Nifty Home Tricks and Tips

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Similar to our plumbing tips and FAQ page, we wanted to add some imaginative DIY style ideas, nifty home tricks tips as well as some more common tips and tricks (that you probably already know!), to help home owners further in looking after their plumbing system. The more ideas we get out there, the happier everyone will be knowing they are better prepared when something needs help or saving!

What type of water system do you have?

It’s good to know what type of system you have in case something happens. If you have a direct water system, the water is fed directly from the mains water. If you have an indirect water system, the water will be fed from a water tank.

Plunge water before removing the trap

If you need to remove the trap under your sink, remember to plunge the water out of the drain first so you don’t get soaked, or anything else damaged by the mess. You’ll need to plunge the drain a few times to make sure you get as much water out as you can.

How to remove limescale from difficult areas

Lemon juice works really well when you mix it with vinegar. If you put them in a spray bottle, you’ll find it a lot easier to get to the harder to reach places in order to remove limescale buildup.

Know where your stopcocks and valves are

Never get caught out if you can help it. Locate your stopcocks and valves, and label them. Then if you get in an emergency situation, you can at least turn off or isolate a section of your supply while you wait for assistance.

Insulate your pipe work

Insulating your pipe work is a great way of protecting the pipes from weather damage, scratches and other wear and tear. The most common material is foam tubing, which can be bought in standard lengths and comes pre cut along the length for easy fixing to the pipes. Always double check manufacturer’s details so you know the tubing is correct. In order to secure the tubing, use insulation tape as this will guarantee no gaps will form.

Buckets of water for the toilet

If you need to turn your water off but want to carry on using your toilet, rather than dashing to the neighbours, fill up a few buckets of water and use one per flush. This works just as well as normal flushing, the only difference being that the bowl won’t refill.

Smelly sink?

If there is a bad smell coming from your sink, there may not be enough water in the trap (U-bend). The water acts as a blocker so smells don’t work their way up into the sink. All you need to do is run the cold water tap for a bit to run through the smell and fill the trap up again.

How to remove an airlock from a tap

Attach one end of a hosepipe to the affected tap and the other end to a different tap that’s working and is a direct feed. Turn on both taps and let the pressure of the mains water build up for a while in order to knock the airlock out of the pipes. Leave running for a few minutes then turn off the affected tap first, then the second. Be careful removing the hose from both taps as you will need to drain excess water from the hose.

Protecting taps from damage when you remove them

If you need to remove a tap, whether it is standard or of a high quality, cover it in a thick cloth to protect it from scratches and other marks before using a wrench to take it off.

What is water flow?

Water flow is a measurement of how much water is delivered at an outlet in a certain period of time. As an example, a 15 litre bucket of water fills in 15 seconds, therefore the Water Flow is 1 litre per second.

Ball float leaking water

If you find that the ball float is leaking in water, a quick fix is to remove it and empty any water, cover it in a plastic bag and re-attach it.

Signs of hard water

Hard water contains a lot of minerals that are actually good for you, but not so good when it comes to your hot water system. How do you know if you have hard water? Well some of the signs can be a white wash coming out a bit dull, water spots on washed dishes, a cloudy glass of water or a not so lathery soap when you wash your hands. If your water is very hard, it might be a good idea to get a water softener installed.

Use hot grease to clear pipes

Solidified grease can gradually build up down the sink hole, clogging up the piping. One way to sort this out is to pour very hot grease down the sink, which will break up the solidified grease, clear the pipes and carry it down the drain. Water won’t work as grease won’t dissolve in it.

Periodical water meter checks

It’s a good idea to check your water meter periodically to look out for any potential leaks in the pipes. If you are not using water during a certain period, but your water meter is going up, this is a strong sign of a leak. The sooner you replace it, the lower your water bill will be.

Prepare before doing and DIY

Before you carry out any DIY yourself, be sure you know where everything is, especially hidden pipes so you don’t accidentally cause any unnecessary damage.

Isolation valves and how to use them

Isolation valves should be attached to every water-using appliance in your home. Sometimes you don’t want to turn off the mains when you are just fixing a little leak. Instead, turn off the flow on the appliance you are fixing. On the isolation valve there will be a slot-headed screw. If this slot is parallel to the arrow on the valve, water is flowing. All you need to do is turn the screw 90 degrees to the arrow to turn the water off. Just don’t forget to turn it back again when your finished!