The pipe most commonly used in plumbing is copper pipes and this is not easy to bend by hand. If you try to bend it, not only is it very tough but the pipe is likely to distort when being bent. It is therefore useful to use a bending spring. The bending spring is slid inside the pipe in order to support it as it is being bent, quite likely over your knee. These bending springs have a loop on one side in order to be easily pulled out from the pipe once it has been bent. They come in different sizes in order to fit different pipe. However, if you have a lot of pipe to bend or if you want to bend something like stainless steel or a thicker copper pipe, say over 28mm, which cannot be bent by hand, the best option is to use a bending machine and these can be hired rather than purchased. Bending machines can normally deal with two or three different sizes of pipe and it will make your work a lot easier.
Blowlamps are used for soldered capillary fittings and nowadays these are much safer than the old-school paraffin type. The ones fitted on to a disposable cartridge are perfectly adequate for most types of jobs or otherwise a blowtorch connected via a hose to a gas cylinder can be used. This is a more expensive alternative but the torch itself is lighter and easier to handle than a blowlamp. Not to mention the risk of running out of gas halfway through a job. Even though you’ll have to carry the cylinder with you, the positive thing is that a blowtorch allows you to use it upside down in case you need to get under a pipe or fitting one. It is not advisable to use a cartridge-fed blowlamp upside down as it will cause flares. Another use of a blowlamp or blowtorch is when a nut seems stuck to its fitting, often due to dried up jointing compound. By applying gentle heath to the nut, it can sometimes loosen it. Just make sure not to use your blowlamp to close to ceramic basins, plastic baths or pressed steel as it can cause further damage. If you need to unfreeze pipes or nuts close to these materials, it might be better to use a hair-dryer or a hot-air gun on a low setting. For safety, make sure to always have a fire extinguisher close by if you do choose to work with a blowlamp.
The most important part to remember for the home plumber regarding the ‘Gas Safety Regulations (Installation and Use)’ is that it is illegal for anyone to carry out any types of work regarding gas fittings if they are not competent to do so. Basically what this means is that if would be very, very stupid to attempt to do your own gas fitting. A lot of plumbers and some other contractors points out that there are many similar techniques with gas fitting and those regarding hot and cold water plumbing BUT if anything goes wrong, any potential mistakes can be so much more serious, not to mention the consequences of you getting found out as this holds hefty fines. Always look for a qualified gas fitter when planning any work involving gas. These can easily be found on the CORGI register (Council for Registered Gas Installers).
Contrary to belief, there are no legal restrictions for anyone carrying out their own electrical repairs and/or alterations – with the exception of Scotland. In Scotland, any electrical wiring is part of the Scottish Building Regulations. Always remember that local electricity companies do have the right to inspect and test any electrical work they suspect to be unsafe and they can also refuse a supply if it comes to it.
The ‘IEE Wiring Regulations’ or the ‘Requirements for Electrical Installations, are generally thought of as a kind of a bible for many electricians. It was produced by the Institution of Electrical Engineers and British Standard (BS 7671). The most current edition which was first published in 1991 is actually its sixteenth edition but just as with the Water and Building Regulations, changes to the Wiring Regulations are intended for new installations and is not retrospective. Keeping in mind that any substantial additions and/or alterations to the wiring of a house might mean making changes to an already existing installation.
There’s a useful book called ‘The Which? Book of Wiring and Lighting’ which not only explains the Regulations but also provides illustrated instructions on how to deal with most common household wiring tasks. Obviously, if you’re still unsure whether you should tackle it yourself, you can always use a qualified electrician. Just make sure to use one that’s a member of the Electrical Contractors Association or ECA for short. Alternatively, one who’s on the roll of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC).
This website is aimed at the home owners who want to carry out the majority of their own plumbing but lack the knowledge and indeed, confidence to do so. This website will stay clear from promoting products or pushing marketing material for companies or organisations. It is here, solely to supply knowledge to those who want to learn. There are many companies in my home town of Liverpool who think nothing of promoting their products online, through financial incentives supplied to bloggers.
This website will act as your guide to tools and techniques needed for home plumbing and many other plumbing jobs you may encounter in day to day life, including the fitting of central heating systems. Plumbing clearly involves a number of skills, but since lead is no longer used and most fittings can be easily assembled and pushed together, it has become a lot easier to take on this kind of work. The growth of online suppliers, and of DIY superstores that stock every tool, material and fitting imaginable, buying has become a lot less daunting for the DIY enthusiast. Make no bones about it, plumbing can be physically very demanding. But at the same time, many tasks require a certain degree of precision, with the occasional bit of brawn, such as untightening tough nuts, making holes in masonry materials or basic demolition.
There will be a series of articles on this website, with the first few articles focused on the tools required to do the jobs at hand. Also the materials and fixtures required to complete these tasks in a successful manner. The articles after that will focus on the four main systems within a house:
- Cold water supply.
- Hot water supply.
- Rainwater disposal.
The jobs necessary to maintain or replace each one of these systems will be covered, with step-by-step guidelines supplied where possible. Following that I will go from room to room, looking at the different plumbing jobs associated with each room. Some rooms, such as the kitchen or bathroom, require more attention than others. I will also venture outside the house, into the garden and look at when needs to be addressed from a plumbing standpoint in that area of the homestead.
This website will give an extensive amount of information that you will most likely not find on other DIY websites. I will also talk more about me and my humble beginnings in Merseyside and how I went on to become an expert plumber.