DIY Plumbing/Central Heating – BE AWARE

08 May. 2019

Written by Neil Marsh MCIPHE RP RHP EngTech

The internet is a great resource for information, especially for the people who like to DIY, as there are written guides,…

Youtube channels and things such as forums, where people are sharing advice and experience and helping others learn how to do things for themselves. However, playing around with plumbing and central heating systems is not exactly like baking cakes, things can really go wrong!

With cakes, there is little to go wrong as long as the recipes you are following are put together well. So long as you follow the instructions and take some care in what you are doing, then often you get good results! However with plumbing and heating, it can go horribly wrong, even a small oversight can end up costing you far more than you anticipated!

One of the main problems with central heating and plumbing systems, especially from a DIY aspect, is water! It may seem harmless enough, but, if you have enough water running where it is not supposed to it can ruin parts of your home and possibly others. Water can even be dangerous when hot and/or under high pressure! 

FORTHRIGHT encourages people to lift a finger and have a go more like they did in years gone by, as in general, it seems that common sense and practical skills are in decline. However, the problem with plumbing and heating is products are getting more complex in their operation and often due to other issues things are often not straightforward. If you do not understand the heating system you intend to work on and any of the appliances/devices connected to it. When something goes wrong, how are you going to be able to correct it? Will you have the right tools to do the job and are you confident enough in the application and use of the replacement of the required parts where applicable? 

FORTHRIGHT regularly encounters DIY projects that have gone horribly wrong around Cheltenham, Gloucester and the surrounding areas! Such things as dirty central system water flowing through ceilings onto electrical goods, ruined carpets and underlay, stained decoration, valuable items damaged and electrical appliances and systems damaged are common occurrences. It may be even something less dramatic. such as you have not caused any damage but you have hit a problem and you do not know how or have the tools/materials to solve the issues at hand. This is made even worse when struggling to find an emergency plumber/central heating engineer to come and sort the problem. This could lead you to going without, heating, hot water or even tap water for the duration.

Plumbing and central heating repairs are often straightforward in essence, but poorly designed and installed products, worn out components and unforeseen issues can make jobs difficult to deal with. Without the relevant experience and skills, such issues can turn what seems a straightforward job into a nightmare. Even the most patient of individuals can be overcome by plumbing and central heating repairs, especially when there is a water leak!

Before attempting a DIY repair of plumbing or central heating systems, FORTHRIGHT advises you to strongly to consider/undertake the following:

Have you ensured the instructions/advice you have been given is good?

Have you ensured that mains water can not flow as a result of the work that you are doing?

If working on any part of a system that is deemed to contain water, have you ensured that the system is completely drained and isolated so no more water can enter it?

If you have decided not to drain the system and isolate that part of the system, have you done this correctly and what would you do if the isolation valve(s) where to fail?

Have you conducted a full risk assessment, are you aware of potential risks from such things as electrical shock, asbestos, working at heights etc?

If undertaking electrical work, or doing anything that could affect the electrical work, are you competent to ensure the work meets the current legislation and the minimum safety parameters are met?

If working on a central heating system, are you doing anything that could affect the operation of the appliance(s) connect to the heating the system, in particular, anything that could affect the safety of the appliance(s)?

When undertaking any work is it being done to the required standards?

Do you understand the system you are working on?

Will the work you do alter the performance of the system in any way?


If you are in doubt of any of these then you must employ a professional to do the work, it is one thing to replace a simple plumbing component, but if you do not fully understand the systems you are working on and what can happen as a result of the work you are undertaking, not only could it cost you more money in the long run through due to things like damage and extended repairs to your plumbing/central heating system, you could even be endangering your life and that of others.

Never, ever, ever attempt to make repairs to oil, solid fuel, unvented or gas appliances/systems or parts of the heating system that could affect their operation. Always seek the services of a professional company who is suitably trained, qualified and well experienced in the task at hand. Such systems are very dangerous in the wrong hands, do not put your home, yourself, your family and others in danger by attempting to do the work yourself.

Always remember, if you endanger the life, risk damage to property or God forbid kill a person as a result of your actions, then you can be held accountable! Ignorance has no place in the law, people who have done such things have lost their freedom as a result of their actions and some have also had heavy burdens to bare!

FORTHRIGHT offer professional plumbing, heating and gas services in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Stroud and the surrounding areas! Why leave things to chance when you can call experienced professionals? If you need a plumbing repair or central heating system repair then call us today!