More Plumbing Problems !


Following my article with regard to minor plumbing problems in issue 9, I have received several other requests for information and answers on other plumbing problems. Again I have answered these individual questions by phone; however I thought it may again be beneficial to other readers to have the knowledge to carry out minor repairs themselves.

Central heating and radiators
Radiators are cold at the top and hot at the bottom
This is a sure sign that you have air in the system and that the radiators need to be bled.

Clicking, noisy radiators

We tend to forget our central heating even exists in the summer but this is just the time when air can build up in the system making radiators a lot less efficient. In fact, this build up of air can be very costly and you can be paying up to 35 per cent more on your heating bill in the worst cases. Sometimes this build up of air forms an air lock and these air locks produce a clicking sound as they pass through the valves. Even if there’s no annoying noise, check that there are no cold spots at the top of your radiators. If so, you need to bleed the system to get rid of trapped air that forms these cold pockets. Radiators shouldn’t need frequent bleeding, if they do, air is getting into the system and you need a professional to check the system over.

How to bleed your radiators
Switch off your central heating, open up any thermostatic radiator valves by turning them to the highest number on the dial. You’ll then need a radiator key (which can be bought for a few cents from any hardware shop) or sometimes a screwdriver and an old towel to catch any drips of water. Start upstairs, as this is where most of the air will be trapped. Put the key over the square valve in the top end of the first radiator and turn anti-clockwise slowly.
If air is trapped in the radiator, you’ll hear a hissing sound as it escapes. As soon as water begins to drip out, close the valve. Follow this process with all the radiators in turn and then give your heating a quick 15 minute blast on the highest temperature setting and check there are no leaky valves.

Radiators are cold at the bottom and hot at the top
If the problem is cold spots at the very bottom of a radiator you have a slightly more serious problem but still one worth trying to repair with a DIY remedy before calling in a heating engineer. The cool areas are a sign of rust and sludge build-up that's sitting in the bottom of the radiator. You will need to turn off both valves at the side of the radiator then remove the radiator and flush it out with a hose but it’s worth trying a water treatment first. Check for the correct product for your type of boiler.

Some radiators are hot and some are cold

This usually means your radiators aren’t properly balanced. Usually the nearest radiators to the boiler are taking more than their share of the hot water from the system. This is really a job for a heating engineer.


Dripping Taps

Nothing’s more annoying in a kitchen or bathroom than a dripping tap. Fixing the problem is a simple DIY job that will save you a hefty plumber's call out charge and only takes 15 minutes to fix.
First, turn off the water supply, either at the mains or at the service valve on the pipe to the faulty tap. Put the plug in the sink so that small bits can't be lost down the waste pipe. Take off the top of the tap either by pulling it or removing the centre cover on the handle and undoing the small retaining screw. Wrap a tea towel around the body of the tap and hold it firmly with an adjustable wrench. Use a second wrench to unscrew the large brass headgear nut. If it’s stuck, spray with penetrating oil, such as WD40 and wait a few minutes.
On the underside of the headgear nut is the washer that you can prise off with a screwdriver. Push the new washer into place and screw the headgear back on to the tap but don’t over-tighten it. Replace the tap top and turn on the water supply to check for drips.
If the tap still drips, the area underneath the washer may be worn, coated with lime scale or scratched. This can be fixed with a special re-seating tool available from plumber's merchants or DIY stores. Push the end of the tool into the tap and twist it round to clean the metal. Even easier is to buy a combined washer and seating pack from a plumber’s merchant.

Ceramic disc taps
If your taps are reasonably new and only need a quarter twist to turn off or on, they will have ceramic discs instead of washers. Undo the top of the tap and unscrew the brass valve to reach the ceramic cartridge. Take the whole piece along to a plumbing centre for a replacement as the discs come in various sizes and are right-handed (cold) or left-handed (hot). You may also need to replace the thin rubber seal around the cartridge.

Water coming out of some taps very slowly

On modern day taps there is usually a small filter fitted to the outlet of the tap, this catches the grit and dirt before it leaves the tap. This filter can become partially blocked, reducing the flow of water from the tap. To clean the filter, simply unscrew it from the tap using a wrench. Once removed, the filter can be cleaned by gently tapping it onto a hard surface and running water through the filter in the opposite direction to its normal flow. Care must be taken not to loose the small rubber washer which fits between the filter and the tap. In very extreme situations a new filter and rubber washer can be purchased from any hardware shop. Refit in the reverse sequence and be careful to not over tighten as this will split the rubber washer and could strip the treads on the tap.

John Phillips (F.I.A.S. F.A.B.E. M.I.B.C.O. F.F.B. M.R.S.H. C.M.W.O.B.O. M.B.I.M)
Construction Buena Vista

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Construction Buena Vista
Urb. Palmeria. Orba 03790


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0034 965 577 464 (office)


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Buena Vista Villas s.l.

Urb. Palmeria. Orba 03790


Please call us on


0034 965 577 464 (office)


0034 629 554 561 (mobile)


Or simply click the image above