Stockport Plumber - Central Heating, Plumbing and Boiler Repair Specialists

FAQ’s – Common Plumbing Questions

What would you do if you smell gas? What would you do if you have a burst water pipe and the house is beginning to flood? How can you help prevent home emergencies like these?

Hopefully the following information should help you feel confident you would know what do do in an emergency, potentially saving you thousands of pounds. However, should you attempt any home repairs based on information found on this site, we will accept no responsibility if you run into trouble and incur costs.  Plumbing and Heating work can be dangerous if done incorrectly.  If you’re not sure about anything, pick up the phone and give us a call, our advice is completely free.

This will hopefully be an organic page, growing as more questions are asked.  If you would like a question answering, get in touch!

How do I turn my water off in an emergency?

Unless your house is very old, chances are there will be a stop tap of some description where you can turn the water off. These come in various shapes and sizes but can usually be found at the point where your water main enters the property. It’s a good idea to find your stop tap and make sure it works  the worst happens. Obvious places to start looking are under the kitchen/utility sink, by the front door, in the garage etc. if it isn’t anywhere obvious then it really could be anywhere. So try looking in unlikely places. If you still can’t find it, it may be under the floorboards. Particularly creaky or loose boards can be the giveaway here.  Once you’ve found it turn it off and see if the water stops completely at the kitchen sink.  If it does, great!  If it doesn’t, give us a call and we’ll come and replace it with one that works.

How do I turn off the gas in an emergency?

First of all find your gas meter.  In most cases there will be a corrugated silver pipe coming off the top left connection.  follow this back until you find the lever.  Newer ones are red, older ones will be made of brass.  They should all fall to the off position ie. when they are in line with the pipe – they’re on, when they’re perpendicular to the pipe – they’re off.  Once the gas is off, open all the windows and then call 0800 111 999.  An engineer will attend and find out whether the leak is before the lever you turned off, or after it.  If it’s before the lever it’s their problem and they will fix it for you.  If it’s after the lever however, it’s your problem. They will then cap off your gas supply and bid you farewell…that’s when you ring us 🙂

I bled my radiators the other day and now my boiler won’t work, what’s going on?

Inside your boiler (and sometimes also fitted externally) is an expansion vessel.  This is a pressurised vessel designed to absorb the pressure increase when your system gets hot.  If this loses it’s charge, the increase in pressure has nowhere to go and it discharges through a safety valve.  Then, when your system cools down, because it’s lost a little bit of water, the pressure will settle lower than where it started off. Eventually, after some heating up and cooling down, the system has lost so much water that the boiler will refuse to fire up or over heat. So what has bleeding radiators got to do with all this?  The air that you released from the radiators was acting as a makeshift expansion vessel.  Bleeding the radiators therefore completely removed anywhere for the increase in pressure to go, and so the above process played out, leaving you cold and miserable.  Recharging an expansion vessel is a quick and simple job for any well trained plumbing and heating engineer.  Give us a call and we’ll get you back up and running in no time.

My system is making some really weird noises…?

This is probably the most ambiguous question I get asked by customers, and the answer really could be one of a number of things:

  • If you hear a clicking noise when the heating comes on, this is the pipes expanding and contracting.  If they’re well clipped and insulated there shouldn’t be any clicking.
  • If you hear a banging noise when you open and close a tap, this could be water hammer. There are a few options here depending on your system, we could install either a shock absorber or a pressure reducing valve.
  • If you hear a rattling noise, this is probably un-clipped pipes that are too close together. Depending on how easy it is to get to your pipes, this is either a simple fix or a not so simple fix.
  • Whenever I flush my toilet, it sounds like a motorbike all through the house!  The diaphragm in your toilet’s fill valve possibly needs replacing.  You may also have this noise coming from the tanks in your loft when they’re refilling, that will be the float valve in your header tanks.

Why is there water dripping from the pipe coming out my wall?

First we need to identify what type of pipe it is.  If it’s a white plastic pipe then its called an overflow pipe. Either your header tanks are overflowing or one of your toilets are.  These are called warning pipes for good reason.  Give us a call ASAP and we will sort the problem before any serious damage is caused.

If it’s a small copper pipe, usually bent back round to face the wall, this is the pressure relief pipe from your heating system.  This usually indicates your expansion vessel needs recharging, but it could be a few other things that will need addressing ASAP.

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