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    • Norma B
    • By Norma B 30th Nov 17, 6:30 PM
    • 8Posts
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    Norma B
    Plastic plumbing
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 17, 6:30 PM
    Plastic plumbing 30th Nov 17 at 6:30 PM
    We had to leave our 4 bedroom home in South Wales and it wasn't the right time to sell so we rented it out to a friend's daughter. She's been in it for several years now cos I can't quite bring myself to say we want to sell up (at least until her children are a bit older).
    4 years ago a pipe apparently 'popped' in the wall and water gradually built up until it flooded the dining room causing about £5000 worth of damage - absolutely no fault of the tenant, the plumber kept telling us it was these 'crap plastic joints'. At that time the house was still in the 10 year NHBC which turned out not to be worth the paper it was written on as they told me plumbing is only covered for the first 2 years!

    Lo and behold almost 4 years to the day another pipe has 'popped' apparently due to a build up of pressure according to the emergency plumber. Unfortunately this time it was under the boiler upstairs so the ceiling has come down, units, walls and flooring are damaged and I'm waiting for the loss adjuster to find out out what the damage is but I reckon it's going to be a lot more than last time.

    I started wondering why the hell this is happening and have asked the Welsh water board who are going to go to the house (never even thought about that last time). I'm also worried that I'm not going to get insurance next time so my questions are:

    Any ideas why this might be happening?
    Should I be considering a re-plumb and if so is there a very rough figure this might cost? (I know this is 'how long is a piece of string' question but it's a detached house 4 beds one bath one en-suite and a downstairs loo but I was wondering if it would be under £5k or over for example.
    Anything else I should be doing (other than selling the bloody thing quick?)
    Last edited by Norma B; 01-12-2017 at 12:11 PM. Reason: spelling error!
Page 1
    • Furts
    • By Furts 1st Dec 17, 2:30 PM
    • 3,629 Posts
    • 2,266 Thanks
    Furts
    • #2
    • 1st Dec 17, 2:30 PM
    • #2
    • 1st Dec 17, 2:30 PM
    What is the exact problem, and what pipes are the culprits?

    A rule of thumb would be this; if you wanted to renew your hot and cold water pipes and your central heating flow and return pipes, and your drainage the work and upheaval would be mind boggling. All your ground floor ceilings and any coving would be renewed (or your upstairs floors removed - don't go there!)and any boxing of pipes or any pipes buried in partition walls. Eventually everything would need skimming and decorating. I would not entertain doing this - simply repair leaks as and when they occur.

    Also ask some awkward questions. A key one is has the tenant caused any of the problems? Some folks are very heavy handed, others lack any mechanical sympathy, others just abuse everything. Add to this there are tenants do not respect items as they would if they were their own.
    • Norma B
    • By Norma B 1st Dec 17, 8:47 PM
    • 8 Posts
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    Norma B
    • #3
    • 1st Dec 17, 8:47 PM
    • #3
    • 1st Dec 17, 8:47 PM
    Thanks for this reply. My tenant is a young woman with two school age kids who I am certain had nothing to do with this. The first time the problem occurred within the wall between the kitchen and dining room (possibly leading to the radiator? It's been ages since I was in the house for any length of time so I can't quite remember where the radiator is!). It was only found when water poured into the dining room and the emergency plumber had to knock out a section of wall to find out where it was coming from. I'm sure at the time he said a joint had popped and blamed all these new plastic joints that were being put in.

    This time it was apparently under the combi-boiler upstairs. The boiler was new this year and put in by British Gas. Again I believe the emergency plumber said something had 'popped' and it was due to a build up of pressure - he said it was quite common in plastic pipes apparently - although it's becoming a bit too bloody common in this house. Obviously I've heard this second hand but I've no reason to disbelieve my tenant (who has looked after the house brilliantly it seems to me and had once told me she hoped to be in a position to buy it one day). The loss adjuster has been in today but I haven't heard how it went although the guy they've sent to organise the dry out did phone me to say the damage is extensive (my tenant had been visiting her mum overnight) and she won't be able to get back in for several weeks. My worry is that any other leaks could also be massively damaging cos it doesn't seem to just drip it pours out!!
    • Rodders53
    • By Rodders53 2nd Dec 17, 5:45 PM
    • 424 Posts
    • 290 Thanks
    Rodders53
    • #4
    • 2nd Dec 17, 5:45 PM
    • #4
    • 2nd Dec 17, 5:45 PM
    Pushfit plastic pipes when properly installed and operated can have a 50 year warranty... Hep2O

    Part of the installation is to dry pressure test the pipework at 10 bar, or even higher, so well above most CH systems' overpressure relief valve settings. Any dodgy connectors should have popped or leaked at that stage?

    So your problems seem pretty unusual, although http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/3173/Plumbers_warned_pressure_on_push-fit_pipes_is_causing_flood_of_water_escape_claims. html might beg to differ, but suggests poor workmanship / training as the more likely cause.

    Rodents seem to really like the plastic stuff though (as I have found recently) and can cause pretty big leaks from it.
    • Norma B
    • By Norma B 3rd Dec 17, 3:59 PM
    • 8 Posts
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    Norma B
    • #5
    • 3rd Dec 17, 3:59 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Dec 17, 3:59 PM
    Thanks for the reply but Oh Dear that article was worrying. I was beginning to think we had a 'last job on a Friday afternoon' house and now it seems that might have been the case. I don't think that there's any kind of rat problem round there and to my knowledge the emergency plumber didn't mention finding any teeth marks!!

    I don't suppose we have any comeback on the house builders either even though the first one happened in 2013 when the house was still within the NHBC warranty, For a start I suppose they could argue that it would have popped in testing like you say, or that it would have happened sooner or more often if that was the case, but also proving that it was poor workmanship would probably be impossible.

    I believe the internal walls are all plasterboard so I don't think pipes are buried anywhere but from what the previous poster told me it would be a nightmare trying to re-plumb and I suppose hugely expensive too. I think the only answer is to wait til it's all sorted and put it on the market before anything else happens or I can't get it insured. I would feel guilty about that though cos a) I could be passing the problem on to someone else and b) I've tried looking at rents in the area so I could say 'here's a suitable alternative' to my tenant but couldn't find anything remotely within the price we are charging (£450 month for 4 bed house - we didn't do it for the money!) Unless you have any other suggestions?
    • Furts
    • By Furts 3rd Dec 17, 4:20 PM
    • 3,629 Posts
    • 2,266 Thanks
    Furts
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 17, 4:20 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Dec 17, 4:20 PM
    You are concerned for your tenant, which is is full of human good will. However whilst the tenant may be the ideal person, for the radiator to suddenly leak suggests that the pipe was pulled, or banged. Perhaps a child swung on the radiator, or sat on it or whatever - it does happen. With regards the boiler, British Gas may have done a poor job - who knows if they tested anything? Plus be realistic here. British Gas have a poor reputation, they recruit anybody, and good time served plumbers and heating installers are unlikely to be working for them.

    On balance I think you have been unlucky, and there is probably little different with your pipework to that in countless thousands of other homes - including mine! This means you should focus on your flood repairs. Here you need to be really vigilant. Take it as a nod and a wink from the construction industry. The standard of work done by insurance contractors can be abysmal!
    • tonyh66
    • By tonyh66 7th Dec 17, 4:27 PM
    • 1,029 Posts
    • 738 Thanks
    tonyh66
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 4:27 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 4:27 PM
    I have to be honest, if your tenent is paying way below market for her rent, she will be in no hurry to move out of a house she can't afford to buy.
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