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World Toilet Day 2018

November 19th 2018 is World Toilet Day
With the population of the world now at approximately 7.7 billion people, many of us would be surprised to learn that over 4.5 billion people do not have a clean toilet or running water to wash their hands.

According to a UN report, a third of schools worldwide don’t have any clean toilet facilities and nearly 1 billion school children don’t have hand washing facilities.

It seems extraordinary that in a world where most people have a mobile telephone approximately 892 million people have to squat out in the open.

This, of course, has knock-on hygiene effects with the pollution of domestic drinking water being a direct contributor to many cases of sickness disease and even death for those less fortunate than us.

Today, as you use your dual flush toilet in the privacy of your home, workplace or school, spare a thought for these people.

You may also consider buying Who Gives a Crap toilet paper.

Who Gives a Crap donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those who have none.

Gas heater time again

Winter 2018 is coming to Sydney.
With some much needed rain approaching as we head towards June 1st, it’s time to go looking for some indoor heating.
If you haven’t run your gas heater since last winter, please dust it and ensure the bayonet fittings are well lubricated before inserting the heater hose.
Check for leaks.
If you’re not sure
Call Us!

World Toilet Day 2017

A UN report claims that worldwide, at least 2.4 billion people are without basic sanitation.
The report states some of the peoples of south Asia and sub Saharan Africa don’t have access to a toilet or clean running water.
It appears that people in these parts of the world have a mobile phone but don’t have a working toilet.

Living and working as a plumber in Sydney Australia visiting some of the best homes in the country, it seems crazy that over 869 million people still defecate out in the open.

So what can the average reader do to help those less fortunate than us?

Good Question!

Look out for reputable organisations that are working to deliver the basic hygiene we take for granted and send them a donation.

Even a small donation equivalent of what we Aussies spend on coffee weekly would change the living standard and the lives of many of those less fortunate.

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

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

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.

Plumbing Emergency – Can’t turn the water off!

When you have a plumbing emergency

On Thursday night a client rang after 9.00pm to say her basin tap that had been leaking for a few weeks was now gushing water… and the water meter at the front of the house wouldn’t shut off.
images
We were able to rescue her family quite quickly. However it was an expensive process.

What’s the take away from that? If your taps don’t feel right, please don’t ignore it. Call a plumber and schedule a repair. And if your water meter wont shut off, it sounds like a job for The Lone Drainer and Pronto.

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!

Stop Leaking Taps

As a plumber, the majority of house calls I make have to do with leaking taps. Obviously in most cases it is correct to call a plumber but some times we are called to houses to carry out a simple plumbing job that takes five minutes which could have easily been completed by anyone with a little know how.

Here are a few pointers that can help to avoid problems like these:

  1. Treat taps gently. They should be turned off with thumb & forefinger. If you are having an arm wrestle turning your taps off, stop it!
  2. Try to repair a dripping tap if you can. Always turn the water supply to the house off first!
  3. Simple repairs can be done by anyone. Don’t forget the o-rings, tap washers, tap seats and fibre washers. Lubricate them all.
  4. There are so many types of taps available today, even the pros need to seek advice.
  5. There is no shame in not being able to repair a dripping tap. I have seen grown plumbers cry over leaks like these.

Flush with Facts #3 Thomas Crapper

Thomas Crapper was a plumber in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries who founded his own company in Chelsea, London in 1861.

Contrary to popular belief, Crapper did not invent the flushing toilet; that is said to have been invented by Sir John Harrington. Crapper however did make several patents relating to drain improvements, water closets and manhole covers. His plumbing business was quite successful, and supplied plumbing to members of the royal family, a feat for which many incorrectly believed he was knighted.

Although he did not invent the flushing toilet, Thomas Crapper & Co did successfully market and mass produce them.  As soldiers passed throughout England during WWI it is believed that the slang term “crapper” was created due to the frequency of Crapper & Co’s logo being present.

 

http://www.thelonedrainerandpronto.com.au/index.php

Flush with Facts #2

August is the month of the good toilet flush!

Did you know the dual flush toilet cistern was a 1980 Australian invention by Bruce Thompson, an employee of Caroma?

The dual flush toilet cistern saves 32,000 litres of water per household per year. In 2014 most modern toilet cisterns have an internal overflow tube, so if your float valve doesn’t shut off, the water runs straight into your loo, rather than overflowing onto the floor….. So the single flush toilet cistern should be a thing of the past!

Flush with Facts

August is the month of the good toilet flush!

Flowing sewer drains, my favourite topic in the whole wide world, is Not what I mean dear readers!

I’m talking about the toilet and the cistern, the little tank of water that flushes our loo.

So here’s 3 Flush Facts:

1. The toilet flush button is the most un-hygienic place in your bathroom.

2. A full toilet flush is more water than most people in the world use daily.

3. A leaking toilet cistern can waste up to 24 litres of water daily. That’s a whopping 2160 litres of wasted  water in your quarterly water rates. And that’s from just 1 toilet cistern.

So, next time you are sitting and thinking………. Think about that!

The thinker

 

Who turned off the hot water?

Who turned off the hot water?… 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 those that answered that the hot water is gonna get turned off in 1/2 hour for about 1/2 an hour.                                                                                                                                                                                          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.

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. 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

Common walls and common pipes

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, 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. 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

Common walls and common pipes

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 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, 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 submission 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

Take the guesswork out of excavation!
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 the use of Vaporooter when tree roots get into and block your pipes and drains.

Common pipelines; easements, ownership and liability #1

 

Common walls and common pipes

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 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. 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

Methane powered beetle

Methane powered beetle

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.

Washing machines & dishwasher maintenance

With 3 growing boys living at home who eat like there is no tomorrow, between playing rugby, cricket and doing patrols at Coogee Surf Club, we have plenty of dishes to wash up every day as well as laundry to do 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 install a new dishwasher 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, so 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 when you return.

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 of furniture were damaged.
  • The carpets in the hallway were waterlogged.
  • The parquet flooring at the end of the hallway had buckled and would need major repairs, then re-sanding and staining.
  • Not to mention the aggravation of removing all furniture and of course taking the young children away from the home for several days whilst these procedures were carried out. The fumes from the floor staining were intoxicating.

Antonio Gaudi water conservationist

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 with 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, which was beautifully decorated in mosaics, was incredibly comfortable to sit back, relax and talk 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!

Park Guell Lion

Park Guell Lion

Rain lions

Rain lions

A place for inspiration and relief

In previous blog posts on urinals  and toilets, I showed you a field goal in a urinal that helped to reduce spillage, and also the infamous ‘fly in the urinal’ at Schiphol Airport. So once again, courtesy of Exponential Growth Strategist (http://www.ExponentialPrograms.com) Dr Marc Dussault (http://www.MarcDussault.com)  here is another photo, this time of  an unknown location in Amsterdam. This is just another example of how we can all take life a little less seriously and enjoy ourselves a little more.

A place for reflection

A place for reflection

 

The next time you come across an interesting bathroom or other plumbing related installation, please take a picture and forward it to me – this blog is a collaborative effort from people travelling all over the world to bring you a mosaic of photos, articles and facts that are curious, intriguing and fun.

 

Draining the “Coffee makers lane”

                                                                                                                                                                           Our Venetian correspondent is at it again!

As you have seen in previous posts, Holy S – – T ! A Gondoliers impression and The latest sewer notes and history of Venice, Gio the Venetian Gondolier knows how much our readers love to see how waste water and sewer is moved around Venice.

Hey mate!
I’m so proud to be on the site that I decided to send you more stuff about Venice. Here is first of all a picture of my lane ” calle del Caffettier” ( the coffee maker lane) while a draining is on the go.

As you see on the first pic our local plumber has the drain hose on the left side of the lane with all the pipe going over the bridge.

Venice pumping waste

Venice pumping waste

Then you see how the pipe goes to the canal where the drain boat is waiting with the plumbers mate.

Venetian drain boat collecting waste

Venetian drain boat collecting waste

Then a picture of our proud fire patrol just after the draining of a boat that sunk because the owner did not drain the rain out…. shame!

Venice fire team to the rescue

Venice fire team to the rescue

That is all my friend.

See the statue of our Lady on the top of the wall near my house? Isn’t it a corner of paradise?

A special piece of Venice

A special piece of Venice

Yes it is Gio. Thanks for sharing it with us!