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Frequently Asked Questions

What should i do if i can smell gas?

The first thing to remember is not to turn on or off any electrical devices including lights and torches. Now go to your gas meter and switch off the gas control valve, you can open windows and doors to ventilate your property.

Exit your property and ring the Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 

How do I correctly top up the pressure on my boiler?

First, you need to locate your filling loop or filling link, which should be fitted to the underneath of your boiler or fitted to the pipework leading from the boiler. You now need to find the pressure gauge, which will be located on your boiler. Is your central heating system switch off and cool? If not, switch it off and wait for your system to cool down before topping up the pressure. Now your central heating system is cold you can start topping up the pressure by opening up the filling valve and carefully monitoring the pressure gauge. The pressure should be between 1.0 and 1.5bar. Keeping your pressure between these values is very important, increasing your pressure further may cause damage to your boiler or system. Running your boiler on low pressure can also cause damage to your boiler. If in doubt call a Gas Safe Engineer.

My boiler is showing a fault code, what can I do?

Your boiler has a sequence of operations that it will go through every time there is a demand. If one of these operations is not completed due to a faulty part, the boiler should go into fault mode and display a fault code relevant to what action it failed to achieve. Faults can be intermittent so you could as a temporary solution reset your boiler using the reset switch or by turning the power off and back on again. This could get your boiler working again for a limited amount of time, at this point you should call a Gas Safe Engineer to diagnose and repair your boiler. Never attempt to repair your own boiler.

Why is my water pressure low?

There are many causes of low water pressure some are listed below:

  • Your stop tap may not be in the fully open position
  • You may have a pressure reducing valve on your supply
  • You may have a blocked strainer on your supply
  • You may have a leaking water supply underground
  • You could be on a shared water supply

My electric shower keeps going hot and cold.

Most electric showers restrict the water flow passing through the heating element so that water can be heated, so the slower the water, the hotter it will become. If your showerhead becomes blocked or scaled up, it will restrict the water flowing out of the shower causing the shower cut out on its thermal cut out, when the water cools down the shower will start heating again. This will become a cycle causing your shower to run hot & cold. Low water pressure can also create this cycle.

My thermostatic mixer shower runs hot or cold.

Thermostatic mixer showers work best when your hot & cold supply is balanced, this means they are both running at the same pressure. If your cold supply is better than you’re hot your shower may struggle to mix the water and in result will give you a cold shower. Most showers have a mesh filter that can become blocked with debris causing unbalanced supply to the shower. In some cases, your thermostatic cartridge can stop working correctly causing the same result, if this happens you will need a new cartridge or possibly a new shower.

I have one radiator which suddenly stopped working.

The first thing to check would be to make sure your radiator is on by opening the valves on both sides of the radiator. There should be a thermostatic radiator valve on one side and a lockshield valve on the other side. Using a radiator vent key try venting your radiator if air comes out then proceed to vent in till water follows. Now switch on your heating and check for correct operation. If your radiator still does not heat up get in touch with a heating engineer.

My tap keeps dripping, what type of tap do I have?

There are two types of taps. The first type contains a washer, this type of valve you can screw tighter and tighter to try and stop the water dripping. This tap will require a new rubber washer. The second type contains ceramic disc cartridges these taps will only open and close with a quarter turn movement. This tap will need new ceramic disc cartridges to stop the dripping.

Why should I get my boiler serviced annually?

Modern-day gas boilers when calibrated and installed correctly burn gas in a lot cleaner way, so they do not create a lot of deposits to be cleaned from the heat exchanger. If the boiler falls out of calibration, this can mean the boiler is no longer burning gas efficiently, which also means there can be a dangerous amount of carbon monoxide produced. This can be found on a boiler service and corrected along with many other safety checks. A Gas Safe Engineer should carry out all service procedures.

How long will it take to replace my combination boiler?

On average, a combination boiler replacement will take between one and two days.

Example 1: Your new boiler is staying in the same location, and the flue exits the property via an outside wall. Your current gas supply is sufficient for the new boiler to operate; there is a waste pipe nearby to connect the condensate discharge. You have chosen plug in controls for your new boiler, and you already have thermostats on all of your radiators. This job would usually take one day to complete.

Example 2: Your new boiler will be relocated into an airing cupboard, you require a vertical flue kit exiting via the pitched roof using 3 meters of flue section, you need a new gas supply installed to the new location, and you need thermostatic controls installed on all of your radiators. There is no waste pipe locally available, and you have chosen external controls. This job would usually take two days to complete.

How do I know if there are lead pipes in my home?

If your home was built before 1970 it may have lead pipes. If it was built after 1970 it is unlikely to have lead pipes as the installation of new lead pipes and use of lead solder on pipework supplying drinking water has been banned for more than 25 years.

Even in properties with no lead pipework there may be other sources of lead in drinking water, such as brass fittings or improperly used lead-based solders.

Each property is different. However, start by checking the incoming pipework behind your kitchen cupboards or under the stairs – this is also where you would normally find your stoptap. Find the pipe leading to the kitchen tap. Unpainted lead pipes are dull grey in colour. They are also soft. If you scrape the surface gently with a coin, you will see shiny, silver-coloured metal beneath if the pipe is made of lead. Always wash your hands thoroughly after doing a scratch test.

If in doubt, ask a WaterSafe approved plumber or your local water company for advice. You can also ask your water company to test the water at your kitchen tap.

Who is responsible for replacing the lead pipes in my property?

The water supply regulations* set strict lead standards for customers’ drinking water supplies. The maximum concentration allowed is 10 micrograms per litre, the same as one part in 100 million.

Many water suppliers already have programmes in place to replace any lead pipes they find on their own network.

However, homeowners and businesses are responsible for all pipes on their property – including internal pipes and the underground supply pipe which connects your home or business to the public water main.

If you’re replacing pipes within your boundary, make sure you contact your local water company, as they may be able to also replace the pipes beyond your house and garden.

WaterSafe and water companies advise replacing all lead pipes with new copper or plastic pipes which have been approved for use with drinking water. A WaterSafe approved plumber is qualified to safely replace lead pipes in line with the  Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws which protect public drinking water in the UK.

*The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2010 in Wales, The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2016 in England, The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 and The Public Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2014.

Why should I check for lead in my water?

Lead is a dangerous metal which can cause serious poisoning if it builds up in the body. Babies and young children are most at risk as their development can be affected.

If the water supply to a home or business passes through lead pipes, or someone has used illegal lead solder to join pipes, the lead can dissolve into the drinking water.

The plumbing in your property is the responsibility of the homeowner, so it’s up to you to safeguard your health by replacing lead pipes with ones made of copper or plastic.

How deep should the trench be for water pipes?

There is a minimum and maximum depth at which service pipes should be laid:

  • Minimum depth is 750 mm
  • Maximum depth is 1350 mm.

If an installer wishes to install a service pipe either deeper or shallower than these depths they must notify the local water supplier for permission.

Important note: The gas service should be at 600mm to ensure separation from the water service pipe.

What should I do if a pipe freezes?

If the worst happens and a pipe freezes, then follow these simple steps:

  • Turn off the water supply coming in to your property at the stop tap
  • Open the affected tap to allow the water to escape as it thaws
  • Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a hairdryer on a warm setting
  • Never use a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw the pipe.

Call a WaterSafe recognised plumber who is qualified to work with the drinking water in your home if you need help.

What is the minimum water pressure that a water supplier must supply?

Water suppliers’ statutory service standard level of mains water pressure is 10 metres/head (or one bar). This means there is enough force/pressure to push the water to a height of 10m.

This is measured at the point where the water leaves the water suppliers pipework and enters yours (usually the outside stop valve or property boundary).

As a guide, if you have a suitable single service pipe, the first tap in the home (this is usually the kitchen tap) should be able to fill a 4.5 litre (one gallon) bucket in 30 seconds, with all other taps and appliances turned off. Another way of putting it is enough water pressure to fill a cold water storage cistern in a two storey house roof space.

My Vaillant Boiler is Showing a Fault Code, What Dose it Mean?

Check out our news post on Vaillant Faults codes Below.

Vaillant Fault Codes Explained