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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 16 August 2021

How To Look After Your Taps Yourself

Dripping taps aren’t just annoying – they have the potential to add as much as £100 onto the cost of your water bill and waste up to 5,300 litres of water a year!

If you take out Premium Complete Home Emergency Cover, we won’t just help in the event of emergencies – we’ll help with dripping taps, and other non-emergency problems too.

Find out how to look after some of the basic problems yourself with our guide below. If you don’t have the right tools, or you’re unsure of how to carry out the work, it’s important to call in a qualified plumber.

Turning off your water supply

Before you start working on your taps, you’ll need to turn off your water supply.

  1. You might be able to turn off the water to specific areas of your home (therefore you won’t have to turn your water off at the mains). Looks for a shut-off valve close to the area you want to turn the water off for. These are usually hidden behind – or under – fixtures.
  2. If you can’t turn off the water for a specific area, you’ll need to locate the stopcock. These are typically found under the kitchen sink, but if you’re having trouble locating it, simply trace the pipes back from your tap until you find a valve on the main water supply.
  3. Turn the stopcock clockwise to turn the water supply off.

Before you start

  • Put the plug into the sink so you don’t lose any small parts down the plughole
  • Take care not to scratch your chrome taps with any of the tools you use – where you can, use a soft cloth to protect the finish
  • Don’t overtighten washers or valves when reassembling, as this may damage the joint
  • Make sure you have the right tools for the job and use protective equipment to avoid injury

Fix a dripping tap

You can then check to see the reason why you have a leaking tap by opening up the tap and inspecting the washer (only do this if you feel comfortable doing so).

If you can see a build-up of debris, clean this away, close up the tap and see if this resolves the issue.

Alternatively, you may see that the washer has become damaged. If this is the case, it’ll need to be replaced. You can read how to do this in our step-by-step guide to replacing a washer.

Take out a Home Emergency plan

Keep on top of emergencies – and non-emergencies too – by taking out Premium Complete Home Emergency Cover. As well as sending out a plumber in the event your plumbing and/or drainage system fails, we’ll also help with clearing blockages, repairing your taps and storing toilet facilities too.

To find out more about how our home emergency insurance could be here to solve your home emergencies and our various types of cover, including plumbing and drainage insurance and boiler and central heating, 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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23 January 2020

It’s Big Energy Saving Week!

From 20th – 26th January, it’s Big Energy Saving Week; a national campaign dedicated to helping people cut their energy bills and save both money and the environment through simple, everyday actions.

Here are just four ways you can make your home more energy-efficient (information from research conducted by Citizens Advice):

1 – Running water

We know it sounds simple, but using a washing up bowl, rather than leaving your tap to run can help save you money.

The same goes in the bathroom; by spending one minute less in the shower each day, you could save £75 a year in energy and water bills!

Swapping out an inefficient showerhead for a more water-efficient one saves you another £70 per year off your gas bill and around £115 off water bills (based on a family of four).

Did you know? A running tap can waste more than 6 litres of water every minute and a dripping tap can waste more than 5,300 litres of water a year!

2 – Lights Out

Turn off your lights when you’re not using them; this will save you around £14 a year on your annual energy bills.

Replacing your bulbs is a good plan too; by swapping to energy-efficient LEDs where possible, you can save yourself £35 a year on average. LEDs use around 90% less energy than a traditional lightbulb and can last up to 30 years, depending on which one you buy and how you use it.

3 – Step away from the appliance

Cutting down on your washing by one load a week and only filling the kettle with the water you need could save you around £36 a year.

Switching your appliances off standby mode can save you £30 a year and remember not to leave your laptop/mobile devices charging needlessly!

4 – Feeling the heat

There are a few things you can do to save energy when it comes to your boiler and central heating.

If you have a timer set for your heating and hot water, make sure this only comes on when required. You can also install thermostatic radiator valves, a room thermostat and programmer to ensure that you’re only heating the rooms you need to; this will save you around £75 a year.

The thermostat should be set to the lowest comfortable temperature (usually between 18°C and 21°C) and by turning it down by 1 degree, you can save yourself around 10% on your energy bill. Be sure to make sure that your home is warm enough during cold weather though; cold homes can harm your health.

For another quick win, you can draught-proof your windows and doors to save £20 a year on your energy bill.

Booking in an annual boiler service can help too; this will help maintain the performance of your heating system and highlight any problems.

To find out more about our boiler with central heating cover and how our other types of cover are here to solve your home emergencies, including plumbing and drains and home appliances 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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