I have to admit that after the whole car dashboard/satsuma incident, which resulted in my car refusing to turn left at a junction one day, despite my best efforts with the steering wheel, I was pretty nervous about owning my own house. It’s probably one of the main reasons why until buying our house three years ago, I’d always rented. You know where you are with renting – you avoid too much blutac and keep the lawn vaguely under control and in return you absolve yourself of all responsibility for anything relating to drains, electrics or plumbing. Easy.
Despite managing to navigate my way through a leaky roof last year, (by going and knocking on the door of a maintenance man around the corner whose van I’d seen parked outside his house), I haven’t yet got that confidence about me that means I’m happy casually calling up a plumber. For a start, how do you know if they’re a good one? And then how do you know if they’re giving you a good price and good advice if all you’ve ever had to do in the past is call your letting agent and then be on hand to let someone in and make them a cup of tea? How much do plumbers even cost?
Plumbers scare me is what I think I’m basically saying, which is a bit pathetic and I’m not proud of myself as a 42 year old woman, but there we go. The facts remain.
When rusty coloured water started appearing in a small puddle underneath my kitchen radiator at the end of last year then, my first instinct obviously was to reach for the fruit bowl and strategically place a satsuma. Unfortunately there wasn’t anywhere obvious to put a piece of fruit that would cover up the problem, so instead I chose just to wipe up the splotch every time I noticed it and pretend nothing was happening.
This worked for a time, until the more rusty water I wiped away the more I had to accept that I needed to do something more responsible. I started Googling ‘rusty radiator water leak’ and came up with all kinds of horrendous scenarios that involved pipes bursting spontaneously. I imagined myself innocently cooking dinner and listening to The Archers, only to find myself drenched in foul radiator water with bits of metal piping embedded in the walls.
I did what any sensible grown up would do – I turned the radiator off and condemned myself to cooking forever in a cold kitchen.
Two months later and cue Plumb Doctor Live, enter stage left.
Plumb Doctor Live offers live video appointments with a qualified plumber for a low, flat fee – £15 for 15 minutes. They currently help over half of their customers to solve the problem themselves there and then, thus avoiding any expensive call out charges, but if it turns out to be something more complicated they can help with that too. They got in touch with me because they wondered if I’d be able to help them let more people know about what they do.
‘Why yes,’ I said, ‘yes I can. I’m the perfect case study for you and have a leaky radiator ripe for inspection.’ (Or words to that effect.)
The beauty of Plumb Doctor Live is that it takes away all of the bits that scare me about plumbers – you book a time slot, you know what you’re getting and how much it’s going to cost, and at the end, if they haven’t helped you to sort the problem yourself, you know exactly where you stand with a full report including links to materials you can buy yourself and a quote for work if required. Booking my slot via the Plumb Doctor Live website took just a matter of minutes and you can choose to be contacted by FaceTime, WhatsApp or a phone call. They call you at the time you choose and you don’t even have to make them a cup of tea.
My video call was with David, and we got right down to it with me on the floor of my kitchen, trying to give David a good angle on my rusty pipework. David immediately reassured me that it was unlikely that my radiators had rusty holes in them already, as they looked pretty new. Instead he got me to show him a little bit more of the radiator, as well as the rusty splatter on the wall, to figure out what might be causing the puddle. I’d originally thought it must be coming from the underside of the radiator, near the ground, and was even sure there had been a hole there last time I looked.
When I tried to find the hole to show David however, it appeared to have actually been a figment of my panic-stricken imagination and so David had me look instead at the air vent on the top right corner. Lo and behold, there was a rusty coloured residue around the join, evidence that this was probably the real source of the leak and that the water was running down from there and just dripping off the bottom. It felt kind of obvious once I saw it, but I would never have thought to look at that.
David assured me that it’s actually quite common for vent plugs to loosen over time but that they’re easy just to tighten with a spanner, which should fix the problem. He suggested I wedge the area with a little blue tissue or similar, to show up any moisture, just to confirm the source, and he also offered some advice on checking my boiler pressure, as regularly needing to top up the pressure can also be a sign of a more serious leak. After our call, David followed up with an email summarising our conversation and offering me some links to a couple of different heating system cleaners, as we’d also discussed checking at my next boiler service that the system was topped up.
After all of this I was feeling much better about the whole thing, and very grown up for having finally faced my plumbing fears. My vision of the freezing metal embedded kitchen had been replaced by one of me happily baking cookies, toasty warm, all thanks to a quick tighten of my vent plugs. Who doesn’t love a tight vent plug?
All in all then, a brilliant outcome for me from Plumb Doctor Live – the problem was identified and solved easily with no need to pay expensive call out fees and no need for me to be scared. Being able to video call a plumber is especially useful at the moment as it means you don’t even have to have someone come into your home.
Plumb Doctor Live currently solves around 50-60% of issues within the 15 minute video call and they’re getting great reviews too – check some out at Trust Pilot, where 94% of their reviews are currently rated as excellent.
If you have a plumbing niggle you’d like an expert eye to take a look at then I can definitely recommend Plumb Doctor Live. Find out more and book your video consultation via their website now.