Category Archives: Plumbing Tips & How To’s

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.

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.