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Seasonal Maintenance

Our Advice

Spring has sprung

Hopefully, the weather is set to warm up, but with your heating system working hard all winter and the likelihood it will still be needed, don’t forget to check that your plumbing and heating are in good working order;

• The boiler – make sure it has had its annual service. For your oil boiler, this also means checking the oil storage and supply are in good working order.

• Central heating – as well as the boiler, there are radiators, pumps, valves, pipework and water supply that all need to be working properly to ensure you stay warm through the winter. Make sure the radiators are bled of air and are warm from top to bottom, there are no strange noises from the pump or valves and the header tank (if you have one) is clean and the ballcock is working. Consider a powerflush if you suspect cold spots in radiators or poor heat circulation.

• Know where to turn the water off – as I mentioned in a previous article, it can save a lot of time, money and stress if you know the location of the stopcock and any isolation valves for individual fittings. Make sure they turn off – they can seize up.

• Frozen pipes – even given this winters’ experiences, not as common as they used to be, but it is still worth checking that any exposed external pipes, or pipework in the loft are properly insulated. If outside taps are not going to be used for any length of time, isolate them from indoors and drain off to reduce the risk of freezing.

• Loft tanks – make sure any loft tanks are insulated, tops and sides only.

• Overflow pipes – fix any dripping overflow pipes.

As usual, if you are unsure or need advice, call us…

Summer is coming

With summer just around the corner (hopefully), now is a good time to pay attention to your existing plumbing and make plans for all those jobs you have been meaning to get around to.

Bathrooms
Check around the back of the basin and toilet for signs of leaks. If the floor feels spongy or there is a damp smell, you may have a leak. Tap the tiles to check if they are solid – a hollow sound could be water damage behind.

Kitchen
Check under the sink that the waste connections are tight and not leaking. Any water stains or damp smells could indicate a problem. Washing machine hose connections should be looked at to make sure they are not leaking. Make sure you can turn isolating valves and taps on and off – we live in a hard water area which can cause them to seize up. Don’t forget the boiler – summer is a good time to get it serviced, especially if any repairs are needed to any part of the heating system.

Loft
Out of sight, but don’t let it be out of mind if you have stored water in cisterns in your loft. Check that overflows are connected and working and ball valves are in good condition. Again, make sure you can isolate the supply if you should need to.

Outside
Strange wet areas in the garden could indicate waste pipe or supply pipe leaks. If it is on your property it is your responsibility, not the water board.

Why not get an outside tap fitted?
Perfect for watering the garden and cleaning the car, a tap on an outside wall is very often a quick, cheap job that makes life easier and cleaner than ferrying water from inside. With a little digging, water can also be taken further into the garden if you are intending having a water feature or a pond.

Solar hot water
Now is the perfect time to install solar panels and benefit from free hot water. Peak sunshine is just around the corner which means you could turn you boiler and immersion heater off and save a lot of money over the summer. Government grants and the Renewable Heat Incentive payments make it an even more attractive proposition than ever before.

As usual, call Neil at NT Plumbing for more information;

Autumn issues

Hopefully the weather hasn’t turned too autumnal yet, but thoughts start to turn to central heating round about now, and whether it is up to another long cold winter.

• Are you confident that it will keep running properly for another year?

• Have you thought what could happen if it broke down in the depths of winter?

• Are you aware that your boiler may not be working at peak efficiency?

• Are you concerned about increasing running costs?

Two important considerations at this time of year are; is the boiler serviced, and does the system need a powerflush?
Routine servicing is the only way to ensure the safe and efficient running of your boiler – not bothering with it can shorten the life of your boiler and can invalidate any warranty or insurance you may have on it. Don’t forget the winter is a busy time for heating engineers, and a boiler replacement could be a long and expensive nuisance.

Sludge build up in radiators, pipework and boilers is natural over time in most systems, but will affect efficiency (and cost) and increase the risk of parts breaking down (pumps, valves, heat exchangers). A powerflush will remove this sludge and help to prolong the life of your expensive central heating system, as well as ensuring that the heat is more efficiently distributing through the radiators.

Call me about my September special for oil boiler services, and of course for any other plumbing and heating issues…

Winter

Winter is upon us, the weather is chilly – are you ready for the cold weather?
For the household plumbing, this means taking care of the following;

• The boiler – make sure it has had its annual service. For your oil boiler, this also means checking the oil storage and supply are in good working order.

• Central heating – as well as the boiler, there are radiators, pumps, valves, pipework and water supply that all need to be working properly to ensure you stay warm through the winter. Make sure the radiators are bled of air and are warm from top to bottom, there are no strange noises from the pump or valves and the header tank (if you have one) is clean and the ballcock is working. Consider a powerflush if you suspect cold spots in radiators or poor heat circulation.

• Know where to turn the water off – as I mentioned in a previous article, it can save a lot of time, money and stress if you know the location of the stopcock and any isolation valves for individual fittings. Make sure they turn off – they can seize up.

• Frozen pipes – not as common as they used to be, but it is still worth checking that any exposed external pipes, or pipework in the loft are properly insulated. If outside taps are not going to be used for any length of time, isolate them from indoors and drain off to reduce the risk of freezing.

• Loft tanks – make sure any loft tanks are insulated, tops and sides only.

Overflow pipes – fix any dripping overflow pipes.

As usual, if you are unsure or need advice, call us…

Hard Water

Hard Water

More than half the country suffers from hard water, with Lincolnshire experiencing some of the hardest coming out of our taps.
Hard water is a result of rain water filtering down through limestone and similar type rock and picking up calcium and magnesium salts as it goes. The most noticeable results in the home are scale in the kettle, on showerheads, marks in the sink, bath and around taps.
Less noticeable is the damage done inside washing machines, dishwashers and your central heating system. Limescale forms more readily in heated water, so on heating elements and inside boilers, hot water cylinders and radiators. It attacks pumps, valves, pipework and fittings, radiators and their valves.

Soft Water

Fitting a water softener immediately cuts out this limescale forming in your home, making appliances last longer and reducing maintenance costs. Detergent,soap and shampoo usage is reduced and your hair and skin will feel softer. Car washing is easier as streaks and spots are reduced. Gas and heating oil bills can be reduced by 10% as heat exchangers lose their calcified insulation jackets.

Water Softeners

Costing about as much as a good washing machine, a water softener will pay for itself in 3 years. Simple to operate and maintain, they remove the limescale from the water and wash it away. Very often installed under or next to the sink, they just need an electrical supply, a drain and a connection to the mains water. They rarely fail and simply need periodic topping up with salt tablets to keep them turning the hard water to soft. All new homes ought to have one fitted, but it’s never too late even in older properties, as the ongoing damage caused by limescale can be stopped easily and immediately.

As usual, call Neil at NT Plumbing for more information.

6. Best Masters 

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Give us a Call

If you want more information or require any of our services, call Neil at NT Plumbing on the number below.


NT Plumbing