Locate and label your main stop valve. It is on the incoming mains water supply and is often under the kitchen sink. If you do have a plumbing leak, you will need to be able to find and turn off this valve to stop the water flow – so making sure you know where it is can save a lot of problems in the event of an emergency!
Stop valves tend to corrode slightly with time, so once every six months check that it’s working by exercising the valve twice from fully open to fully closed and back again (and always back the valve off ‘half a turn’ from fully open once you’re done).
Make sure that all your pipes and storage tanks are properly lagged and covered, especially in cooler roof areas and attics.
If you are going away for more than a day over in cold weather, leave your central heating on a low thermostat setting to prevent frozen water pipes.
If you are away from home for a few days, also turn the water off at the stop valve.
Open the loft door to warm the roof area in cold weather. This will stop the pipes up there from freezing.
Inspect cold water cisterns (they are probably in your loft) annually. If there are any signs of corrosion or leaking, contact a reputable plumber.
Dripping taps, toilets that don’t flush properly and water coming out of overflow pipes are sure signs that your plumbing needs an overhaul.
Have all heating units and controls regularly serviced by a professional. Remember, anyone working on gas appliances must be registered with CORGI, the Council for Registered Gas Installers.
If you need a plumber over the holidays, ask about call out charges and find out exactly what they cover – before you ask him or her to visit.
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