Dripping tap

Home plumbing 101 #Lifeskills 7

These tips are courtesy of our mate Andy Fothergill from Home to Garden Plumbing.  Thanks Andy!

How to change a tap washer

  • Turn off water meter
  • Turn on garden tap to release pressure in line
  • Turn on hot water tap to release pressure from hot water line
  • Turn on tap all the way that needs a new washer
  • Undo not holding tap handle on
  • Undo cover
  • Use a spanner to undo spindle- turn anti clock wise
  • BE SURE NOT TO TURN THE BOTTOM PART OF THE TAP OR IT WILL LEAK IN THE CUPBOARD
  • Remove washer and put new washer in-make sure to check down into tap that there are no bits of old washer left behind
  • Put spindle back in and tighten- turn clock wise
  • Replace cover and tap handle
  • Turn off tap tightly.
  • Turn water meter back on

How to unblock a sink

  • If it is a sink with an over flow you will need to block the over flow with a tissue
  • If it is a double bowl kitchen sink you will need to have the plug in one of the sinks
  • Run the water into the sink until water is over the plug hole
  • Place the plunger over the plug hole so it is completely covered
  • Plunger the sink several times. This may push the water through so continue to fill the sink whilst you plunge
  • After about 20-30 plunges the blockage should be cleared

Hot water service care

  • If you have a storage hot water unit
  • There is a valve called a PTR valve. This valve is usually found on the right hand side of the unit
  • There is a lever on the end which needs to be pulled up every 6 months to flush the valve. Stand back bit as water will come out the pipe at the bottom.
  • This valve is recommended to be changed every 6 months too
  • The valve will drip when ever the hot water unit is heating the water
  • This valve will start to leak continuously when it is broken-then its time to calla plumber. The valve isn’t that expensive to change

How to fix a leaking toilet

  • A leaking toilet can add up to quite a lot of water on a bill
  • You can check the toilet for leaks by placing a small amount of food colouring in the cistern. If it is leaking then you will see the colour running down the inside of the pan

How to maintain gutters

  • Its important to clear the gutters every 6 months. The leaves and debris act like a sponge and will eventually rust the bottom of the gutter.
  • It is also worth putting a hose down the down pipe whilst the gutters are being cleaned to check they are not blocked with debris or tennis balls as they will rust out too and the gutters wont work as efficiently.

Cooktop won’t stay lit

  • If the burner on your cook top won’t stay lit remove the burner – make sure it is cool first.
  • You will see the thing which makes the spark, then next to it will be a silver rod. This is the thermocoupling.
  • The thermocoupling will get dirty with soot and food. This needs to be clean to register the flame to keep the gas lit.
  • Take a small bit of sand paper and rub the rod and it should clean up.

How to check whether you have leaking pipes

  • If you get a high water bill first check that non of the toilets are leaking. Then go round and check that non of the taps are dripping including the garden taps. Also check the PTR valve on the hot water is not continuously leaking. If any of these are happening fix these first.
  • If there are no leaks any where do the following to check for leaks on your main pipe.
  • turn off the stop tap feeding the hot water unit normally a black or blue nob on the left hand side of the hot water unit.
  • Turn off the washing machine taps.
  • Turn of the stop taps to the toilets.
  • Check the water meter- the last 2 numbers or the fastest moving dial on the water meter below the main numbers.
  • Take a note of the position of the numbers – take a photo.
  • Don’t turn on any water for as long as possible. Ideally a few hours or over night.
  • Check the water meter again.
  • If the numbers have changed then you know you have a leak somewhere in the pipe that you can not see below ground or in the wall: time to call a plumber!

Note: The advice in this post is intended to be general in nature and should not replace the assistance of a plumber if you are uncomfortable in what you are doing.