It is always worth having some plumbing supplies on hand should something go wrong with your system, as you may be able to fix it yourself. Even if you do have problems with your plumbing, and you cannot deal with it, you may be able to get by without having to use a 24-hour emergency plumbing service.
If, for example, you have a problem with a wash basin, the kitchen sink can be used for washing. While you will need to call out a plumber to have the problem with the wash basin dealt with, you will be spared the cost of having to use a potentially much more expensive emergency plumber working on a round-the-clock call out.
There may be times when it is absolutely necessary to call out an emergency plumbing service. One of the most obvious needs for an emergency plumbing service is a gas leak. The smell of gas is often the first indication that something is badly wrong. It is very important that an emergency plumber is called out immediately to deal with it as the leak could result in an explosion, death, injury or serious damage to property. The first thing to do when faced with leaking gas in the home is to switch off the main valve, and the second will be to ring the emergency plumbing service.
A breakdown in heating during the depths of winter is also a plumbing emergency. This is particularly so if there are young children in the home, someone who is elderly or ill, or has failing health. Before putting in a call for an emergency plumber, however, it is first worth checking if the problem can be easily resolved. The thermostat should be checked to see if it has been turned down or switched off. The burner switch should also be checked to see if it has been switched off.
The heating might not be working because the circuit breaker has tripped and if it is reset the heating should come back on. If you burn oil, check to see if your oil tank is empty. If, having made all these checks, there is nothing to indicate why the heating is not working, then it is time to make contact with the emergency plumber.
There are some emergencies where you should take steps before seeking emergency assistance. If you have a burst pipe, then you should first shut off the main water valve before calling out an emergency plumbing service. If you don’t know where any of the emergency shut off valves, then contact your plumber. Have them come to your home for an inspection and have them tag the valves and explain which ones to shut off first in an emergency.
Other related videos:
How to strip and repair tap gland-seal
How to stop a monobloc tap outlet leaking (emergency repair)
Earlier today I noticed some water on the floor near the kitchen sink so opened the unit and saw a bit of a leak from the main stopcock that controls flow of water from rising main into the house. Water was dripping from the gland seal. Unfortunately since this is the main way of turning off the water supply* I couldn’t isolate the actual stopcock which ironically is the isolating valve for the cold water supply. So as this was an emergency repair I had to use PTFE tape which is a product that everyone should have in their toolkit.
Anyway – to carry out emergency repair;
Turn off the stopcock and remove handle by unscrewing the cross-head screw in the end of shaft.
Loosen off the gland seal retainer collar. The leak will worsen so put some old rags around it to mop up spills.
Try to extract the old gland packing which is either rubber, fibre or leather. If the tap is in awkward place or the old seal is rock hard and too tight to remove, you then have to wrap several turns of PTFE tape around the shaft as near to the gland seal as possible.
Now using a flat screwdriver and carefully push the tape right down into the gland seal (or what’s left of it)
Now install the gland seal retainer collar and tighten it up.
Now turn on the stopcock or tap/faucet and check for leaks. Ideally the old seal/packing is removed first but in the real world that sometimes doesn’t happen. If there’s still no leaks after a few hours then chances are you’ve fixed the problem. This is a ‘temporary repair’ so ultimately you will have to fit a new stopcock/tap/valve at some point. A useful tip is to regularly cycle any water supply valves, taps etc fully open and closed to keep them from sticking open or shut. Do this twice a year. Taps tend to seize more when they are fully open so it’s good practice to open them fully then back them off half a turn so the internal valve seat isn’t hard against the end stops.
*If the main water supply stop valve is leaking you’ll either need a pipe freezing kit or hope there is a main water supply cut-off along with the water meter or supply from the mains water. Worth making a note of where the stopcocks and other valves are located on your property.