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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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Posted on 31 May 2021

Why You Need Home Emergency Cover

If a pipe bursts or your boiler breaks down, it can be a huge relief knowing you’ve got Home Emergency cover in place to rectify the emergency quickly and cover any repair costs.

Depending on the level of cover your choose, if your central heating stops working, you have an electrical fault in your home or you discover pests have made a nest in your house, your Home Emergency insurance provider will send out an approved tradesperson to fix the problem.

While home insurance will usually cover any damage caused by an emergency – for example, if a pipe bursts and the water ruins your carpets – it won’t usually cover the costs for call-out fees or emergency repairs of your boiler and central heating or your plumbing and drainage system.

It’s important therefore, to have Home Emergency Cover in place before a problem develops, to make sure you’re covered in the event of an emergency.

What does Home Emergency Cover with Home Emergency Assist include?

If you buy Enhanced Complete Cover, you’ll benefit from the following:

  • Boiler & Central Heating: this will cover you in the event your boiler stops working and you’re left without heating and/or hot water. We can cover gas, oil and LPG boilers under 15 years old. It’s important you get your boiler serviced once a year to keep it well-maintained.
  • Plumbing & Drainage: this covers you for damage to or failure of your plumbing and drainage system where you’re likely to suffer internal flooding or water damage. This includes loss of access to your only or all toilets within your home.
  • Electrics: covers you for the electrical failure of at least one complete circuit.
  • Security: this covers you if your windows, doors or locks are broken and your home is not secure. We’ll also cover you for the loss of your only available key to the home which can’t be replaced (and normal access can’t be obtained).
  • Pests: we’ll cover you in the event you suffer from an infestation of mice and/or rats, as well as wasp and hornet nests.
  • Roof: covers you for missing, broken or loose tiles which is causing internal water damage.
  • Boiler Replacement Contribution: we’ll give you a contribution towards the cost of a replacement boiler if yours is deemed to be beyond economical repair.
  • Overnight Accommodation: where it’s not been possible to resolve your emergency following an accepted claim for emergency repairs, we’ll arrange overnight accommodation for you.

What’s classed as an emergency?

We class an emergency as a sudden or unforeseen event which, if not dealt with quickly would:

  • Render your home unsafe or insecure
  • Damage or cause further damage to the home
  • Cause personal risk to you
  • Cause a health and safety risk to others

Can you get cover for non-emergencies?

If you upgrade to Premium Complete Home Emergency Cover, you will be covered should any of the above scenarios occur as well as being covered for non-emergency situations.

A non-emergency (or breakdown) is a sudden and unforeseen malfunction with results in the unit or system no longer working or operating as expected.

This would include repairing dripping taps, replacement of leaking pipes and thermostats/temperature timings.

 

To find out more about our Complete Home Emergency plans, boiler and central heating insurance or other types of home care cover plans, such as plumbing and drainage insurance 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 30 April 2021

Simple DIY You Can Do Around Your Home

Being able to do basic home maintenance yourself is an important life skill which can save you money in the long term. Outsourcing jobs that you can do yourself can be a big expense.

We’ve put together a list of basic DIY skills you can learn to save yourself time and the inconvenience of having to find a tradesperson.

Basic Plumbing

We’ll all have to deal with plumbing problems at some point. Whether it’s a blocked drain, a leaking tap or a toilet with a faulty flush, these are all common problems and usually easy to fix.

  • If your plumbing freezes or springs a leak, you’ll need to be able to shut your water supply off in order to make repairs. Make sure you know how to locate your stopcock in the event of an emergency.
  • If your sink has stopped draining (or has become slow to drain), you’re likely to have a blockage somewhere in your waste pipe. Read our step-by-step guide to unblocking your sink.
  • Dripping taps aren’t just annoying – they’re bad for the environment (and your wallet) too. It can waste as much as 5,300 litres of water a year. Luckily, we’ve got a handy guide to fixing a leaking tap.
  • If your toilet won’t flush, there are things you can try before having to resort to a plumber. Find out more about fixing a faulty flush.

 

If you don’t have the right tools, you don’t feel confident attempting repairs yourself or the problem hasn’t resolved with a simple fix, you’ll need to call in a plumber. Having Plumbing & Drainage Cover in place before problems develop is important in the event of an emergency and with our Premium Plumbing & Drainage Cover, we’ll also fix non-emergency problems such as dripping taps.

Boiler and Central Heating

It’s important that you don’t attempt to fix your boiler yourself, as this will need to be done by a fully qualified Gas Safety registered engineer, however there are steps you can take yourself to resolve common problems:

  • If you find yourself without heating or hot water, there may be a problem with your boiler’s pressure. Follow our step-by-step guide to top up your boiler pressure.
  • If boiler pressure isn’t the problem, your boiler’s pilot light may be out. Read our handy guide to reigniting the pilot light. (You may need to get a Gas Safe registered engineer to look at your oiler depending on the issue)
  • If your radiators are cold at the top but the bottom is warm, you may have trapped air that needs releasing. In this case, you’ll need to bleed your radiators to improve flow.

 

If none of the simple fixes above help and you’re without heating and/or hot water, you’ll need to call an engineer. Making sure you have Boiler & Central Heating Cover in place before an emergency occurs is important and with Premium Boiler & Central Heating Cover from Home Emergency Assist, we’ll take care of non-emergency problems too.

Simple DIY

If you’ve just moved into your first home, there are some other basic maintenance tasks you can do yourself. Find out more with our easy-to-follow step-by-step guides below:

To find out more about our Complete Home Emergency plans, boiler and central heating insurance or other types of home care cover plans, such as plumbing and drainage insurance 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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