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Basic plumbing skills

A prerequisite of success in virtually any do-it-yourself plumbing project is a sound understanding of the existing plumbing system of the house. The cold water distribution systems, hot water supply systems and above-ground drainage systems in common use in the United Kingdom are described and explained below. Cold water distribution A communication pipe connects the…

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Self-build

According to Government figures, about 10,000 families build their own homes every year. This is more houses than are built by Wimpey, and nearly as many as are put up by Barratts – and the number is growing. The building industry has its ups and downs, but for the last ten years the number of…

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Know your central heating

How big should a central heating system be? Well obviously no bigger than it has to be. Over-sizing can result in waste of fuel and an unnecessarily costly installation. Under-sizing results in complaints of lack of temperature and too little hot water. Complaints of lack of performance are very difficult to answer, particularly if you…

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Bricks and blocks

Clay is the most common brick material. Commonly used is ‘fletton’ clay and the manufacturing method is ‘wire-cut’. Strong and durable. Some clay bricks are still made by hand. Calcium silicate An alternative material (also called ‘sand lime’). Smoother and lighter in colour than clay. Concrete Moulded concrete bricks in a variety of colours and…

Sealed Heating Systems

Sealed Heating Systems

This type of system uses a diaphragm or membrane tank together with a safety valve and pressure gauge, instead of the conventional open system using an F & E tank and open vent. The sealed system can be used on both smallbore and microbore systems. It is sometimes called a pressurised sys- tem, which means…

Working With Pipes

The ability to join lengths of pipe to each other and to other plumbing fittings is a basic skill that must be acquired by every amateur plumber. Light gauge copper and stainless steel tubing is commonly used in hot and cold water supply. The easiest way to join pipes of these materials is with non-manipulative…

Ball Valve Problems

If a cistern overfills and water runs from the overflow pipe, the inlet valve is not closing early enough and the water is rising higher than the intended level. A metal or plastic ball floating on the water is connected to a lever that works and controls the valve. If the rubber washer, which fits…

Choosing Tools For DIY

Choosing Tools For DIY

Your tools should be adequate to your needs — whether for general repairs and maintenance or craftsman use. When buying tools, purchase the best you can afford. A few good versatile tools are better than many inferior ones, which will give you poor results, as well as being liable to break or wear out quickly….

How to clear air locks

How to clear air locks

Air locks can occur in radiators, towel rails and in the circulating pump of a heating system. They must be cleared by means of “bleeding” the air. Radiators. If any one radiator or a heated towel rail fails to reach normal temperature when others are operating correctly, suspect an air lock. First check that the…

Unblocking waste pipes

Unblocking waste pipes

A waste pipe carrying water from the sink etc does not go straight to the drains. It incorporates a trap in which water lodges to form a seal that stops drain smells from pervading your house. This device can also trap waste matter, which may result in a blockage that stops the water from draining…

Cistern overflows

Cistern overflows

Water gushing out of the overflow pipe is usually a sign that a ball valve is not functioning properly. Inspect the appropriate cistern. Perhaps the ball may be lying partially or fully submerged in the water and thus not raising the arm to shut off the valve when the water has reached the “full’ level…

Re-washering a tap

Re-washering a tap

Taps have washers so that when you close them the seal is watertight. It would not be were metal to meet metal without the interposed washer. Water dripping out of a tap is a sign that the washer is defective. To replace a washer: 1. Shut off the water supply. 2. Remove the shield of…