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DIY Plumber’s Emergency Kit

Updated on November 20, 2013
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About Me

Hi! My name is John Horton and I have been working as a traded plumber in Edinburgh, Scotland for over 4 years. I have included some handy tips, so that when things go wrong you may be able to save some money by fixing yourself!


Essential Tools

  1. Wrenches are essential in plumbing. A pair of medium sized water pump pliers and an adjustable spanner should cover most plumbing issues.
  2. A "multi-bit" screwdriver can reduce the number of tools that need to be carried around on the job.
  3. A set of stubby screwdrivers are perfect for getting into tight places.
  4. Pack of Allen keys is very handy and has many uses.
  5. A high powered head torch is a MUST when investigating leaks or moving around in loft space.
  6. "Denzel" tape and leak sealing spray can help out in an emergency until a permanent fix can be made.
  7. "PTFE" tape will seal up leaks from compression joints.
  8. Roll of paper towels or bag of old rags will help clean up water from small leaks.
  9. A basic Plunger!
  10. 2 Sets of Pliers
  11. Set of box Spanners

My Top Tips

  1. Work out where your mains stop cock is and check it works properly. On some properties half the house could be supplied from the cold water tank so the isolation valves leading from it need to be checked.
  2. Isolation valves – be sure to familiarize yourself with these valves that in modern homes are usually found beneath any tap, tank or water inlet pipework and are marked with a small slit that fits a flat headed screwdriver turning the slit to the vertical position cuts any flow beyond that point and enables any maintenance to be carried out.
  3. Two sets of water pump pliers are sometimes needed – one to hold the fitting while the other opens the bolt. If not done correctly the whole pipework will just spin or even worse take the full stress of what your trying to do ending up bending pipework out of position.
  4. A basic plunger can be used for small drains like bath tubs, showers and lavatory sinks. A purpose built toilet plunger has a funnel that can apply extra force down the drain, which is good for sinks or toilets. Also a tool I use all the time basically fires a shot of compressed air down the drain line effectively shaking lose the blockage.
  5. When unclogging a kitchen sink or bathroom sink use a second plunger to cover the overflow to get the most force to remove the clog. Also if doing a bath cover the overflow on both the bath and sink to increase pressure.
  6. Sometimes the flow to your taps on either bath or sink can be slowed or reduced, buy a set of tap washers. Isolate the tap using the before mentioned isolation valve, use a spanner unscrew the body of the tap out of the base. Check the washer, if needs replaced, looks worn, do so and connect it back up, opening isolation valve and the tap should now be back to correct flow.
  7. Airlocks can occur especially on older gravity based systems. Very easy to fix. If there are two different taps and say the cold from the cold tank is blocked, connect up a bit of hose pipe from the mains hot to the tank fed cold and jubilee clip both. Open the cold and open the hot for 5-10 secs then release hose and check cold tap. This may need to be done a few times. What is going on here is the power of the mains hot is shooting up through the cold pipework and blasting out the air back into the tank removing the blockage. If the tap is a mono-block tap simply open up mains hot and hold hand tight over nozzle which will direct the flow up the cold side and clear the air trap.
  8. Another great tip is to carry a set of box spanners, one set designed for the back of mono-block taps and the other to release backing nuts from taps and valves.

Thanks for reading and if you have any queries about any plumbing problems in the home, feel free to contact me through my website JHDS Edinburgh Plumber

Good Luck with your plumbing emergency and I hope my advice will help you!

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