Soon after arriving home on Monday last, the Zelo Street house treated me to one of those rare tests of initiative, the burst pipe. Two of them, in fact: both feeds to washing machine and dishwasher had frozen up during the last cold spell and both then let go together as the thaw took hold.
The episode taught me a few useful lessons, which I’ll now share with anyone who is at all interested.
Most importantly, I was there when the burst happened: suddenly, a small leak and pool on the utility room floor became a steady stream. Then the boiler burst into life, which gave a clue as to which pipe had gone. Being there meant I could turn off the boiler – little point warming the flood – and mop up.
Then, after getting my thoughts together, I could locate the stop tap and shut off the supply. Fortunately the cover could be opened. Do you know where your house’s stop tap is located? Can you get the cover open? Or do you fancy waiting until you have to find out?
At the time, seeing the water flooding out and having to mop up seemed A Bad Thing. But what if nobody had been home? The burst would not have waited on my return. To have delayed by just an hour would have made a mess of the ground floor.
Then came the business of summoning a plumber. Forget the big ads in the Yellow Pages for 24 hour area wide very wonderful instant response. Find someone whose land line is in the local area: if they can fit you in, they will, and they cost less.
How fast was the service? Less than two hours after my first call, and it should be borne in mind that pipes were letting go all over the North West as temperatures rose.
So I counted myself lucky to have got away with dirtied hands, some mopping up and a plumber’s bill. It could have been worse.