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Heatcare Norwich Ltd
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We are a gas and heating professionals who offer heating repair and gas engineers, based in Norwich, who deal with domestic and commercial.
We are a gas and heating professionals who offer heating repair and gas engineers, based in Norwich, who deal with domestic and commercial.

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You might think a running toilet or leaky faucet is a trivial issue in your home, something for your handyperson to take on later when you’ve got other jobs around the house to do. But make no mistake: Never skip a drip. Leaks, even minor ones, can amount to big increases on your water and even heating bill. “You’d be surprised at how much is going down the drain and how much you’re paying by not getting it fixed,” says plumber Scott Campbell of Central Penn Plumbing Services in Pennsylvania.

What’s more, fixing leaky faucets and toilets make up the majority of what most professional plumbers do, and trying to fix a faucet yourself, or hiring your neighbor’s uncle, can lead to serious issues. “It’s a quick and easy fix, but still something you want to call a professional about,” Campbell says.

If you’re unsure of where to begin with tackling a plumbing project — from a minor leak to a full-blown master bathroom remodel — here’s a bit of what you should know before taking the plunge.

Project: Plumbing issues

Why: To fix leaky faucets and toilets, unclog backed-up drains, replace or relocate plumbing during a renovation

Plumbing Basics

There are four main areas of plumbing, according to Dave Guy of Guy Plumbing & Heating in Menlo Park, California:

Drain cleaning and repair. This includes rooter companies that unclog drain lines.

Water heater repair and replacement. Water heaters usually need to be replaced every 15 years.

Plumbing contractors. This category includes renovations, remodels and the moving of fixtures. They’re also referred to as rough plumbers.

RELATED: Considering Remodeling Your Bathroom? Browse Bathroom Vanities

Service and repairs. The majority of plumbing calls fall into this area, which includes leaky faucets and toilets and other plumbing issues.

Common Problems

As mentioned, most plumbers deal with service repairs. Think running toilets and leaky faucets. Not all of these issues will be visible right away. Many times, you won’t know there’s a problem until you get your water bill. Naz Derkach of Public Plumbing in Toronto says a running toilet can end up costing you an extra $300 a month.

And that’s a contained problem. It doesn’t include damage caused by water that leaks onto your floors or inside your walls and ceiling. “Every small problem, whether it’s a small gasket that needs to be changed or a toilet tank that needs to be rebuilt, can become a big problem,” Derkach says.

Running toilet. If you’ve ever lain awake at night listening to your toilet endlessly filling up, then you know what a running toilet is.

But not all leaky toilets make noise. Guy, a third-generation plumber, says calls about high water bills make up a large portion of his work.

To save time and money, he recommends having the brand and part number (located inside the toilet tank) handy when you call a plumber. That way, a plumber can arrive with the right part instead of coming to your home to make a diagnosis, leaving to find the right part and returning to make the repair. Also, with that information handy, Guy often can help homeowners fix things over the phone or have a part sent out and talk a homeowner through replacing it.

Leaky faucets. Drippy faucets are hardly benign either. This problem occurs when the cartridges in a faucet corrode or break down over time, Campbell says. “You’d be surprised at how much is going down the drain and how much you’re paying by not getting it fixed,” he says. And if it’s the hot water that’s leaking, you’ll feel the impact on your heating bill too.

RELATED: Replace Leaky Bathroom Faucets

Campbell says many homeowners try to fix faucets themselves or call a general handyperson, only to end up with scratches and dents to the finishes or other issues such as cut bolts that force homeowners to replace the entire faucet. “Most homeowners don’t have the right tools,” he says.

Clogs. In the spring, roots come alive, Derkach says, resulting in a lot of damaged pipes that cause drains to back up. Low-flow toilets also have been known to cause drainage issues, according to Guy, who says that while water flow has decreased, the amount of waste going down hasn’t, which can lead to backed-up drains. “Drains need to be flushed with lots of water to remain clear,” he says.

Rocking toilet. If you sit down on the toilet and notice it’s rocking back and forth a bit, that could be an indication that there’s a leak beneath your toilet that’s rotting the wood below. Water stains on the ceiling below your toilet are another indicator, or, if there is no ceiling below, the grout lines around the base of your toilet could become darkened.

Water heater relief valve and radiant heat. This makes up a small percentage of problems but can result in an extremely high water bill because it’s not likely you’ll see any issues. Many water heater relief valves exit the house and drip in a bush or other area around the exterior of your home.

The same goes for radiant heat lines. If a line breaks in your radiant heat system and drains into the porous ground without causing any puddling, you won’t know it until that high water bill comes.

Frozen or burst pipes. If you live in a really cold region and head out of town on winter holiday and fail to keep the heat on in your home or weatherize your plumbing, you could come home to extensive damage from a burst pipe. This occurs when water freezes inside a pipe and expands, breaking the pipe open. When the ice thaws, water pours out wherever the incident occurred, which could be in your walls or ceiling. Special machines can unfreeze pipes by sending high-voltage electricity in to heat up the line.

If in the dead of winter you turn on the faucet and hear water moving but nothing’s coming out, you could have a burst line even if you don’t see the evidence of water, Derkach says. It’s time to call a plumber. And then study up on methods to winterize your home.

Leaking water heaters. This is an emergency, Campbell says. Once you notice enough water leaking out, it’s almost too late. Call a plumber immediately. That leak could last for another week, resulting in extensive flooding and water damage.

Dishwashers. Campbell says leaking dishwashers are another problem needing quick action, especially if you have hardwood floors. If you notice water dripping under the sink in a kitchen or around the base of the dishwasher, call a plumber before you risk damage to the hardwood floor.

Who to Hire

Plumbing problems typically are not something you want to try to address yourself or something you want to call your handy friend or relative to fix. Derkach says that only about 5 or 10 percent of people are capable of doing a good job of repairing or installing a faucet. He says 90 percent of the time that people try to fix a toilet, they create more mess. “It would cost them less money to call a pro in the beginning vs. trying to fix it themselves,” he says.

Campbell cautions homeowners about trying to take on plumbing work themselves. “What many people don’t realize is the damage that water could cause if you don’t have the tub drain on right or the toilet set right or the fitting in the wall isn’t glued properly,” he says. “Sometimes the damage done [costs] more than the other items you might be doing in the remodel.”

And you want to hire the right person based on the type of plumbing issue you have and in line with the four types of plumbers mentioned earlier. “I have a well at my house that I don’t touch,” says Guy, who has 40 years of experience as a plumber. “I have my own plumber who works on the well. You can’t be good at everything. Sometimes you have to face the music and hire someone to do the job right.”


Plumbing fees vary widely depending on region, scope of work and type of work.

Some plumbers charge service fees and by the hour. Other use a flat rate. Guy charges $146 for a one-hour initial service call, then in 15-minute increments after that, plus the cost of parts. If he or his crew have to leave the job site and return at another time, they put the time on hold and resume it once they return.

Derkach usually charges a $50 assessment fee for most general calls. If a customer proceeds with the work following the quote, which is usually $150 to $200 for basic repairs, he waives the assessment fee. If there’s a major problem, such as a ceiling leak, he charges a $155 assessment fee, plus the cost of repairs.

Campbell charges $65 for a half-hour diagnosis. Costs after that depend on the scope of work.

Permits Required

Permit requirements depend on the city and scope of work. If you’re moving plumbing around, you’re likely to need a permit. If you’re making emergency repairs with a licensed professional, it’s probably safe to skip the permits. But always check with your plumbing professional.

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A plumber has won a legal battle for working rights in the latest significant court ruling over freelance operations in the modern workplace.
Gary Smith wanted to reduce his working days at Pimlico Plumbers following a heart attack.

The Court of Appeal agreed with a tribunal that said he was entitled to basic workers' rights although he was technically self-employed.
The decision is the latest to side with workers in a flexible workforce.
This is the highest court to consider such a case and the ruling will now be closely read by others with similar disputes, many of whom will work for businesses in the so-called "gig" economy such as Uber drivers.

Media captionPimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins on losing legal case
The case is about the distinction between Mr Smith's status as either a self-employed contractor or a worker for the company.

He was VAT-registered, and paying tax on a self-employed basis, but worked solely for Pimlico Plumbers for six years.

After he suffered a heart attack in 2010, Mr Smith, from Kent, wanted to cut the five-day week, which he had been signed up to work with the firm, to three.
However, the firm refused and took away his branded van, which he had hired. He claims he was dismissed.

He argued that he was entitled to basic workers' rights - which would include the national minimum wage and paid holiday and the ability to bring discrimination claims.

A previous employment tribunal found that the plumbers were workers - but not employees. The Court of Appeal has agreed with that decision, dismissing Pimlico Plumbers' appeal.

Being given the status as workers means that they would be entitled to more rights than would be the case if they were self-employed and taking on work on totally freelance basis.

What is the 'gig' economy?
Government starts review of 'gig' economy
Bike courier wins 'gig' economy employment rights case

Charlie Mullins, the founder of London-based Pimlico Plumbers, said that plumbers were hired on the basis that they were self-employed, provided their own materials, and did not have workers' benefits, but were paid significantly more as a result. He said Mr Smith was paid £80,000.

After the ruling, Mr Mullins welcomed the clarity offered by the courts and said that he had already changed contracts with those who worked on a self-employed basis.

"Like our plumbing, now our contracts are watertight," he said.
He said the firm wanted Mr Smith to work for five days and that it was "a shame that we could not continue with his services".

Mr Mullins said he would be talking to his lawyers but it was likely that he would take the case to the Supreme Court.

Mr Smith's solicitor Jacqueline McGuigan said that the decision was "huge" and was a "resounding victory" for her client.

She said Mr Smith was "tightly controlled" by Pimlico Plumbers and unable to work for anyone else.

She added that the case had clarified the different models of working that existed and so would have a wider impact in relation to other cases.


However, there is a note of caution in the ruling from one of the Court of Appeal judges in this case.

"Although employment lawyers will inevitably be interested in this case - the question of when a relationship is genuinely casual being a very live one at present - they should be careful about trying to draw any very general conclusions from it," said Lord Justice Underhill.

The government has commissioned four experts, led by Mathew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Arts, to look into the issue of workers' rights in the "gig" economy.

The review is addressing questions of job security, pension, holiday and parental leave rights. It is also looking at "employer freedoms and obligations".
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: "We are determined to make sure our employment rules keep up to date to reflect new ways of working, and that is why the government asked Matthew Taylor to conduct an independent review into modern working practices."

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In the right hands gas is perfectly safe, but in the hands of an illegal it can kill. It is important to ensure your gas fitter is above board and fully qualified - read the article below for some essential hints and tips.

Jeff Learman, a Director at Gas Safe Register explains how the register aims to improve gas safety in Great Britain.

Research from Gas Safe Register reveals that unqualified gas fitters do a quarter of a million illegal gas jobs each year. These illegal rogue traders are carrying out this work without the skills or the qualifications to work safely on gas.

Interesting Statistics:

The British public is wasting £100million a year to rectify illegal gas jobs that put their homes and families in immediate danger.

These illegal gas jobs cost an extra 25% on average to rectify and they are often carried out by tradesmen who are recommended by friends or family, but are not qualified to work safely with gas.

One in five of the homes investigated by Gas Safe Register were found to be ‘Immediately Dangerous’ and the appliances had to be disconnected straight away to make them safe. In all cases the work had been done by an illegal gas fitter.

Further research from Gas Safe Register found that one in three people would trust a tradesman to do their gas work purely on recommendation from a friend or family member. Five times as many people would take a recommendation on trust, rather than actively check whether they were registered to work safely and legally on gas. Most people chose a fitter that they liked, who had been recommended and who offered a good price.

Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register explains the dangers: “All too often our investigations team find illegal gas fitters preying on the public, using charm tactics. Many use the Gas Safe logo on their van, adverts or paperwork when they are not registered. If you have a boiler, cooker or fire fitted by a gas engineer who isn’t registered to do the work, then you may end up paying to have it ripped out and start again which may cost you thousands of pounds, or worse, cost you your life. With a quarter of a million gas jobs carried out every year by illegal gas fitters who don’t have the skills or the qualifications to work safely on gas, it is vital that people always check that the engineer they use is on the Gas Safe Register or they could be putting their lives and pocket at risk.”

How do you spot an unqualified gas fitter?

Gas Safe Register has developed an accurate profile of those most likely to be involved in illegal gas work.

More than half (57%) are sole traders and a third (33%) work in companies employing fewer than four people.

As well as carrying out gas work, many also undertake plumbing jobs (90%), bathroom fitting (81%), kitchen fitting (67%), general building (43%) and electrical work(43%).

Gas Safe Register believes a higher percentage of illegal gas fitters advertise their services online and in local papers as few if any checks for registration are carried out. In contrast, directories such as Yellow Pages and Thompson Local check for registration, so few illegal gas workers advertise their services as for example, ‘gas fitters.’

How to avoid unqualified gas fitters:

Always use a gas engineer who is on the Gas Safe Register to fit, fix and service your gas boiler, gas fire and gas cooker.

Never trust a gas fitter on first impressions or recommendations alone, no matter how helpful and polite they seem – always ask for the Gas Safe Register ID card. It’s the only way you can guarantee that your engineer is legally allowed to work on your gas boiler, gas fire and gas cooker.

Check on the back of the Gas Safe Register ID that the engineer is registered to carry out the work he intends to do in your home. If they’re registered to fit gas boilers, it doesn’t mean they are automatically qualified to put in a gas fire.

After the gas work is done, nominate your home for a free gas safety check.

If you suspect an illegal gas fitter report them to Gas Safe Register anonymously.

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Heatcare Norwich LTD
21 Waller Cl,
01603 552132
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