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Check your storm drains

The well needed rain that arrived in Sydney over the last few days has created many blocked storm water drains.

Take the opportunity in between showers to check any pits or drains around your home that may be blocked by leaf debris or dirt.
If you can clean them out it may save you from some unexpected flooding.
The drain shown here was covered by leaves and gum nuts blown off in the storm wasn’t able to cope with the deluge of water.
The garage was flooded.

Take care climbing on your roof. It may be very slippery!

The Lone Drainer Recipe collection

The Lone Drainer Recipe Collection

It’s the second month of the New Year and we’re all still full of good intentions.
I, The Lone Drainer, the fastest plumber in the Eastern suburbs, hereby announce my New Years Resolution: I will become a better cook. I am committing in print in the hope that my public announcement will help me stick to the program.

Here’s how it will work:

Every week, I will publish a new recipe, fully tried and tested in The Lone Drainer Coogee kitchen and stomach. I’m aiming for easy, fast and not too many ingredients. And something that won’t make me fat. I want to be a fit, healthy fifty year old. (Ed: who are you kidding Dave? Rumour has it you’re closer to sixty already!)

It won’t always be a recipe, sometimes it will just be a meal idea, suitable for a man to make. (OK, sexist, I know. I’ll rephrase that. What I mean is suitable for me, a mere male without a lot of cooking skills, but certainly a man who likes to eat well)

Here is No 1 Recipe, a sample of my easy- after- a -hard –days- work –plumbing meal idea:

Go to the supermarket.
Buy a bag of mixed salad leaves, a bottle of bread and butter pickles, and a piece of salmon.
Put two potatoes and two carrots on to boil.(Good plumbers need carbs. We work hard and burn a lot of energy)
Spread the salad leaves on a plate. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil on the leaves. (uncooked olive oil is good for keeping cholesterol down)

BBQ the salmon. Or cook it on a heavy cast iron frypan. Six and two minutes on a gas stove

Put the salmon on top of the leaves. Put the now cooked potatoes and carrots next to the salmon on the plate . Add a couple of dill pickles. There is dinner. Four vegetables, fish for protein and a few carbs for energy. Twenty minutes tops.

Read our blog. Cook my food. Admire our plumbing.

Responsibility for sewer pipes

Did you know homeowners are responsible for their sewer pipes up to and including where they meet the Sydney Water sewer mains?

A lot of people are shocked to find out this piece of information.

If you need to renew your sewer pipe line because it has been damaged by tree roots and those pipes are out in the middle the road, then the homeowner is responsible for all costs associated with that renewal, including Council road opening fees.

How do tree roots get into pipes? #2

In my last post I described how tree roots can easily travel through the soil loosened by excavation for your pipe installation.

Do you know why tree roots grow in sewer pipes from the top of the pipe joints?

Condensation is formed when we run water from our water pipes, through our drains.

Especially when we have a hot shower, wash our clothes or dishes in hot or warm water.
When the warm water enters the drains buried in the cold earth, condensation is formed, and it gathers on the inside top of our sewer pipes and drains.

The tree roots moving through our already loosened soils can now move along the top of the pipelines and are attracted to the warmth and moisture inside.
All they need now is a way into the pipe.

This 1.58sec clip shows how.

How do tree roots get into pipes?

Tree roots grow through trenches dug for plumbing pipes.

When plumbers excavate a trench in virgin soil to lay our pipelines to take the waste water from your home, we till the soil.

The simple method of excavating the soil with a shovel or even a mechanical excavator like a backhoe actually breaks up the soil.

See the tree in our attached pic?

Its root system will be able to grow through the trench looking for weakness in the pipe line.

After we complete our excavations and lay the pipes in the trenches, we back fill the trench, putting the excavated soils back.

Sometimes we water in the soil and quite often use a compactor to help with the back fill process.

Excavations are often back filled with an aggregate like blue metal gravel.

The back filled trench is never as compact as the virgin soil.

It provides the roots of nearby trees a much easier path to “wander” along in their search for water and nutrients.

Do tree roots grow in PVC pipes?

Do tree roots grow in PVC pipe?
Yes they do!
The PVC pipe shown here in this Youtube clip has tree roots growing in through the wall of the pipe in three different places.
There is a significant Norfolk pine tree and a Paperbark tree within two-three metres of the pipe.
The roots were cut from this pipeline about 8 weeks ago.
This survey was taken before applying Vaporooter to the pipe line.
Vaporooter will NOT fix a broken pipe.
Vaporooter stops tree roots in drains!
In this case, we are only keeping the roots at bay until the necessary repairs are undertaken.

Use Toilet Paper not Tissues

Tristan from The Lone Drainer And Pronto gives a simple demonstration as to why you should use toilet paper rather than facial tissues in the bathroom.

Toilet paper breaks down when it gets into water, whereas facial tissues bind together rather than falling apart.

Beware, facial tissues can cause a costly blocked drain.
Use toilet paper, not tissues.

Poo News

Our readers are still the best source of fun, information, insights and images from the wonderful world of plumbing
I’ve heard plenty of explanations of the word Poo.
I hadn’t heard this one.

Toilet won’t flush properly #1

“My toilet won’t flush properly” is a common cry for help in our emergency plumbing business.
We then ask, Do you mean the dirty water won’t flush away?
If the answer is yes and it looks like this,
then you have a blocked drain and you need a blocked drain expert quickly

However, if you press the Full and Half flush buttons and they don’t effectively clear the toilet bowl,
That is, their isn’t enough water in the toilet cistern to do the job
or
The buttons just don’t work
or
the cistern just won’t refill or it’s slow to fill
Then
I know how to fix the toilet that won’t flush properly.

I don’t like cricket..I love it.

January 6th 2017 sees the rain tumbling down in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Day 4 of the New Years 3rd cricket test between Australia and Pakistan is delayed because of the heavy rain.

The gutters and drains around our home and office are full of leaf debris and could cause flooding for anyone who isn’t vigilant

Take a tip

  • Check your storm water drains and down pipes are free of debris before you go to the cricket.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Think before you flush the toilet.

Christmas 2015 is upon us. Most of us slow down and enjoy the festive season and the Aussie summer.
But please think before you flush. We are here to help you with a plumbing emergency over the Christmas holidays.

A blocked drain can be caused by putting the wrong things down your sinks, pipes and toilets and it can leave you with an expensive plumbing bill to unblock your pipes. It can also lead to the amount of waste moving through our sewage treatment works at Malabar, Bondi and Manly.

These extra items have to be screened out, dumped in bins and trucked off to a landfill site. Unsuitable flushed items can lead to sewer overflows and problems in the sewer mains simply caused by small items getting caught and blocking the network.

Don't do it.

Don’t do it.

An overflowing sewer main in your property or worse, in your home, is very unpleasant. So, keep it simple and flush only the three Ps….. pee, poo and paper.

Storm drains overflow

We had another storm blast through Sydney this afternoon.

We were safely on a boat in Rushcutters Bay fitting the gas cooker as the 60 knot wind blew through.
Safe from the storm
The rain poured down with hail stones thrown in. The storm flooded all the local street drains and in some places the gutters were up to 400mm deep in stormwater.

Please check the grates and drains around your home and ensure that they are clear and running freely. The storms come quickly and can create lots of damage fast.

If you need help…… Call us!

Ready for Sydney Storm Season

Sydney storm season got under way last night with a spectacular electric light show to compliment Ed Sheeran doing his stuff.
storm season
Make sure you take precautions around your home in case severe weather hits.

Severe weather, heavy rain and electrical storms can affect pumps and boosters throughout our network which can affect our water supply and sewer pumping stations.

5 tips to get you ready:
1. Candle and matches. Have them handy.
2. Know where and how to turn off your water supply.
3. Have 3 days supply of fresh water in containers. Approx 10 litres per person.
4. Check your storm water grates and drains are clear of leaf debris and dirt.
5. Ensure your storm water down pipes are clear and not connected to the sewer.

If you’re not sure, Ask us!

Get your pipes checked…. I did!

November is Mens Health Month and my reminder came in the mail. “Its time to get your pipes checked again” said the friendly letter from my Colorectal surgeon. It spelt out the process, the fasting, the preparation, the costs, the procedure on the day, what to expect afterwards, the discomfort but most of all…….. the benefit!

So on Sunday I began the preparation for a colonoscopy on Monday. After a healthy and hearty breakfast on Sunday morning it was a time of fasting. No food! Then, from early afternoon into the evening I had to take not 1, not 2, but 3 doses of fairly unpleasant medicine that would clean my internal pipes so the surgeon could put his camera through them.

Now all this makes sense to a 54 year old male and father of 3 healthy and happy sons whose father, after being diagnosed with Prostate cancer passed away a few years ago.

So, I hear you ask, why is your plumber telling you this? If your body is a temple as mine is, and your home is your castle, then it’s appropriate to get your pipes checked, especially if your castle has a history of problems or blockages in your sewer pipes. There are many parallels between a Colonoscopy and a Drainoscopy.

To get a Drainoscopy is easy!

We clear your pipes and then put a specialized drain camera through the pipes to find out what is actually going on in there. Then we take the vision and put it on our YouTube channel with a description of what is going on in the pipes. You can see it, you can share it, you can get a second opinion, you can evaluate the information and understand exactly what is going on underground or in your pipes.

Yes, it is a little uncomfortable. But now I know that after Dr “L” has treated 2 areas of interest and checked my prostate, my pipes are in good condition. I’ve seen the pictures. And at the appropriate time, he will send me a reminder for my next Drainoscopy er Colonoscopy.

So to end on a high note watch this fun YouTube clip.

Melbourne Cup Tip

The winner

Broncos and Cowboys Long Weekend

The October long weekend brings a sporting feast to Sydney. NRL fans will descend on our city for the Grand Final between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys.

The Lone Drainer and Pronto loves cowboys and horses. My heart says Cowboys but the head says Broncos.

The Epsom Handicap will be run at Royal Randwick. I’m tipping Sadlers Lake with the great Jim Cassidy riding. Whilst in Melbourne, the AFL sees the the Hawks Hawthorn up against the Eagles from West Coast. Go the Eagles!

What ever you’re doing, have fun! And if you have a plumbing emergencyyou can call us!
The winner

Why use an electric eel

Dateline: March 21st 2015

Less than 5% of blocked drains in Sydney are cleared by electric eel. The rest are cleared and cleaned by high pressure water drain cleaners that operate by pumping clean water at very high pressure through a series of hoses into a sewer pipe to clear the blockage.

Over 85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots and we can show you how to Stop Tree Roots in Drains. Watch this short 2 minute YouTube video to see how we use the “Rattlesnake” drain cleaner to clear your blockage!