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Winter is a common time for plumbing emergencies to happen. From frozen pipes to destructive leaks, it’s important to know how to deal with any plumbing emergency that unfolds. Here we’ve got some expert hints and tips to cover the main types of plumbing emergency and advice on what you should do in each situation.

Burst pipes
What you should do

Burst pipes are one of the more common types of plumbing emergency during the winter months. Cold weather can lead to the water inside the pipes freezing and therefore expanding until the pipe breaks. Faults in a pipe can also cause them to burst, as they are worn down over time.

Leaking water can cause serious damage to your home and its wiring, so the first thing you need to do is turn off the water supply. Next call a plumber. You’ll also want to temporarily turn off the heating and electrics. Place a bucket down to collect the leaking water if possible, and if you have any plumbers tape, attempt to seal the leak to prevent further damage before your plumber arrives.

Blocked drain or toilet
What you should do

A blocked toilet can quickly escalate into a pretty nasty (and smelly) problem. There are a couple of solutions you can try out yourself, before you resort to calling out an emergency plumber.

blocked drain

Use a toilet plunger vigorously to try and remove the blockage. Make sure you keep plenty of towels handy to wipe up any water that’s spilt. A toilet plunger will fix the majority of cases. However, if your blockage isn’t budging, it could mean there is a problem with your toilet draining. At this point we would recommend you call a professional plumber, to prevent risk of overflow.

Broken down boiler
What you should do

Winter is probably the worst time for your boiler to pack in. You aren’t going to last long without heating and hot water, so it’s best to look into fixing it ASAP. There are a plethora of reasons your boiler could have broken down. Electrical problems are common – check the power supply, is it switched on? You should also check your fuse box in case something has tripped the fuse. Many boilers come with a ‘soft reset’ option – basically turning it off and back on again.

Another common reason for boilers not working is problems with pressure. Most modern boilers have a visible pressure gauge – check the needle is between the two red lines to indicate the correct level of pressure. Check your user manual for details on how to repressurise your boiler.

If unable to fix it yourself, call out a plumber to do it for you.

Gas leak
What you should do

gas leak

This one of the most serious plumbing emergencies. You should not attempt to deal with a suspected gas leak yourself. If you smell gas, your number one priority is getting you, your family and your pets outside the home as quickly as possible. Don’t use anything electric and do not smoke. If you know how to, turn off your gas supply at the mains, and open all your windows and doors. Wait for your emergency plumber to arrive.

Need some help?

The best way to deal with a plumbing emergency is to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. Regular checks and maintenance can save you from lots of hassle in the long run.

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