With a chill in the air, now is not the time to be without heating or hot water. Last week, we looked at the top two plumbing emergencies and how to avoid them. This week we turn our attention to the rest of the top five: lack of heating or hot water, leaking washing machine, and gas leak.
Lack of hot water or heating
We rely on hot water every day so it can be a shock when it stops working. Your boiler will stop heating your water – and your home – for a number of reasons. Before you reach for the phone, take a look at the boiler. Is the pilot light on? Is the power on? It could be as simple as an extinguished pilot or tripped fuse. If you can’t see anything obvious, get in touch with a plumber who will be able to diagnose the problem relatively easily. The cause could be as simple as a small part or a plummet in temperatures, or it could be a significant problem requiring a new boiler. This will usually depend on the age of your boiler and the availability of new parts, as well as the cost of repairing versus replacing your boiler. Make sure that you consult a plumber that you can trust to make sure that you know you are being given sound advice based on what is best for you.
Preventing your boiler from breaking down can be a challenge, but by having it regularly serviced you will be able to plan ahead and be prepared for any serious works that may be on the horizon.
Leaking washing machines
Your washing machine is another of the home’s unsung heroes, washing your clothes week in week out with little recognition… until, one day, you notice that clothes aren’t being washed as well, or there is a nasty smell from the area of the washing machine, or a mysterious puddle. If you are fairly adept at DIY, if your washing machine starts leaking, you can take a look at the rubber lining and even pull the machine out if it is safe to do so to see if there is any obvious damage to the piping at the back. If you can’t see anything, it is worth calling your local washing machine repair service but it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of getting it fixed; how old is the washing machine, is it in good condition otherwise, or has it been very well used over time? It may be that your trusty old washing machine just isn’t worth repairing, in which case it may not be worth paying the plumber’s callout fee just to be told you need to get a new one anyway. Ask a trusted plumber to make sure you make the right choice.
A gas leak is not to be messed with. If you smell gas, your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, or you damage a gas pipe, check your appliances to ensure they are turned off – if your hob has been left on, turn it off, open the window and leave the room. If you can’t quickly and easily see the cause, leave the house and call an emergency engineer or contact your gas board.