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How to keep the plumber away

Easy ways to minimise needing a plumber during lockdown

We mean this in the nicest possible way, but we don’t want to have to come to your house! By that, what we actually mean is that if you need us, of course we will come gladly. However, during lockdown, if you can minimise the chances of having a plumbing or heating emergency it might make things a little less stressful for you.

We have therefore put together a few ways you can reduce the risk of a plumbing or heating breakdown during the coronavirus lockdown:

Be careful what you put down the sink and the toilet

Nobody wants a blocked toilet during lockdown. One of the most common ways of blocking the toilet, or the sink, is to put items down there that are unsuitable. For toilets this would be anything except regular human waste and toilet roll. Wet wipes, tissues, kitchen roll and sanitary products can all cause blockages. If you find you have run out of toilet paper, by all means use whatever you have available, but bin it rather than flush it.

Sinks can become blocked with food waste, especially fats. With everyone at home more, most of us are doing a lot more cooking and baking so just take care to dispose of food waste sensibly.

Check your drains

We don’t often spend much time looking at our outdoor drains but just monitoring them periodically is a good way to spot a blockage before it becomes a big problem. Just check them to make sure there’s no debris blocking them and that water levels look ok. If you spot any issues, you may well be able to resolve it with a drain unblocking treatment that you can buy from the supermarket or online or a simple bicarbonate of soda and vinegar mix before it becomes something a plumber needs to attend to (which could well cause damage to your property as well, if left long enough). Keep an eye on sinks and toilets in the house in the same way and don’t put unsuitable items down them, as outlined above.

Heating off? Occasionally turn it on again

After the glorious weather we’ve been having lately, you may have turned the heating off now for the spring and summer. If you have, you may assume that you don’t really need to think about it until the autumn. Actually, you don’t need to do too much but it is a good idea to turn it on periodically over the summer, just for 15 minutes or so. This keeps the boiler working well and will minimise any issues when you do turn it on. Remember you need your boiler for hot water as well so it pays to keep it working effectively. See more details here.

Boiler service due? You can still get that done

Now a boiler service may not seem like an urgent job, and it’s not, but it is an essential job in terms of keeping your boiler running well and minimising any chances of a breakdown. This one is a personal call. If your boiler service is due, you can still have it done during lockdown if you want to. If you would rather wait until this is all over, that’s your choice of course and most boiler manufacturers are being flexible with warranties in this respect. However, conducting a boiler service may just identify and deal with any issues that could arise that could potentially be an emergency issue later. It will also give you peace of mind that your boiler is safe – see the next item.

Test the Carbon Monoxide monitor

Everyone should have a CO monitor in their home. If you don’t, we would strongly recommend that you get one. This will alert you of any CO leak from a gas appliance such as your boiler, cooker or fire. This is particularly pertinent now because some of the symptoms of covid-19 are shared with CO poisoning but the advice is very different (stay in and isolate with covid, remove yourself from the faulty appliance with CO poisoning). You can see more about this here. Make sure your CO monitor is working because if you do delay a boiler service, this is a really important safety measure.

Keep an eye on the kids

With schools being closed and children being at home, it’s important to keep an eye on them around your plumbing. This ranges from making sure they don’t put anything down the sink or toilet that they shouldn’t (see point 1) in some kind of ‘experiment’ (water beads down the sink are no fun, we promise you!) and also making sure they’re safe from dangers like scalding. See more on this here.

Keep a note of non-urgent jobs

As you spend more and more time at home, you will no doubt notice a few small plumbing jobs that are not urgent enough to have fixed at the moment, but will need resolving eventually. This might include a dripping tap, a hard to turn stop tap or an intermittent fault on the boiler. We ask you to just sit tight on them at the moment, unless they get worse of course, and make a note so that when lockdown ends – whenever that may be – you can get everything resolved.

Please don’t worry if you have to call us out

While this blog is all about how you can avoid having to call us out, we want to reassure you that if you do need us, we are here to help you while also remaining dedicated to keeping your family and our engineers as safe as we possibly can. We have put in place protocols to allow us to social distance when we come to your home and we are equipped with the PPE we need, so please don’t worry, and don’t put off things that are dangerous or may cause health issues.

If you have any further questions about our services during the lockdown, you may find the answers in our FAQs or you can contact us via the website. If you need to book an appointment please call us on 0333 577 0151 but if it’s just a general enquiry, we can respond to you best via email or the website.

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- Mr Smith, Hull