World Toilet Day 2016

Today November 19th, 2016 is  World Toilet Day .
wtd-3
What does working as a plumber in Sydney, one of the greatest cities in the world, mean to me on World Toilet Day?
This is a city of contrast and we get to see mostly the top end where it’s nothing for people to spend over $1000 to buy 1 new toilet.
Many of the houses we visit have 2 or more toilets and many of us take it for granted that we can use a toilet, then flush the loo with clean drinking water from our seemingly endless water supply.
A lot of Sydneysiders would be surprised to know that about 1/3 of the world’s population have neither a toilet to use or clean running water to drink.

Let alone flushing away their bodily waste off to a treatment works, somewhere out of sight. And out of mind!

Today, whilst you use your toilet, think for a moment how we might help those less fortunate.
During your Christmas holiday, if you visit an underprivileged country and experience poor toilet hygiene, think of those people and how we may be able to help them before World Toilet Day 2017.

If you’ve got the stomach for it, take a picture of your travel experience and send it to me.

I’d like to raise awareness of this simple missing basic need for so many.
 

Where is your Drain survey?

You’ve got a blocked drain and your plumber puts a camera in the drain to see whats going on down there!

What happens after that?

Plenty of home owners don’t get to see the footage their plumber has taken of the inside of their pipes.
For some reason the plumber chooses to keep what is going on in your pipes a secret from you.

Why?

Like any medical scan or x-ray of your body, it shouldn’t be kept a secret from you.

You should be able to see whats going on in your drains so you can get a greater understanding of how the drains work. Or don’t!

Then, you can make an informed decision about how to repair your pipes and get other professional opinions on how to do that.

There are many ways to maintain your pipes and drains.

So if your plumber recommends a particular method of pipe repair after he puts a camera in your drains then tells you what he saw… but doesn’t show you

Ask him for a copy of the pipe survey.

After all, he has billed you for it.

This survey shows a section of re-lined pipe with earthenware pipes and tree roots.

Toilet Hygiene #2

A recent study showed  95 % of men and women say they wash their hands after using the toilet, especially a public toilet.

Funnily enough, only 67% of people actually do wash their hands after using a public loo or the toilets in their workplace. There have been quite a few surveys done on the topic and some innovative ideas to check on whether we did or didn’t wash.

It’s quite well documented that the toilet flush button is one of the most un-hygienic places in the bathroom and I’m hoping that all our readers apply the simple rule.

Flush when you’re finished! But, think about it, What did you do before you flushed the loo?

So, wash your hands after a trip to the bathroom.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands

Winter rain comes with a blast

Winter Rain and blocked pipes.

The forecast east coast low started dumping rain on us last night. Road accidents caused by wet conditions and local flooding are the norm today. The weather bureau suggest these conditions will hang around until Monday.

Blocked storm water drains, storm water pipes and storm water pits have been the order of the day today after the rain came thick and fast.

Where possible, keep your roof gutters and drains clear of leaf debris to avoid flooding and pipe overflows.
rain

Home Buyers Beware

Home buyers beware.

For us, the heat in the real estate market is reflected in the lack of due diligence by potential home buyers prior to purchasing properties in our suburban real estate grab.

Yesterday we helped a young couple who just bought their first home in the Ryde district.
house sold
They had bought a house that had the bathroom toilet illegally connected to the surcharge gully which was outside the bathroom and near their front door. The gully had a deck built over the top of it to make the front of the house more appealing.

Every time the toilet was flushed the discharge spilled into the gully underneath the deck. Yuk!

After living in the house for only three weeks they started to question the blocked drain symptoms displayed by the toilet. There was also some doubt about the sewerage smell at the front door.

Apparently the young owners had undertaken a pre-purchase building inspection. Somehow the building inspector did not pick up this illegal plumbing connection.
Blocked WC
The only advice I can give you is that if you have a friend that’s a plumber don’t get him to look at the property before purchase.

Instead, get a plumber who has plenty of experience in looking at domestic homes, who has an eye for the unusual and is prepared to look a little harder than just scratching the surface.

Any rectification work to the problem we have just uncovered will be expensive. In the $3000-$5000 range.

That is not what these new eager homeowners were expecting.

Should plumber’s quotes be free?

Some plumbers provide free quotes? Many don’t!

For the simple jobs a plumber can usually give you a rough estimate over the phone. However, more complicated projects usually need a site inspection and sometimes exploratory surgery if you want a realistic quote.

A great plumber will blend technology and experience to give you a quote complete with site pics and designs to include in the proposal and that comes at a cost. That same plumber, unless he is waiting on information from another tradie like a landscaper or electrician, should get his quote to you same or next day.

Almost all plumbers who ask for a quote fee know their stuff from years of experience. Just like a consultation fee with your surgeon to plan and discuss your procedure before you go “under the knife”. I’ve paid for that experience. It was money well spent.

If your plumber charges for a quote, you’re more likely to get a professional and well considered opinion for your problem and he should offer a number of alternatives to suit your home and your budget. Quite often your plumber will deduct the quote fee from the price of the job, so effectively you end up with a free quote.

Plumbers are real people too and we get quotes for projects on our own homes and gardens, cars and boats, pets and holidays and occasionally the quote is more than we expected. I’ll usually ask questions and discuss the task with the professional providing the service. With a better understanding of “what” and “why” the quote is so, I can ask for recommendations and if necessary, scale back the project without compromising my home. Then, depending on my budget, I’d undertake the entire project or just a part of it.

Interestingly, the internet has made us all experts in many fields. I reckon you get what you pay for!
Google an expert

Sewer overflow makes Coogee a “smelly place”

Coogee means “smelly place” and yesterday the beautiful beach, just 500 metres from our HQ lived up to the name given it by indigenous Australians. The smell and subsequent beach closure was brought about by a Sydney Water  blocked sewer main in nearby Dudley Street.

The overflowing sewer main spilled into the storm water system which then discharged into the surf just near the Coogee Surf Club. Randwick City Council closed the beach and drained the Ross Jones pool that sits adjacent to the surf club and the storm water discharge.

Sydney Water maintenance crews cleared a blockage in the sewer main that was caused by tree roots.
The tree root blockage and sewer overflow was completely preventable. The beach has been re-opened today.

Clipping from Sydney’s Daily Telegraph:
2016 04 14 Cooge sewer spill Daily Telegraph article

See it for yourself – Drainoscopy

Today our post is simple.

A new client from Bronte called because since Christmas they’d had 3 blocked drains causing the downstairs toilet to overflow throughout their basement. YUK!

The plumber they had been using didn’t have a drain camera and it was suggested that the pipes were broken.

We were able to clear the blockage quickly, then, give the pipes a Drainoscopy. That’s Lone Drainer speak for “put a specialised drain camera in the pipes and see what is really going on”.

The pipe was full of tree roots. That’s all! We cut out the roots and had another look. A simple Vaporooter treatment will keep the roots away. With a Guarantee!

Yes, the pipes are old clay pipes. You can see where the roots have been cut out. But, they work and will for some time to come.

The best way to find out is to see it for yourself.

Toilet Hygiene #1

Q. What’s the 3rd most un-hygienic place in the bathroom?

A. The toilet flush button.

Who’d have thought? Now, wash your hands!
toilet flush button

A plumbers view – Super Bowl 2016

Sunday, February 7th was Super Bowl 50 Sunday in San Francisco. By now you may know The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 at Levi’s Stadium.

What’s that got to do with plumbing, I hear you ask. Well plenty, according to the Scott Tissue company; the toilet is flushed more during halftime than at any other point during the year. That’s 90 million flushes, using 350 million gallons or 1,323,000,000 litres of water, which is the same amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in seven minutes.

Now, that is…..a Super Bowl!

I’d like to know how many blocked drains happened on Super Bowl Sunday.
Superbowl 2016

Wipes can be expensive

As you know, up to 85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots and can be easily managed.

But, there is a growing number of blockages that are caused by “hygienic wipes”. Hygienic wipes block up house drains and sewer mains that cost homeowners and Sydney Water a fortune to maintain. So be careful what you flush!

Simply, hygienic wipes don’t break down like toilet paper and as many household pipe lines have imperfections, the wipes can get caught and start a blockage.

If you are polishing your bottom….. and flushing more wipes, you could be in trouble.

This Choice magazine Youtube video shows how wipes don’t break down for up to 21 hours.

Don’t flush facial tissues

85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots. However, what you flush down your loo can contribute to that blockage.

New Blood

New Blood 2
Its a simple thing to give blood. It doesn’t hurt at all! In fact it makes you feel really good…. and you get to help someone else.

Who knows, I may get to help you or your loved ones.

So what does that have to do with plumbing……

Well, only that all of your pipes need flushing from time to time. Even your personal pipes!

This is Furk! Having FUn at woRK.

Rain causes Bronte wall collapse

Sydney’s sustained rainfall has almost washed out the third cricket test between Australia and the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The rain may have helped the Windies at the SCG but nearby Bronte residents awoke yesterday to find their Macpherson Street neighbours wall had collapsed into the street.

My initial drive past the site to survey the damage was met by a pile of sand, outdoor table and chairs, a picket fence and kids cubby house that had slipped onto the road.
Bronte collapsed wall
It was interesting to see old earthenware pipes amongst the rubble. Maybe their stormwater pipes were blocked or leaking into the sand, probably washing out the pipe line, and the continuous rain caused the collapse.

I do not believe anyone has been injured. Here’s hoping this family can get back into their home soon.

Clear the air

Many of us are back to work today January 4th 2016 after our Christmas break. Time, love and laughter with family and friends, rest and re-charge.

We’ve had a few plumbing emergencies that couldn’t wait. Blocked drains, burst water pipes and a rusty galvanised gas service that led to a complete pipe re-run on New Years Eve.

People are grateful to have help from an emergency plumber.

They also like to laugh and learn. I recommend you watch this clip for Poo Pourri. This is what I call Furk!

Having FUn at woRK

BTW After the laughing stopped, I ordered some Poo Pourri. It works! If you’d like some let me know.