Tag Archives: Water supply

Water saving tips for hosepipe ban hit UK from across the pond

Following the news that the use of hose pipes is to be banned in parts of the UK, news comes to us from our friends at Mr Rooter that it’s ‘Fix a Leak Week’ in the US. It’s sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and calls attention to the importance of conserving water.

The EPA WaterSense website advises Americans to repair leaks in three areas: the sink, the toilet and the shower.

This is also true here in the UK.  See Drain Doctor’s water-saving tips for easy ways to help beat the drought.

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Drain Doctor offers water saving tips as drought continues

Despite recent wet weather, parts of the Anglian region have been officially in a state of drought since early in the month. Areas in the South West, South East, and Midlands are experiencing near-drought conditions following the driest spring on record in South East and Central Southern England, and the driest right across England and Wales since 1990.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “Drought has hit parts of East Anglia, with other areas in England and Wales also giving grounds for concern. Water companies are confident that supplies are high enough so that widespread restrictions to the public are unlikely. We’re doing all we can to reduce the impact on agriculture and wildlife, but everyone can play their part.

“Households know how to use less water and everyone can do their bit to use water more wisely, not only through the summer, but throughout the year.”

Although some areas across the country have benefited from recent rainfall, this has done little to improve the situation in the driest areas. It is important to follow some of these simple tips to conserve water:

  • Check your plumbing and drains for leaks
  • Turn off your tap when you are brushing your teeth
  • Take showers rather than baths
  • Repair any dripping taps
  • Only use what water you need when filling the kettle to make tea or coffee
  • Only use the washing machine when you can put a full load into it
  • Keep water in the fridge to chill so that you don’t need to run the tap to get cool water each time
  • Place a brick or a ‘hippo’ in the toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water flushed
  • Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose pipe if you are using it in the garden or to wash the car
  • Use a mulch on beds and vegetable plots to retain moisture in the soil to reduce the amount of watering
  • Use a water butt to collect rainwater to use on the garden

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Fix a leak week

It is ‘Fix a leak week’ in the USA (honest – it is!) and our opposite number in the USA, Mr Rooter, has some handy tips for avoiding water waste.

Check out this article on the Mrs Rooter blog which has a few ideas. It also has a link to an animated diagram of a toilet which is quite interesting if you do not know how the equipment in your bathroom works.

There is no ‘Fix a leak week’ in the UK (maybe we should have one?) but why wait for a special week? If you have a leak, it is costing money. If you cannot fix it yourself, call Drain Doctor on 0800 3357 999 or visit www.draindoctor.co.uk

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Poison lead in New York water

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...

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Recent news stories about lead in New York tap water prompted me to write this article for the blog about the situation with lead in water supplies in the UK.

Lead is a poison. Those at particular risk are infants and children because lead can have an adverse impact on mental development.

The use of lead pipes in plumbing has been illegal in the UK since 1970s and the use of lead-based solder for joining pipes is also against the law. However, older properties may still have lead plumbing in the house or, even more likely, in the underground pipework connecting the property to the mains.

The UK Drinking Water Inspectorate publishes advice for householders on lead in water. It suggests that if you are concerned about the possibility that lead is used in the plumbing in your home you should get a qualified plumber to check your piping.

Your local Drain Doctor will be happy to take a look for you – call 0800 358 68 98 or visit the website.

If you do have lead pipes you can get your water company to check if there is lead in the water coming from your taps. As a precaution until you can get lead pipes replaced, you should run the tap for 30 seconds or so before using water for drinking or cooking. Water ‘standing’ in pipes for a long period has an opportunity to absorb lead – water running swiftly through the pipes has little chance to do so and is therefore much less likely to be contaminated.

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Check plumbing now to avoid winter disasters

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...

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It might seem hard to believe as we bask in the Indian Summer sunshine but winter is just around the corner. The long-range weather forecast from the Met Office says we’re in for unsettled weather and spells of frost towards the end of October. Then the clocks go back an hour and before you know it the late autumn weather will have given away to winter.

Perhaps it’s a little early, but checking your plumbing and drainage now and following a few simple tips now could save a lot of frustration later. 

Turning off your central heating in the winter can lead to the system freezing, causing a burst pipe.  Ice in the pipes can put them under immense pressure and both metal and plastic pipes can be affected.  The most vulnerable to damage are pipes in areas exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hoses and water supply pipes in unheated areas like the garage, cellar or attic.

Disconnect external hoses and store them before the onset of winter. Also insulate external taps.

Don’t leave garage doors open where there is a water supply pipe that is likely to freeze.  Pipes can freeze up in a matter of minutes in severely cold weather.

You could add anti-freeze to the water in the central heating system.  Pour anti-freeze into the cistern in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions then drain off enough water to allow it to be drawn into the system.  After restoring the water in the cistern to its correct level, turn on the heating for a short while to allow the anti-freeze to mix thoroughly with the water.

If you suffer regularly from burst pipes invest in some trace heat tape to keep the temperatures of the problem pipes above freezing point.  Wrap the tape around the pipe before lagging it.  One end will be attached to a special block supplied with the tape, the other to the frost thermostat.  As the temperature drops, the thermostat switches on and the tape heats up just enough to prevent the pipes from freezing.

It’s also a good idea to know where your stopcock is. If you are unfortunate to have your pipes freeze then you will need to turn off the water supply to the house. Find the tap which is at the lowest point in the house and turn it on to allow water in the system caused by the thawing ice to drain away. Then find the frozen pipe and gently heat it with a hair dryer to melt the ice. Never use a naked flame to do this.

If you do end up with burst pipes this winter and you need emergency repairs then call a qualified plumber. Drain Doctor technicians are on call 24 hours a day seven days a week and there is no emergency call out charge

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Regular check-ups by the Drain Doctor offer prevention rather than cure.

A CCTV inspection of the drain will show the nature and location of the problem.

Prevention is better than cure. Any doctor will tell you that and Drain Doctor is no exception. 

Many of you will have seen mail shots from your local water company reminding you that you are responsible for that part of your drainage system that runs from your house to the main sewer. 

They are of course trying to sell you insurance but the basic message is accurate. 

In all likelihood, your home has a mains water supply provided by one of the regional water companies. Below ground the household waste pipes are channelled through inspection chambers near the house to join the main drain, which then runs into the water company’s sewer. 

A pipe that only takes drainage from a building or buildings within the same property boundary is called a drain. The water that drains into it may be surface water (for example rainwater from the roof) and/or foul water (for example, bathroom or toilet waste). The responsibility for unblocking a drain or repairing any defects lies with the owner or occupier of the building. 

This is the case even if the problem on the drain is beyond the boundary of the building or under a road or pavement. To avoid serious and expensive repairs it is a good idea to get your drains checked regularly by the professionals. 

Drain Doctor can inspect your drains using the latest CCTV technology. Using special inspection software Drain Doctor technicians can assess your drains and advise on any necessary remedial work. This is widely supported by many of the major insurance companies and water utilities. 

Using the software Drain Doctor’s technicians undertake detailed surveys of drains and document critical inspection work rapidly and thoroughly. Installed on an industrial PC it enables technicians to log digital video from CCTV inspections, still images and text data in an extensive, searchable database. They can identify potential problems and develop permanent solutions. 

Its reporting tools and a freeware viewer make it easy to share inspection results between technicians and head office. It means that Drain Doctor can provide an even better level of service to its customers, both commercial and domestic and help minimise disruption and cost. 

So make sure you give your drains a regular health check to help avoid costly repairs.

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