Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Who turned off the hot water?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

That was the call today from the residents in a block of 82 home units.                                                                                                                         Our clients shower tap was leaking a 1/2 bucket of hot water every minute and needed new washers. So “Where does the Hot Water turn off?” asked The Lone Drainer”, I don’t know replied our client!” What followed was a search for the hot water shut off in all the usual places. Under the vanity basin….. no, Under the kitchen sink…..no, In the bathroom ceiling…..no, What about the duct in the hallway…..no                                                                                                                 Next, The Lone Drainer called the maintenance manager’s mobile, courtesy of the Emergency Number notice in the foyer. When he finally responded, The Lone Drainer…. and Pronto already knew that the valves in the cupboard shut off all the units on the other side of the hallway, but not ours.

“The hot water shut off valve should be in that duct” said Al the manager                                                                                                                                                         “It’s not!” said The Lone Drainer “Any suggestions?” “So you’re gonna have to shut down hot water for the whole building” says Al. Woman in shower cap Now there is a protocol for shutting down water to a building with 82 units at midday. Normally it’s a notice on the board and in the lift a couple of days in advance. Not today!

I had Pronto go to the foyer and buzz every unit to tell ‘em (those that answered) “The hot water is gonna get turned off in 1/2 hour for about 1/2 an hour” said Pronto And we did.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            By the time we shut down the boiler, drained the building then removed the shower tap and re-washered it, replaced O-rings and lubricated the moving parts, put the tap back together and turned the boiler valves back on it was 1 hour 15 minutes. Luckily only 18 of 82 residents came looking for the reason they had no hot water on this cold Sydney day.

Moral of the Story!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Know where your hot and cold water turns off…. And make sure it does! Now, that sounds like a job for The Lone Drainer and Pronto!

3 Tips for Healthy Hot Water.

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Who had a cold shower this morning?
Winter makes the need for hot water a high priority.
If you think your heater is under performing do this quick water heater health check.
1. Check the colour of your water.     If its brown, your water heater has a buildup of sediment or rust
2. Check your Temperature and pressure relief valve (like the one shown below), pull the lever. It should spurt out water till you let go of the lever and if it dribbles afterwards, it needs attention.
3. Does the stop valve work? Try turning it off, test the water at your hot taps and turn it back on. Ideally it should Stop the water flow through the heater.
Hot water T & PR valve
Whether your water heater is gas or electric, storage or continuous check it regularly.

If your hot water runs out get your friendly plumber to check it over

Common pipelines; easements, ownership and liability #3

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

One recurring topic of 2010 is the Ownership and liability of common water, sewer and gas pipes.
When we send out an emergency response team to a ruptured gas or water pipeline or an overflowing sewer, the first thing our team thinks about is rescuing the property under threat.
Often, it is after the emergency has passed, that ownership and liability of the problem are hotly debated.
This series of 3 blog posts is aimed at clarifying some of that debate.

Our friends at the Law Reform Commission have helped to clarify this interesting subject and in part it reads!

LIABILITY FOR COSTS
Role of the Water Board
An important and related issue that was raised in DP 22, in respect of utility services, is establishing liability for the repair and maintenance costs of common service pipes for individual users. The problem only really exists in respect of joint sewer services, because the Water Board will absorb the costs of repair and maintenance of water services (joint or single) within the areas of its operation.7 In those cases where the Board does not assume responsibility, it can still do the repair work itself and then issue notices for payment to the users of the service. The Water Board Act 1987 (NSW) does not contain any guidelines in respect of apportioning the costs of the work carried out.

The Water Board does not assume the same level of responsibility in respect of sewage services. A liability policy similar to the water supply policy (as discussed above) was considered for sewage services, but was rejected as too expensive. Where the Water Board is aware that work needs to be done on a joint sewer service, the Board will issue a defect notice requiring the users to repair the service within a certain period of time. Sometimes repair is ordered to take place within 24 hours, if the damaged service is deemed to be a health risk. It may also be the case that the users of that service realise that the service is in need of repair and attend to the repairs prior to receiving a notice from the Board.

Existing guidelines for apportioning costs
There are no guidelines to assist the owners in dividing the cost of repairs, although DP 22 argued that Regulation 9 of the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation (September 1989) could be interpreted as making owners jointly responsible for the maintenance of their water service pipe, sewer or storm water drain.8 Some users may argue that they were not responsible for any damage to the service and thus refuse to pay anything; other users may argue that the cost of repair should be divided equally, regardless of which users were directly affected, on the basis that the service is jointly owned; and others may consider the amount charged to be excessive and only wish to pay an amount they consider appropriate. Although a recommended rate may be obtained from the Master Plumbers Association, this rate is not a standard or enforceable rate and the final figure charged may be higher or lower depending on the circumstances.

In practice, one user (usually the person most affected by overflow from the blockage) often pays for the repairs and is then forced to seek contribution from the other users, and when payment is not forthcoming, he or she may be forced to litigate for the recovery of the money. Whilst a user may wish to claim equally against each of the other users of the service, it is difficult to prove what their contribution should be. A plumber may be retained to give expert advice about who or what caused the damage to the service. This lack of legislative direction stands in sharp contrast to the specific contributions that unit owners of a Strata Titles plan are required to provide by way of levy where maintenance and repair of the common property is necessary.

Common pipelines; easements, ownership and liability #2

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

One recurring topic of 2010 is the Ownership and liability of common water, sewer and gas pipes.
When we send out an emergency response team to a ruptured gas or water pipeline or an overflowing sewer, the first thing our team thinks about is rescuing the property under threat.
Often, it is after the emergency has passed, that ownership and liability of the problem are hotly debated.
This series of 3 blog posts is aimed at clarifying some of that debate.

Our friends at the Law Reform Commission have helped to clarify this interesting subject and in part it reads!

A user of a service may attempt to disconnect the joint service and force other users of the service to bear the cost of a direct connection to the main service. Such action will however, be illegal unless conducted in accordance with the Water Board Act 1987 (Water Board (Plumbing and Drainage ) Regulation 1989),2 or a court order declaring that the common user of the service has a right to discontinue the service.

The creation of permanent rights of access is seen as a means of avoiding problems of access in respect of utility services, and applications have been made to the courts over the years to have access to and over utilities such as water pipes and sewers recognised as easements of necessity. The courts have, however, gone to considerable lengths to hold that although such an easement may be considered by a landowner to be essential for the reasonable enjoyment of property, it is not an easement of necessity,4 because at law easements over such services are not considered necessary to the land itself.

Although DP 22 raised the possibility of statutory recognition of these “trespassing” services as a means of rectifying the problem, the Board of Surveyors pointed out in their submission6 that few authorities know with any exactitude the location of their service lines. Consequently, the Board of Surveyors opposes the creation of statutory easements over them until such time as they are properly defined on title. The Commission agrees that such a step may be expensive and premature at this stage. It would seem desirable however, that steps are taken in the long term by the relevant authorities to locate such services, properly record them and establish the appropriate rights over them.

Don’t play Noughts and Crosses when you have sewer problems

Saturday, January 1st, 2011


Today’s post comes courtesy of Dr Marc Dussault, The Exponential Growth Strategist. At his recent Exponential Business Building Bootcamp, he showed a series of “impossible pictures” from Swedish Artist Erik Johansson. This photo was of particular interest. This is what we want to avoid with Vaporooter when tree roots get into and block your pipes and drains.

Common pipelines; easements, ownership and liability #1

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

One recurring topic of 2010 is the Ownership and liability of common water, sewer and gas pipes.
When we send out an emergency response team to a ruptured gas or water pipeline or an overflowing sewer, the first thing our team thinks about is rescuing the property under threat.
Often, it is after the emergency has passed, that ownership and liability of the problem are hotly debated.
This series of 3 blog posts is aimed at clarifying some of that debate.

Our friends at the Law Reform Commission have helped to clarify this interesting subject and in part it reads!

In most cases, persons using utility services that pass through several properties benefit by the existence of an easement of access over that service, entitling the user to enter the property on which the service is located in order to attend to the service.1 However, in the absence of such an easement, the user of the service is not allowed to interfere with the service, even where that interference is for the purpose of maintenance, repair, or relocation of the service.

One explanation of why there may not be an easement is that the properties through which the service runs were once commonly owned. When the common ownership ceased, new owners may have failed to ensure that easements over water pipes or sewer lines existed for the particular part of the property they were purchasing. The problem may have arisen due to an assumption that such a right was simply transferred with the purchased property, or by an omission on the part of the conveyancer. Whatever the reason, the failure to create and register an easement has given rise to a number of lasting problems. These difficulties have been compounded by the general reluctance of the Water Board to impose on new purchasers a requirement to install costly separate connections. Many properties today do not have a viable means of creating a separate connection at reasonable cost.

My car is powered by sewage

Monday, December 27th, 2010


This post was brought to my attention by the ever vigilant Richard Piper. When you ring our office for help you may speak to him. Tell him you enjoyed this post, I did!

Sewage powered VW Beetle hits the road in Bristol
A Volkswagen Beetle powered by gas from sewage has taken to the road for the first time in Britain.

This converted Beetle car runs on methane gas. The Bio-Bug was launched on Thursday by Wessex Water, which is generating methane from human waste at a sewage treatment works near Bristol.

The company claims the prototype is able to cover 10,000 miles annually on the waste from 70 households.

If the trial proves successful, Volkswagen will consider converting some of its fleet of vehicles to run on biogas.

Mohammed Saddiq, of GENeco, a Wessex Water subsidiary which runs the biogas plant at Avonmouth, said: “Our site has been producing biogas for many years, which we use to generate electricity to power the site and export to the National Grid.

“With the surplus gas we had available we wanted to put it to good use in a sustainable and efficient way.

“We decided to power a vehicle on the gas, offering a sustainable alternative to using fossil fuels which we so heavily rely on in the UK.

“If you were to drive the car you wouldn’t know it was powered by biogas as it performs just like any conventional car. It is probably the most sustainable car around.”

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association said the launch of the Bio-Bug proved that biomethane from sewage sludge could be used as an alternative fuel for vehicles.

Lord Rupert Redesdale, the association’s chairman, said: “This is a very exciting and forward-thinking project demonstrating the myriad benefits of anaerobic digestion (releasing energy from waste). Biomethane cars could be just as important as electric cars.”

Last month Volkswagen announced plans to conquer the green market with a new generation of hybrid and electric cars.

Plumbers love your pussy

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Your Dog and Dealing with Internal Renovations

Dogs and cats find renovations very stressful: there are strangers in their home changing things, moving things around and distrupting their routine. Some of the risks involved range from escape behaviour, bad dog behaviour, territorial behaviour and the general stress of strangers and loud noises in their space. You also have the risk of injury or the potential of your fur baby being exposed to toxins. Unlike the tradesman, there are no protective masks or clothing for your pet.

Lead and Asbestos, as most of us know, are bad for us, but it’s just as bad for our pets. Years ago it was popular for house paint which contained high levels of Lead in addition to0 Asbestos in our walls. Startlingly before 1970 most paints contained up to 50% lead. Disturbing the paint during renovations can be risky business and you need to ensure you keep yours, and your pet’s, exposure levels down and leave this sort of job to the experts!

Lead and Asbestos will only resurface if it is disturbed, your tradie could unintentionaly do this and create a risk. If you’re renovating be sure to follow these simple steps to make sure your family and pets are safe from Lead and Asbestos.

Step 1 – Look into how much asbestos you will have to work around and whether your paint contains lead. The most likely places to find lead paint will be on the kitchen and bathroom cupboards, window frames, skirting boards, doors, architraves, picture rails, exterior walls, gutters, metal surfaces and fascias.

Step 2 – Use the appropriate tools and equipment for the task at hand. Protective clothing is a must! A respirator, disposable coveralls, disposable overshoes, a hat, and gloves will protect you from any dust containing lead. Find somewhere to keep your pets safe while the renovations are happening, a relative, friend or a doggy daycare is always a good idea to get the pets out of the house.

Step 3 – Prepare fully for interior or exterior work. Get experts to deal with Asbestos as there is a multitude of legislation governing the tampering and removal of Asbestos.

Step 4 – Deal appropriately with paint containing Lead. Use techniques that minimise the creation and dispersion of dust or fumes. Large portions of dust or wastewater that contain lead can contaminate the house and garden so best not to dry sand or use abrasive blasting. It’s always safer to avoid creating the dust as opposed to cleaning it up after as dust conatining only 1% lead can be harmful.

Step 5 – Use a 3 bucket wet cleaning method to eliminate any left over chemicals.

Step 6 – Dispose of contaminated waste appropriately.

This Blog Post was kindly supplied by the Friendly Team at Paddington Pups, Queensland’s Number #1 Doggy Daycare Centre.

Washing machines & dishwasher maintenance

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

With 3 growing boys living at home, they eat like there is no tomorrow and playing rugby, cricket and doing patrols at Coogee Surf Club, we have plenty of washing and dishes to wash up every day.
So much so, that both appliances broke down at the same time.
Yes it happens to plumbers as well!

So we had our brightest plumbing apprentice just instal a new diswasher and washing machine and it made me aware of the importance of these water appliances and how we should maintain them.

1. Their hoses are rubber, with hot water they perish and may rupture so check them regularly
2. Many people turn these control valves or taps off at the end of every wash. In our house that would be impossible
3. Turn taps off when going on holidays. Don’t forget to turn them back on

Just recently, our emergency plumbers rescued a young mother who had been to Adelaide for three weeks. The hose feeding her washing machine ruptured causing many dollars worth of damage. Her washing machine shorted out electrically (needs a new machine), the laundry /bathroom was covered in mould from the steam (needs repainting), assorted bits and pieces damaged, carpets in the hallway waterlogged, and the parquet flooring at the end of the hallway had buckled and will need major repairs, then re-sanding and staining. Not to mention the aggravation of removing all furniture and of course the young children from the home for several days whilst these procedures are carried out. The fumes from the floor staining will be intoxicating

Antonio Gaudi water conservationist

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Barcelona 2010
To visit Park Guell and see the home and creative brilliance of Antonio Gaudi is a special treat.
Gaudi created Park Guell for the citizens of Barcelona. It has gardens and homes and a view of the city and the Plaza.

The plaza is a meeting place for the people of the city and the brightly coloured mosaic seating around the man made plaza had a secondary purpose.
The dry Mediterranean weather usually meant excess water used on something as soothing as a fountain for the citizens and visitors to the city was a waste of water.
That didn’t phase Gaudi.
The water catchment created by the plaza was a brilliant idea to collect any rainwater that fell and through an underground filter and the storage system the rainwater was then piped to the mouth of a Mosaic dragon lying in a garden with a fish and lily pond at the bottom of the beautiful staircase.

The ergonomic design of the seating around the plaza beautifully decorated in mosaics was incredibly comfortable to sit back and relax, talking with friends and family.
Gaudi’s design allowed any water from those brief showers to fall to the back of the seating and then get channelled off quickly into a gutter on the outside of the seating and then dispersed to the dry garden areas below through a series of “spitters” hand carved in stone.
Absolutely Beautiful