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Posted on 11 October 2021

Unblocktober 2021

This month-long campaign runs throughout October and raises awareness of what items w should and shouldn’t be disposing of down our drains with the aim of improving the health of our plumbing and drainage systems as well as saving the environment.

According to Unblocktober.org, although 64% of the UK population say that they’re ‘very aware’ of what should and shouldn’t go down their drains, 48% of people will continue fishing substances they shouldn’t.

What can’t I flush/put down my drain?

As well as being bad for your plumbing and drainage system and leading to blockages that could cause problems, flushing plastics can also lead to pollution.

Disposable face masks, nappies, gloves, wet wipes (which are over 90% plastic), dental floss and even cotton buds are non-biodegradable because they contain plastics and putting them down our drains increases the likelihood of them finding their way to our rivers and seas, where around 8 million pieces of plastic end up every day!

You should also avoid pouring the following down your kitchen sink:

  • Cooking oil
  • Food – even small crumbs
  • Butter/margarine and lard
  • Cooking sauce

Problems this can cause

Thames Water have confirmed that each year they have to clear over 75,000 blockages from their sewer systems which are caused mainly by cooking oil and wet wipes being put down the drain. This can lead to floods of sewage in customer’s homes.

In the East of England, preventable blockages cost over £19 million a year and around 800 tonnes of unflushable items are being flushed each week.

What can I do?

  • Look out for the ‘Fine to Flush’ symbol on packaging (most products labelled flushable don’t break down easily)
  • If you suspect a blockage, clean your drains and pipes regularly with half a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of white vinegar and very hot (but not boiling) water. This won’t corrode your pipes like some harsh drain cleaners
  • If you’ve used cooking oil or have fat left over from cooking, let it cool slightly and, before it hardens, pour it into a bottle to throw away
  • Prevent hair/food getting down the drain by investing in plughole protectors
  • Replace dental floss with reusable alternatives

Having cover in place before a plumbing and/or drainage emergency takes place is key. By taking out Plumbing & Drainage Insurance with Home Emergency Assist, you’ll be covered in the event of the failure of your plumbing and drainage system. If you upgrade to our ‘Premium‘ plan, we’ll also clear blockages, repair your taps and restore toilet facilities too.

To find out more about our plumbing and drainage insurance , boiler and central heating insurance or other types of home care cover plans, such as Complete Home Emergency plans and home appliances cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can even request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a quote online.

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Posted on 7 January 2020

Top Tips For Looking After Your Drains and Pipes

According to the ABI (Association of British Insurers), one of the most common types of property damage claims is ‘escape of water’ damage, with insurers paying out around £1.8 million for it every day. ‘Escape of water’ damage can be caused by many issues, including burst pipes due to freezing temperatures to blocked toilets and leaking dishwashers.

If you want to ensure that your drains and pipes do not leave you in financial despair due to significant damage, our plumbing and drainage cover and insurance can offer the additional reassurance you require. Making sure you have cover in place before problems develop is crucial.

Keeping your drain in good shape

Making sure you’re not pouring oil and fats from cooking, baby wipes, sanitary products and even cotton buds and plasters goes a long way to making sure your pipes don’t get blocked. If you suspect a blockage, make sure you clean your drains and pipes regularly. Half a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar and very hot (not boiling) water will help to remove a blockage quickly without corroding your pipes as some drain chemicals can.

If you have a lot of oil or fat left over from cooking, let it cool slightly (but not enough to harden), pour it into a bottle and throw the bottle away. You can also use a plughole protector in your sinks, bath and/or shower to stop hair or food from escaping into the pipes and causing potential blockages.

Soften your water

Hard water can cause problems with your plumbing and sewer pipes as well as having a negative impact on your skin and home appliances too. It typically contains minerals like magnesium and calcium which will then build up inside your pipes and restrict water flow.

You can invest in a water softener, which is installed where your home’s water supply enters your property (usually under your kitchen sink). These use sodium to counteract the effects of the other minerals and can help to prolong the life of your plumbing and drains.

Stopcock

Find out where your stopcocks are and make sure you test them regularly as they can seize up. Turning your water off as soon as possible in the event of a leak can help to limit the amount of damage caused.

You’ll usually find you have two (or more!) stopcocks; one inside your property and one outside. Keep in mind, if you live in a flat, the external stopcock will be for your whole block.

Preparing for winter

The cold weather can cause pipes to freeze and burst just when you don’t want to be without heating or hot water!

If you have any exposed pipes in areas of your home that are unheated, such as the garage or attic, wrap these in insulation tape to protect them during the winter.

You may be staying with family or away on holiday, leaving your home unoccupied for a length of time and there’s a chance that your pipes (and any water in them) could freeze. It’s best, therefore, to turn off your water supply if you’re able to, or set your heating not to fall below 14°C.

To find out more about how our plumbing and drainage cover packages could be here to solve your home emergency cover needs, including boiler and central heating cover, contact our friendly team on 0330 09 48 301. You can also request a call back to discuss your requirements or get a free quote online in minutes.

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