drought (Photo credit: iamleeg)
In the wake of the announcement of the first parts of the country to be declared in drought, and the introduction of the hosepipe ban earlier this month, further drought zones have been designated in another 17 counties. The Environment Agency has extended its drought map to include the Midlands and the South West of England.
Despite the recent welcome rainfall, drought restrictions could remain in place until at least Christmas in what is likely to be the driest year in the UK since 1976. It is therefore essential that we all take steps to use water wisely. Drain Doctor would like to reiterate some water-saving tips we published recently:
- Use a bowl in the sink when washing fruit, vegetables or dishes. You can then use the waste water to water your plants.
- Fill a jug of water and put it in the fridge for when you want a cool drink.
- Turn off the tap when you clean your teeth. A running tap uses up to nine litres of water a minute.
- Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or your dishwasher. Some new washing machines use less than seven litres of water for each kilogramme of clothes, while modern dishwashers can use as little as 10 to 15 litres of water a cycle.
- If possible, take a shower instead of a bath. A five-minute shower uses about 40 litres of water. This is about half the volume of a standard bath.
- Use a water-saving device in your toilet cistern. Depending on the size of your cistern, you could save between one and three litres each time you flush the toilet.
- Using a watering can in the garden instead of a sprinkler or a hosepipe. Garden sprinklers and hosepipes left running can use between 500 and 1,000 litres of water an hour.
- Think about fitting a water-butt to collect rainwater off your roof. Water butts usually store about 200 litres of water. As well as being better for watering your plants, using rainwater in the garden reduces the amount of treated water you use.
- Check your property regularly for leaks on your internal plumbing.
Also, don’t forget to follow OFWAT’s advice on hosepipe useage:
Watering of private gardens and washing of private motor cars with a hosepipe or sprinkler is prohibited during a hosepipe ban.
- You can wash cars or water gardens using buckets and/or watering cans.
- Commercial activities are generally not affected by hosepipe bans. However, a gardener or window cleaner must not use a hosepipe or sprinkler connected to a customer’s private supply.
Follow a few simple tips to avoid frozen pipes during the cold snap
With the recent snowfalls and the plummeting temperatures Drain Doctor has received higher than usual call levels from customers with frozen pipes. If your pipes are frozen it could mean that you are getting no water supply.
In general most water companies’ pipes are buried deep enough for them not to freeze, so a lot of the time it is the customer’s own pipes which are frozen. Many householders may not realise that the water company is only responsible for the water mains and service pipes outside the boundary of thier property. Anything inside the property boundary is the responsibility of the householder.
Taking steps now to make sure the pipework leading to your home and within your property is protected from the cold can help avoid problems with frozen pipes later in the winter.
If anyone finds they have no water during this cold snap, check pipes for signs of splitting and if there is any damage, call Drain Doctor. If it is not fixed quickly, it could end up with flooding once the water thaws.
Here are a few tips to help protect your plumbing and drains for the rest of the winter:
- Locate and label your main stop valve. It is on the incoming mains water supply and is often under the kitchen sink.
- Stop valves tend to corrode slightly with time, so once every six months check that it’s working by exercising the valve twice from fully open to fully closed and back again (and always back the valve off ‘half a turn’ from fully open once you’re done).
- Make sure that all your pipes and storage tanks are properly lagged and covered, especially in cooler roof areas and attics.
- Open the loft door to warm the roof area in very cold weather. This will stop the pipes up there from freezing up (but it will push up your heating bills – so lagging pipes is a better idea).
- Inspect cold water cisterns (they are probably in your loft) annually. If there are any signs of corrosion or leaking, contact a reputable plumber.
- Leave the heating on a low temperature to maintain circulation and warmth if you are going away for a few days.
- Bleed radiators for maximum efficiency.
- Keep curtains closed to retain heat in the home.
- Insulate/lag any pipes in exposed areas where they could freeze.
- Isolate, drain and insulate any outside taps and pipework.
- Try to avoid pouring fat down drains, as it will solidify fast in cold weather.
- Plumbing is becoming increasingly technical. Always seek a qualified professional plumber such as Drain Doctor Plumbing. Call them 24 hours a day on 0800 3357 999.
Drain Doctor franchisees across the country have been busy over Christmas and the days since, sorting out emergency plumbing problems for households and businesses. Blocked drains, blocked loos, leaking pipes – it is all in a day’s work for Drain Doctor, even over the festive holiday.
Don’t forget that Drain Doctor will also be working on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day offering the same high standard of service at the same competitive prices as it does all through the rest of the year. There are no call-out charges and no ‘overtime rates’ for working on bank holidays.
So, all of us at Drain Doctor hope you have a great New Year celebration. If a plumbing disaster does strike, though, give us a call on 0800 3357 999.
Follow Drain Doctor's tips for a stress free Christmas
If you are hosting a Christmas party or family get together this year you’ll want to add preparing your kitchen and bathroom to your list of things to do. You don’t need a plumbing disaster ruining the festive fun.
Christmas is probably the largest single day of food consumption in the UK.
According to statistics from the British Turkey Information Service, in the UK at Christmas we consume approximately 10 million turkeys, 25 million Christmas puddings, 250 million pints of beer and 35 million bottles of wine. Meanwhile, Santa chomps his way through roughly seven million mince pies left for him by children on Christmas Eve.
At this time of year your family and friends cram into your home to help eat all that food, which means your kitchen drains and toilets will likely be working overtime.
Drain Doctor Plumbing and Drainage has some handy precautions that you can take before your guests arrive to help keep your home’s plumbing in good working order:
- Throw food scraps in the bin and put left over vegetable matter like sprout and potato peelings in the compost pile.
- Avoid pouring grease down the drain, because grease hardens when it’s in your pipes and can cause a blockage over time.
- Wipe off greasy plates and pans with a paper towel before washing them.
- Remove small objects from the top of your toilet tank that could fall in causing it to block up.
- Make sure your rubbish bin is easy to see so guests won’t flush paper towels, napkins or facial tissue down the toilet.
- You may want to stock your bathroom with single-ply toilet paper, depending on the number of people attending your party. This can really help to avoid a blockage.
These tips will help keep your plumbing in good working condition. However, if you are unlucky enough to have a plumbing emergency, Drain Doctor is on call at Christmas, and there’s never an overtime or call-out charge.
Jimmy and Andrew Smith have joined Drain Doctor covering Glasgow and Stirling
All at Drain Doctor would like to extend a warm welcome to Football playing father and son Jimmy and Andrew Smith. They are setting up their own plumbing and drainage business to service the north of Glasgow and Stirling as part of the national Drain Doctor network.
Jimmy describes the decision to go into business with his son as “a coincidence of timing”. He has recently retired from running his own property business (after a previous career as a publican) and Andrew has just left Glasgow Caledonian University where he studied construction management – and then stayed on for a further year as vice president of the students’ association.
The combination of business and practical skills arising from Jimmy’s experience and Andrew’s studies and post-graduate work make them an ideal team for a franchise.
Both men will initially be undertaking plumbing and drainage work themselves but they have already recruited their first technician to work with them. They aim soon to have a number of fully-equipped vans and fully-trained technicians, allowing them to devote their attention to managing and growing the business.
Jimmy says: “Things came together at just the right time as Andrew left university. I was getting bored in retirement and am looking forward to getting back into business.”
Both Jimmy and Andrew are keen footballers. Andrew was responsible for sports as vice president of the university students’ association and Jimmy is a qualified coach and referee.
Image via Wikipedia
First we had bank worker Mary Bale getting caught on CCTV depositing a moggy in a wheelie bin.
Now it seems kittens are getting flushed down toilets. New South Wales emergency services were called to a home in Sydney’s North West recently when a kitten was flushed down a loo by a two-year old girl. The kitten survived. Rescuers were able to locate the pussy using a CCTV camera in the drain. They removed the toilet and a concrete slab in order to get the kitten out.
Hopefully the little girl wasn’t unduly influenced by Ding Dong Bell. Anyway, all’s well that ends well.
Remember, don’t use the toilet like a rubbish bin. Don’t flush large items such as nappies and avoid flushing wet wipes and materials that don’t break down in the water. If the toilet blocks – call the Drain Doctor.
According to Anglian Water around 10 per cent of its sewer network is clogged with waste fats oils and grease (FOG) at any one time. Clearing blockages in sewers and drains across the UK costs over £15 million a year. Reducing these costs helps keep bills low for householders.
A new report has found that there are approximately 200,000 blockages throughout the UK every year, of which up to 75 per cent are caused by fats oils and grease. The production of oils and fats for cooking has trebled since the 1960s. Hundreds of thousands of litres of FOG are used every week and much of it ends up in the sewer instead of being disposed of correctly or collected and recycled in free, regulated and regular schemes.
The findings were revealed at a conference organised by Cranfield University and sponsored byAnglian Water to educate wastewater, catering, public health and environmental professionals on the effective management and removal of FOGs in drainage systems.
Steve Kaye, Manager of Innovations, Anglian Water, said: “FOG should be considered a valuable resource. If it can be prevented from entering sewers, it can be used to make biofuel or digested to generate electricity.”
At Drain Doctor we have always advised householders and businesses not to throw oils and cooking fats down the sink or drain. Collect it in a container and dispose of it carefully. You could also install a a grease trap and a strainer in plug holes to catch hair and other objects that could block drains.