My bathroom is flooding!

Pipes burst in peoples homes every day.
Knowing where your hot and cold water turn off could be the difference between having a few wet items under the kitchen sink and having a total flood.

Yesterday morning we had an urgent phone call for an emergency plumber with a difference.

Allan, the homeowner knew exactly where to turn off the water to his home unit.
A flexible connection under his bathroom vanity basin had burst.
Allan heard a “pop” then the sound of running water as it gushed out of his bathroom vanity basin onto the floor and out the door.

Fortunately, shutting off the water quickly kept the damage to a minimum.

We were able to rescue Allan and his family pronto.

We replaced the ruptured hot flexible connection and changed the corroded looking cold connection also.

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.

Shower outdoors more often

With our hottest summer on record, many of us have been showering outdoors.
It’s a perfect opportunity to water the garden and the lawn, stay cool ourselves and save water.
Some clients have us set up a permanent outdoor shower in the garden or near the swimming pool just to rinse off.
I reckon simple is best. Good old corrugated and canvas
Our correspondent enjoying the Three Capes Track in beautiful Tasmania, also reports it was 13 deg.C

My toilet cistern is leaking #1

“My cistern is leaking into the toilet pan”
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.
This pic shows the water inlet to the cistern and the outlet valve or flushing mechanism that sends the water into your toilet pan.

Either of the valves shown could be faulty.
If the inlet valve doesn’t shut-off, it will cause the cistern to overfill and spill into the overflow tube that will run down into the pan.
You may need a new inlet valve.
If the outlet valve is leaking into the pan, the outlet valve may need to be replaced or re-washered.
Either of these valves leaking could be causing leaks into the pan.

If you’re not sure, just ask us.

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.

Urgent hot water help

Its really important to know a few simple things about your water heater.

I just had an emergency call from Emma, who returned from visiting the UK for Christmas.
While she was away her water heater leaked through the kitchen cupboards and ruined the carpet throughout her home and flooded the property below.

The neighbour below, forced entry into her unit to turn off the water to protect his property.

Over the phone, Emma asked for help replacing her existing water heater

I asked her to send a picture of the heater and I now know,

  • There is no safe tray under the heater. Installing a safe tray to prevent future flooding should be considered.
  • The water heater currently is an 80Ltr unit. The modern version is slightly larger and won’t fit in the cupboard. The cupboard may need to be dismantled to remove the existing and fit a new unit.
  • A 50-litre heater may also be too big. (Please check the cupboard dimensions)
  • The current water heater does not have a tempering valve fitted. Australian Standard states “A tempering valve to be a part of any new hot water installation”.
  • There is a flexible connection between the Duo valve and the heater. Australian Standard states “Flexible connections do not comply”.

Does the cold water control valve that shuts off the water to your entire home work efficiently?
It will need to, so that the Duo (control) valve  the water heater can be worked on.

Take 3 tips.

  • Know where your water heater is.
  • Know how it turns off.
  • Turn off the water and electricity or gas before you go on holidays.

If you’re not sure…ask me.

Spend a penny on a hot day

It’s hot in Sydney today. 30 deg C.    With the forecast to be 38 C. tomorrow Wednesday.

It’s uncomfortable!

We did all of our plumbing jobs earlier today, before it got too hot.
Interestingly, the average Sydney bathroom is a cool place to be on a hot day.
The tiled floor and walls in the bathroom made it significantly cooler.
So, if you can, stay in the bathroom a little longer today. Sit a little longer and read this story of the landlord who put a coin operated flush button on his tenants WC cistern in an effort to “save water”.
Now stay cooler longer and read about it here.

Funny, 10 days ago I was in Sheridan Montana and the temp was -29 C. I’m glad their bathroom was heated.

 

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.

World Toilet Day 2016

Today November 19th, 2016 is  World Toilet Day .

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