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Overflow Pipe Leaking? How To Fix It | Here's What To Do

What is an Overflow Pipe?

An overflow pipe extends from the water storage tank to prevent water from leaking into the house area/rooms. The overflow pipe is the most important feature in your home’s plumbing system. Overflow Pipe Leaking happens when the tank or cistern fills up to a level more than it should, causing the excess water to flow down into the overflow pipe.

Some common components that have an overflow pipe in your home are:

  •   Toilet Cistern
  •   Cold water feed and expansion tank
  •   Central heating feed and expansion tank
  •   Copper cylinder
  •   Combination boiler
  •   Sinks, basins, and bathtubs

The toilet cistern, Cold water feed and expansion tank, Central heating feed and expansion tank, and the combination boilers overflow outside. The expansion pipe on the copper cylinder flows down into the cold water feed and expansion tank, and the one on the basin and bath flows into the draining sink.


Why is the Overflow Pipe Leaking?

One of the most common reasons that might cause overflow pipe leaking is a problem with a float valve. The float valve is a device that controls water level; it consists of a plastic/metal arm along with a plastic ball at the end of the arm that floats in the water. Float valves are found in toilet cisterns, expansion tanks, cold water tanks, and central heating feed.

This float valve keeps moving up and down along with the water level to switch on and switch off the cold water feed. The extent of the water level in the tank should be an inch below the overflow pipe. If the float valve does not operate correctly, the cold water feed may not be properly switched off, thus causing excess water overflow.

However, it is considered an alarming situation if the overflow pipe leaks- even if it’s a very small leak. Continuous water leaks might result in water overflow and you might have to switch off the entire plumbing system. Read below to find our simple step by step guide that will help you find where the leak is and what to do if you see the water leaking from an overflow pipe just so that you can quickly deal with the situation:


Identify Which Cistern/ Water Tank Is Overflowing

If the leaking pipe is seen on the ground or first floor, it might be your bathroom overflow pipe dripping and coming from the toilet cistern. But if it is at the loft level and is protruding out, then water might be coming from the expansion tank and the central heating feed.


Check the float valve & washer

Sometimes, if the water keeps continuously running into the tank, the float valve might get stuck. Check on the float valve, release it if it is seen stuck, and see if it repeats its normal function. Also, check on the ball to see if it’s punctured. If you find problems with the float valve and the ball, it needs to be replaced, and if everything is good, but still the water keeps leaking, then the washer might be worn out and needs to be replaced. 


Turn Off Water Feed & Drain the Water

To work, first, you need to stop the flow of new water into the tank and drain it completely.

  •   Use the isolation valve to turn the water feed off on a toilet cistern.
  •   Use a flat head screwdriver to turn the screw clockwise and flush the toilet to drain the water.
  •   At the stopcock, turn off the mains to stop the water feeding into either of the water tanks.
  •   You could turn on your bathroom taps to drain it.
  •   See that the water level is below the area you need to work on.


Check water pressure

Leaky pipes are majorly the effect of increased water pressure. The tube may leak if the pressure exceeds the pipe’s pressure handling capacity. In addition, the water valve, which checks the pressure and the flow of water through the overflow pipe, might have loosened due to continuous water flow with increased pressure. Sometimes, the pipe might also face leakage due to damages.


Toilet Overflow Pipe Leaking

The toilet overflow pipe ends outside the house, and if the water flow within the tank or cistern doesn’t stop, it will overflow. This can be fixed in multiple ways:

  •   Check if the float valve is freely moving: There are chances that the float valve might be twisted within the valve chain.
  •   Regulate the float valve: Control the extent of the float valve by bending the arm or adjusting the screws to shut the water system off.
  •   Check water pressure: The overflow pipe may leak due to increased pressure in the water flow within the pipe. The water pressure can be checked in the isolation valve and must be closed to manage the flow.
  •   Replace the float valve or washer: There might be a damaged valve or washer if the water leakage does not stop after the remedial trials. If this is the case, the washer/ valve needs to be replaced.


Cold Water Feed and Expansion Tank Overflow Pipe Leaking

This cold water feed and expansion tank overflow pipe extend through the bigger water cistern to your house’s exterior. Water flows to the sinks from the tank. In the case of leakage in any of the system’s overflow pipes, it is because of the below reasons:

  •   The tank’s water inlet is not turning off.

If you find a constant drip of water inside the water feed tank, try to adjust/ replace the float valve or the washer.

  •   Water is being pressured back into the outlet pipe.

If the pipes, float valves, and washers seem to work fine, then the sole reason for the leakage is that the water is pushed back towards the leak through the outlet pipe. This issue could be solved by calling in a safe gas expert.

Call a Gas Safe Technician.


Central Heating Feed and Expansion Tank Overflow

 The central heating feed and expansion tank overflow pipe goes from your water tank in your loft to the outside of the house. Water to the central heating system of the house is provided by the feed and if the overflow pipe of the system is leaking, the two possible reasons are:

  •   The water feed going into the tank is not switching off

As soon as you see constant dripping of water into the tank, ensure that both the float valve is not damaged or worn out. If you find any such issues of damage, then go ahead and replace the float valve/ washer.

  •   A problem with your hot water cylinder

If you see your cold water feed working fine and your float valve and washer is also undamaged, then the only issue would be with your hot water cylinder.


Boiler Overflow Pipe Leaking

Boilers have a pipe consisting of a pressure relief valve similar to an overflow pipe. Under too much water pressure in the system, this valve releases water. Also, this pipe in the boiler has its end at the outside of your house and prevents any flooding. This valve only flows when there is a severe problem in the system, so if it is seen leaking, it is important to take notice of the issue immediately.

Note: Pressure Valve Pipes and Condense Pipes are two different. Hot water flows through the condensed pipes when the central heating system is turned on.

If your boiler is leaking water from an overflow pipe then there is excess pressure to the system or due to an issue in the pressure valve. In both cases, it is recommended to call in professionals.

Call a Boiler Repair Engineer


Overflow from Kitchen Sink

The overflow pipe of the sink is placed just below the sink and has its opening down the drain. This pipe stops your sink from overflowing. Hence, it would be difficult for you to point out if there is an issue with the sink overflow pipe. However, the problems and indications surface with your sinks or baths. But in case you spot any issue with the drain, then the simple solution is to unclog it and allow the sink to drain off.


Get a Plumbing and Drainage Cover

With all the above information, we have kept you covered with every issue that might happen with the water supply pipes and the why’s and how’s of it. Yet a blocked drain or a burst pipe will likely slow down anyone. So take out Smart Cover’s Plumbing and Drainage Cover to keep yourself up from unexpected situations.

At Smart Cover, we provide home emergency insurance coverage and for a vast range of home appliance products with a vision to be protective of our customer’s needs and emergency situation. In addition, we provide professional service, competitive premium rates and streamlined claims settlement processes.

Smart Cover’s plumbing & drainage insurance scheme includes:

  •   Emergencies related to the internal drainage system.
  •   Collapse/ Blockage/ Leak of the external water supply pipe.

Our engineers work around the clock on various household repair emergencies throughout the year. However, a plumbing and drainage breakdown can occur at any time, and we want you to be secure in knowing that you’re covered for repair costs. So reach out to Smart Cover’s plumbing & drainage insurance, and the solution is just a call away.

Travel Insurance

Everything You​ Need To Know About Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is the best way of making sure you’re in safe hands while abroad/on holiday. Travelling without insurance puts you at risk of paying thousands of pounds if anything happens whilst your away. If you have travel insurance while going abroad, you are guaranteed to be covered for things such as medical care, stolen baggage and a lot more depending on which provider you choose.

Most policies include cover for:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • The cost of cancelling, delaying or cutting your trip short
  • Personal liability (for example if you were sued for damaging or causing injury to somebody or their property)
  • Lost/ stolen bags

If you are buying travel insurance, make sure you are covered on at least both medical expenses and getting home as these are two essentials. Note that baggage and cancellation cover may be added as additional extras but are to both just as important to have.

What should your travel insurance policy include?

Travel insurance policies do vary, and each come with different cover, so it’s important to know what kind of policy would benefit you the most. Below I am going to list eight things that all travel policies should include, these are the things you want to make sure your policy contains as they will benefit you the most.

  • Getting you back home – If your abroad or on holiday and you must fly back home in an emergency, cover should provide the costs of emergency return to the UK, however any treatment/surgery which can wait until you return to the UK would not be covered.
  • Missed departure – This will cover costs of accommodation and travel expenses if you miss your departure flight/boat or train due to situations out of your control for example public transport delays or being in an accident on the way. Always make sure you allow yourself enough time to get to the airport, station or port as if you didn’t then you won’t be covered. If you break down, you will have to provide a report from the breakdown company to prove evidence that it happened.
  • Cancellation – If you cancel or shorten your trip you will be covered for any travel and accommodation costs you have paid for and are unable to claim back. Many policies will only cover cancellations under there terms and conditions so always check before proceeding.
  • Medical expenses – Cover towards any costs of emergency medical and surgical treatment while you are abroad. Any treatment that can wait until you return to the UK according to medical opinion would not be covered.
  • Delay –  If there are delays to your plans while travelling, for example due to weather or mechanical breakdowns the insurer will pay a contribution depending on how long the delay was. If the delay was already known about before you travelled, then you won’t be covered.
  • Baggage – If your baggage Is lost/stolen/damaged or destroyed you will be covered. You will need to report all losses within a certain time and get a report from your airline if it was them that lost your baggage.
  • Travel abandonment – If you must cancel your trip/journey this cover will refund your travel and accommodation expenses. Policies will only cover you in certain circumstances so make sure you check the terms and conditions.
  • Personal liability – If you are liable to pay damages due to accidental injury to someone or for loss/damage to someone’s property.

Your travel insurance policy should include all the above features; however, some policies inc​lude extras such as:

  • Dental emergency – If you are required emergency dental treatment while you’re away they will provide cover towards the costs of emergency dental treatment while your away. Non-emergency treatment is not usually covered.
  • Cash – Covers you for loss or damage to money held as cash.
  • Money – If you have money/cheques or pre-paid tickets that have been lost or stolen they will replace the money. You will not be covered if you don’t claim the loss/theft of money to the police within 24 hours of discovering it and getting a written police report.
  • Loss of passport – Provides cover towards additional travel and accommodation expenses because of needing to replace a lost passport. If you do not have receipts for the additional expenses you won’t be covered.
  • Terrorism – Covers your medical costs in the event of an act of terrorism. Some insurers cover certain things and extras such as baggage damage so make sure to check the terms and conditions.

Don’t fall for the cheap prices

When it comes to travel insurance the cheapest is not always the best and sometimes spending that little more will end up benefiting you. There are many different policies and the right one for you may not always be the cheapest one available. If the policy is the right one for you it is worth paying a few extra pounds, as getting the cheapest one may stop you for claiming when you need to.

When you’re looking for your policy make sure to look at the benefits and features, a really good way to get the best deal is writing a list of all the features you want or need, looking on comparison sites and filtering what you want on your list.

Do you need travel insurance if you own a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

If you own an EHIC you get the same level of medical care as someone who lives in the country your visiting and the card is valid in all European economic area countries. What you need to remember Is that the country your visiting may not have the level of care that you may want, for example they may not have the same as what you get in the UK. Having an EHIC card may benefit you when buying travel insurance as there is a chance they won’t ask you to pay the excess on your medical claims. Even if you own an EHIC card it is still recommended to buy travel insurance as the EHIC card is not enough by itself.

Things to consider:

  • As all travel insurance policies are different you must choose carefully what one will benefit you the most. If you are taking part in dangerous activities while away such as adventure sports or skiing then you probably wont be covered as part of a standard travel insurance policy and might need to pay for extra cover.
  • If you’re 65 or over and have a medical condition you may need specialist insurance.
  • If you have any kind of medical condition it is important to tell your insurer if your asked, even if you think its not important. If you do not do this, you are at risk of invalidating your insurance policy.
  • Check that your policy covers you for the destination your going to, policies do vary, and you never know what you’re signing up for, some providers will include all countries, some won’t include specific countries for many different reasons. For example, Turkey is sometimes put under European cover and sometimes its not, worldwide cover doesn’t always include the USA, it can all be confusing so making sure to read the policy carefully is important.

How we help 

Don’t forget here at Smart Cover we can help you with the right travel insurance that will protect you and your family on holiday! 

Contact us via our website or call us on 03333 449 559 if you would like to find out more, our customer service team will be happy to help with any questions or queries.

Queen Mothers Guild Interview

We spoke with a president at Queen Mother’s Clothing Guild, Mary Guppy!

Can you tell me about QMCG and what it is all about? 

Queen Mother’s Clothing Guild is all about helping people in need.  During the summer months all the charities on our current list are contacted by the Secretary asking them to send in a list of the type of clothing they would like to receive. We collect new items, such as clothing, gloves, scarves, towels and give them to people who need it. We only collect new items because many of the recipients have never owned anything new. For them to receive new items gives them warmth, comfort and dignity.

How long has it been running?

Queen Mothers Clothing Guild was founded in 1882 by Lady Wolverton, so it’s been 136 years.

Can you tell me about the work the organisation does?

So, Queen Mother’s Clothing Guild Donates new clothes to 69 different charities in England and Scotland, in order for us to keep doing this and for the organisation to carry on going we have to raise a very large amount of money per year. All clothing and linen donated during the year arrives at St. James’s Palace on the first morning of Packing Week. Everything is then unpacked and counted before being distributed to its stall. There are stalls dealing with Neonatal, Babies, Children 2-5 years, Children 6-16 years, Women, Men, Linen and also a collection called ‘Various’ which has shoes, knitted blankets, bed socks, bed jackets, hats, scarves and many other things.

How did you become involved with QMCG?

I was introduced to it by a friend of mine who was a president for QMCG, I started off as a helper, then I became vice president and 5 years ago I become a president.

As a president and Executive Committee, could you explain your roles?

Along with other people we go and visit anyone who may need help, we work out the financial arrangement and we have the responsibility of choosing the people who need help the most. Two presidents have to visit the charities.

When did you become an Executive Committee? 

I became an executive committee at the beginning of 2017, I was elected by the other members of the executive committees.

What’s it like being a president and Executive Committee? 

We are very busy, we try to help as many people as we can, but the role is very satisfying and rewarding, I enjoy it very much.

Does QMCG have any goals for this year?

Our goal is just to carry on what were doing and raise as much money as possible and help as many people possible.

We are grateful to anyone who would like to donate. By helping us you really are helping so many others, a gift no matter how small, for example a pair of gloves or socks can make somebody’s day! If you want to contribute items, then you can contact the QMCG secretary at who will put you in touch with your nearest group.

How To Prepare Your Car For Winter

Winter is here, and we all know the difficulties that come with driving during winter months; frozen windows, snow on the windscreen, freezing steering wheel and foggy weather. It’s not just frustrating and time-consuming to fix, it can also be dangerous when traveling in these conditions. We have put together 8 steps you can follow to prepare your car for winter.

1: Get your car serviced

If your car is due a service within the next 3 months, consider doing it before winter really sets in. The winter weather can cause problems for cars but servicing your car before the winter can prevent many problems that may occur otherwise. Some garages will offer a discounted, sometimes even free winter service, so take advantage of this.

2: Top up the engine coolant with antifreeze

Engine coolant is supposed to be a 50% mix of water and antifreeze. It is common that people tend to top up the water over the course of the year, meaning in cold temperatures the antifreeze gets over diluted and freezes. If you don’t top up the antifreeze, you could end up with a large repair bill due to the engine overheating.

3: Clean your lights

Its important in the winter that lights, indicators and rear reflectors are clean and in working order. For example, in foggy weather, if your fog/ full beam lights are not working it can be dangerous as other drivers may not see you. Clean all lights and if needed, get them fixed so they are in full working order.

4: Check the battery

Checking the battery should be one of the first things you do. The winter weather and cold temperatures mean you increase the use of lights and ​the heater, which puts extra strain on the battery. Your battery should last around five years but if you’re having trouble getting your car to start it’s best to get your battery checked.

5: Check the condition of your tyres

The car tyres are especially important in the winter as steering and braking in snow and icy conditions can be of difficulty and dangerous if not done carefully. Check the tyres for pressure and tread depth. Compared to the legal limit of 1.6 mm in normal weather conditions, it is recommended there should be a minimum of 3mm depth during the winter to ensure a better grip.

6: Wash your windscreen/wipers/windows

Clean your windscreen and windows from both inside and out. Make sure to top up your screen washer fluid as well. Its important your windscreen and windows are clear so that you have the best vision possible. In the winter it is easier for your windscreen/windows to get dirty, so keeping the screen washer fluid topped up is important to ensure they are clean at all times.

7: Carry a winter breakdown kit in the boot

​Carrying a winter breakdown kit will ensure you are not stuck in the freezing cold with anything to keep you warm and safe if you should breakdown. The kit should include a shovel, blanket, luminous vest, screen wash, food and drink, de-icer, spare coat, a charger for your mobile phone and a torch. These kits are available on many websites and can be bought at a good price at places such as

8: Use a foil windscreen cover

To avoid your screen freezing up or potentially getting covered in snow, purchase a windscreen cover so that you can keep your screen clean and protected during winter. Windscreen covers can be used all year round, including summer, to protect your car from getting too hot.

We hope this article has helped and you now feel confident in preparing your car for winter.

How To Fix A Smelly Dishwasher

The dishwasher plays an important role to keeping your kitchen looking clean. You’ve cooked and eaten your dinner; all the dirty plates and cutlery are in the dishwasher and your kitchen is looking spotless. You can’t help but notice everything looks clean but there’s an awful smell coming from your dishwasher. You assume that your dishwasher is clean if it’s cleaning your plates and cutlery? Well, no, not really – your dishwasher can get dirty and start to smell for a number of different reasons. Read below about 4 ways to get rid of that nasty smell coming from your dishwasher.

1: Wash the inside/interior walls of the dishwasher and racks

The first thing you can do is give your appliance a good clean. You may be getting a bad smell simply because of the grime that has collected throughout the inside of the dishwasher. Remove the racks, as they will just get in your way. Use a rag with some hot soapy water to scrub the interior walls, this can be a hard job if the grime has been there for a long time. A textured rag may help with scrubbing.

Once you have done the inside of the dishwasher it’s a good idea to quickly soak the racks in hot water while you can. Its unlikely the racks have anything to do with the smell, however cleaning them takes minutes.

2: Clean the drain filter

If your dishwasher is giving off a bad odour, the drain filter could potentially be the reason. The drain filter can collect food particles, meaning over time it can become very dirty. You should have a detachable filter where all of the water drains, you will need to remove this filter by removing the bottom rack and twisting it out. Wash the filter with soap and hot water then place back in to the dishwasher.

3: Place a cup of distilled white vinegar in the top rack of the dishwasher

This is one of the most popular ways of getting rid of any bad smells coming from your appliance. Of course, make sure there is nothing in the dishwasher whilst cleaning using this method. Even though vinegar itself has an interesting smell, the acid in vinegar is good for removing bad odours. Place a cup of distilled white vinegar on the top of rack of the dishwasher and run a cleaning cycle.

Once you have done this, it is a good idea to then go with the baking soda method. Sprinkle a cup of baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher. Baking soda is another product well known for removing bad odours. Run another short cycle, make sure the water is at the hottest setting to ensure all the baking soda dissolves.

After you have done these two steps, your dishwasher should be smelling fresh and clean.

4: Clean the spray arm

The spray arm can also get clogged up with food, just like the drain filter. If the spray arm gets clogged, it loses the ability to clean the items properly. The debris also leads to the bad smell coming from your dishwasher. Remove both the upper and lower spray arms and remove any food particles over the sink. Run water through both spray arms to ensure all holes are clear.

We hope by reading this article you have learned something new and are now educated on how to remove any bad smells coming from your dishwasher. Don’t forget that here at Smart-Cover we offer dishwasher insurance from just £6.29 p/m. Get a quote today.

Do You Need Excess Protection?

Excess protection saves you from paying a high excess. If you make a claim on an existing insurance policy, you are entitled to pay an excess. When you take out a policy you will usually be given two options to choose from, compulsory excess or voluntary excess.

Compulsory excess – When getting a quote from the insurer you will see that some will set a compulsory excess amount, this is an excess amount that you will have to pay if you make a claim, you cannot change this amount as it is set in place and not negotiable. The amount will depend on certain factors for example for a car, the type of car and its age would be considered.

Voluntary excess – This is an amount of excess that you can control and set yourself, some people add extra voluntary excess on top of the compulsory excess as this can reduce your premium, but make sure you pick an amount that you can afford if you do have to make a claim.

How does excess protection work?

Paying excess for an insurance claim can be expensive, excess protection is an insurance policy that recovers the excess costs.

Let’s say you buy car insurance that has an excess of £500, and you damage your car, the damage costs are £2500. You will have to pay £500 towards the claim, and your insurer will pay the rest in order to fix your car. With excess protection you can claim the excess amount of money back.

So, for the £500 excess example, if you paid £90 annually for excess protection, you would save £410 from the claim. This obviously will save you paying a large amount of money.

If you claim on an insurance policy, you will pay the excess amount that you agreed to when buying your policy, and then the excess insurance will return the money back to you.

How much does Excess Protection cost?

​The cost of excess insurance will all depend on the insurer and also the amount of excess that you want to be covered. For example, if you are protecting a small excess of £100 you could pay as little as £1.50 a month! However, if you’re protecting an excess of £600 you may pay up to £8 a month.

You may be wondering are you really saving money from buying excess protection? The answer is a very big YES! Think about it, from as little as £2 a month you could save hundreds of pounds if you have to claim.

Types of Excess protection:

Single policy – The covers excess on one insurance policy, for example your car.

Lifestyle – This covers the excess on multiple insurance policies, for example your car, gadgets and health.

Excess insurance for car hire:

​Excess insurance is great for things like car hire, the reason being that car hire companies can make you pay a high excess, due to the risk of damage to the car. If you damage the car during the hire, you may have to pay thousands of pounds excess, which is a substantial amount. Excess insurance will stop you from paying this large cost.

Here at Smart-Cover we offer Excess protection from just £1.80 a month. For an excess of £500 you can be protected for just £50 annually saving you £450 if you claim. Get a quote today.

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