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How To Avoid A Plumbing Emergency


In our last blog post we explained what a plumbing emergency is and how to deal with different plumbing emergencies when they occur. But before we go on if you having a Plumbing emergency in Newbury call 01635 922 999 now!, Of course in an ideal world there would be no emergencies, and while you can’t always prevent problems from arising, some emergencies occur because of problems that have been building up over time. So what can you do to reduce the risk of serious plumbing problems in your home?

1. Get to know your plumbing system

Do you know where your main water valve is and how to turn it off? If there is a leak or another problem with your system, you’re likely to be the first person to notice, so it’s important that you’re familiar with the system so you can turn off the water as soon as possible and avoid any further damage to your home.

2. Don’t misuse your system

Some plumbing problems are caused by flushing things down the toilet that the system can’t handle. Toilets are built to process specific types of waste only, so don’t try to flush things like baby wipes, cotton wool, paper towels or anything else that isn’t toilet paper.

If you happen to have a garbage disposal, there are certain things you shouldn’t put down there either. Greasy or oily food can leave a film on the blades making them ineffective, while pasta and rice can swell with water and clog up the unit. Egg shells and fibrous vegetable peels can wrap themselves around the blades and should be disposed of in small quantities. Finally, non-food items shouldn’t be put in a garbage disposal because they cannot be broken down enough to be washed away.

3. Replace or service old parts

How old is your boiler? It’s a good idea to keep track of how many years you’ve had your system – boilers last up to 15 years, so if yours is on its last legs it may be time to think about getting a new one. No matter how old your system is, it’s also important to get your boiler serviced annually. This can keep your boiler running efficiently and it means you may get a few more years out of it than you otherwise would.

4. Use chemicals sparingly

Home plumbing chemicals such as drain cleaners may not be strong enough to tackle every problem you may run into. Some clogs are caused by major build-ups that have hardened in your pipes, and they may need a professional plumber to take care of them. Some chemicals are designed for specific pipes and can even cause damage to your plumbing or cause clogs if used incorrectly.

5. Don’t try to do repairs yourself

If you’re not very confident of your plumbing skills, don’t attempt to repair a problem yourself contact a professional at 999 Plumber, Trying to fix a problem such as a leak without professional help can worsen the problem and create more damage. If in doubt, call an emergency plumber – at 999 Plumber we can fix the problem for you with much less hassle.

By following these tips you can take steps to reduce the risk of a plumbing emergency in your home. However, some emergencies are unavoidable and even looking after your system well doesn’t guarantee you won’t run into any problems.

If you do find yourself with a plumbing emergency in Newbury or surrounding areas such as Reading or Basingstoke, contact 999 Plumber on 01635 922 999. Our professional team is here to help and we’ll get to you as soon as possible so you never have to cope with an emergency on your own.

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Plumbing Blog

Why does my sink smell?

Have you noticed a foul smell coming from your kitchen or bathroom sink? It might smell like rotten eggs or raw sewage, and it isn’t pleasant to live with. Read on to find out what causes it and how you can make your sink as fresh as a daisy again.

What Makes Your Sink Smell Bad?

The waste trap in your plumbing is designed to prevent sewer gases from coming up into your house. One common example of a waste trap is a U-bend. A small amount of water is retained in the trap to block the sewer gases from coming back up the pipe. But this only works if the trap is properly vented, which equalises the pressure inside the pipes so that the gases can be released. If there is no proper ventilation, this may result in high pressure in the drains, which can lead to gases being released into your home. Or there could be low pressure in the drains, which can render the water in the trap ineffective in blocking the gases. If there is a blockage in your pipes, this can make the U-bend less effective and cause these problems, leading to a bad smell.

It is likely that your sink smells because there are things in your plumbing that shouldn’t be there. Food waste, hair, fats, oils and grease can all cause difficult (and stinky) problems in your home. If you put bits of food down your kitchen sink it can get stuck in the U-bend and block your sink, causing it to smell. The same can be said for oils and fats, hair, toothpaste, and many other things that shouldn’t be put down the sink but may end up there anyway. When these things get caught in waste traps or build up in your pipes, they can decay and cause a nasty smell. Hair caught in the plughole of your sink, shower or bath can also act as a trap for other substances.

What to do if Your Sink Smells

If you think there is a blockage from hair or other items, try using a plunger to remove the blockage. If your sink smells and you think there is a build-up of debris in your pipes, 999 Plumber Newbury can come and strip your waste trap down and remove any blockages and replace the trap making sure the rubber seals are replaced to prevent leaks. 

How to Prevent Your Sink From Smelling

Here are some things you can do to prevent your sinks from smelling to begin with:

  • Scrape your plates before washing them in the sink so food doesn’t get stuck in your pipes
  • Try not to put anything down your sink that isn’t water and soap suds
  • Clear any hair out of the sink (or shower) rather than letting it go down the drain
  • Invest in a drain basket, which will catch any food in the kitchen sink before it goes down your pipes
  • Consider having a soil vent pipe installed by a plumber if you don’t already have one, to divert bad smells away from your home.

If you have a problem with bad smells coming from your sink and your DIY tricks haven’t worked, or you’d simply prefer some professional help, give 999 Plumber Newbury a call on 01635 922 999 or visit 999 Plumber.

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Plumbing Blog

What To Expect When You Call A Plumber


Calling a plumber for the first time because you’ve woken up to no hot water or have discovered a nasty water leak can feel a little daunting, especially if you have not had to do this before.

999 Plumber have put together a handy guide to help put your mind at ease when calling a plumber for the first time:

What should you do?

  1. If you’re calling a professional because of an emergency, we recommend writing down as much information as possible about the problem. This will help you remember everything that may be important when speaking to your plumber and also give your plumber a better understanding of the issue and what work needs to be carried out.
  2. If you’re enquiring about something non-urgent, i.e. looking to upgrade your boiler or need some general advice, it would be useful to carry out some research of your own in advance. Holding some initial knowledge of your enquiry will ensure a better result overall and help keep the conversation crystal clear.

What should your plumber do?

  1. A reputable plumber should always be able to explain the options available in an easy to understand language. You should never be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about the services they offer, as they will be more than happy to explain things in further detail.
  2. Choosing a plumber you wish to work with will take your careful consideration, therefore you should never feel rushed into making a decision.  Your engineer will provide you with the information you need to make your decision and leave contact details for you to get back to them.
  3. When it comes to the price of your job, a good plumber will always be able to give you an estimate of the price and timescale. They will usually be able to tell you their hourly rates, however, this will not be an exact figure without really seeing what they have to work on.
  4. Plumbers understand that you may need time to discuss the job with a partner or friend before coming to a decision. They will be happy to talk through anything else you think of and the available dates to start the job before you agree to sign them up.

Here at 999 Plumber, we always act in a friendly, reliable and professional manner and are always happy to ensure you understand exactly what you need. If you live in the Newbury, Reading, Basingstoke, Bracknell or surrounding areas and need some plumbing work carried out, you can give us a call on 0800 999 1233 or get in touch with us by using the contact form or book online. We look forward to helping you! 

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Plumbing Blog

DIY Job, Or Is It Time To Call A Plumber?


There are always odd jobs to do around the house, whether it’s clearing the guttering or changing a fuse. But when it comes to the plumbing, it can sometimes be hard to know whether to call a plumber or to try tackle the task at hand yourself.

The main issue with DIY plumbing is that something can easily go wrong, and if it does you could end up paying even more to get it properly fixed. DIY jobs gone wrong can give you a bigger mess than you had bargained for. Despite this, there are a lot of simple tasks which you could attempt yourself, such as:

  •   Unblocking the drains
  •   Changing a shower head
  •   Fixing a leaky tap

And then there are some more complex plumbing situations where it would be a very good idea to call a plumber. These include:

  •   Jobs involving gas or electrics
  •   Fixing main pipes
  •   Fitting a bathroom or kitchen
  •   Other large plumbing jobs

If the job is particularly complex, don’t be tempted to save a bit of money trying to do it yourself - it could be cheaper in the long run to call a plumber. A professional plumber knows best when it comes to implementing the most cost-effective solution for your home. It’s also much safer, especially if the job involves your home’s central heating or boiler. A gas safe registered plumber will be able to do the job quickly and safely with minimal hassle.

If you have a plumbing or heating job that needs sorting and it’s too big to tackle on your own, give 999 Plumber Newbury a call. We are highly knowledgeable, professional and gas safe registered plumbers in Newbury. Just call 01635 922 999 or visit 999 Plumber and we will be more than happy to help you.

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Plumbing Blog

How To Improve Your Central Heating System Ready For Winter


Winter is slowly creeping in again, and you may already be feeling the chill and turning on your central heating. Now is a great time to think about your central heating and whether it’s working well enough for you – before winter really kicks in!

If you feel like your boiler isn’t keeping you as warm as it should be, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to get a new one. There are many cheaper things you can try to get your system working as good as new once more. These ideas can also help if you feel like you’re paying too much for your heating.

Here are just a few ideas for saving energy, reducing your bills, and lowering your carbon footprint – all while keeping your house feeling toasty.

Power Flushing

A power flush can clean out all the sludge rust, and other debris clogging up your central heating system. The aim of this is to restore full circulation within your system so that water can travel through all the pipes, radiators, and our boiler. This should make your central heating system more efficient, warming your radiators more quickly and heating your home for less.

Bleeding Your Radiators

Bleeding your radiators is another way to make your heating system more efficient. You can tell if a radiator needs bleeding if it is only heating up at the bottom. Bleeding your radiators releases any air trapped at the top of the radiator, allowing hot water to fill the entire system once more.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves

TRVs allow you to adjust the temperature of individual radiators so that you can heat some rooms in your home while keeping others a little cooler. This is a good way to save energy and money as it means you’re not heating the rooms you’re not using, but you can still keep the temperature comfortable in rooms you use more. 

Wireless Room Thermostats

These thermostats can accurately measure the overall temperature of your house and adjust the heating system to ensure your home stays at your desired temperature. This means you don’t have to worry about changing the temperature manually to save energy.

Cylinder Thermostats

Cylinder thermostats regulate the temperature within your heating cylinder, ensuring the water is only heated when the temperature drops to below 60-65 degrees.

Unvented Cylinders

These cylinders draw cold water from your mains supply and heat it on demand. Unlike cylinders that constantly heat the water, these only heat water when needed. They also don’t require a cold water storage tank, giving you the added bonus of extra space in your home.

Radiator Reflectors

Radiators give off heat in the space all around them, which means half the heat leaves the back of the radiator. If the radiator is on an external wall, some of your energy could be wasted heating your garden instead of your home! Radiator reflectors can stop this heat transfer and reflect the heat back into the room so it doesn’t escape through your walls. This means you don’t have to put the radiator on for as long, and you can lower its temperature if you have a TRV.

Radiator Fans

These are micro fans which are placed on top of radiators. They are very low wattage and they only come on when a certain temperature is reached. When they do come on, they blow hot air from the radiator further into the room, increasing the temperature so that you can have your heating on for a shorter amount of time and lower your heating bills.

Radiator Additive

Radiator additive can help your central heating liquid heat up faster and stay hot for longer, by changing its heat transfer properties. This means your heating will reach your desired temperature quicker and your boiler won’t have to work for as long, saving you money on your heating bills.

Heat Recovery Devices

Some of the gas generated by your boiler escapes through the flue, but you can buy heat recovery systems which capture it and use it to heat your water, making your system more efficient.

Hot Water Cylinder Insulation

New hot water cylinders are factory insulated to help keep your water at the right temperature, but older cylinders may need some additional insulation to stop heat escaping. You could save money and energy by topping up your insulation.


The build-up of lime-scale can significantly reduce the efficiency of your hot water system, but inhibitors can prevent this build-up. A chemical inhibitor is a liquid which is inserted into your central heating system and slows down oxidisation, which is the reaction between the metal radiator and the water running through it.

Electrolytic scale inhibitors can also be fitted to your incoming water supply pipe, and these stop lime-scale crystals sticking to any surface in your system, preventing build-up.

Upgrade Your Boiler

The average boiler lasts for between ten and fifteen years, so if yours is getting on a bit and you’re encountering problems, it may be time to replace it. Modern boilers are more efficient than older boilers because they are all condensing boilers. All boilers burn fuel efficiently if they are well-maintained, but they tend to lose some heat in the gases that escape up the flue. In contrast, condensing boilers have larger heat ex changers, so they recover more heat and send cooler gas up the flue. Sometimes the flue gases get so cool that the water vapour in them condenses out and even more energy is recovered, making condensing boilers particularly efficient. In fact, a condensing boiler only wastes around 9% of its gas, compared to 20-40% for non-condensing boilers.

If you would like more specific advice for your central heating system, or if you would like 999 Plumber to carry out any repairs, improvements, installations or upgrades, get in touch! Call 01635 922 999 or contact us online and we will be happy to help you get the most out of your central heating and boiler. 

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