How to avoid the Heartbreak/Expense of a flooded house.

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Although I'm an eBay seller, like everyone else I'm a householder facing the daily dangers in the home,
and of course the expensive nightmares that can happen in an instant.
My trade is Plumbing - 45 years to date so far, and just last week some of my old customers experiences came back to haunt me. I had 3 out of 5 radiators in my house leaking badly at the same time.
Fortunately, my experience enabled me to restrict the flow of water and I managed to drain them and save my carpets and the chipboard flooring. But tonight I was thinking. How would an elderly person, or anyone with little knowledge cope come to that? so I decided to put over some basic advice. Nothing to sell or pitch here. I just want you to be forewarned, especially if you have a family in a house below you fully furnished and decorated.
My home is on a ground floor, and only four years old so I wasn't expecting radiators to leak. However, I could see right away that the leakage contained no inhibitor or rust protector. This may have been an oversight by the contractors or cost cutting at their end of the job, but as you can imagine, the effects of flooding can be devastating not only to yourself, but to houses below and adjacent to you.
First things first:
Ask an able bodied person, a youngster, or better still a tradesman to expose your radiators. A lot of people have radiator covers or have furniture -sofas and the like hiding them. Check the valve connections either end (preferably with dry dusty hands) for any leaks. Then feel right along the underside slowly for the same. Also if possible check the carpet and floor beneath, as this type of leak (pin holes) can stop and start with expansion and contraction in the system. Radiators without protection can rust quickly from the inside out, and if they are hidden behind furniture or a cover, it wont be apparent until it's too late. So check for recent water staining on the floor, and make a point a point of checking them regularly as you would the water levels in your car or your tyre pressures. Doing this will help prevent the lady downstairs appearing at your door in tears complaining of unrepairable damage to computers, televisions, and furnishings not to mention. Insurance companies don't take to kindly to house owners who have failed to take steps to prevent flooding of any kind, as replacement and repair costs can be astronomical. If all is hopefully dry, take steps to find out when the last rust inhibitor was added to your central heating system, if at all? Ideally, if your system is a few years old it should be flushed out professionally before adding a proprietary brand such as "Fernox". You can buy this in various quantities/sizes from 1 litre upwards from merchants or DIY stores. Your Plumber should keep you right on this.
In the UK central heating systems are usually- either Gravity-meaning you ll have a small header or feeder tank at the highest point-usually attic. Or Pressurised sealed system/combination boiler system fitted. No header tank here, and the system is replenished via a filling loop from the mains water supply. Inhibitor can be added to both systems. With the header tank its added to the tank after draining some system water off via external drain cock. (important to know where its located) When draining water this way, you ll be able to see if the water is sludged up or black indicating liquid rust more or less. Adding to combi system's a bit more tricky to the uninitiated. Best ask a competent person or again your Plumber. I hope this helps you to avoid the grief of flooding, or at least makes you aware that even a new looking shiny radiator can be in bad shape and cause a lot of damage to your home, and to your neighbours. I may add to this in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, any questions or queries can be directed to my eBay email at Carerbyday, or failing that Be aware and Stay Dry!





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