you can carry out a DIY frozen pipe repair using materials and tools that most households possess?

With temperatures having been already recorded in double figures below zero, we here in the UK are well and truly into our winter season. If you’ve already suffered from frozen and burst water pipes you will be only too painfully aware of the inconvenience that it causes.

If on the other hand you haven’t yet been troubled by problems with your water supply caused by the low temperature, given the fact that we are only halfway through winter you could still fall foul of this problem.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that your water pipes will burst if they are frozen. You can prevent this from happening by learning how to defrost frozen pipes safely and carefully.

The pipes most likely to need defrosting

The water pipes that are most exposed to the vagaries of the weather are the ones that are most likely to be in danger of freezing. It therefore stands to reason that any outdoor pipes are the ones most likely to be affected.

However, pipes in un-heated areas of a property could also need a frozen pipe repair if it gets particularly cold. You should therefore keep a careful eye on pipes in unheated basements or sellers, or those situated in unheated crawl spaces.

Best methods for carrying out a DIY frozen pipe repair

The best methods to utilise when carrying out a DIY frozen pipe repair in your home are those that do not use a naked flame. So, in other words, if you have a blowtorch at home you should refrain from using it to defrost your pipes.

If you do however decide to give your blowtorch try, it is important to keep the flame moving along the length of the pipe because this will avoid a sudden concentration of heat in any one specific area.

The tool that most households possess and that is therefore the most common to try out is a hairdryer. But even though the heat from a hairdryer is less intense than that of a blowtorch it is nonetheless recommended that you should still move the hairdryer back and forth to spread the heat slowly.

If you do not have a hairdryer to hand, the other way of attempting to carry out a frozen pipe repair is with hot towels. This method will probably take slightly longer than any other method because it will entail reheating and reapplying the towels until the ice inside the pipe is melted. It is however probably the safest DIY method.

If you need professional help

If you are unsuccessful in your attempts to carry out a DIY frozen pipe repair, we here at CW Services Plumbing and Heating are on hand to help. No job is too small. Similarly, if you have attempted to defrost a water pipe and have inadvertently caused it to burst, you can rely on us to carry out a rapid, cost efficient repair.

If you do need our services for any plumbing emergency you’ll be pleased to know that we operate a 24/7/365 emergency callout service. Whether it’s an emergency or not, you can reach us on 020 7733 6812 or 07949 095 184. 

Who to call if you have a burst pipe emergency in London

Burst pipe emergency in London

Do you have a burst pipe emergency in London or anywhere else for that matter? If you do, the first thing you should do is to shut off the water where it comes into the property. As soon as you do that, you can prevent any further loss of water and or minimise any possible flood danger.

Do you have any plumbing experience? If not, the next thing you should do is call a plumber to repair the damage and get your water supply back on stream. If you live in South London, the best people to call is CW Services Plumbing and Heating. We operate a 24/7/365 emergency call-out service, and you’ll find our contact numbers at the end of this article.

The leading cause of a burst pipe emergency in London

The most common cause of a burst pipe emergency in London is cold or freezing weather. Mostly when you have water pipes in cold or unheated areas. When the temperature drops down towards zero or below, any water in exposed pipes may freeze.

When water freezes, it expands. This expansion exerts significant pressure on the pipe holding it. This can result in fractures appearing around any joints, or splits in the pipe itself. Not only does the ice prevent any water flow, but as it melts, water can then flood out through any breaks.

Unfreezing a frozen pipe by yourself

It is possible to unfreeze frozen pipes yourself. If the pipes is merely bulging, and it hasn’t fractured anywhere, your water will flow once unfrozen. However, you need to beware. If the integrity of the pipe has been compromised, when water begins to flow it will leak out.

If you attempt to unfreeze the pipes yourself, after turning the water main off, you must apply any direct heat in slow strokes. Don’t concentrate the heat in one static area. This can damage the pipe causing it to rupture. A hair drier or a blowtorch can be used as a heat source. Alternatively, you can wrap a hot towel around the section of pipe.

If you do discover you have a burst pipe emergency in London, call a plumber like CW Services. We offer a 24-hour emergency call-out service. If you can turn the water main off while you are waiting for us to arrive, you should do so.

Turning off your mains water supply

You turn the water main off by closing down the stopcock. This is often to be found with other facilities where they enter the property. Once you’ve located it, turn it in a clockwise direction to close it down. It’s always wise to be prepared for an emergency. We recommend you should locate your mains stopcock when you move in.

Talking of being prepared for a burst pipe emergency in London. It’s also a good idea shortly after you’ve moved in to track down a plumber. Make a note of their phone number and keep it in a safe place.

Your emergency plumber in South London

We at CW Services Plumbing and Heating are highly recommended plumbers in the South London area. If you do need to call us in an emergency any time of day or night, our numbers are 020 7733 6812, or 07949 095 184. Call us now if you have an emergency or make a note of the numbers for later – just in case.