Dodgy measurements puts dad through the wash!
One of our tradespeople, Melvyn Cockell of M&J Maintenance, wrote to us recently describing a very soggy situation one of his customers got into...
"One day I was working in London when I got a desperate phone call from a customer nearby. A pipe had sprung a leak and the guy explained on the phone that they were running out of buckets, recognising a crisis I dashed over there to fix things. I arrived to find a man soaked to the bone with his finger over a leak to the central heating pipe!
On my way in to the house, I'd noticed the stop cock to the main water supply was outside near the garden path. My first task was to switch that off so I grabbed a screwdriver from my van, prized off the panel to access the stop cock and after a bit of struggle I managed to close off the mains.
I went back into the house armed with more buckets and a dust sheet to mop up the water. Central heating systems only have about 5 buckets worth of water in them so I knew that it wouldn't take long for the water to flow out.
I heard calls from upstairs saying, "Can I let go of the pipe yet?" so I said, "No, not yet!" as I still had to turn off the water from the water tank.
Finally, after turning off the water tank supply, I managed to get to the sodden man who, by now, was sprawled across the floor. "OK," I said, "you can take your finger off the leak now." "Thank goodness, I've been here for over two hours!" he said.
I asked the customer what had happened and it all began with laying a new floor. His son had taken measurements marking out where to nail in the new boards but hadn't taken into account the inch or so needed for the skirting board. Once that had been removed it had skewed all his measurements and had placed a row of board joists directly above the central heating pipe.
Needless to say, as soon as the nails went in they went straight into the pipe. The last nail that went in was bent so when his poor old Dad took it out, it had sprung the leak. The pipe itself had been nailed right down the middle 16 times in all. You couldn't have got it more perfect, or not, depending on how you look at it!
I replaced the pipe for them and they gave me a £50 tip and a bottle of champagne.
The moral of this story? Only trust your own measurements and, when you're stuck blocking a leak with your finger, a mobile phone in your pocket really comes in handy..."
M&J Maintenance to the rescue... Mel and his team come highly recommended on Rated People. They work in all sorts of different areas including plumbing, construction, damp proofing and plastering. They're based in Kent but cover a wide area.