Bending copper pipes

Using bending springs is a simple job which requires little practice to achieve successful results. The spring should be inserted into the pipe so that the middle of the spring roughly corresponds with the proposed bend point. If this means that the spring will disappear into the pipe, attach a length of nylon cord or thick string to help you remove it after the bend has been made. In many cases the easiest way to make the bend is to place the pipe, with the spring inserted, just below your kneecap and, holding it either side, gently pull it towards you.

As it is difficult to correct a greatly overbent pipe by this method, first underbend and then check the angle before proceeding. If the pipe proves too tough to bend this way, obtain a thick piece of wood, about l00mm x 50mm and about 610 mm long, and drill a hole near one end slightly larger than the diameter of the pipe. Chamfer the lower edges of this hole with a suitable tool (the round file will do). Then place the bottom of the wood on,the floor or workbench, insert the pipe in the hole, and then press down on either side. When the bend has been completed, the spring is sometimes difficult to withdraw. This can be overcome in two ways. The first is to insert a screwdriver through the eye at the top of the spring and unscrew it anti-clockwise. The other method is to overbend the pipe slightly, then correct. This loosens the ‘grip’and the spring can then be pulled out.

How to cut copper pipe

If you are using a vice to hold the pipe steady, wrap a thick piece of cloth around the pipe to protect it from damage. Another method is to hold the pipe on top of your left foot (if you are right handed) to steady it while cutting. This method enables you to cut the pipe where you are working and so avoids frequent journeys to the workbench. But you need a straight eye ! When using the hacksaw, use only gentle and even pressure and take care to make a straight cut-a crooked one will impede good joint making later. Stainless-steel pipes are much tougher than copper and more pressure is needed to cut them with a hacksaw. A pipe cutter has the advantage of producing a straight, clean cut more easily than a hacksaw.

A typical one has three toughened metal .wheels mounted on a frame to form a triangle. The circumference of each is tapered to form a cutting edge and a threaded spindle is attached to one of the wheels for adjustment. To cut the pipe, insert it between the wheels and position them over the cutting point. Adjust the cutters so that they grip and turn the tool a couple of times round the pipe. Then tighten the spindle to deepen the cut and continue turning, re-tightening as you go, until the pipe is severed. Once the cut has been made, the burrs, or jagged edges, left inside and outside the pipe end must be removed. If they are left, they can restrict the water flow and create unwanted turbulence within the pipe. They can also make the actual jointing of the pipes much more difficult, if not impossible, particularly where capillary fittings are used. To remove them, use the flat file to clean off the external edge, and the round file for the inside. Many pipe cutters have an accessory for this. Also bevel the outside edges of the pipe slightly with the flat file as this will enable the pipe to fit tightly inside the fitting.


Insulating the loft door is effective, but in cold climates it makes the loft itself very cold indeed. Little of the the heat used to penetrate can now do so. If the cold water cistern is up there, as it is in most British houses, you will have to lag it , wrap it up to stop it freezing in the winter. Leave a space in the floor insulation under the cistern so that a little heat reaches it from below.

The cistern itself can be lagged with various materials. A special type of fibreglass blanket is sold for the purpose. There are tank lagging kits available that use cut-to size insulation boards to fit all standard sizes of cistern. The boards fasten together with clips that are supplied with the kit. Holes can be cut for the cistern’s pipes with a handyman’s knife.

Measure the exact position of the hole from the two nearest edges with a ruler. Cut as small and neat a hole as possible, and cut out a strip of board from the hole to the edge of the board so that you can slide the board into place over the pipe. When the board is in position, put the strip back and clip it down. Join the edges of the floor insulation to the sides of the tank insulation so that no heat seeps through the gap.

Heat insulation

There is a tendency among builders to skimp on the insulation that they should be installing in every new house, but you can remedy this in your own home at a cost of a few pounds. Proper heat insulation is a ‘must’ in any climate from the Arctic to the tropics-in cold weather it keeps the interior of the house warm, and in hot weather it keeps it cool. If you live in an average British semidetached house with central heating you may be wasting as much as three-quarters of your fuel in heating the air outside your house. It has been estimated that in a house of this type, only 25 % of the heat produced goes to heat the rooms. Of the rest of the heat, 25% goes through the outside walls, 20& through the roof, 20% through windows, doors and chimneys, and 10% through the ground floor. In a terrace house, slightly less heat is wasted than this, and in a detached one, slightly more. In a modern house with large windows, even more heat may be lost.

In any case the annual waste of money is enormous. In a hot climate, of course, the problem is quite the reverse -to stop the sun that beats down on the roof from making the house interior too hot. In some countries. there has been a trend since the Second World War to make roof pitches (slopes) lower and lower sometimes as little as l6 degrees. This reduces the volume of air available as ‘insulation’ between roof and ceiling, and helps make the running of an air conditioning system more expensive than it would otherwise be. The answer to both problems is efficient insulation. Insulating a house properly can reduce heating bills by 35% while keeping the rooms at the same temperature, or can make the house much warmer without using more fuel. Similarly, insulation can reduce substantially the power consumption of an air conditioning system,or, in a moderately warm climate, even make one unnecessary. The greatest fuel savings made by insulation are in houses with central heating. Provided the insulation is done economically, it should pay for it self in two years’ saving on fuel bills. In houses with local heating, such as electric fireplaces or gas fires, people tend to heat only the rooms they use most, and the saving is not so great. But insulation will still make the house more comfortable. Many postwar British houses have a certain amount of insulating material already installed. But standards are not very high as a rule, and adding more insulation is generally worthwhile.

Value for money
An important factor in deciding whether insulation is worthwhile or not is, of course, the cost of installing it. For example, salesmen of double glazing windows and doors often clainr that their glazing halves the heat loss through windows. This sounds impressive until you realise what a small proportion of the total area of a house the windows occupy. Halving the heat loss through them might reduce heating bills by cornparatively little. If this is the case, then obviously it would be better to spend the money elsewhere. Before installing one type ol insulation rather than another, it is a good idea to find out the relative costs ol various n-rethods of insulation, and how ellcient they are. The efficiency of an insulating material is expressed as a’U value’, and the brochures put out by insulating-material manufacturers generally state the improvement in U value obtained by using their material.

U value measures the amount of heat that passes through a material in a given time, so a high U value is undesirable and a low U value is desirable. For example, a properly-insulated lolt floor may have a U value as low as 0.08. If it is not insulated at all, the U value averages 0.43 in post-war houses. The U values quoted by manufacturers for their products are average figures for houses in normal positions. If your house is in a very exposed position, such as on a hill or overlooking the sea, the U value of even the best insulation will be raised, and therefore worsened, by the winds whistling around your roof and walls. You will need more and better insulation. Similarly, if your house is in a sheltered valley and surrounded by trees, you will not need so much insulation to keep it warm-though in fact the more insulation you have, the more heat you save.

Toilet of the future

‘Toilet of the future’ solves global issues

Last summer, Hoffmann, the James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science at Caltech, and his team were awarded a $400,000 grant to create a toilet that can safely dispose of human waste for just five cents per user per day. The lavatory can’t use a septic system or an outside water source, or produce pollutants.

The challenge is part of a $40 million program initiated by the Gates Foundation to tackle the problems of water, sanitation, and hygiene throughout the developing world. According to the World Health Organization, 2.5 billion people around the globe are without access to sanitary toilets, which results in the spread of deadly diseases. Every year, 1.5 million people—mostly those under the age of five—die from diarrhea.

Hoffmann’s proposal—which won one of the eight grants given—was to build a toilet that uses the sun to power an electrochemical reactor. The reactor breaks down water and human waste into fertilizer and hydrogen, which can be stored in hydrogen fuel cells as energy. The treated water can then be reused to flush the toilet or for irrigation.

Funny plumbing and bathrooms disasters

DIY disaster stories are not always funny, apparently over 100,000 people per year visit hospital casualty departments after DIY injuries.
But sometimes, the work and inventivity of some Do It Yourself enthusiasts can produce some hilarious results.

Shower head from an empty plastic bottle and some improvised piping.

wash basin drain into toilet wc
Don’t forget to put the toilet seat down ? And take the drain out. Washing your hands in the basin has priority.

wash basin tap
Aiming short.

toilet seat toilet paper holder
An epic battle between the toilet seat and the toilet paper. The toilet paper would eventually lose at some point.

Available urinals. Just like the buses, two come along the wall at the same time. Take your pick.

traffic cone toilet
Work in progress. A traffic cone is not just for the roads.

public toilet funny
Nothing to hide in this public toilet.

wc room blocked door
In use or not in use? The biggest sign possible if a toilet is Occupied or not.

small toilet space
Toilet time. Please, don’t squeeze too hard.

wc far from toilet paper
How far is too far ? If you travel in a straight line, between the WC and the toilet paper…

glass door for toilet
You always need the toilet while playing hide and seek

toilet chair
Is this chair taken ?

damaged toilet door
Finally, some privacy..! I just need to find a way to get in and out

WC toilet throne
From up there you can see the whole country and your subjects

scissors to flush toilet
When you flush the toilet, don’t waste water, cut the wasted water

public wc
A symbolic divider protecting your intimacy. Just pretend that you are not there and don’t make eye contact

beer toilet
Beer goes right through you because it has natural diuretic properties

basins, wc toilet
You can only do something once when nature calls. But you have to wash your hands five times if you want the bathroom door to open

double urinals
Urinals like this keep the security industry alive in pubs and clubs

British bathroom
Experiencing the British weather in the bathroom

Urinals in clubs
This is not an urinal. This is an IQ test.

double urinals
Who said that boys don’t go to the bathroom together?

shower funny
This is how you take a shower before you apply for Britain has talent or X Factor

shower mixer
That could be a killer whale biting a white shark and not the action of somebody who really wants to take a shower. A very poor and weird attempt at showering or filling the bathtub up

public toilet funny
I am not behind you

Sochi Olympics twin toilet

Dealing with Drain & Sewer Problems, Drainage

Avoiding drainage problems

A cake of fallen leaves, bird droppings and other debris collects in gutters. The space for water is reduced and this can cause overflowing during heavy rain. Once a year remove this rubbish with a trowel – put it into a bucket and not down the pipe. Cover the mouth of this pipe with a ball of wire netting.

The kitchen waste pipe is most at risk – do not put peelings, tea leaves, melted fat etc into the sink. You must install a waste disposal unit, if you wish to enjoy the luxury of washing away kitchen waste. Washing soda in hot water will remove grease from the pipework. lf blockage has been a problem, use a plunger about once a year to prevent further trouble.

Dealing with drainage problems

First of all, check that only one sink, basin or other fitting is affected. lf more than one is blocked, your problem is in the soil pipe or a drain. A frozen trap in winter will prevent water from draining away. Thaw gently with a hair dryer or use rags soaked in hot water. lf ice is not the problem, suspect a trap blocked with kitchen waste, hair or other household debris. The first step is to use a plunger. Press it down firmly and pump up and down rapidly about adozen times. Pull off to break the seal and then repeat the pumping action until the sink empties.

There are several symptoms of this distressing and often difficult problem. Several fittings may refuse to drain or one fitting may fill up when another is emptied. There may be an unpleasant smell or a gully may overflow. Put on old clothes and an overall before working on faulty drains. Wear glowes. Call a plumber if the problem is not a simple one. When the trouble is a blocked gully, remove any rubbish which may be covering the grid before removing this protective cover. Use a stick to break up compacted debris – flush with a hosepipe when water starts to run away freely. The problem may be in the soilstack or pipe.

The most likely cause is a blocked trap. Buy or hire a special WC plunger – this is larger than the standard sink model and has a metal disc around the base of the suction cap. Alternatively, use a mop with a polythene bag tied overthe head. Bale out some of the water so that the bowl is only about half full. Move the plunger or mop up and down rapidly about a dozen times. A gurgling sound will tell you that the trap is cleared – flush the cistern several times.

Hard Water

Most of the water in S and E England is hard. The cause is the presence of dissolved salts of calcium and magnesium, in the presence of soap a curd or scum is formed.Bathroom and kitchen fixtures are stained, washed woolens are matted and soap does not lather properly.
stained shower head
The serious problem starts when the water is heated above 40 degrees Celsius. Kettles develop fur and hot water pipes develop scale. This scaling increases the cost of running the system and can cause damage to the boiler and immersion heater. Proprietary descalers are available for kettles and the hot water system can be descaled by putting chemicals into the cold water cistern.

It is much better, however, to avoid scaling rather than trying to cure it. Install an Indirect cylinder to replace a Direct one, and avoid water temperatures appreciably over 40 °. A number of chemical water softeners are available, but the most satisfactory solution is to fit a water softener. This works on the ion exchange principle, sodium being added to the water in exchange for calcium and magnesium. It must occasionally be regenerated by adding salt. The unit should be fitted to the rising main above the cold water tap in the kitchen by the plumbers.

Replacing a boiler, radiators & Central Heating

Replacing a boiler, radiators & Central Heating

Replacing your existing Central Heating or installing a new Central Heating, can be a major plumbing job. If the pipes needs to be replaced or installed, the flooring needs to be removed and the walls chased sometimes.

removing flooring pipes

Because gas or electrics are involved, the job must be done by professionals plumbers and electricians.
gas engineer

What type of boiler you need

boiler & underfloor heating

There are three major Central Heating systems but most often, for properties in London, a combi boiler is the most efficient and the best choice. It can also be hidden inside a cupboard.

combi boiler cupboard




Water supply

Sometimes the amount of water you get, will dictate the type of Central Heating you have. Our plumbers can update your water mains if you need a better water supply. This happens when the property has more than 2 or 3 bathrooms.

mains water pipe

This is done by upgrading the main water supply pipe, the bigger the pipe’s size – the better the water supply. It is also a healthy option because most old main pipes are made of lead, which can be poisonous.

If the water supply is high enough, a high flow boiler might the best choice, it requires no hot water or cold water tank, saving space.

high flow boiler

How water tank – cylinder
hot water tank

Cold water tank

When installing a new boiler, the plumbers needs an external wall to install the flue vent for the boiler.
vent boiler

Underfloor Heating or Radiators ?

underfloor heating

Underfloor Heating is more expensive to install but cheaper to run in terms of energy bills. It is also more pleasant. The heat is distributed evenly throughout the floor surface.

underfloor heating wooden flooring

You can also compromise by having stylish radiators, old cast iron radiators or modern radiators.

Cast iron radiator
cast iron radiator

Modern radiator
modern radiator

What brand or make of boiler is the best ?

Boilers are like cars or any other engineered and manufactured product. Our plumbers do prefer to install certain brands and makes, they usually go for a middle of the range quality.