Central Heating Boiler in London, 1862

Heating apparatus at the city prison, Holloway

boilers london old

Book illustration of the heating apparatus at the city prison, Holloway from page 449 of ‘The criminal prisons of London and scenes of prison life’ by Henry Mayhew and John Binny. The authors visit the Engineer’s department and observe the boilers that heat water which is piped around the prison. The Plumbing and Heating Engineer reports that: “We keep the fires burning night and day when the weather is cold, keeping the temperature up in the winter, which renders the cells very healthy, with a sufficient quantity of warm air passing into them continually from the flues, where the hot-water pipes are. Each of the cells has an extraction flue that conveys the impure air into a large flue on the roof of each wing, and these large flues are connected with, and discharge themselves into, the ventilating shaft.” The boilers also heated water “to supply the baths in the reception ward, and likewise for the baths given to the prisoners in the various corridors, in winter once a month, in summer once a fortnight.”


Gas crater

This a crater made by Soviet geologists in 1971, in the Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan. The ground beneath the gas drilling rig collapsed and to stop the release of poisonous gases,they set it on fire, thinking it that it will only burn dew days.

They might need a giant cooking pot.

Drawing a Plan of the Pipework

A detailed floor plan of your house, on which are marked the existing water supplies and the drainage services, will help you to determine where you are going to site new plumbing installations. The diagram on this page and the one opposite represent the ground and first-floor plans for a typical semi-detached house, with two living rooms and a kitchen on the ground floor, and a bathroom and three bedrooms on the first.

Extending the water supply pipes to the new fittings should present you with few problems; careful planning will be necessary, though, to ensure that the fittings are correctly plumbed into the drainage system. The drainage services from the kitchen sink and from the first-floor bathroom. Pipework that is in white indicates where waste pipes would be needed for the addition of a shower in either of the two bedrooms or in the cupboard underneath the stairs; or for the addition of a wash basin, in this case, a vanity unit, which is a basin set into the top of a low cupboard—in the bedroom adjoining the bathroom. The waste system can be the old two-stack variety, with the bath and basin waste discharging into a hopper head and the W.C. directly into a separate cast-iron soil stack.

When you make the sketch plans of your floors, include the positions of existing plumbing appliances and services, and of possible obstructions to new pipework. Do this plan to scale, adding all the dimensions; you will then be able to tell whether or not the proposed new appliance will fit, and can estimate for materials such as copper piping for extending the supplies, and plastic pipes for the wastes. In new houses, builders‘ plans are usually available from the agent that negotiated the sale. Decide on the type of appliance to be added, collect information about its dimensions, choose the optimum position, and lightly sketch in the appliance on your floor plan.

Next, work out the availability of the necessary services. Maybe the water supplies can be extended with only short runs of extra pipe, but you realize that the drain is inaccessible; in that case you will have to work out another position for the appliance. A well-made diagram will readily provide such information. When designing new plumbing services, try to site the appliance as close as possible to the main stack: long runs of waste pipe are undesirable for many reasons.

Blockages are more likely to develop in long runs than in short ones, especially in those that have to change direction in order to by-pass obstructions; noise, created by frictional resistance as water travels through the pipe, may occur; and venting will often be necessary. For example, a 40 mm diameter waste pipe from an installation to a single stack system (combined waste and soil stack) should be vented if its length is more than 2.3 metres.

If you cannot avoid a long run, make sure that you install cleaning eyes at regular intervals and wherever the pipe changes direction. Increase the diameter of the pipe to reduce noise. And if venting is impracticable, you must fix a special resealing trap to the appliance. The plan should also allow a sufficient downward gradient of the pipe towards the drainage services. For a 40 mm diameter waste the minimum desirable slope is approximately 1 in 50, that is, 20 mm per metre. If the fall is insufficient, the emptying of waste water from the appliance will be sluggish, again causing blockages.

Conversely, if the fall is too great, the appliance will empty too quickly, which may result in the trap seal being removed by differential pressures. If you have any doubts, niake a sketch plan of your project and take it tq your local water authority who is very willing to offer help and advice. In any case, the water authority should always He (consulted before you embark on any major alterations to the sanitary fittings in the home.

New Plumbing Installations

New installations both improve and extend the plumbing facilities of the home, bringing them up to date. If you use piping already installed in the house to give yourself a head start, you can achieve the desired results with a minimum of elbow grease and expense. Small jobs may prove as rewarding as big ones.

Fitting an outside tap will result in labour saving for many cleaning and watering chores. Larger projects such as plumbing in a washing machine or installing a shower unit may also improve the efficiency of domestic life. Once you get started, seemingly complicated projects often turn out to be remarkably straightforward. When you replace an old fixture with a new one in the same location, the plumbing connections are simple mechanical fittings; no soldering, threading or cementing need be involved.

Replacing a noisy wash-down type W.C. with a stylish and virtually silent new siphonic one, for example, is largely a matter of loosening nuts with a pipe wrench and removing screws with a screwdriver to take the old cistern off the wall and the old W.C. pan off the floor—and then reversing the process to secure the new close-coupled fixture in place. The chances are that the trickiest part will be lifting the components into position—vitreous china is fragile as well as being heavy, so you will need a helper to manoeuvre the cistern and pan safely. Wash basins call for even less effort to replace. Ready-made fittings go into place quickly.

Wall-mounted wash basins are supported by specially designed brackets packaged with the basins. Should any soldering of the joints be necessary, the use of integral solder-ring fittings makes this the easiest of tasks. Modern vanity-type wash basins are simply set into a waterproof laminate surface or secured with bolts and wing nuts. Neither kind of wash basin is difficult to install in a room which did not have one originally: a bedroom, a utility room or even a darkroom. It will be necessary to extend the waste and supply lines, but if the distance between the fixture and existing waste service is kept within the recommended maximum length you may not need to install a special trap or vent pipe.

Similarly, the installation of a shower and the plumbing-in of an automatic washing machine are only complicated by the practical considerations of accessibility to existing supplies and wastes. Before starting any work, familiarize yourself with the layout of the supplies and the drainage, by roughing out on graph paper a diagram of the house and its existing plumbing facilities. In all modernizing—additions as well as replacements – remember that you need never feel limited by the extent of your present piping. Adapter fittings make it possible to join new pipes to old ones; and plastic piping may be used to short-cut many of your plumbing projects.

Push fit joints for gas pipe

Push fit joints CAN NOT be used for gas pipes

They are made of plastic, rubber and a metal reinforcing washer. If there is a fire, the pipes and joints are the first to give away. While the plastic pipes and joints are OK for the pressure, however, it it too risky to have gas piped through them. You can use them for compressed air and non hazardous situations, as long its not a hazardous or poisonous gas.

Speedfit / polypipes pipes can be dangerous if misused.

plastic pipes plumbing

North West London Plumbers

Plumbers in North West London

Plumbers Robuild London are your local plumbing & refurbishment company who cater for all commercial, residential plumbing projects. We offer, high quality professional service from estimates and quotes, to the finished job.

plumbers underfloor heating pipes

Our plumbers use only quality materials and qualified, highly skilled and Gas Safe registered plumbers.

New central heating systems
Underfloor heating
New boilers installations
Bathrooms & Kitchens
Boiler repairs

Plumbers in London

Plastic pipes and fittings in plumbing

Plastic pipe and fittings can now be used for hot water supplies and central heating. They are easy to work with and allow the DIY plumber to tackle a wide range of jobs.

Over the last twenty years plastic has become the most popular plumbing material for above and below ground drainage, for rainwater collection and disposal, and for subsoil drainage. In the form of black polythene tubing it has also become a material widely used for water transportation on camping sites and farms. In the home, however, it has not proved popular. Although this lack of interest can partly be attributed to the conservatism of plumbers and householders, the main reason has been that up until now the plastic pipes that have been available have been suitable for cold water supplies only.

This has meant that plumbers, who have had no choice but to use copper or some other metal for the hot water or central heating system, have almost always tended to use the same material when dealing with the cold water system. Householders have doubted the ability of plastic pipework to do a good, life-long job, and have also tended to resist its use on grounds of taste: quite simply, in places where pipework is exposed to view the combination of plastic and copper (or stainless steel or iron) is not one that is very pleasing to the eye. Now, however, all this has changed. Recently the National Water Council (NWC) gave its approval to two proprietary systems of plastic plumbing, one made out of polybutylene and the other of chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), both of which can now be used for cold and hot water supply as well as for wet central heating systems. These two rival plumbing systems should hold a special appeal for the DIY enthusiast and – now that they have gained the NWC’s approval – there is nothing to prevent them gaining widespread acceptance.

The advantages of plastic pipework

The most obvious advantage is the lightness of the pipework, which makes for ease of handling, but the most important benefit is the ease wrth which plastic can be cut and joined. This means that the level of skill you require to undertake a particular plumbing task is greatly reduced, as is the amount of time you require to carry it out. Both systems are also strong and durable, more resistant to frost than a traditional plumbing system and, unlike the latter, not subject to corrosion.

Last but not least, they are competitively priced. Plastic pipes are less vulnerable to frost because plastic is a poor conductor of heat compared to metal (which means that, unlike metal, it provides a certain amount of insulation), and because it has greater elasticity. This means that plastic pipes are not only less likely to freeze than metal ones, but also that in the event of their doing so they are much less likely to burst.

The greater degree of insulation that plastic provides also brings other benefits: it results in less heat being lost from pipe runs between radiators (or between the hot water cylinder and the hot taps),, as well as meaning that less insulation is necessary for pipework that needs to be protected against the cold. Plastic pipes aren’t subject to corrosion for the simple reason that plastic isn’t attacked by the water supply.

Electrolytic corrosion, which results in the build up of hydrogen gas and black iron oxide sludge (magnetite) and can ultimately lead to leaky radiators and early pump failure, is therefore far less of a problem when a central heating system is fitted with plastic pipes. This also means that plastic is a safer material to use for your drinking water supply pipes than metal, the use of which can, under some circumstances, present a health risk. One final point to be borne in mind before you replace metal pipes with plastic ones is that plastic is a non-conductor of electricity. This means that all-plastic plumbing systems cannot be used to earth a domestic electricity supply. You can obtain both polybutylene and CPVC tubing in the 15mm, 22mm and 28mm (1 in) diameters commonly used in domestic hot and cold water supply and in small-bore central heating.

However, in other respects – particularly as regards the flexibility of the two different types of tubing and methods of cutting and jointing – the two systems differ. So, before you undertake a plumbing task using plastic pipes and fittings, you’d do well to consider which system best suits your particular application. Polybutylene tubing Polybutylene tubing is brown in colour and naturally flexible; in this respect it differs from CPVC tubing, which is rigid. As well as being available in 3m (10ft) lengths in all three diameters, it is also obtainable as a 100m (39.0ft) coil in the 15mm (1/2in) size, and as a 50m (195ft) coil in the 22mm size.

This flexibility, and the long lengths in which the tubing is available, is particularly useful as it cuts down the time you need to spend on installation, and reduces the number of fittings necessary (which means less cost). You can thread polybutylene pipes under floors and between joists with minimal disturbance, their flexibility also allowing you to take them through apertures and round obstacles that would otherwise present serious difficulties. You can bend the tubing cold to easy bends with a minimum radius of eight times the pipe diameter; 15mm (1/2in) tube can therefore be bent to a minimum radius of 120mm and 22mm to a minimum radius of 176mm (7in). You must, however, provide a clip on either side of the bend to secure it. The flexibility ‘of polybutylene tubing means that inside of the fittings, brushing in the direction of the pipe.

It is usually necessary to apply two coats to ABS pipes and fittings. The second coat should be brushed on quickly before the first has dried. Push the pipe fully home into the fitting (some, but not all, manufacturers suggest that this should be done with a slight twisting action). Remove excess solvent cement and hold the assembled joint securely in position for about 30 seconds. If hot water will be flowing through the pipe, don’t use it for 24 hours to give time for the joint to set completely.

Joining ring-seal types

Preparation for ring-seal or push-fit jointing is similar to that for solvent welding. The pipe end must be cut absolutely squarely and all the burr removed. You should draw a line round the cut end of the pipe 10mm from its end and chamfer back to this line with a rasp or shaping tool, then clean the recess within the push-fit connector’s socket and check that the sealing ring is evenly seated. One manufacturer supplies sealing rings separately, and they should be inserted at this point.
The pipe end should now be lubricated with a small amount of petroleum jelly and pushed firmly into the socket past the joint ring.

Push it fully home and mark the insertion depth on the pipe with a pencil. Then withdraw it by 10mm (which is the allowance made for expansion). The expansion joint that is inserted into long straight lengths of solvent-welded waste pipe consists of a coupling with a solvent-weld joint at one end and a push-fit joint at the other. As with solvent-weld jointing, individual manufacturers may give varying instructions. Some, for instance, advise the use of their own silicone lubricating jelly.
Where the manufacturer supplies instructions it is best to follow these exactly.


PVC pipe can be bent by the application of gentle heat from a blow-torch, but this technique needs practice and it is best to rely on purpose-made fittings. Sockets are used for joining straight lengths of pipe, tees for right-angled branches, and both 90° and 45° elbows are usually available. If you need to reduce the diameters from one pipe to another you can use reducing sockets These are really sockets within sockets which can be welded together, one taking the smaller diameter pipe and the other the larger. Soil outlet pipes from WCs are joined in the same way; they are merely bigger – usually 100mm (4in) – in diameter. Sockets work in the same way, but the branch junction with the main soil stack must be of a specially ‘swept’ design.

Safety and Gas, Boiler man arrested over blast

A man who inspected the boiler of the house which exploded in Oldham has been arrested, police have confirmed.
When asked if the man was a gas fitter, Mr Heywood responded: “There is speculation in the community that he was involved in some form of maintenance.

“That appears to be our understanding as well.”

Gas Safety is a Russian roulette when using bad plumbers. Always use qualified and reliable plumbers.


Solvent weld jointing tools


• hacksaw – a junior or larger – for cutting the lengths of pipe as you need them
• piece of paper – to help cut the pipe truly square
• tape measure
• file – for chamfering the pipe ends
• fine glasspaper – to abrade pipes and sockets for solvent-welding, and for cleaning up the ends of pipes where you have cut them
• pencil – for marking the cutting points and socket depths to find the working area of the pipe.

• solvent cement – for solvent-welding
• cleaning fluid – for cleaning the pipe ends and socket fittings when making solvent-weld joints • petroleum jelly – for lubrication when inserting the pipe into the socket in push-fit joint assemblies • tissues or rag for cleaning off excess solvent or petroleum jelly.

TYPES OF PIPE Unplasticised PVC (UPVC) is used for all waste pipe applications. Modified PVC (MPVC) has rubber or some other plasticiser added to make it more resistant to shock. Chlorinated PVC (CPVC or MUPVC) is used where very hot water discharge occurs, such as washing machine out-flows. Polypropylene (PP) is an alternative to PVC and can withstand hot water – but it expands a lot and is only suitable on short runs. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is stronger than UPVC and is used for waste connection mouldings.

• don’t smoke when you are solvent-weld jointing – solvent cement and solvent cement cleaner become poisonous when combined with cigarette smoke
• don’t inhale the fumes of solvent-weld cement or cleaning fluid – so avoid working in confined spaces • don’t get solvent-weld cement on any part of the pipe you’re not joining as this can later lead to cracking and weaknesses, especially inside sockets where the solvent cement can easily trickle down
• hold all solvent-weld joints for 15 seconds after joining and then leave them undisturbed for at least 5 minutes – if hot water is going to flow through the pipe don’t use it for 24 hours.