How to prevent frozen pipes or burst pipes this winter

December 6th, 2012

The other day we noticed that some of the news headlines were promising the coldest winter in 100 years and as of this morning, it seems that we are just at the very beginning of this cold, pre-Christmas, spell. A frozen ground often means frozen pipes and time to call out IQ Plumbing services or to check here on our blog or website for the latest tips and tricks on how to prevent or deal with frozen pipes, burst pipes, seasonal flood clearance, overflowing drains and any other plumbing emergency you find yourself ensconced .

Imagine it is 7am and you wonder into the kitchen to make that first all important cup of coffee, you turn on the hot water tap to run the water for the washing up, nothing happens. Must just be the hot water pipe. You turn the cold tap to fill the kettle, nothing happens. Panic sets in. Not only have you got many important places to go and meetings to have, but there is no hot or cold water, for either washing or for coffee. There is no time like the present to call IQ Plumbers, your local emergency plumbing specialists in the London area.

We turn up and tell you that your pipes are frozen, we defrost them and then we explain to you how you can prevent this from occurring in the future because we know that you don’t want to have to be calling us out every time it happens, however much we would like to respond to your call.

Here at IQ Plumbers we are very busy during the winter months with emergencies such as frozen pipesburst pipes and flood clearance. When your pipes burst, whether inside or outside, it can cause an enormous amount of destruction and unhappiness for everyone concerned. At it’s worst, the pipes can burst with boiling hot water in them, going from apartment to apartment, causing nothing but carnage and sometimes injuries. It could mean a quick mop and a bucket, though more likely an attic or basement flood that will need expert drainage and flood clearance tools and pumps to resolve the problem. Whether we are talking a plumbing,heatingflooding or drainage emergency, prevention is always the best cure.

So, here are a few tips and tricks to prevent emergency plumbing being needed in your home this winter. We have taken these from the CIPHE (Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating engineer’s website) as quite frankly, we could not have put it better ourselves.

  • Find out where your stop valve is located on the incoming water supply main and label it. Check occasionally that it is working. IQ plumbing services can help you with this.
  • Whilst you are looking find where other service valves are located? Label them and check from time to time that they are working correctly. IQ plumbing services can help you with this
  • Find the location of any drain valves on the system too. These can be used in an emergency to empty your water and central heating systems (once the source of heat has been put out). IQ plumbing services can help you with this.
  • Ensure that the storage system and exposed pipes are properly insulated, particularly in the roof space or attic. IQ plumbing services can help you with this.
  • In very cold weather take special care to prevent water pipes becoming frozen. If you have a storage cistern in the roof space, it’s a good idea to leave the hatch open. Heat from the house will help to keep the cistern and pipes from freezing.
  • Inspect your cold water storage cistern (tank) regularly and, if it is metal, make sure it is not corroding. IQ plumbing services can help you with this
  • Check the condition of flexible hosepipes to plumbed-in domestic appliances at regular  intervals.
  • Dripping taps or continuously running overflow pipes are a sure sign that your plumbing system requires maintenance.
  • Have central heating boilers and other heating appliances serviced yearly. IQ plumbing services can help you with this.
  • If you have a condensing boiler, make sure that the condensate pipework is protected against freezing.
  • If you need help with any of the above please call IQ Plumbing Services on 0800 917 1554 to make an appointment or if in case of an emergency ring us on our mobile number 07715 282 998. With IQ plumbers the customer always comes first. We say it all the time, but it is true, we have no hidden fees or call out charges. We are upfront and transparent in our work and our fees. So give us a call if you need us or contact us via email from our website. We hope you have found this information useful and look forward to hearing from you.

    Emergency Plumbers Often Called to Older Properties

    January 19th, 2010

    If you have a normal plumber in London who caters for your general plumbing work including boiler health checks he or she won’t necessarily be able to respond to emergency situations. Using the services of a company that can provide emergency plumbers is essential when you have an immediate problem that if left will cost much more money to fix in the long run.

    Most of the time when you are in a situation where you have pressing plumbing issues such as blocked drains, leaking and burst pipes and so on you will find it difficult to get hold of emergency plumbers in London.

    Blocked drains are a common problem, but when the blockage is deep inside your piping it can mean that you need to call in the experts because it will be impossible for you to reach without professional tools and experience.

    To keep your emergency plumbing problems to a minimum particularly if you have an older property it is advised that you regularly check your water pipes for rust and other wear and tear. When water pipes are old they will become brittle and can suddenly burst with temperature fluctuations caused by the contrast of freezing conditions in winter months and sudden heat rushing through piping if you have left your boiler off for too long.

    Often it will be emergency plumbers who are more regularly called to old properties rather than new builds.

    When you need emergency plumbers in London we are the professionals at IQ Plumbing Services and always provide a fast and affordable response.

    Caring for your Plumbing Fittings

    December 24th, 2009

    We at IQ Plumbing Services operate as emergency plumbers for a variety of tasks, from collapsed drains to leaking tap washers. A leaking washer can become a high powered jet if left unattended – more than one of our emergency plumbers has been called to a serious flood which started as a tedious leaky tap.

    Plumbing fittings are the taps and valves of the system. Despite the use they get, they will generally last a lifetime. Any problems are usually down to the washers – but this is not always the simple task that it sounds. Modern fittings come in all shapes and sizes, all of which must be familiar to a plumber. London properties are often fitted with sleek designer faucets that can catch out the unwary.

    The best fittings are chrome plated brass, which are easily cleaned with detergent and water. However, there have been cases where corrosion has occurred due to the wrong cleaners being used.

    Seized-up, polished brass fittings are another reason for calling out emergency plumbers. London property owners love the period look, which works beautifully in older properties, but abrasive cleaners should never be used.

    If your bathroom is very “high tech” and it develops a problem, this needs to be taken into account when calling out an emergency plumber. London is full of plumbers who are unfamiliar with the latest 21st century hardware. Luckily, you can always trust us at IQ Plumbing Services to have full, up-to-date knowledge on all of the latest technological advances.

    Plumbing basics – what to do until the Emergency Plumbers get there

    December 1st, 2009

    When people call out emergency plumbers in London, they are usually in a panic. However, things are rarely as bad as they seem – a ceiling, for example, can absorb many pints of water before it begins to sag. The main concern is electrical safety, and this is easily dealt with by switching off any power at the fuse box.

    Emergency plumbers have to prioritise their call-outs; fortunately, however, there’s a lot you can do to minimise the damage before they arrive. Leaking pipes, for example, are a common reason for calling out emergency plumbers, and a London DIY store near your home will probably have what you need to temporarily repair the damage until a plumber can begin the restoration process.

    If you have a leaking pipe then it can potentially flood your home, but many leaks are less serious and can be stopped fairly easily. Leaks can occur in two ways: as a result of weak joints, or a failure in the pipe itself. If the leak happens at a joint, then tightening the joint will solve the problem and you may not even need to call out an emergency plumber. However, if the leak is in the pipe itself, that section of pipe will need replacing. This is definitely a job for the emergency plumbers as London pipes are often made of galvanised steel or even copper or lead, which is best left to experts when considering repair.

    We at IQ Plumbing Services offer a 24 hour call-out service for emergencies, and aim to arrive as soon as possible after we’re called.

    Minimum Qualifications For A Plumber in London

    November 27th, 2009

    It isn’t until someone tries to tackle a plumbing job themselves, that they realise what a highly skilled job plumbing is. Over the years the technology has become increasingly advanced, and we have to keep up to date with all aspects of the trade.

    At IQ Plumbing Services we employ some of the best emergency plumbers in London. All are experienced in many different areas, and are fully qualified to City and Guilds level and beyond.

    As a minimum qualification, a plumber in London must hold the City and Guilds NVQ level 2 certificate or equivalent. This gives students the knowledge, skills and certifications they need to work competently on modern domestic plumbing systems.

    By using C and G qualified emergency plumbers in London, homeowners can be assured they are getting the services of highly qualified and council accredited professionals.  As well as a general technical certificate, the C and G course includes qualifications in:

    •    Domestic copper pipework installation

    •    Sanitary installation and maintenance

    •    Water Supply Regulations 1999: It is illegal to work on the UK water supply without this, but following certification, students can register as a plumber with their local authority.

    •    Unvented Hot Water Storage Systems – enabling plumbers to work on modern high pressure systems without storage tanks.

    •    Power and gravity fed shower systems

    •     Domestic electrical installer defined scope part p certificate. This is now also an essential qualification for emergency plumbers in London, as without it they are unable to work on any system where electricity is employed.

    •    First aid and health and safety certificates

    If you are looking for qualified emergency plumbers in London, those we employ at IQ Plumbing Services have undergone hundreds of hours of training to ensure they offer a first rate service to our customers.

    The Way To Avoid Burst Water Pipes

    November 23rd, 2009

    Even though London streets are warmer than they used to be, the nights are just as cold. This means that emergency plumbers in London are going to be kept busy dealing with burst pipes this winter.

    A common time for a burst to happen is after you’ve come home to a cold house and switched the heating on. The pipes may not have even been frozen, but the sudden difference in expansion and contraction rates is enough to cause a break, especially in old pipes. Well lagged pipes keep all the pipes at an ambient temperature, reducing this risk.

    But winter isn’t the only time you may need the plumber. London homes often have old, deteriorating and brittle water pipes that can suddenly burst just through being worn out. They weren’t designed to take today’s high pressures, either.

    We at IQ Plumbing Services are kept busy throughout the year, sending our emergency plumbers to London’s older homes.

    However, a major cause of callouts for emergency plumbers in London this winter is through cold or frozen pipes, so minimise the risk of a burst by making sure your interior and exterior pipes are lagged in all unheated areas. If the lagging is powdery or old, it has lost its insulation properties – so replace it.

    If you’re planning a short break, make sure the central heating is timed to switch on for a short period morning and night. This will help prevent a nasty surprise. However, if the worst does happen, and you need emergency plumbers in a hurry, we at IQ Plumbing Services will offer a fast, effective and affordable service.

    Why Emergency Plumbers Say: Never Neglect Your Water Pipes

    November 20th, 2009

    With all the talk of global warming, it’s easy to believe that emergency plumbers in London get all their work from flooding and blocked drains rather than burst pipes. Which begs the question: why do people still bother with antifreeze – or lag their gardens for that matter?

    Come Autumn, householders diligently chance the water in their cars, and protect their delicate green charges by moving them to the conservatory. They never stop to think that their household pipes are just as precious. Even if they lag those outside, they often neglect the ones in the loft, or rely on lagging that deteriorated years ago.  Yet above the insulation felt, it’s as cold indoors as out – often colder. You don’t need weeks of sub-freezing temperatures to suffer a burst pipe. One cold frost can do it, if your pipes aren’t properly lagged.

    Burst pipes don’t always go on the coldest days, either. We at IQ Plumbers are kept busy throughout the year, repairing pipes.

    Burst water pipes are a householder’s nightmare. Not only do you end up with emergency plumbers’ bills – you end up with hefty repairs, as well.

    A burst pipe is potentially very dangerous
    . The place pipes most often burst are often isolated from the rest of the house. This means householders are unlikely to notice a burst pipe until they hear dripping water. If the fuses don’t blow, it could signal tragedy. The way most people discover where the leak is, is by stepping in the puddle on the floor…

    A burst pipe can be much more than a callout to the emergency plumbers. London householders have died from discovering – too late – that water and electricity don’t mix.

    Times When Blocked Drains Really Do Need An Emergency Drainage Company

    November 18th, 2009

    When we at IQ Plumbing are called out to blocked drains, it’s usually a case of flushing out congealed kitchen or bathroom waste, or accumulated silt and debris from the garden.

    However, there are times when the problem is a bit more complex. The one thing that must never be done is to continue trying to force the blockage through. This could result in total drain collapse, or even the disappearance of your garden! Luckily, our emergency plumbers have a whole load of resources to call on, including CCTV analysis.

    Here are some of the more common reasons why our emergency plumbers are called out to blocked drains from external causes:

    1. Fractured pipe. This is a structural defect caused by pressure (commonly flooding or building work) from above ground. Fractures and cracks in the drain allow water to leak out, which destabilises the surrounding ground. When the drain isn’t in use, this leaches back, bringing soil with it. It needs urgent treatment as it can cause subsidence and will eventually collapse – a far more costly repair.

    2. Collapsed drain. This self-explanatory problem has many causes, ranging from contractors drilling into the pipe, to severe flooding, to increased traffic on the road above.

    3. Tree roots. This is caused by roots seeking moisture, cracking and fracturing the pipe as they go. Material flowing through the drain will snag on the roots, worsening the blockage. This can be avoided by sensible planting, but where trees are long established it’s best to replace clay pipes with PVC, which tree roots simply snake round.

    Don’t leave it until you have to call out the emergency plumbers. In London, we at IQ plumbing Services will happily do a routine CCTV check of your drains, to ensure all is well.

    Winter Warnings

    October 26th, 2009

    It looks as though we’re in for a cold and wet winter this year. Householders and businesses can do a lot to help avoid the need to call out emergency plumbers. Below are some guidelines that we at IQ Plumbing Services provide our customers to help avoid winter plumbing problems.

    Check the pipes in your house or business. Are they all properly insulated? This is especially important for pipes in inaccessible areas, like the loft, or unheated areas like outdoors. Insulating your pipes with inexpensive plastic foam from a home improvement store will provide protection against burst pipes and the expense of repairs.

    Any water tanks in your loft should be properly insulated too. They should be covered in insulating material that fits closely the shape of the tank. This can easily become dislodged, so it’s important to check everything’s in place before the onset of winter. A burst water tank can turn a home into a disaster area. Avoid the issue by carrying out this quick, simple check.

    Improve the efficiency of your heating system by using a key to vent air from your radiators. This will help ensure your home is heated evenly and effectively.

    It’s also worth checking your heating in good time. Before the cold weather arrives in force, test your heating to make sure it’s working properly. If your system needs attention, it will be far more difficult to find a heating engineer during a cold spell.

    Finally, if you have an outside tap, see if you can isolate it using a stop-cock inside the house. Open the tap to drain the water and leave it that way through winter.

    In case you do have any trouble, be sure to have the numbers of good emergency plumbers such as ours to hand.

    Who’d Be A Plumber?

    October 23rd, 2009

    There are a huge number of people who ply their trade as a plumber. The UK has around 20,000 plumbing businesses, and most of them operate as sole traders. A quick search on a well known Internet directory can return over 4,000 results to a query for plumbers in London. Although, like any trade, there are those who operate without any formal qualifications, many are time-served and fully qualified. What, though, does ‘fully qualified’ mean? Well, it means a great deal more than simply leaving school with a talent for wielding a spanner while storing a pencil behind your ear. You may be surprised at just how well qualified your plumber should be.

    At IQ Plumbing Services, all our engineers are time served, qualified professionals, and getting to the level they’ve attained has been hard work.

    Although the trade can be learned on the job, NVQ qualifications are a good indication of ability and commitment to learning a trade. At NVQ level 2 a plumber has two-years industry experience while working on the course for the same amount of time. Topics covered are drainage, water and sanitation.

    A further two years at college can secure a NVQ level 3 qualification. This covers training in water regulations, system design, gas and unvented systems.

    There are other routes into the profession, such as private colleges. Many of these courses though, do not result in City & Guilds NVQ certification.

    So the next time you call in emergency plumbers or an emergency drainage company, ensure you call a reliable, professional engineer such as ours. You can then be confident they have skills and qualifications you can rely on.