Episode 6 leaks Craig Phillips home advice

Video transcript

Craig Philips Home Advice Episode 6 - Leaks

Now of course, we need water in various areas of the house - the kitchen, the bathroom, and even outside. That's all good and well when the plumbing's working well, but what happens when it's not - and water ends up where it shouldn't?

Leaks can happen for a number of reasons at any time. Now if they're not fixed, they can cost you a lot of money, cause damp, structural problems, and even health hazards - so here's what to do about it.

The first thing you need to do is find the stopcock. This controls the water supply to the building - by turning this off, it will stop the leak. In most houses, the stopcock is commonly found in the kitchen, underneath the sink, or near about it, in bathrooms, and in some cases,  in the hallway. Once you've located it, it looks like this. You may find a number of taps and isolating valves around the house, but this may not necessarily stop the water.

In the event of an emergency, you do have to find a main stopcock to isolate the water. You should make sure that your stopcock is easily turned on and off. If not, a small leak in the house could turn into a big problem. To make it a little bit easier, every six months just apply a little bit of lubricant oil on it. And if you've found that the lubricating oil doesn't loosen it up and you can't turn it off, you should get in touch with a plumber.

Now, a dripping tap may not cause much damage to your property, but if it's left, it could waste about five and a half thousand litres of water, which could fill an average swimming pool, and cost you about £18 a year on your water bill. And if that was a hot dripping tap unfixed, it could cost you even more on your energy bills as well.

To fix the dripping tap you are going to have to turn the isolating valve off below that. If there's not one there, you're going to have to find our old friend, the stopcock. Always run the tap to make sure you shut off the water successfully and drained it before you start.

We're now ready to dismantle the tap. We start with a flat screwdriver - take off the cap so we can unscrew the top headgear of the tap apart. It's always a good idea to put a little bit of insulating tape around the chrome area so your grips don't damage it when you're trying to loosen the tap. Now use an adjustable spanner to loosen off the headgear nut, and you can remove the inside of the tap to change the washer.

Now we've got the old worn-out washer removed, we apply the new one in, screw this back together, and fasten the tap back up. Blocked drains can also lead to leaks, but they're another easy thing that you can put right.

Now, putting plughole guards in your kitchen and bathroom sink will help prevent anything going down it and causing a blockage in the first place. You can also pour boiling water down a drain to loosen up any blockages in there like grease and soap scum. If necessary, use a plunger, or a chemical drain cleaner. If that still doesn't clear it, you are going to have to get professional help.

By following a few basic guidelines, you'll help keep your water flowing safely through your house, just where you want it - in your pipes.


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