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FAQs

Coronavirus Situation
Are Plumbcare employees considered essential workers?

Yes. The government has designated that tradespeople carrying out essential repairs and maintenance in people’s homes can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Social distancing guidelines should still be followed. You can see more information from the government here.

What services are you still providing during the lockdown?

We are continuing to attend emergency plumbing and heating breakdowns. This includes having no hot water or heating, leaks, blocked toilets and drainage issues. We are also offering boiler servicing because it’s such an important aspect of boiler maintenance.You can see more details about what is considered an emergency here.

What jobs would engineers not attend during lockdown?

The non-emergency jobs that we are unable to attend at this time include cosmetic work such as changing taps or showers, intermittent boiler faults where there is no loss of heating or hot water, toilet or bathing issues where there are alternative facilities in the home such as a second bathroom. You can see more details here.

Can I get a boiler service during the lockdown?

Yes you can. Initially we paused boiler servicing while we established our covid-19 protocols, however we resumed servicing on 8 th April because it is a really important aspect of boiler maintenance and safety. We do ask that you only book one if yours is due so that we can accommodate everyone at the right time. Read more information here. If you are concerned about whether a boiler service is a good idea during lockdown, read our guidance here.

Will an engineer come to my home if our household is self-isolating?

If you are self-isolating due to someone in the household being vulnerable then yes we would attend. However, if someone in the house is presenting with symptoms of covid-19 then we’re afraid we would not be able to attend. Your health status will be requested at the time of booking and by the engineer when they make their 30 minute pre-call. See details here.

What are you doing to help vulnerable customers?

We understand that this is a worrying time for everyone but particularly stressful if you, or someone in your household, is vulnerable. This may be due to age or health reasons. Having to deal with a broken boiler or a leak is therefore the last thing that you need. We are dedicated to helping all customers at this time but please make us aware of any vulnerable people in your home at the time of booking and we will do our utmost to prioritise them

How are engineers minimising the risk of spreading Covid-19 when visiting customers?

We have put in place a number of protocols to allow us to observe social distancing guidelines. On arrival, our engineer will knock on the door and then step back 2 metres. They will wear a new pair of gloves throughout the visit. You will also not be asked to sign the engineer’s PDA on completion; they will do that for you.

What can I do to minimise risk for visiting engineers?

We will always ask you to confirm whether anyone in the house is experiencing symptoms at the time of booking and in the engineer’s 30 minute pre-call. We ask that you are open about this to prevent our engineers taking unnecessary risks. Please allow us to maintain safe working practices. This should include keeping a minimum 2 metre distance from the engineer at all times and cleaning the affected area down before arrival (eg the boiler or toilet).

Do engineers carry PPE?

Yes they do. They have all been equipped with gloves, hand sanitiser and masks. Gloves will be changed for every job and hand sanitiser used in between. Government guidelines do not require tradespeople to wear masks but they have been provided and can be worn at the engineers’ discretion.

I live in rented accommodation. Should my landlord still service the boiler during lockdown?

Yes, your landlord should still attempt to have your boiler and other gas appliances serviced and issue you with a Landlords' Gas Safety Certificate. However, there may be a few things that make this more difficult. Read our guidance here.

I have an appointment today, when will the engineer arrive?

To reflect the challenging circumstances, we have amended our working day to 8am – 10pm. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an estimated time of arrival as schedules can change throughout the day. However, your engineer will give you a call 30 minutes prior to arrival.

I can’t get through on the phones, how can I contact you?

Our office team are all now working from home and phone lines have been diverted accordingly. Obviously this may not always be as streamlined as it would be at a single location so please bear with us. If your call is not urgent you can also contact us my email at [email protected] or via our website. Thank you for your patience.

Plumbing
How do I test my home water pressure?

If you feel that your water pressure is too low (bath takes a long time to run, shower has little power etc) then there is an easy way you can test that yourself. Get a 1-2 litre jug and a timer (you can usually find one on most smartphones). Set the timer to 6 seconds and run your water on full into the jug, stopping it when the 6 seconds is up. Now multiply the volume of water in litres (eg 0.9 litres) by 10. This will give you your flow rate in litres per minute – ie 0.9 litres in 6 seconds equals 9 litres per minute). Anything less than 10 litres per minute is considered low. 10 – 15 litres per minute is ok but could potentially be improved. 15 litres+ per minute is considered good. Once you have confirmed your water pressure and feel that it could be improved there are things we can do to achieve that. Call us on 0800 032 6478 for more details. You can also read more about it here.

How do I isolate a dripping tap or toilet?

Look for the isolation valve underneath: using a flat headed screw driver, turn the central ball a ¼ turn, ie with the flat headed screw driver in line with the pipe the valve is open / across the pipe the valve is closed. Once you have isolated it, it won't drip or leak any further until you can arrange for a plumber to investigate and repair the issue.

What do I do if there is a leak in my house?

If you have a leak the first thing you need to do is turn the water off by locating the stop tap and turning it off. This will stop the flow of water into the house and minimise the damage. Then, unless you’re pretty handy yourself, it’s usually a good idea to ring an emergency plumber. In the meantime you can try to identify the source of the leak; it could be a burst pipe, faulty tap, weak pipe joint or faulty sink or toilet. Try to absorb as much of the water as you can with old towels and sheets and wait for the plumber to arrive. We would always aim to get to you within the same day as taking your call and we operate 24/7 so we’re always available. If you have a leak please call us on 0800 032 6478 as soon as you can.

I can’t easily access my stop tap. What can I do?

If you can’t easily access your stop tap or it is difficult to turn then a solution is to install a Sure Stop which is a remote stop tap that can be installed in an accessible area with a simple switch rather than a turn. You can read more about Sure Stops here.

How do I cure a hot water air lock?

If you have a mixer tap place your hand over the end of the tap, open the hot tap fully then open the cold tap forcing the cold water mains up the hot feed pipe pushing the air lock up into the tank to vent. Once done, turn off the cold and release your hand from the mixer tap to watch the hot water flow again.

Heating
Radiators are not heating up. What should I do?

This could be an indication that your central heating system has sludge in it. This can cause radiators to not heat properly or experience cold spots (eg they are often cold at the top and warm at the bottom). A powerflushing service is usually the best way to resolve this. You can see more information here.

My boiler is making a kettling noise. What is wrong with it and what should I do?

The most common cause of a ‘kettling’ noise in a boiler is a build-up of limescale from hard water. This mineral builds up in the heat exchanger, restricting the flow of water, and causes the water that is in the heat exchanger to boil and evaporate into steam which expands. This is the noise that you hear. There are a few things that can resolve it including replacing the heat exchanger, powerflushing the system or adding inhibitor to the system. The best course of action should be determined by a qualified heating engineer. You can read more about kettling here.

How often should I service my boiler?

We strongly recommend servicing your boiler annually for a number of reasons: it keeps it running efficiently; it can detect potential issues early and allow you to take remedial action before it becomes a bigger (more expensive) problem; it meets the terms of most manufacturer warranties (if it is still within the specified time frame); it keeps it safe, minimising the risk of it leaking carbon monoxide which could be deadly; it vastly reduces the risk of it breaking down. You can reduce the cost of servicing your boiler by having it done in the summer. See more details here.

Does a boiler really need servicing every year?

Yes, an annual service would always be our recommendation. If you don’t service it every 12 months you may miss early indications of potential issues, you may invalidate your warranty, it may become unsafe and you wouldn’t know and may become inefficient which would cost you more. An un-serviced boiler is more likely to break down at some point and in the long run is likely to be more expensive than having an annual service done. Have it serviced in the summer months and it will cost you less as well (see here for details of our Summer Boiler Service offer).

When should I bleed my radiators?

Bleeding your radiators releases the excess air from them. This air will prevent the radiators warming up evenly. It’s a good idea to bleed your radiators in the autumn as you are about to turn the heating back on after the summer and you should definitely do them if they start to make a noise when warming up or if they are experiencing cold spots.

How do I bleed my radiators?

These are the 5 main steps to bleeding your radiators but you can read more detailed information here: 1. Turn the heating off; 2. Find the bleed valve and key; 3. Open the bleed valve by inserting the key and turning anti-clockwise; 4. Close the bleed valve; 5. Turn the heating back on again.

Does my heating system need powerflushing?

Your system needs powerflushing if it has a build-up of sludge. Radiators not heating up properly, some radiators heating but not others or cold spots, such as cold at the top and warm at the bottom, are all indications that this is the case. You can read more about powerflushing here.

What can I do to keep my boiler working efficiently?

There are a number of things you can do to keep your boiler running efficiently: have it serviced every year; add inhibitor; install a magnetic filter; bleed your radiators; switch your boiler on for short periods regularly over the summer; have a powerflush; and lag outdoor pipes. You can read more details about all these things here.

My radiators are hot at the top but cold at the bottom, what does this mean?

This could be an indication that your central heating system has sludge in it. This can cause radiators to not heat properly or experience cold spots (eg they are often cold at the top and warm at the bottom). A powerflushing service is usually the best way to resolve this. You can see more information here.

How can I prevent sludge build up in my central heating system?

Adding inhibitor to the central heating system is a good way of preventing sludge from building up in your central heating system and a cheaper option than having to take remedial action once the sludge has built up (ie powerflushing). Changing the filters will also help. You can read more information here.

I have cold spots on my radiator. What does this mean?

This could be an indication that your central heating system has sludge in it. This can cause radiators to not heat properly or experience cold spots (eg they are often cold at the top and warm at the bottom). A powerflushing service is usually the best way to resolve this. You can see more information here.

My boiler has broken down in cold conditions. Could it be the condensate pipe?

It could well be the condensate pipe as they can freeze up in very cold weather. It may be something that you can resolve yourself by defrosting it and resetting the boiler. You can read more about it here. If this doesn’t work please call us on 0800 032 6478.

Why has my boiler broken down because of the cold weather?

It could well be that the condensate pipe has frozen up as they can do this in very cold weather. It may be something that you can resolve yourself by defrosting it and resetting the boiler. You can read more about it here. If this doesn’t work please call us on 0800 032 6478.

My condensate pipe has frozen up. What can I do?

This can happen in very cold weather. It may be something that you can resolve yourself by defrosting it and resetting the boiler. You can read more about it here. If this doesn’t work please call us on 0800 032 6478.

How can I prevent my condensate pipe freezing?

Your condensate pipe is in danger of freezing up in very cold weather. The best thing you can do is to clad the external pipe in some way to protect it from the cold. Pipe lagging can be bought from most DIY shops. If it does freeze up you can usually defrost it yourself. You can read more about both protecting and defrosting the pipe here.

Is it more efficient to use central heating on a timer or on low all day?

There is often much debate about this but it is more economic to operate your heating on a timer, particularly if the house is not occupied for periods of time. That way you’re only heating the house when you need it. Read more about heating your home efficiently here.

Drainage
My drains appear to be blocked. Is this my responsibility or my water providers?

It depends where the blockage is: is it within the perimeter of your property or is it outside your property? You can read more guidance here.

What are the main causes of blocked drains?

There are 4 main causes of blocked drains: 1. Putting inappropriate items down sinks and toilets within the house. This includes food waste, fats and wipes. Apart from the obvious, the only thing you really ought to putting down toilets is toilet tissue and please bear in mind that fats can solidify in the pipes. 2. External items getting into the drains outside. The obvious items being leaves and garden debris. 3. Tree roots. These can cause damage to pipes underground if they grow too big and disturb the pipes. 4. Pipe structural issues. Joints can perish causing the pipe to drop or they can become squashed or distorted. See what you can do about these issues here


I think my drains may be blocked, how can I tell if they are and where the blockage is?

Obviously drainage pipes are underground so it can be difficult to tell if they’re blocked. Sinks and toilets failing to drain away properly, water levels in outside drains being too high and bad smells coming from the drains can all be indications that there’s a problem but the only way to really know is to have a drainage survey done. This involves sending a camera into the drain to see exactly what’s going on. We can then pinpoint the exact position of any blockage and the reasons for that blockage so it can be dealt with. See further information here

Customer Service
Can I supply my own parts for repairs?

We strongly recommend that we supply the parts for the fixes that we undertake. This is because it allows us to guarantee the quality and the origination of the parts (we only use genuine manufacturer parts from suppliers that we know and trust). Having said that we would allow customers to supply parts but they would need to sign a disclaimer which means that we could not be held responsible for the performance of those parts or any subsequent issues caused by them. You can see more information about this here.

Why do you only offer all day appointments?

We understand that it can be inconvenient to wait in all day for an engineer however the majority of the jobs that we attend are emergency calls and repairs. That means that it’s difficult to estimate how long jobs will take and we often have to adjust the schedule several times during the day to be able to respond to emergencies or use our resources effectively. What we do offer though is a call from the engineer approximately 30 minutes before they’re due to arrive so, as long as you can get back to your home within this time, you don’t have to wait in for us. You can read more about this here.

Why is my boiler repair not covered by my home policy?

Home emergency policies will cover a range of home appliance issues and emergencies but every policy will be slightly different and there will be certain conditions that you must meet. These can include factors like the age of your boiler, how well it’s been maintained, correct installation of the boiler, claim value limitations and initial qualifying periods. These will vary from policy to policy so it’s always worth understanding the terms of yours when you take it out. You can read more details here.

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