Dripping Overflow Pipe

30 Mar 2006
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United Kingdom
The outside overflow pipe from the cold water header tank in the loft is "slightly" dripping ...what could this indicate? Would the header tank be overflowing? What could be the solution(s), bearing in mind neither I nor my wife know nothing about plumbing! :(
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dripping ...what could this indicate?
The dripping indicates which way is downwards.

Could be as simple as a washer needing replacement.
I didn't know that outside overflow pipes had washers!! And as for a drip indicating a downward flow..... no comment. Thanks for the comments.
Have a look in the tank and see if the valve is shutting off properly by pulling the float arm up. If this works then bend the float arm down slightly so that the water level will remain below the level of the overflow hole. Could be a bit of grit stopping the valve shutting off or may need a new valve.
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Dear Squeaky, Thanks for your reply...sounds logical and good common sense. Our loft is a bit difficult to access, but I might try getting up there. If not successful, it will have to be a call out to a plumber....however, with your response at least I will be able to sound intelligent and that I know a little about what I am talking about. Will let you know how it all works out. Thanks again, Squeaky :)
without being too hard I hate clients that try to sound intelligent, and try telling the poor plumber how to do his job.

Your problem, could be :-

The ballvalve.
The cylinder coil has holed.
Cylinder is overheating.
Back up from an appliance fitting (shower, mixer tap or washing machine)
Anything else.

Call a plumber and let him sort it.
Dear "Doitall" Thank you for your advice and comments. No, I will not be trying to "lord it over the plumber" by wanting to sound intelligent, it is merely a wish that as my wife and I are elderly pensioners one can feel vulnerable with some professional service people when they come to
yuour home...I am sure you would understand that. Having a little bit of information perhaps makes one feel more confident and "safe". Thanks for the comments, which helped me learn a little more and, yes, I think you are right, the situation needs a plumber and a call has been put out.
Thanks again for responding. :)
An overflowing loft cistern or header tank is one of the simplest tasks in most cases.

You do not need to know the technicalities as this is the job of the plumber.

I will however give you some further advice although you have not asked for it but it is the advice that you really need!

Firstly try to find a plumber by personal recomendation!

Secondly fully explain the loft access problem and lighting!

Thirdly ask on the phone how much he will charge BEFORE he comes!

Fourthly find out where to turn off the water supply and does it work?

Fifthly expect a replacement float valve to be about £40-£60 all in if the job is reasonably straightforward depending on where you are located.

Dear Tony (Agile),
Thank you for your response, comments and advice...good sound advice which I will definitely take onboard. Yes, we did get a recommendation from a neighbour for a local plumber. A call has been placed, but we have not heard from him yet. As the "drip" is not of emergency proportions we feel we will be ok until Monday. Good points you mentioned, which I will put into practice when speaking with the plumber. I have learned good things. Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to share your thoughts and experience. Will let you know the outcome. :)
Dear Tony (Agile) and "doitall",

Gentlemen, my wife and I thank you both for your comments, suggestions and advice. The overflow pipe is now fixed after the replacement of the float valve. Tony, your "guesstimate" of cost was a good guideline for us (it came in a little under that), but it made us feel a little better re the worry about affording the expense. We thank you for taking the time and effort to respond to our question and for sharing your knowledge and expertise. Perhaps, service and utility professionals who make housecalls do not always realize that for an elderly couple receiving them into their home it is a worrying situation, not only with worrying about the expense and whether it can be afforded but unfortunately at times one can feel vulnerable and not safe when such visitors enter your home. Thank you again, we learnt a few things from our e-mail exchange. Kind regards.

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