Tag Archives: plumbing

water problems

4 Sep


you remember reading in the news of how an old person had died and when they investigated they found the flat has no running water, or gas or electricity? and you ask yourself how can anyone live like that?

well, i just had an inkling of how it can come about.

it all started when a water inspector came from thames water to check my water supply. i had never had anyone check the water in all the 22years i live here. he said it was a random check that is why. 

so he took a sample of water and went away. 

i got a call from thames water saying the test shows bacteria in the water, not dangerous just bacteria that is commonly found in the environment. so they sent an inspector to find out where the contamination was. he said it is the spout that was put over the tap to narrow the flow of water so that it can come out as a jet. so i took it off and assumed that is that. 

but , the test was still positive. so another test inspector came and said it was the old gas heater that i had attached to the water supply. i had not used it since it went kaput more than 10yrs ago, so he said just turn the water on and let it flow for 5mins everyday. but he also said another source of contamination may be the hose pipe to the washing machine. so in his report he said a double check valve must be installed. 

it is all very well, and i assumed it will be an easy job. but when we went to the shop that sells plumbing, they dont have a double check value that u can insert into the inlet pipe to the washing machine. it seems i have to get a plumber to fit that, and that requires  stopping the water supply to my flat. the engineer already had tried to stop the water but the stop cock is not working. 

now we get to the complication. 

i got the letter from the thames water saying i must install this double check valve within 21 days . i called two of the approved plumbers on their list, one in catford flat out says i am too far away. the other agreed to come the next day quoting me £90 an hour plus parts, but when i told him about the stop cock not working he said i will have to get the mains water to the block switched off. 

so i went to the estate manager and asked him to do so. and he said it will involve a 3hrs stoppage, and 24hr notice to everyone affected. and he suggest that the plumber could use a machine to freeze the water a inch away from the stopcock enough for the plumber to fit a new stopcock. 

so i went back to the chap who answered by phone enquiry of the plumber firm and suggest the plumber can freeze it. he said i have to sign an agreement before hand to accept any damage caused from water if the freezing goes wrong. i dont have any insurance.

so back i went to the estate manager, and he said he will get the water mains switched off, preferably two days from now and preferably in the morning as most will be at work then. though he did say the plumber could just bring along a hose pipe so that he can connect the hose pipe to the water mains and prevent water damage by stopping the flow of water or just put the other end of the hose into my sink and let the water drain before refreezing it again… well when i heard that i too thought that must be the solution, and i wondered why the fellow at the plumbing firm was trying to frighten me off from the freezing option. maybe he did not want to hire the freezing machine; the estate manager said it can be bought for about £50, which i thought should be part of the tool of any plumber, dont you think? 

(i had a look at my water pipes and realise that the space near the stopcock is built over by my cupboard, and i should imagine the cupboard will have to be dismantled to get enough room to accommodate a freezing machine. i can see it will involve more work and disruption. All the more reason not to go ahead with it.)

i thought about it and decided it was too much of a bother. what is the simplest solution i thought? it is to disconnect the whole machine from the mains.

so i called the plumber to cancel the appointment, and i called thames water to tell them if it is possible to just disconnect my machine from the mains. the receptionist says she will contact the engineer who suggested the double check valve and ask him… and he called me today, the next morning, to say it is ok. so that is that. i hope that is the end of this little drama.

but i can see why an old person might just let everything be shut off when faced with these kinds of problems. and prefer to do without the bother of continuing with it as it is just too much of a hassle.

will i be without a washing machine? i doubt it, because i can just use a hose, stuff it to the kitchen tap and take the other end into the soap compartment of the washing machine and fill it up from there.  easy peasy. 

i am real glad i dont have to bother with all that plumbing and costs and bother.