Archives

Get into hot water this Winter!

With the winter season underway, its time to think about hot water.

Take 10 minutes to check on your water heater.
Is it gas or electric
Check it’s location. See that it’s not leaking on any of the pipes or connections.
Check the cold water control feed tap, usually on the bottom left of the heater.
Make sure it turns off and back on.
If you have a storage tank, make sure you check the pressure relief valve is working correctly.
And
It’s not leaking.
An efficient water heater will supply all the hot water your family will need this winter.
If you’re not sure
Ask me! on 02 9664 4990

Know your water heater #1

Hi, Its Dave Conroy here from The Lone Drainer and Pronto
As we approach the winter of 2020, my message for today is hot water.
I want you to know how to turn off the water supply to your water heater.
And importantly, I want you to know what a temperature and pressure relief valve is.
This 1min 48 sec YouTube clip will show you how it’s done on a 50-litre heater.
Yours may be different. If you would like to know more……Ask me!

Help! Where does my Hot Water turn off?

HELP!

“My water heater is spitting out hot water and steam. Can you get over here Urgently?” “I don’t know how to turn it off and I think it’s going to explode!”

Monday morning brought a call from Deborah in Randwick. It sounds like a job for The Lone Drainer ……and Pronto.

Of course we were able to rescue Deborah. We replaced the water heater and the gas and water shut-off valves that controlled the unit. But, how many people don’t know how to turn off their water heater?

The image below shows where to shut off the water and gas supply to the heater. Why don’t you practice turning the water heater off when it isn’t urgent?

If you need help Call us 02 9664 4990

Water heater valves

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 plumbers who are grown men cry over leaks like these.

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, an hour and 15 minutes had gone by. 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

Hot Water Heaters are Big ticket items $$$$

Do you know:

  1. Where is your hot water supply coming from?
  2. Is it electric or gas? Can you turn off the supply safely?
  3. The pressure relief valve (T&PR valve), usually near the top of the heater, should be eased quarterly; it does drip water under normal circumstances, but should not constantly be running.
  4. Turning your water heater off whilst on holidays saves electricity and gas. The unit will heat and cool whilst you’re away, wasting energy & your money. Turn it on when you return, have a coffee, unpack, say hi to neighbours etc. The water will be hot before you know it
  5. Don’t forget to shut off the water valve. Storage heaters are under pressure. My brother in law had his water heater burst about the time he boarded a jet for the islands. After 2 weeks, the damage to carpet, floorboards, furniture, paint added up – $$$$!
  6. Flexible water connections on the inlet and outlet of your water heater are dangerous. Check if you have them. If you do, I strongly recommend you have them removed and have the connections redone in copper tube and brass fittings. I guarantee these flexis will rupture and if they are indoors the damage they can cause is huge.
  7. Rusty water coming from the unit is a sign of age and potential disaster. Don’t ignore it!
Temperature & Pressure Relief valves. Dont forget to activate them

Temperature & Pressure Relief valves. Don’t forget to activate them.

What do you know about your gas supply?

Winter starts tomorrow and if gas is your preferred method of heating then read on…

Natural gas is a great resource to have in any home for ovens, cooktops and hot water heating. However leaks in a high pressure gas line can be extremely dangerous especially if they go unnoticed or are allowed to continue unchecked. The massive explosion in Bondi Junction last year is an example of how horrible a gas blast can be.

If you live in a building with multiple gas meters, it is really important to know where your gas meter is and how to turn it off. Make sure all the gas meters in your building are labelled or numbered clearly, so that in the event of an emergency, you can turn your gas off safely.

Which gas meter is mine?

Which gas meter is mine?

Here are some pointers to detect gas leaks early so that appropriate measures can be taken to avoid major damage.

  1. If you suspect a gas leak, mix some bubbles using detergent with water, and cover the suspect area. If bubbles expand, you have found the leak.
  2. Don’t ignore a gas leak. Gas can be dangerous! Not to mention your bills will be increased.
  3. Disconnect your plugged-in gas heater in summer.
  4. When reconnecting the heater in winter and the bayonet is difficult to plug in, it is probably dusty. Dust and lubricate the connection, then try again.
  5. Don’t mess around with gas. If you are not sure don’t touch!

If you are not sure when it comes to a gas pipe problem, always call a licenced plumber and gasfitter.

7 easy ways to extend the life of your Water Heater

Have you found yourself in a situation where its winter and you head home for a shower after work, or after a rugby or netball training session, turn on the hot water tap and the water is cold?

There are many plumbing fixtures around your home, the bath or hand basin, kitchen sink, of course the toilet. Some homes, offices and small business  have multiple toilets, showers and basins.

As we move into the cooler months the average hot water heater becomes more important for all these plumbing fixtures to work.

Its easy to take these often ignored assets in your home or office for granted, but some simple actions will prolong the life of your storage water heater.

Replacing your  hot water heater can usually be unexpected and sometimes expensive, but in today’s fast moving world we can easily ignore this vital cog in our daily routine.

So be sure you are aware of the following:

  • Where is your water heater? You need to know where it is!
  • Is it gas or electric? You need to know!
  • Can you turn off the gas or electricity?
  • Can you turn off the water supply to your heater?  Try it! Check this valve or tap works
  • Is it  a mains pressure storage heater or instant (continuous)?
  • If it is mains pressure, have you released the Temperature and Pressure Relief valve (T&PR valve)?
  • Keep the area around this heater clean and clear. Keep long grass, paint cans etc.   well clear.
T&PR valve on mains pressure external gas water heater

T&PR valve on mains pressure external gas water heater

See the “hook” on the Temperature and Pressure Relief valve, lift it and hold it up for 30 seconds at least every three months. If this is working properly, it will discharge the hot water whilst you hold up the hook, then stop when you let it go. It is normal for it to discharge water while the heater is heating. Then the water should stop!  Be careful the hot water doesn’t scald you.

Our water heater is a friend, if you are ever unsure about how your water heater is performing, or have any questions about any of the things we have outlined here, contact a professional plumber for guidance.

Remember to engage a licensed plumber to attend to your hot water heater.

https://www.thelonedrainerandpronto.com.au/hot-water-services.html