Preventing burst pipes during the winter

Winter weather can wreak havoc on your home and its contents if you have not prepared your property for a change in conditions. A typical winter season in the UK sees a drop in temperature, snow and flooding, all of which can have a detrimental effect on your drains and plumbing. In turn, this can lead to costly repairs if things go wrong, so it’s important you have the precautionary measures in place to prevent any damage.

As experts in drain unblocking, we have compiled a list of the most common reasons for burst pipes during the winter, and how best to avoid this happening on your property.

What causes pipes to burst?

It’s far better to be aware of the causes of burst pipes rather than waiting for a serious problem to occur, as the latter can lead to very costly repairs. Ice blockages in your household pipes are created by the water flowing through your home freezing and expanding inside the pipework. Over time, this process of water freezing and expanding inside the pipe causes a buildup of pressure, which eventually leads to the pipe bursting.

How can I prevent this from happening to my household pipes?

Keeping your drains as free from dirt, debris and grime as possible will encourage a free flow of water through the pipes, meaning blockages are less likely to form. Regular maintenance and being mindful of what you pour down your drains will help achieve this:

– Keep gutters free from leaves, twigs, branches and other debris

– Be careful not to pour fat and grease down the drains – wait for it to cool and throw it in the bin

– Do not flush wipes, sanitary wear or nappies down the toilet

How do I avoid frozen pipes?

As temperatures drop during the winter months, the risk of frozen pipes increases for many homes across the UK. Frozen blockages inside your household pipework can cause the flow of water to become restricted which, in turn, leads to burst pipes.

This problem can be easily avoided by:

– Making sure any exposed pipes are properly insulated with pipe lagging and heat tape

– Pouring a small amount of hot water down your sink to remove any build-up of fats, oils and grease in your drains

– Checking your pipes regularly to make sure they haven’t frozen or burst

– Keeping an eye out for any dripping taps as this excess water is more likely to freeze – this may indicate that the tap needs it’s washers renewed

Rods Away

If you suspect that your property is suffering from blocked drains, or you are worried about them freezing and bursting over the winter, our experts here at Rods Away can help tackle the problem before it escalates into a bigger, more costly issue.

Drain unblockingDrain cleaningDrain repairs

We are dedicated to providing a prompt, affordable service and comprehensive aftercare, giving you the peace of mind that comes with being in the hands of drainage experts. For further information about any of our services, simply get in touch with our friendly team today.

01495 687667

4 ways to unblock a clogged drain

If you have a clogged drain, it’s important to think clearly and not do anything that could cause more harm than good. You may not need to call a plumber, but it is certainly a possibility that shouldn’t be ruled out. Here are 4 simple steps to try the next time you get a clogged drain.

  1. Plunger – Tried, tested and true, the ol’ plunger is always the first step in taking care of that clogged drain. Fill the sink partially with water, a little less than a quarter of the way full. If you have a double sink, you will need to block the other drain with a cloth or towel. Plunge over the drain, up and down rapidly, until the water in the sink begins to drain. If it does, it was just a small obstruction, and you no longer have a clogged drain!
  2. Baking Soda and Vinegar – This common trick is an age-old method of handling a clogged drain. First, using a bucket, empty the water from the sink. Next, stuff about a cup of baking soda down the drain. Use a wooden spoon or spatula handle to pack it down. Next, pour a cup of vinegar down the sink and put the stopper in immediately to force the mixture down. Much like a 5th grade volcano science project, the mixture will foam downwards into the pipes. Let the mixture work its magic for five minutes and then proceed by running warm water down the drain. If it is still clogged, try four cups of boiling water. If you still have a clogged drain, it’s time to move on to step #3.
  3. Cable Auger – This is the most difficult method, and should not be attempted by amateur handymen. Using a bucket to catch the water, one would detach the trap or J-joint underneath the sink connecting the sink to the horizontal pipe. Then, after removing the horizontal pipe from the wall, use the cable auger to slide down the stub pipe. Slowly push the cable down by spinning the crank clockwise. Once you catch the clog, spin counter clockwise to retrieve the cable, and hopefully the obstruction as well. This should unblock your clogged drain.
  4. Call a Plumber – Finally, if all three of these methods have failed to clear the clogged drain (or you do not feel experienced or comfortable enough to attempt step #3), it is time to call an expert. Continuing to try to unblock a clogged drain with other methods can often lead to disastrous results. Really, the best advice is to contact your local plumbing service.

Slow or blocked drains at home.

Blocked sink

Slow Drains or sink at home? Here are some of the reasons why!

Have you noticed your drains are running slowly? It may be hard to pinpoint the main issue or blockage though. The problem could be right at the pipe opening, farther down the pipe, or anywhere in the drain line. A slow drain may not seem like a big dilemma but should be dealt with quickly to avoid major clogs, sewage backup, or further damage to the pipes. 

The first important step is to see if there is a clog in the drain trap or the fixture. For this you can call a Rods Away or the do-it-yourselfer can handle the blockage if the cause of the backup can be visually identified.  Make note that you should never use chemical drain cleaners in your pipes. Using any chemical drain cleaning products can cause a bigger problem and even erode the inside of the pipes. If you cannot see the origin of the back-up then you may have a larger drainage issue.

A plumbing company can locate clogs further down your drain lines. In many instances, your main drain line can cause backups into your home—if you have water backing up into floor-level drains, then you definitely need to get a plumber on site to diagnose what is wrong. A licensed professional plumbing company can pinpoint the cause of the slow moving waste-water or blockage using drain cleaning tools and sewer camera equipment. 

You may have a sewer line clog caused by something that was flushed down the toilet or from normal build-up over time. Clogs could be anywhere down your line causing sewage to back-up. Do you have older pipes? There could also be a problem with tree root intrusion. When roots infiltrate your pipes they may begin to crack the pipe, break into it, and block proper drainage. Sometimes it’s major breaks or collapses that occur in your main line. A cracked or crushed line can cause sewage flooding outside your house and other damage, and of course, stop any waste flow out to the street or septic tank. No matter how simple or involved the issue, it’s fixable, but you’ll want to find a drain specialist to diagnose and recommend solutions to you, the home owner.

When you have established the need for any type of plumbing work- especially for drain problems- call upon us at Aardvark Rooter. First and foremost we have drain experts and specialize in drain and sewer line issues. We always provide quality, professional service, after expert diagnosis, and at an affordable price.

If you need our services. Please visit our website to obtain our help and services.

Cold water problems.

Winter in wales is hard enough without having to deal with hard water, which can exacerbate common winter annoyances such as dry, itchy skin and lackluster hair. Hard water makes it more difficult for soaps and detergents to work properly and can damage your clothes and linens, leaving them feeling uncomfortable and looking dingy. Likewise, your dishes and other household items may have spots or residue on them even after they’ve been washed.

But did you know having hard water can also do a number on your home’s plumbing? Over time the minerals found in hard water can damage your plumbing pipes by causing a buildup, also known as scale. Not only can this decrease your water pressure, but it can also cause appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters to work less efficiently while shortening their lifespans.

Compared to “soft” water which is completely free of mineral impurities, hard water has an excess of minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

If you’ve been dealing with these issues or suspect you have hard water, it’s time to give us a call. At Rods Away, we offer a variety of plumbing services such as pipe repair and repiping that are designed to remedy hard water related issues such as decreased water pressure caused by scale buildup. Similarly, if your old water heater is making loud, banging noises as a result of scale buildup, you can count us to make the repairs or install a new one!

There are several hard water treatments, such as home water softeners which use salt to remove the excess minerals. They soften all the water in your home which means that you and your home’s pipes and appliances all benefit. Water softeners are a great investment and improve your quality of life.

Point of use water filters are affordable options to water softeners and are still effective, but limited to filtering your drinking or bathing water. Water pitcher filters are also a simple and effective way to improve the quality and taste of your drinking water but don’t address build up in your pipes or appliances.

Vinegar is a multipurpose ingredient that can be used to combat the effects of hard water. Try adding one cup of white vinegar to your laundry’s rinse cycle. It can even be used as a rinse aid in your dishwasher! Use it to remove buildup from your coffee maker by running it through a brew cycle. Try using diluted apple cider vinegar to restore life to your hair after it’s been washed in hard water. Vinegar is a great home remedy, but you may be left with that vinegar smell.

Filters and home remedies are good but limited solutions. The most effective way to deal with hard water is with a whole house water treatment plan. Not sure what option is right for you? Not sure if you even have hard water? Call Rods Away today to learn how we can help!


Blocked pipes and how to avoid them

Blocked Pipe Nightmares at Home and How to Avoid Them

Toilets can run and leak from time to time and often we ignore these problems or put off fixing them. We decide that it’s not such a big deal and it can wait and may even forget about it. A week or 2 later you notice your bed room carpet is wet and the source of the dirty water is problem you thought nothing of! Now this is a big problem, right? There’s no such thing as a small problem when it comes to plumbing; even little leaks can turn into major problems if not dealt with quickly.

Although unavoidable accidents can happen any time, taking steps towards prevention is always a good idea. By following some simple rules you can avoid unexpected plumbing problems at your home in many cases. So what can be done then? Here are some useful tips to follow:

Check Before you Rent or Buy a Home

It is better to be serious from the very beginning. If you are renting then make sure to check your kitchen, toilet and electric system is properly working. If you notice anything broken or malfunctioning then immediately inform the owner. Request them to fix the problem as soon as possible. If you are buying, it’s even more important as you’ll be paying for any problems that arise. If you don’t know much about plumbing, get an expert in to take a quick look, it can make all the difference. In Australia, upwards of 30% of people end up buying a home that has plumbing problems within a year – problems that could and should have been avoided.

Remember that the Toilet isn’t a Rubbish Bin

This is a very common problem and children are often the main culprit. Putting foreign objects in the toilet is like playing with fire. The average plumber see all kinds of things block up the toilet, from socks to nappies to tampons to toys and anything else you can imagine! Leaving a rubbish bin in the toilet and teaching the kids to use it instead of the toilet can help, however if you notice that something has been flushed that shouldn’t have been, don’t get cute – just call Rods Away.

Blocked Drain for Heavy Rain

Heavy rain fall can block your sewer system because this pipes are not made to facilitate large amounts of water. Drain blockage mainly happens because heavy downpour brings dead leaves and various other things into pipes that simply can’t handle them. Usually it washes away however if it doesn’t, you’ve got a problem on your hands. What can you do to prevent this? Make sure your yard and surrounding areas are kept clean and tidy. An excessive build-up of leaves and garden waste around the property and in the roof gutters can be costly.

Avoid Incorrect Installation

You might be surprised to hear that people are installing plumbing systems themselves at home more often these days. Unsurprisingly, this has been one of the biggest causes of plumbing problems down the track, and is probably generating more work for plumbers than if they’d just been called to install it in the first place!  Poorly installed pipes can be broken or blocked if you don’t have the full understanding of pipe work and install it yourself then you running the risk of having problems very soon. So don’t do it until you are sure you know what you’re doing.


It is expected that by following the simple tips mentioned above you can avoid common plumbing problem like blocked pipe or broken toilet  and hence save time and money.


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Common Plumbing Problems


Common Problems and Solutions

1.    Running Toilet

Although it’s not hugely serious, a running toilet is one of the most common problems you’re likely to encounter. The first thing to do is check the tank by lifting the cover off the back of the toilet. You should see a ball or If the water level is above the valve but the toilet isn’t filling when you flush, you’ll have a leak on your hands. A further test is to put some coloured dye into the tank, if it seeps into the bowl, it’s time to replace the ball and/or flapper. In other cases, flush the toilet and it might be obvious why it is playing up.

2.    Blocked Toilet

Until the South Korean wonder-product is available here, your best bet when it comes to unclogging the toilet is the plunger, but there are many other tools are your disposal. The first thing to try is to clear the blockage either with your hands if you can visibly see what is causing it (make sure you’re wearing gloves) or with a chemical drain cleaning product, which you can pour into the toilet – in many cases this will erode the blockage away, but it might take a little while for chemical in particular. Baking soda and vinegar is another concoction that might get the job done.

If neither this nor the plunger method is effective, try the plumbers’ snake method. Or if you don’t have one handy, even an uncoiled coat hanger can do the trick. Some blockages are really deep but can be dislodged fairly easily if you can push or jiggle them out of place. Basically it’s just a matter of inserting it into the toilet drain and twisting and manoeuvring it until the blockage comes unstuck.
If none of the above work, get on the phone and call up your local plumber.

3.    Blocked Sink

Unblocking a kitchen sink is quite similar to unblocking a toilet and you can follow the same steps. Obviously using a plunger is a good start point but you have to remember to plug other outlets with rags to make sure the pressure is at its highest. From there, you can try the vinegar and baking soda method. No luck, give it a go a snake or anger to dislodge the object. Following that you can try out the chemical method, but this should be a last grasp given that it can cause harm to the environment.

4.    Leaking Pipes

Whether it’s because your dishwasher was overloaded, the hot water system cracked it or it’s a classic case of a leaking pipe, any level of flooding in the home is not fun. The first thing is to turn off the valve connected to the pipe in question. Most of the time we’d suggest organising a temporary solution to the problem and going from there. A rubber cover, a clamp can usually and Teflon tape will usually hold smallish leaks until you can figure out whether you need to replace the pipe or not.

If you think that the pipe does need replacing straight away, you’ll need to go out and buy some new pipe according the measurements. Then you can cut out the damaged portion of the existing pipe, and depending on the type of pipe you are dealing with, you will need to either solder or connect the new part with the union piece.

Blockage problem is not a daily issue for a home owner. However if you ever face blocked toilet, drain blockage, leaking pipe, blocked sink etc., then you know how annoying it is to solve this problems. Here we have discussed some common problems with minimal solution. Our main aim was to provide a general guideline. Keep in mind that safety is always first priority. If you ever feel doubt about any plumbing issue then it’s a good idea to consult a local .
Rods Away are here for all your drain and plumbing solutions.


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