Washing hands

WATER SAFETY IN YOUR HOME

There’s a lot to think about when you move into a new home, and we understand that plumbing probably isn’t top of the list. That’s why we’ve teamed up with WaterSafe to bring you expert advice on what to look out for when it comes to plumbing, heating, pipes, taps and fittings and how to avoid future problems.

WaterSafe's top tips

1. Firstly, find your internal stop tap and make sure you know how to turn it off, in case of an emergency. It’s usually located under the kitchen sink, the stairs or in a garage, utility room or bathroom. More info...

2. Check your boiler’s service history. Check how old the boiler is and how often it has been serviced. If it’s due a service, always use a Gas Safe registered engineer. If there’s a tank in the attic, check it’s clean and has a lid.

3. Look out for leaky taps, toilets and radiators. Tell-tale signs are radiator rust, stains on walls, floors and carpets, mould on ceilings and walls, low water pressure or lush or dead patches of grass outside. Fixing leaks will save you money if you have a water meter. More info...

4. Find out if your home has any lead water pipes. Drinking water that has passed through lead pipes can be harmful, especially to pregnant women and young children, so you might want to replace any lead pipes with copper or plastic ones. A quick tip, lead pipes will turn shiny when scraped with a screwdriver. More info...

5. Check if you have a water meter. If you do, you’ll be charged for the amount of water you use rather than a fixed rate – so it’s handy to know. It will be located either in the ground outside the front of your house, or inside near the stop tap, however if you’re unsure, contact your water supplier, as they will be able to tell you if you have a water meter.

Hiring a plumber

Whether it’s fixing a dripping tap or fitting a new bathroom, it is always best to ensure whoever you employ to undertake the work is qualified and experienced to do so. And whilst you might feel that you could change tap washers yourself, unless you’re entirely confident that you can safely undertake the work, it is strongly recommended that you hire a professional to ensure proper fittings are used and to protect the quality of your water supply.

So, when it comes to hiring a plumber, what should you be looking out for? Well first you should check their credentials. All WaterSafe approved plumbers have an ID badge with the WaterSafe logo, so you should always ask to see their ID card. You should also always pick a plumber who can provide:

  • A physical address
  • A contact telephone number
  • An established time in business
  • Proof of insurance
  • Their WaterSafe Registration
  • Their Gas Safe Registration (if they work on gas systems)
  • Their Competent Person Scheme Registration - this means they are qualified to carry out certain types of work (such as installing a new heating system or boiler) in accordance with Building Regulations

Choosing to use an unqualified plumber could end up costing thousands of pounds and a whole load of hassle to put mistakes right, so if you need to call in the professionals, we would always recommend choosing an approved WaterSafe plumber – there are more than 6,000 registered across the UK. Simply type your postcode in to the search directory on the WaterSafe website and you’ll find a list of approved plumbers near to you.

Planning to fit a new bathroom or kitchen?

Shower

When it comes to a bathroom or kitchen refit, it is always important to know the do’s and don’ts. Plumbers on the WaterSafe register are fully qualified, have specific training to keep tap water safe and healthy, can advise on water efficiency and have agreed levels of insurance and a customer redress scheme – they’ll even provide you with a certificate on completion of any work carried out.

Some types of plumbing work need to be reported to and approved by your local water supplier before they can begin (especially if you live in a listed property) and it’s the legal duty of owners and occupiers of premises to ensure that any significant plumbing work complies with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and Scottish Water Byelaws. More info...

WaterSafe approved plumbers have specific training in the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and Byelaws, which helps them protect you from poor installation or the use of sub-standard products which could contaminate your tap water.

Click here for more information about the regulations and whether you need to notify your water supplier about any planned work

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