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How to Detect and Fix a Leak

01 December 2017

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Leaks are not uncommon in our homes. Our pipes, boilers and taps can all leak due to old parts, a change in pressure or just the loosening of fittings. All leaks need to be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent water damage and to restore the boiler or tap to full working order.

Some links you can repair yourself without any issue. However, if your boiler is leaking, you’ll need to call plumbing professionals to deal with the problem. Ensure they are fully trained and part of the Gas Safety Register before allowing the plumbers to operate on your boiler.

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Leaking boiler

You’ll know your boiler has a leak because water may be dripping or leaking from the underside of your unit. It can be caused by a number of things, for example, the pressure may be too high, causing a leak from the pressure valve. It can also be the temperature value or simply corroded pipes. This can be dangerous as it can affect the parts inside and cause further damage. If this is occurring, you need to organise for emergency plumbing services to come and take a look at your boiler in order to fix it.

For any kind of boiler breakdown, always book plumbers to look at it rather than yourself. The same is true for boiler installation; never attempt to do this yourself.

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Leaking pipes

Leaky pipes underneath your sink are quite common and easy to fix yourself at home. They’re usually caused my old, corroded piping, so replacing these is usually the best course of action. However, this may not even be necessary. Firstly, you need to determine exactly where the leak is coming from. There are numerous points underneath the sink where the leak could be occurring so narrowing it down will help you immensely. For example, similar to in a boiler, the supply valves at the back of the unit can become loose or rusty, causing the high pressure of the water to leak from them. Try tightening the retention nut on the supply value and see if this makes a difference.

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This also applies to the lock nuts underneath the basin. Make sure to tighten all valves and nuts in case it’s simply a case of one of these loosening over time. You may need specialist equipment that most residential plumbing services will own, such as a basin wrench, so ensuring you have these will help you in the long run. Otherwise, you may need to organise for plumbers to have a look. However, a leaking sink isn’t a plumbing emergency so you may have to wait a few days to get seen. If this is the case, you’ll need to place a bucket under said leak until it can be fixed.

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Leaking tap

Having a leaking tap or faucet may seem like a small problem but it can result in you wasting water and money if left for too long. To fix this yourself, firstly switch off the water supply under the sink using the water values – there may be separate ones for hot and cold so make sure to switch off both. The next steps depend on the type and model of the tap. However, most involve replacing the washer. To do this, click off the cap of the tap’s handle, use a screwdriver to unscrew the small nut on the top of the tap and remove this. You can then take off the handle. Use a spanner to then remove the rest of the headgear. On the bottom of this part there should be a small screw holding the old rubber washing in place. Simply replace with a brand new one and replace the parts in reverse order.

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