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Discovering a leak, boiler problem or blockage can be scary, and the thought of the cost is enough to make anyone flinch.

With the average cost to call out an emergency plumber around £200, some might feel it’s worth tackling the problem themselves to save precious pennies. However, delaying action on some plumbing issues can leave lasting damage – amassing to thousands in repairs.

That’s why I’m giving my advice on some emergency repairs that are best left to the professionals.

Unclogging a blocked sewer line

It isn’t too uncommon for your main wastewater line to get blocked, leading to pooling in your garden areas or sewage backing up into your home. However, it isn’t a job you should attempt yourself.

When it comes to unblocking a drain, a proper diagnosis needs to be carried out and tackled with the right tools. An unfortunate side-effect of unblocking tools is gouging, corrosion, and even breakages of the pipes – making it vital that the right tools are used to minimise damage.

Even if you can access your main sewer line, there’s a good chance you don’t have the proper equipment to tackle a dense blockage. Professionals have the right tools and know-how to rid a pipe of obstruction while avoiding further damage.

Considering the average cost of replacing a mains pipe is around £750, chancing it could leave you even more out of pocket.

Installing new appliances

For large appliances like your washing machine or dishwasher – that need a direct water supply – there’s no harm in having a plumbing professional check everything over.

Occasionally, adjustments need to be made to the appliance to make sure there’s a strong flow to the machine with no kinks or leaks. For example, making sure new drain lines are the correct length and fit. Trying to make these seemingly simple changes can turn what should be a quick fix into a disaster.

With a sizeable investment like a washing machine, getting a professional to evaluate the installation will guarantee you peace of mind knowing things will run smoothly.

Fixing your water heater

Attempting DIY repairs on your water heater is a risky business. Whether installing one or dealing with a malfunction, there’s the potential for fires and even explosions with one wrong move.

Licensed professionals will not only be able to give you a thorough diagnosis, but they’ll be up to date on the latest safe installation practices, helping to minimise chances of injury.

Because of these risks, you should let professionals handle everything from small water leaks and rust to more complicated issues like temperature gauge malfunctions.

Handling a leaky pipe

With leaking pipes, it’s all about detection. You may spot symptoms in a general area – like build-ups of mould and mildew and damp patches – but knowing the exact area is difficult.

Attempting to access pipes behind walls can end up causing more harm to your home than good. Professionals will have tools like acoustic leak detection systems to pinpoint the problem area and reduce how much wall needs stripping away.

The type of pipe will also determine the remedy. Copper pipes, for example, shouldn’t be botched with duct tape or sealant. This requires professional welding to effectively seal these leaks – something only a professional is equipped to do.

Gas leaks and problems

Gas leaking from faulty appliances is serious and, in this situation, it’s important to set ego aside and call an emergency gas engineer. They’ll know how to handle it safely and with minimal risk.

What you can do is open windows and doors to let the fresh air in and shut off the gas at the valve. For most pipes, a quarter turn in either direction will cut the supply.  

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