It's common knowledge that anyone can fix a leaky tap, right? Well maybe not... When it comes to keeping your home in good working order, commonly held misconceptions about your water systems can often throw a spanner in the works, leaving you open to greater costs and hassle down the line. The APHC On Tap team is here to set the record straight with our list of Top 10 Plumbing Myths, allowing you to tackle your pipework problems right first time.
1. A leaky tap isn't a big deal
Left unfixed, a leaky tap is literally money down the drain. As well as leading to higher water bills (if you're on a meter), leaks are also bad for the environment and can have a particularly bad effect in areas already suffering from water shortages. Deal with a leak as soon as you notice the problem by contacting a local competent installer.
2. Wipes are ok
Unlike toilet paper, wipes are not biodegradable and may build up in your pipework, leading to a costly and bothersome blockage. Don't assume that everything is ok just because they seem to be flushing - they may be causing a real problem further down the pipe.
3. Plumbing fixtures are low maintenance
Adopting an "install and forget" approach to your plumbing fixtures is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Although your installations may look in good condition, without regular maintenance they can begin to deteriorate. In particular, mineral deposits can speed up corrosion, so if you live in a hard water area remember to remove these regularly.
4. You don't need to worry about scraping your plate
It can be tempting to think that because your sink is still draining, waste food isn't doing your pipework any harm, however, in reality it's likely that rubbish is accumulating in your pipes, leading to a problem later on. Prevent against blockages and smelly kitchen sinks by adopting good habits around scraping your plate, and place a trap in your plughole to stop food going down the drain.
5. Washing dishes by hand is better for the environment
Contrary to popular belief, washing dishes by hand often uses more water and energy than an energy efficient dishwasher, especially if you're in the habit of keeping the hot tap running while you wash up! To be extra environmentally friendly, choose your dishwasher's "eco" setting whenever you can.
6. I have noisy pipes. Must be water hammer
As some of us will know only too well, there are a whole range of different bangs and squeaks that can be heard coming from our household plumbing. The term "water hammer" refers specifically to the hammering noise caused when a valve in a pipe is closed too quickly. Our recent blog post identifies the most common plumbing noises, their causes and gives solutions so you can get some peace and quiet again!
7. Asbestos has been banned since 1999, so I'm not at risk
An estimated half a million UK homes were built prior to 1999, meaning they may still contain asbestos. If inhaled, asbestos fibres can trigger harmful or fatal diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma. Read our blog post on the topic here to learn more about this dangerous substance and how to keep those around you safe.
8. I would notice if I had a carbon monoxide leak
Because carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas, a potentially fatal leak may go unnoticed until it's too late. To protect yourself and your loved ones against this silent killer, be sure to hire a Gas Safe Registered engineer for any gas work in your home, as well as ensuring you have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted to warn you in case of an emergency.
9. Anyone can fix a leak
Each year, countless homeowners take on "easy" DIY jobs such as fixing a leak in an effort to save money, only to find themselves paying a premium to get their mistakes corrected by a professional. Save yourself time and money in the long run by hiring a professional to begin with.
10. All plumbers are the same
Not all plumbers have the competence and expertise to do a good job first time round. In order to join APHC, installers must have minimum levels of work experience and qualifications, giving you peace of mind that you're receiving quality work at a fair price. To search for a Quality Plumber in your local area, visit http://www.aphc.co.uk/find_an_installer.asp.