Gazette: Trade plumbing header


Measuring and Cutting a New Kitchen Worktop

Your kitchen worktop can be the talking point of any kitchen, and if it isn't then maybe you could make it so. Replacing or fitting a new kitchen worktop requires careful preparation in measuring and cutting. Precision is the name of the game when it comes to preparing to fit a new kitchen worktop. Here is a guide to help you do so -

When it comes to just replacing a worktop with it's original shape but new style then you just need to measure your old worktop to get the size, then it is just a case of removing the old worktop and fitting the new one.

If you are changing the shape and/or size of your worktop, then it is important to remember to maintain an even overhang that runs along the front of the kitchen cabinets or drawers. The recommended overhang is usually 10mm-20mm.

To cut a straight line into your new worktop without damaging the surface, then the best method is to first mark where you are cutting with a pencil. After you have done this  then cover the pencil line with masking tape, this way you can still see the line through the masking tape.

After you have stuck the masking tape, then secure a metal ruler along the pencil line, and then score a grove using a craft knife along the pencil line. Follow this by cutting along the groove with a jigsaw; also make sure that the panel is supported at either end.



A Few Tips to Unblock the Kitchen Sink Before Calling the Plumber

It can often be a worry for someone with limited or no plumbing experience when one of their sinks fills up with water without the plug being in place. This generally means that there is a blockage in your pipe running down from the sink.

When confronted with this situation, your first reaction might be to call in a professional. Though this can be expensive and time consuming; there are a few steps that can be taken before having to call in a professional plumbing...

The plunger - the initial step taken to clearing any blockage you may have in your house. Simple in design, but very effect in use.

Place the rubber end of the plunger over the blocked plughole, once the plunger has covered the entire plughole. By using short and sharp up and down motions, this will create a vacuum around the plughole that should dislodge any blockage that is stuck within the pipe.

You may need to try the plunger method several times before any success. You can tell the debris is unblocked when the water in the sink drains in a consistent manner.

Another method of unblocking a sink is through using chemical unblockers. These can be purchased in any supermarket, and through a blend of chemical agents, they can break down  the blockage in your pipework.

After consulting the manufacturer's instructions pour the recommended amount down the sink that appears to be blocked. The chemical agents should dissolve the blockage to enable you to smoothly run your tap again.

If a blockage is caused by a particularly greasy or oily product, then using heat could be a viable option. It could be as simple as pouring a kettle full of boiling water down the sink.

If this proves unsuccessful, then you could in addition to pouring the boiling water place a microwaveable heat pad around the place in the pipe where you believe the blockage to be.

The final port of call for you to take when attempting to unblock a sink is to remove the blockage manually. This entails you  removing the waste pipe (U-shaped pipe) yourself and removing the blockage that appears inside.

When unscrewing the waste trap it is advisable to place a bucket underneath to catch and excess water that may be left in the pipe. Once you have removed and disposed of the obstruction, then it is time to screw back in the waste pipe. Once you have secured the pipe back in place then run the tap to ensure that blockage has been successfully removed and that the pipe you originally moved is not leaking at all.



Preparing to Install a Washing Machine or Dishwasher

When installing a washing machine or dishwasher, some prior knowledge and skill towards plumbing is needed as it is slightly more difficult and skillful than other general DIY tasks that take place around the house. You must always read the manufacturer's instructions before attempting to install a washing machine or dishwasher.

If your machine requires a hot water supply, then check that there is enough water pressure in your system. If you are unsure, it is always best to call a professional. Also, if connecting pipes and/or a waste pipe are not already installed then take a few moments to find the best location.

It is always best to place your appliance against an exterior wall. This way you will not need to have a waste pipe running across an inside wall of your house. Washing machines and dishwashers should also stand on a sturdy and level floor.

You should consult your manual to inform you the minimum distance that is required between your appliance and the cold water tank in your home.

Nowadays, most dishwashers only require a cold water supply. Washing machines require both hot and cold, They both come with hoses and hand-tightened screw connectors at either end. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to fit them.

If you need to install an electrical circuit for your new washing machine or dishwasher, then it is highly advisable to get a qualified electrician to fit it for you. Washing machines and dishwashers need to be connected to a standard 13 amp socket.

If your electrical sockets are above the work surfaces, then you may need to run a spur from your chosen socket to a switched fused connection that is above your work surface. Then run a cable to an unswitched socket to serve the machine below your work surface. Again, if you are unsure of any technical terms or tackling any electrical jobs, then it is advisable to contact a qualified electrician.