What does a plumber do? And tips to keep them away…
It can be confusing sometimes to know whether you need a plumber or another tradesperson.
Find out exactly what a plumber does, how to fix common plumbing issues yourself, and how to choose the right plumber for you.
What does a plumber do?
It can be hard to know which tradesperson is the one you need. When you need a pipe redirected, is it a joiner or a plumber? When you need a repair on your boiler, is it a heating engineer or a plumber?
Plumbers can tackle anything to do with water and work on heating systems. This encompasses a whole host of tasks including:
- Repairing water leaks
- Fixing drainpipes
- Bathroom installations
- Kitchen plumbing
- Fixing low water pressure
- Servicing boilers
- Fixing dishwashers, showers, toilets, and other appliances.
Plumbers can install and fix any pipework. Maybe you need an electrical appliance like a dishwasher installed or maybe you need a radiator relocated.
If you have any issues with pipework, a plumber will be able to help you, this includes any pipes relating to your heating system.
Common pipework issues
Low water pressure
This can be a particularly annoying issue. If you have low water pressure it may take more than one flush on your toilet, and it can take a while for it to fill up again.
This can be embarrassing if you’ve company visiting or staying with you.
A dripping tap could result in thousands of litres of water being wasted ever year. This means higher water charges. Plus, the repetitive drip, drip of a tap is enough to drive anyone crazy.
This may seem like a minor issue, but a plumber can fix this quickly and save you money and your sanity.
What to do if you have a leaking pipe
Sometimes you may not be aware of any leaks, but tell-tale signs are rust around valves that can also turn green. You may also start to notice staining on ceilings where an upstairs pipe is slowly dripping and causing a brownish mark on your ceiling.
If the problem is bigger, the pipe may burst and cause a gush of water that could ruin your flooring and furniture.
If this happens, first, turn off your water supply and electric. There should be easy access to the valve on your water pipe that you can turn off to stop the water. For your electric, access the fuse box and switch the power off.
Phone a plumber to have a look at the issue. There are some things you can do yourself such as use a pipe repair clamp over the pipe that has broken or by using self-fusing repair tape. But these are temporary measures that won’t last for long.
You don’t need a heating engineer to deal with any boiler issues you may have. A plumber can install and service your boiler.
It is important to choose a plumber who is approved to install your brand of boiler. This means it is done properly and the plumber should be able to offer you an extended warranty.
A boiler service should be carried out once a year. You will probably need to do this as part of the terms of your warranty.
Besides having to do it for your warranty, a service can help reduce any issues with your boiler.
It prevents wear and tear, unexpected and expensive breakdowns, and it can help your boiler last longer, giving you better value for money.
A boiler service at AddHeat takes around 40 minutes. Your plumber will check lots of things when servicing your boiler including, visual checks, checking the flue, safety devices, seals, and will clean it if this is needed, plus provide a service report.
Common boiler issues
Some common problems with your heating system, can be fixed by you, others will require a professional.
Leaks can be a common issue. You may notice damp, mould, or rust around pipes.
Issues with radiators can be a regular occurrence. There can be several issues, such as cold patches on your radiators when the heating is on, being slow to heat up, making strange noises, or not working at all.
Some of these issues can be fixed yourself by bleeding your radiators but other issues will need to be looked at by a plumber.
Another issue could be no hot water, but your heating is working, or no heating but your hot water is working, or your hot water constantly on even when you’ve switched it off.
If you have checked the settings on your boiler and taken air out of the system, then it will be a job for the plumber as there is probably a fault with your system.
Low boiler pressure can be a result of a leak in the system or a bleeding radiator. You can try repressuring the boiler yourself which means opening the boiler filling loop. The typical pressure level should be 1.5 bars and if you have low pressure, you will see from the display, or it may also show a warning symbol.
Maybe you want a new bathroom to spruce your house up or maybe you want to turn under your stairs into a small bathroom.
A plumber can install this for you, although, you may need other tradespeople if you are constructing a new bathroom from scratch.
A new bathroom can make a real difference to your home. Swapping an old bathroom for a new can make your bathroom seem bigger, look fresher, and be more convenient for you.
Planning a bathroom installation
Think about how you use your bathroom to create the best layout for you. Do you really need a bath? Or is there anybody at home with disabilities that you need to consider?
Installing a bathroom may take up to 5 days but your plumber will work with you to ensure you have the facilities you need as the project progresses.
You may be tempted to try fitting your bathroom yourself, but a professional will have done this hundreds of times and will be a lot quicker than you. They will also ensure your bathroom has a professional finish. While it may be slightly cheaper to install it yourself, your bathroom will be there for years and it needs to be right to save you hassle and money in the long run.
Cost of a plumber
Plumbers’ rates vary with the type of job you need them to do. You can always phone them and get a quote beforehand if you’re worried it may be outside of your budget.
The average hourly rate of a plumber ranges between £40 to £60 with emergency costs ranging from £100 to £120.
For common projects like boiler services, AddHeat charges a competitive £75 plus vat for a boiler service and £75 plus vat hourly rate for boiler repairs.
For boiler installations, you may be able to apply for a grant, but if this option isn’t available to you, choose a company that can offer flexible payments.
AddHeat offer a range of finance options that allows you to spread the cost of a new boiler.
Factors affecting the cost of plumbing
The price will depend on how long it takes, what kind of issue it is, and the cost of parts.
For older models of boilers for example, it may be harder to source these items and it may be more expensive than for the latest models. Your plumber will have to take this into account when assessing your job.
Plumbing is a skilled job, and they have to be able to carry out many different tasks. Like all skilled jobs, the rate they charge, has to take this into account.
Choosing the right plumber
It can be stressful trying to find a trustworthy and experienced plumber. After all, you are not qualified in plumbing, and you are relying on their advice and honesty.
When choosing a plumber, check if they will guarantee their work. Any company who can guarantee their work, indicates they know their work is high-quality otherwise they would be out a lot of money fixing their mistakes.
Check their rating on sites like Checkatrade where there are non-biased reviews and star ratings.
Ask your plumber before they start for the fee and ask if they can guarantee no hidden extras.
Check the plumber you choose is Gas Safe registered and OFTEC registered. These are industry bodies that require continual training to be part of. OFTEC also inspect the work of their registered technicians to ensure they meet the required standards.
Any professional and quality plumber will be a member of these associations. They may also be approved to install or work on certain brands.
Tips to keep a plumber away
When the cold weather comes, you don’t want your pipes to freeze and leave you without heating.
Use foam to insulate the outside of your pipes to keep them from freezing. This can also make your house more energy efficient as the heat is not escaping.
Service your boiler
It’s important to service your boiler at least once a year to ensure it lasts longer.
When we rely so much on our heating system, we don’t want to find ourselves without heat, especially during cold weather.
Servicing your boiler can help prevent unexpected breakdowns an costly bills.
It is easy to bleed your radiators yourself and you will probably have to do this every so often.
Before you bleed your radiator, place a rag below the pipe in case any water comes out. Then turn the valve to let out any air. Do this with all your radiators.
Running out of oil
A common boiler issue may be if you run out of oil and then when you fill up again your boiler isn’t firing. You can reset your boiler yourself. There will be a switch on your boiler to reset it which should get your boiler up and running and you shouldn’t need a plumber for this. But if after resetting your boiler, it still doesn’t work then the issue could be more complicated and you should call a plumber.
Installing a drain pan
A drip tray or a drain pan can be placed under any electrical appliances such as a dishwasher or washing machine. This means if you do have a leak then it will gather in the tray and not under your floor. If water gets under your flooring, you may have to remove the whole floor as it can warp.
Be careful what you flush
Don’t just throw anything down your loo. It may be surprising to some of us but there are plenty out there who throw things other than toilet paper down their loo. This can cause blockages or lead to your toilet overflowing.
Check your drains
You can check your drains yourself and clear them from debris. Soil, leaves, or other items can clog your drains which can cause a blockage. And drain blockages can be unpleasant to say the least.
Using a qualified plumber
I’m sure we’ve all been there, when you’ve used a plumber and had to get another plumber to fix the first one’s mistakes.
Or, have you tried to do it yourself and caused more problems?
Using a qualified plumber reduces the risk of having to spend more money because the first plumber either didn’t fix the problem, or they made it worse.
Qualified plumbers are trained and experienced which means they are less likely to make mistakes during installations of boilers or appliances that will cost you down the line.
It is best to keep the number of your local plumbing company on your boiler or somewhere convenient in your home. This will make it easy and quick to find should you have any emergencies.
At AddHeat we work with minimal disruption and work around your family routine.
For more information on our plumbing services or to book a plumber in the Cheshire area at a time that suits you, please contact us.