Without doubt unblocking drains and associated fittings is at best a minor inconvenience. At worst blocked drainage can result in a serious backup of revolting water and flood damage to the premises. Such occurrences can be avoided in a block of flats in central Glasgow as much as they can in a farm house in the borders. For outdoor drainage or guttering blockage can be prevented by removing material as it builds up.
This material is likely to be organic matter such as leaves, soil or even plant roots. Synthetic material such as plastic bags can cover the grate preventing the flow of water into the drainage system. If the guttering and pipework is regularly cleared, such backflow can be significantly reduced.
Frequent Causes of Blocked Drains
The single biggest reason for the blocking of any pipe or drainage system is the presence of substances and waste material that just shouldn’t be there. For example, as a clueless 16-year-old I thought you disposed of waste fat by pouring it down the sink! I also remember the tenants of a friend who lets his house calling in his contractors to unblock the drains repeatedly.
This was after the tenants swore blind that they were not doing the same with waste food, needless to say it turned out that they were. The contractor found a noxious mess of festering material containing solidified fat, body hair, waste paper and even sanitary towels. The proverbial camel’s back was broken and notice was given. So, the first rule of drainage blockage prevention is to not use the pipework as waste disposal unit.
The moral of the above examples is to check what finds its way into your drains. For example, if there have been strong winds and severe weather, check the guttering for leaves and foliage as soon as possible. Another idea is to employ some basic housekeeping skill, be the opposite of a clueless teenager. Make sure that when you are washing up that the water is hot enough to emulsify any fats and scrape the crockery and yes that does apply equally if you are using a dishwasher.
Food waste ought to be kept to a minimum regardless of any plumbing issues, and scraps should where ever possible be composted. The one place they do not belong is in the kitchen sink. The same is true of the bathroom and toilet; the shower and / or bathroom plug hole should be regularly cleared. The good news is that you can avoid the need for chemical cleaners, if a kettle full of boiling water followed by a liberal dose of vinegar (or citric acid) and bicarbonate soda is regularly poured into the pipework.
By following these and other simple and dare I say it common sense examples the need for expensive, time-consuming, but most of all unnecessary call out for a Glasgow plumber.
If a pipe or any component of a drainage system is damaged, worn or corroded, it will need to be replaced. If the drainage pipe is stubbornly blocked, the only suitable tool for unblocking the pipe are plumbing rods. These are lengths of metal rods that are designed to be screwed together and have different endings depending on the type of blockage.
This does not mean you need to find what the blockage is first just that different end rods will be better with different blockages. Either way, unblocking drainage is going to be a messy, grotty and potentially noxious undertaking, so use common sense and be prepared. It is fair to state that unless you know exactly what you are doing, have the correct tools and know what to look for it is better to call your contractor in.
Assembling the rods
Non-specialist DIY rods are available from most DIY retailers and for domestic use often come in packs. Before purchase ensure that you have at least a screw and plunger end. The rods themselves screw together in sections of about a metre in length.
Always attach the rods according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which normally means turning clockwise until they click shut. The rods are designed to lock together and if they do not fit, at least one of them is likely to be left in the pipe. If that happens, you are likely to be left with a bigger problem than you started with. If the rod falls into the drainage system itself, you will be left with no option but to call you contractor out. At this juncture, please refer to the last sentence in the opening paragraph.
Unblocking the sewer pipe
Once the blockage has been located the problem must be dealt with from below, and that means pushing the rods up through the blockage, never the other way around. A default position is to start with the plunger attached to at least one other rod, use more if necessary. When pushing the rod upwards, it is essential to turn them clockwise as this helps the rods move upward to the blockage. Turning the rods anti-clockwise will likely cause them to separate.
In essence, keep adding rods and looking for the blockage until you feel the rods against the blockage. At this point move the plumbing rods backwards and forwards and attempt to dislodge the material causing the blockage. If this is unsuccessful then remove the sections and replace the plunger end with a different section until you find one that works. You will know when it has worked because everything that is behind the blockage will be carried along by any trapped water. Once you have removed as much as you can run a few kettles of boiling after through the drainage system.
If water is still not running through the pipework and you can still see symptoms of blockage then it is definitely time to call in the experts. For professional drainage services in Glasgow and the surrounding areas, take a look through our website or get in touch for further details.
To enjoy growth and expansion while maintaining its competitive edge any business requires a reliable and affordable supply of energy. Historically, fossil fuels have fulfilled these criteria but non-renewable energy resources are becoming increasingly depleted. In addition, as their supply becomes increasingly more unreliable the need for industry to diversify its energy sourcing practices is becoming ever more apparent.
Put simply, fossil and nuclear fuels by definition will eventually run out whereas renewable sources by definition will not. Little wonder that, Fossil fuels are slowly, but progressively being phased out as solar and wind power become the primary drivers behind successive renewable directives and policy statements.
For example, EU Directive 2009/28/EC mandates that all member states derive 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. Within the EU, member states such as Germany and Sweden have pledged to be carbon-free by 2050, whilst the 100 biggest companies in the world have pledged to meet all their energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. Globally, Peru plans to derive 60% of its energy by renewable means by 2025. In addition, Chile is looking to double its renewable portion to 20% by 2025 with (perhaps ironically), the mining sector being a principal customer of the country’s burgeoning renewable energy industry. Furthermore, almost 150 countries have some sort of pledge or renewable energy target, with a further 50 embracing pledges to be completely carbon free by 2050.
As if to nail the point home that renewable energy is here to stay, over 100 countries have pledged to be carbon free by the end of the 21st century.
A Scottish Perspective
Scottish business in conjunction with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) will undoubtedly play a major role in enabling the UK to meet its renewable energy targets. Overall, utilising renewable energy is about providing energy security and while it is spurious to state the renewable energy sources do not have a negative environmental impact the potential for energy self-sufficiency in Scotland cannot be ignored.
For example, a recent SEPA report states that Scotland has the potential to meet 30% of the electricity needs of the UK if its wave and tidal resources were fully exploited. In late 2014, an article in the Scotsman based on analysis conducted by the worldwide fund for nature (WWF) put the argument for renewable energy with eminent succinctness. Almost 985,000 megawatt hours (Mwh) were generated by wind turbines in October 2014. This represents the possibility of providing electricity for every home in Scotland (some 3 million residencies), with plenty of capacity spare.
In the same month buildings with solar panels fitted were able to provide up to half their demand for both electricity and hot water. It is important to state that renewable energy is not an energy panacea and such figures do not consider the role of transport in energy security. However, it seems that the business case for embracing a renewable portfolio must be considered as a serious proposition at the very least.
Economic benefits of renewable energy for Scotland
Taken as a whole, the Scottish economy is worth an estimated £60 billion annually. Thus organisations including SEPA are committed to working with Scottish business and industry under the auspices of the Climate Change Scotland Act of 2009, to ensure that the negative impacts of climate change are kept to a minimum.
The reality is that if left unchecked climate change will have severe impacts on the Scottish economy, its environment and population. The figures mentioned above are the energy equivalent of 1 billion barrels of north sea crude oil per year which represents a carbon dioxide (CO2) saving of over a billion tonnes by 2050. As of 2015, SEPA is in direct regulatory control of almost 8000MW of installed wind-generated electricity with a further 2600MW coming from hydroelectric power and the balance coming principally from solar electricity.
Little wonder that Scotland as a nation has real potential to reduce its carbon footprint by anything up to 50% by 2020, with all the inherent economic and financial benefits of doing so. Overall, figures from SEPA state that Scotland has doubled its power output from renewable sources since 2007 and as of 2014/5 approximately 12,000 full-time jobs are filled across the nation. In addition in 2013 alone over £1Billion was invested in the Scottish economy through renewable energy initiatives. Finally, opinion polls consistently express the view that renewable energy is supported by the population and is bringing in long-term economic and environmental benefits.
An international and financial perspective
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an international body that as an absolute minimum seeks to foster dialogue and solutions between providers and users of all forms renewable energy. Their research indicates that if global business doubled the size of its renewable portfolio to about 40%, the worst aspects of climate change may well be avoided. There would be long-term financial and economic benefits of doing so. Research outlined in the Guardian in late 2013 suggested climate change is wiping billions of dollars off global GDP, and if nothing is done then the global business community can expect to see its assets continually decrease in value.
The research estimates that the cost of climate change and air pollution combined will remove 3.2% of global GDP by 2030. Additionally, IRENA asserts that this kind of switch to renewable energy could save up to £500 billion per year by 2030. If such savings were effectively monetised and transferred through the global economy, they could become cheaper than fossil fuels. In terms of jobs and sustainability, almost 6.5 million people are employed in renewable energy around the world. If the above doubling were to happen by 2030, over 16 million people could find they have long-term employment in the sector.
Currently, 7 million people are employed in coal mining around the world, and so the potential for a transition to long-term sustainable jobs and economic stability should be obvious. Finally, under the umbrella of the UN climate summit called by Ban Ki-Moon called for 2015, over 350 global investors with a portfolio valued at over $24 Trillion have called on world leaders to provide a framework that will ensure stability and reliability in carbon pricing as well as contraction and convergence protocols. The aim is to facilitate the redirection of investment into renewable energy as a whole and remove the $600 billion annual subsidy that the fossil fuel industry currently enjoys.
In conclusion, the strands of argument presented above indicate that the renewable sector will enjoy sustained growth and as technology improves this is a trend that can only continue.
Dealing with a blocked drainage system is one of those tasks most of us do not look forward to, but it is as necessary as it is potentially grotty, so how is it done?
Using a Plunger
All drainage systems will become blocked, so the first task is to locate the blockage itself only once this is done can the correct course of action can be taken. A plunger functions by using changes in air pressure to dislodge the blockage. The device is most effective when there is water backed up from the pipe to the plug hole.
This is because water does not compress and so transmits the applied force much more effectively than air, which as a mixture of gases does compress. Pressing the plunger into the drain forces air in and when the plunger is pulled out a vacuum is created and it is this process that loosens, dislodges or breaks up whatever is blocking the drain.
If the plunger does not work then before dismantling the system try using a steel or metal snake that can be pushed into the blockage.
Checking the Waste Trap
If the plunger (or snake) proves to be ineffective, the next task is to check the waste trap. It is located under the plughole and provides air and water tight seal between the drainage system and the external environment.
First, make sure that the sink is as empty as possible the more water you can remove, the less is going to spill when you open the pipe. Make sure there is a wide receptacle to collect any spillage and then take the waste trap and dismantle it and remove any waste material under a stream of running water. At this juncture it would be advised to make any additional repairs, cleaning or maintenance to the trap. Then refit it and run boiling water an appropriate cleaning solution through the entire system to remove any residual material. This technique also applies to blocked U-bends and U bend traps.
These are highly corrosive substances (normally concentrated alkalis) which are poured into the drainage system and must be used following the manufacturers instructions. If these say wear rubber gloves wear them, spillage will hurt!
The concoction functions by literally breaking the blockage down by chemical means and often requires a minimum period of time to work and it may also be necessary to use the cleaner in a well-ventilated setting. In addition, different cleaners are designed to work inside drainage systems made of different materials, we are seeking to dislodge the blockage not dissolve the pipes, so if in doubt check before use.
Finally, once the water is flowing properly to keep the pipes clear for longer a little preventative maintenance is in order. Strainers in the plug hole will mean that physical debris does not begin to accumulate.
A monthly infusion of boiling water will help emulsify any fats and grease thus curtailing their build up. This can be combined with a dose of vinegar followed by a dose of bicarbonate of soda, both of which can be flushed away with a further liberal dousing in boiling water.
Regulation four of the 1989 electricity at work regulations states that all electrical appliances and systems should meet all the required British standards and crucially, be maintained as such. In addition any non-electrical works should be carried out within well-defined distances of such devices and systems. As required by Health and Safety legislation, the employer is required to provide any necessary protective equipment and cater for its storage and maintenance.
A component of DPG’s obligations under the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) is to advise employers through our team of qualified electricians, how they can meet these legal obligations. However, we also advise that employers consult the relevant documents on the main health and safety Executive (HSE) website, where the address and other contact details of the nearest HSE office can be found
In addition to many industries and workplaces, the HSE and the local authority cooperate by means of a liaison committee, how this applies to a particular premises can be established with the HSE.
Testing and suitability regulations.
Every year the HSE publishes electrical accident statistics and through the various reports that quantify accidents in the workplace a clear emphasis is placed on regular testing and maintenance. A DPG electrician will also impart the value of checking electrical equipment for signs of wear and /or deterioration. We believe in preventing and predicting as much as possible, the likely occurrence of an electrical accident.
The electrical works and checks carried out by our electricians ensures that the equipment in question meets the requirements of regulation four outlined above. This is achieved by ensuring that the equipment is fit for purpose and is suitably located for the function it is designed to carry out. Such requirements are an obligation under regulations five to eleven of the 1989 Act. The key points in these regulations are:
– Regulation five states that no equipment should be connected or used in such a way that danger or accident is likely.
– Regulation six states that all equipment that is to be used in a harsh or demanding environment must be constructed and orientated such that the danger does not arise. For example, insulation cable on the shop floor of a chemical works must not react if it comes into contact with corrosive chemicals.
– Regulations seven, eight and ten refer to earthing, connectors and conduction. In short, the electricity must be conducted through the circuit and nowhere else.
In summary, a DPG electrician will be able to provide all the advice you need in meeting your obligations under the 1974 Health and safety at work act.
One symptom of the changes brought about by our emerging energy conscious attitudes is the demise of the incandescent light bulb. These bulbs convert a maximum of 10% of electrical into light; the rest is wasted as heat. These inefficient bulbs are now almost impossible to purchase legally in the UK.
Taking on board the toxic problems of compact fluorescent bulbs, light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are becoming ever more established in both commercial and residential premises. LED bulbs have been around for decades and are used in applications ranging from the school physics laboratory to the Christmas tree lights that are now hibernating in the attic until the 2015 Yuletide celebrations.
LED bulbs, watts and dimming
Clearly, the most important point to consider is how much light you actually need and even more obviously every situation is different. Thus, there is no one size fits all approach. Light is measured in a unit of brightness called a lumen and as a rough comparison LED lighting requires approximately 10% of the wattage required by an incandescent bulb.
So, if you are looking to maximise your efficiency savings replace the lights you use the most first and choose a 10W bulb for every 100W bulb you are replacing. Concurrently, this 10% rule can be applied to every bulb. Dimmable LED light bulbs are little more expensive than the standard variety and are indicated by the appropriate symbol on the packaging. Installation of dimmable LED lighting could also require work on your dimmer switches.
Fitting LED bulbs
When it comes to actually fitting new LED bulbs, it is crucial to check the fittings. This is a simple process analogous to checking whether or not an appliance comes with a screw or bullet fitting. As a corollary, it would be a good idea to try a variety of bulbs to see which is the most effective for different rooms in the premises.
In addition, it is important to remember that installing LED lighting is a long-term investment; the bulbs will last up to 15 years and significantly reduce the electricity bill. So how is an LED bulb installed?
1) Make sure the power is off and that no current is flowing through the electrical works area.
2) If LED tubes are being fitted then the wires must be capped, and the starter and reflectors removed from the back of the LED.
3) Almost all LED tube lights have ballast, and this must be removed and the cover of the fixture penned. The ballast converts electrical current and most fittings will have the device fitted as standard.
4) The next step is to complete the circuit; this is fundamental because any gaps mean that the current will not flow and there will be no light. The wires from the circuit must connect with wire bits on the LED bulb (or tube).
The wire nuts ensure that the circuit wires do not touch and that the circuit is complete once the bulb is fully secured the reflector and fixture can be fully refitted. Although the procedure is essentially simple, it is strongly advised that a qualified electrician is consulted before installing any LED lighting.
In the UK the two principal legislative acts dealing with health safety in the workplace are the 1974 Health and Safety at Work (HSW) Act and an equivalent set of stipulations called the HSW order of 1978, that covers Northern Ireland. In short, these pieces of legislation place responsibility for the health and safety of employees and the public on employers. In terms of electrical testing, the 1989 amendments to the above acts state the following, “work on or near a to an electrical system shall be carried out so as not to give rise to danger”. All electrical works carried out by DPG’s team of electricians and electrical engineers are NICEIC registered.
The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting is a voluntary trade association that works with approximately 30,000 electricians and their employers. Working with an NICEIC approved electrician ensures that the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) wiring regulations BS 7671 amongst other British standards are reached in both commercial and domestic premises. For the former it also ensures that when the HSE electrical inspector arrives at the premises that the relevant legislation under the HSW Act is met. Such inspectors are required under statute to inspect commercial premises rigorously at least once a year.
However, it is advised that all employers check the HSE website for their particular industry. Overall, By selecting a DPG employed electrician, you can be sure that your obligations as an employer will be met.
The 1989 Electricity at Work Regulations
In the UK thousands of people are injured every year by electric shocks, with the majority of these coming from power lines and other overhead cables. Most electric shocks and severe injuries occur up to 240 volts and in addition to the shock itself the discharge can cause fires and explosions. With all of this in mind, the 1989 regulations seek to mitigate the risks involved in using electricity, electrical works and electrical devices in the modern workplace.
At DPG, we aim to advise through our qualified team of electricians how best practice can be implemented thus reducing the intrinsic risks involved in working with electricity. This is best achieved by adherence to regulation 3 of the 1989 regulations. This places the duty of care onto employers, (including the self-employed), as well as an emphasis on employees to report any potential risk top the relevant health and safety employee. In short, regulation three sets out these responsibilities in a legal frame and a DPG electrician will assist any of our clients in fulfilling such responsibilities.
Single-ply roofing can be described as malleable sheets composed of a mixture of synthetic polymers. The sheets themselves garner properties of strength, long life and durability; as such single-ply roofing sheets are becoming increasingly popular and have the potential supersede more traditional roofing materials.
When choosing the appropriate roofing system for business premises the selection criteria are best framed as an optimum balance between performance, design and of cost of installation, repair and maintenance. In addition, these factors must be considered in terms of the projected useful life of the building itself. As regulations concerning recycling and waste management become ever more stringent, so environmental factors become more intertwined to the overall decision-making process.
Maintenance and repair of single-ply roofing
For a typical single-ply roofing system it is recommended that the roof is regular inspected for signs of wear and tear, all things being equal a bi-yearly inspection should suffice. Obviously, if weather conditions are harsh then the roof ought to be inspected when it is practical to do so. As with all maintenance concerns, prevention is better than cure and early detection of potential problems may well preclude serious damage.
The inspection itself will be concerned with checking the most vulnerable areas such as drains, hatches and any roof top constructions in conjunction with an overview of the roof itself. A qualified roofing inspector will be looking for any damage to the membranes in the roofing polymer as well as chemical and/or water damage and oil or Freon (chlorinated organic solvents) spills.
Patching a single ply roof
It must be clearly stated that to repair significant damage a qualified roofing expert must be consulted. This takes nothing away from the skills of a handyman or tradesperson, but the simple fact is that to keep the roof functioning properly a particular set of abilities is required.
However, there is scope for patching or stop-gap repair work, which any individual with solid DIY, handyman or joinery experience can undertake. In this context the first task is to establish what the damage or problem is. From here determine how much of the roof membrane is to be cut away and remove any damaged insulation. It should be noted that the insulation ought to be replaced with a like material.
Then the area of membrane where the patch is to be applied should be thoroughly cleaned, rinsed, made soap free and then dried. A general all-purpose cleaner should suffice but to check to make sure that it does not react with the roofing polymer itself. The patch itself can be purchased from a quality hardware shop, but it would be advisable to check with a retailer which type of patch is most suited to the type of roof on the premises. Once this is established the patch should be applied in stages and firmly pressed into place as the patching progresses. The butyl tape used is highly adhesive and will firmly hold the patch in place, for extra piece of mind evenly apply a polyurethane sealant or similar epoxy, again check which is most suitable before purchase.
In summary, single-ply roofing represents a long-term investment in the business and so an equivalent level of attention must be directed at repair and maintenance.
Real estate is at a premium, which means that we can’t always afford the amount of space we want, whether purchasing a residential or commercial property. To make more room for living and working space, buildings are often designed with smaller bathrooms than we’d like. Fortunately, there are ways a small bathroom can be made to look bigger without having to change the plumbing or call an electrician. Here are some simple do-it-yourself tips you can use in your home or business to give the illusion of a bigger bathroom.
It’s easy to use lighting tricks to make a bathroom appear bigger, and you don’t need an electrician to do it. Outdated, oversized light fixtures can be easily replaced with light, bright, adjustable, smaller, contemporary fixtures that you can adjust to give the bathroom an open feel. Adjustable light fixtures also allow you to highlight the best areas of your bathroom. Switching to LED lighting and adding dimmers will also save you money and add ambience to the bathroom.
Believe it or not, small tile squares do not always work well in small bathrooms. So, if you plan on laying tile in your bathroom, consider larger squares. Also, stick with lighter coloured tiles, because dark colours make a space appear smaller.
If you do want smaller, darker, or patterned tiles for a more dramatic effect, reserve them for the floor space and keep the walls and backsplash light and bright. Placing the tile diagonally and alternating light colours with the dark colours can also help make the space look bigger.
If you’ll be painting the bathroom walls instead of tiling them, consider using light colours. Just as with laying tiles diagonally, the way you decorate the walls of the bathroom will impact how big it looks. Adding a few strategically placed horizontal stripes (in a contrasting colour) will make the room look larger. Permanent stencilled art is a good replacement for wall hangings, as it takes up no room because the stencilled art doesn’t protrude from the wall.
It’s not just the floors and walls that can help add the appearance of space to the bathroom. Accessories can help, too. Hanging wall mirrors is an easy, inexpensive way to open up the bathroom. Also, if you need storage space for your textiles, consider adding a wall ladder. It doesn’t take up any floor space, draws the eyes up, and still provides a needed function.
If you do opt to hang artwork in the bathroom, consider small-to-medium sized light coloured frames and pictures. Also, too many things hanging on the wall can detract from your efforts to create the appearance of a bigger bathroom. Keep that in mind when deciding how many prints, pictures and paintings to hang.
Creating the appearance of a larger bathroom space does not require a complete remodel, nor does it require a professional. By following these simple tips, you can quickly update your small home or business bathroom on our own, without the expense of hiring someone else to do it.