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Your pipes are creaking, your tap’s leaking and your toilet won’t flush – but we’re living in a pandemic and you don’t really want to ask for help if you can fix it yourself.

The good news is: 24% of plumbers and heating specialist are starting to use technology to diagnose issues remotely (mobile app, video, photos), according to a new survey by Eurekasear.co.uk. This might sound like a small number but considering the current climate, it’s likely to grow.

It’s best not to DIY your plumbing problems if you are not sure what you’re dealing with and how to fix it – it’s not safe and you run the risk of a botch job that is likely to need fixing again anyway. If you’ve managed to organise a diagnosis via app etc. and feel confident that you can fix the problem – great! If not, nearly 4 in 10 installers are now considering quoting for jobs using remote technology.

If it is essential that a plumber or heating technician enter your house to do repair work, businesses have indeed changed their working policies to accommodate government guidance, which includes:

  • maintaining a 2-metre social distance from other people around me on a job
  • ensuring homeowners stay in a different part of the property
  • only using click and collect merchant services (or phone ahead)
  • wearing gloves at all times (when previously I didn’t)
  • wiping down where I have worked with anti-bac spray/ wipes
  • wearing a mask

And whilst the plumbing and heating sector are not likely to respond to an emergency call to fix householder’s DIY mistakes (with many businesses being hit hard by the corona-recession), many are operating a ‘normal’ emergency response service for issues relating to the following:

  • Boiler/ heating
  • Leaks/ burst pipes
  • Quick & easy repairs
  • Toilet issues

Be confident that there is help available if you need it. Equally, trust your common sense to made a safe, savvy decision – there’s no harm in calling an expert!

For all your plumbing and installation needs, feel free to contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk – we’re happy to help.

Christmas is poking its festive head around the corner and amidst all the fun and excitement is the perhaps slim but nonetheless present possibility of your heating or plumbing giving in at the very last, inconvenient second – especially if you have a house full of guests and Christmas lunch to prepare.

There are some things you can do to do avoid any problems to do with heating, hot water or drainage! Have a look:

Heating

  • Check your boiler. British Gas has revealed that more than a third of households have not checked that their central heating is working properly, and four in ten have not had their boiler serviced in preparation for winter. Maintaining your boiler is the first ad best way to avoid heating problems.
  • Bleed your radiators. This will ensure they are working properly. If your radiators have cold spots at the top, this means you have air in the system; bleeding them will return them to good working order.
  • Seal your home by making sure all of your windows and doors seal properly to stop warm air escaping. Most DIY stores will sell ‘draught exterminators’ if you’re having problems keeping cold air out.
  • Wrap your water tank to conserve hot water; materials can be purchased from most DIY stores and help to conserve heat and save you money.
  • Insulate your pipes. This will stop them from bursting; a very real treat in freezing temperatures. Use lagging, which can be bought cheaply from most DIY shops.

Plumbing

  • Check your drains. Clear your drains of debris at the point at which they enter the ground. This involves checking your gullies for autumnal leaves and twigs in order to ensure that they don’t restrict water flow at any point.
  • Wait ten to 15 minutes between showers (especially applicable if you have a house full of guests). This gives your drains a bit of breathing space to clear properly, and helps avoid any cumulative backing up. It’ll also help your boiler maintain water temperature.
  • Fit strainers to your sink and shower plugholes. They’ll help catch a lot of the soap, hair, food debris and other muck that would otherwise go into your drains and potentially cause build-ups and blockages there.
  • Don’t flush things like disposable wipes, sanitary products, cotton buds or dental floss down the loo. These kinds of objects don’t disintegrate or dissolve like loo paper, and are a major cause of blocked and clogged drains, both at home and in the wider sewerage network.
  • Avoid pouring cooking oil, fat, and other food grease down your kitchen sink. Oils, fat and grease, although liquid while hot, cool and congeal quickly, and can clog your drains and slow the rate of drainage significantly.

For more hints and tips on how to avoid disturbing your plumber or heating engineer during his Christmas dinner, read “Avoid Christmas heating disasters at home with these top tips” on Idealhome.co.uk, and “Avoid plumbing problems and heating headaches this Christmas!” on Xpplumbers.com.

And have a very merry Christmas…from the team at AA Cooper!

For more information on all your plumbing needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk.

It’s a new year; a great time to get those travel plans in the diary – and also, make sure that our heating and plumbing needs are attended while we’re traversing the globe. The practicalities of travel are perhaps less attractive but always necessary; no one wants to be stuck with a bill for thousands after a fun holiday.

Cold weather is the most likely to induce heating or plumbing damage, especially if temperatures are likely to plummet below zero. The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has some good advice for anyone travelling during winter months:

  1. A week or so before you go, have a quick check round of any exposed pipework, including outdoor taps, overflow pipes and pipes in your loft space. If your pipes could do with a bit of thermal help, take a quick trip down to your local plumbing or DIY merchant for some lagging. It’s cheap, easy to fit and something you can do yourself or call your favourite plumber if you’d rather leave it to the professionals!
  2. If your plumbing system incorporates a cold water tank (normally found in the loft space) this should be adequately insulated too. Again, you can insulate this yourself but might prefer a pro service.
  3. On the day you leave, turn off your water supply at the main stop valve (sometimes called a stop cock). If a very cold snap is forecast you may wish to drain down water in the system to prevent the pipes freezing. This can be done by opening the cold taps / flushing the toilet until the system runs dry. Make sure you remember to close the cold taps after.
  4. If you have pipework/cold water storage tank in the loft space, open the loft hatch a little so that warmer air within the house can rise.
  5. Central heating systems can normally be set to a ‘frost’ setting, which will keep the heating system ticking over at a temperature low enough to not hit you hard on the heating bills, but high enough to stop your home from going below freezing.
  6. Double check the small print on your house insurance policy too. They may require you to take the steps above to prevent water damage. If the worst did happen, you don’t want to find out your insurance policy is void.

For more information on all your plumbing needs, contact the AACooper on 01689 485007 or info@aacooper.co.uk

Source: ciphe.org.uk – “Going away for the festivities?”