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Top five lockdown DIY hints and tips

Lockdown is well underway in England and it seems the nation is once again going potty for DIY. The winter weather is looming and Christmas approaching, so it’s the perfect time to tackle those long overdue jobs and ready the house for the cold months ahead. 

With National Maintenance Week taking place from 20-27 November, bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) are reminding householders to undertake those vital jobs to ensure homes stay dry, warm and cosy in the months ahead. 

1) Label and test your stop valve
Make sure you know the location of the stop-valve (stop cock) on the incoming water supply main. Test that you can easily turn it on and off and that it shuts off the water supply completely. Label it so everyone in the household knows where it is. Faulty valves will need replacing by a professional – don’t ignore any issues as this valve could be the only thing standing between you and substantial water damage, should you suffer a burst pipe or leak.

2) Lag your pipes
Make sure that any exposed pipework has been lagged to protect pipes from freezing and bursting. Double check pipework in lofts and don’t forget any outside taps. Lagging is relatively inexpensive to buy and simple to fit.

3) Insulate tanks (cisterns) and water cylinders
While you are in your loft space, make sure that any water storage tanks are adequately insulated. You can save money on your energy bills by ensuring hot water cylinders (if you have one) in airing cupboards are insulated with a cylinder jacket too. If in doubt call in a professional.

4) Check your gutters, downpipes and grilles on drains
Dead leaves, moss and other debris can block gutters and grilles on drains. Keep on the look out for damp patches on walls where guttering could be overflowing, or dripping joints, which are sure signs your gutter is in need of attention. In most cases guttering will need to be cleaned. For those in bungalows it is a relatively straightforward job. However, if your home has two stories or more, then this job involves working at heights and you should call in a professional.

Make sure you check grilles on any surface water or foul water drains. While keeping in mind good hygiene, remove leaves and debris to make sure the water from your gutters and external pipework can flow freely into your drainage system.

5) Only tackle jobs you are competent to do
When it comes to plumbing systems, its best to stick to the simple jobs and call in the services of an engineer for anything else. If you accidentally damage your plumbing or heating system through DIY during lockdown, you may have trouble finding a professional tradesperson to put it right. Additionally, if your home insurance policy does not cover accidental damage, or you have attempted work that you are not competent to do, you may find they won’t pay out and some issues could be very, very expensive to fix. 

If you’ve noticed a problem with your plumbing or heating system and need a professional tradesperson, you can find vetted plumbing and heating engineers online at www.ciphe.org.uk