Here in the UK, it’s no secret that our plumbing and heating systems are worked to their limits. With cold, miserable winters and summers getting hotter and therefore putting more demand on outdoor water supplies, plumbing and heating are two services that houses across the UK are constantly in need of repairs for.
If you’re considering becoming a plumbing or heating engineer, or you’ve just gotten started in the industry, knowing the most common issues in the UK can help you manage expectations and your business risks. Plumbing and Heating Engineers’ insurance offers protection for you and your clients in the case of damage or injury, but knowing what to expect can help you better prepare for the problems you’ll face. To give you a headstart, we’ve put together a guide to some of the most common heating and plumbing problems, below.
Finding that your boiler is leaking can be concerning, but the truth is that a lot of leaks tend to be superficial and aren’t any harm to your property beyond potential water damage if drips aren’t collected efficiently. However, residents and plumbing engineers alike should be aware that a leak left unattended for a period of time could lead to rusting and corrosion in the pipework or even get into the circuitry which will ultimately be a far more serious and expensive problem to fix.
Common causes of leaks include cracked heat exchangers, filling loop leaks, expansion vessel diaphragm degradation, insecure heat pumps, blown heat pumps or gaskets, poorly installed pipework, and internal or external corrosion. Whatever the cause, getting these leaks fixed sooner rather than later can prevent bigger jobs down the line.
The UK can get bitterly cold in winter with temperatures hitting the minus numbers. Clearing ice off of our windscreens and taking care not to slip on the pavements are an annual occurrence, but how many of us think about our pipework? Our plumbing pipes can freeze in icy conditions, particularly the condensate pipe that builds up moisture throughout the day. When this is frozen and therefore clogged, it can prevent your boiler from being able to heat up water or your home. If the resident can access this pipe, it can be thawed out by them, but in some cases, a professional plumber may need to thaw or replace this pipe if the ice causes damage.
Blocked drains are some of the most common causes of plumber call-outs, from bathroom sinks to showers, through to kitchen sinks, and beyond. A build-up of oils, fats, hair, dirt, grease and other debris can create blockages over time and put pressure on the entire system if things aren’t draining and flowing properly. Having blockages dealt with quickly is crucial for a proper-working plumbing system. As a plumber, you will likely face plenty of these call-outs every year, and you might need to be ready to deal with some nasty stuff!
No Hot Water
One of the biggest issues that people face in the UK when it comes to their boilers and plumbing is a lack of hot water. There’s nothing worse than stepping into the shower expecting it to be hot, only to be hit by icy cold spray, or trying to wash your hands only to come away with icicles for fingers. Plumbers and heating engineers face call-outs for no hot water every day, and the causes can vary. Issues could include:
- Lack of ignition in the boiler – check the pilot light is on
- Motorised valve problems
- The temperature is too low
- The hot water isn’t on for long enough (if using a gas boiler)
- The boiler may not be big enough for the property
- The diverter valve – if you have heating but no water, or vice versa.
Poor Water Pressure
Good water pressure, particularly in the shower, is something a lot of us take for granted until we lose it. Call-outs for sudden reduction of water pressure are another common issue in the UK. Causes can range from water leaks somewhere in the system, to problems with the taps or the showerhead itself. If you have good water pressure everywhere but the shower, for example, it could build up within the showerhead itself that needs to be cleaned out. If the pressure has dropped everywhere, plumbing and heating engineers can check the pipework and find the source of the leak and repair it accordingly.
If you’re looking to become a Plumbing and Heating engineer, or you’re just getting started in the industry and looking to improve your expectations for your new career, knowing the most common issues can help you prepare. Good Plumbing and Heating Engineers insurance will also provide financial support for you and your clients in case of accidents, injuries, or damage to the property while you work, preparing you for every situation. Get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance to find out more.