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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

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.

 

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.

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.

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!

Mens Loos and Number Twos

The thinker
Why men spend so much time in the loo is still a mystery to me! My Dad could disappear in there for what seemed like hours, he would emerge with the Herald under his arm and an understanding of what had been happening in the world.

He took time to think! Meditation perhaps?

My eldest son is just the same. He has Dads brains.

Personally, I get in, do what I have too and get the hell out of there.

This clip is fun! If you have similar experiences let me know.

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.

Welcome to Movember. Mens Health Month

Mens health is something very close to my heart. Having lost my dad in 2009 to prostate cancer at 73 is something that changed the way I look at my own health and health checks.

Over this month Movember I plan to share the personal stories of plumbing colleagues, clients and work mates. They’re all just normal men who felt a slight change in their bodies and had the courage and the good sense or friendly push to go and get their things checked out.

I’ve got some simple health tips that work for me and if they work for me, then, they’ll work for you too!
I’ve got some great summer recipes.

So, I can hear you asking…. What the hell has mens health got to do with plumbing? Well it has everything to do with plumbing. Our bodies are temples, our home is our castle and our pipes within our temple and our castles need to function properly or we are “up shit creek”!

I’ve got some youTube clips to share some funny, some educational, some frightening!

8 Reasons to drink water!

water yogi

It’s easy to take water for granted.

I spend most of my life working with water, delivering it to your taps and toilets and working on blocked drains that won’t allow waste water to run away.

My entire family’s leisure time is spent scuba diving and snorkeling, surfing and sailing, swimming and socialising on and in the water. And when we’ve finished having fun in the water, we all shower off! Water is a major part of our life.

But drinking water is something I must make part of my life as middle age sneaks up on me. I know to be with the ones I love and do the things I love,  I must have good health. And, I usually say if I can do it, then it’s pretty easy to do!

So here’s my top 8 good reasons why I should drink more water:

Lose weight: Drinking water helps you lose weight because it flushes out the by-products of fat breakdown.  Drinking water reduces hunger, it’s an effective appetite suppressant so you’ll eat less.  Plus, water has zero calories.

A Natural Remedy for Headache: Helps relieve headache and back pain usually caused by dehydration.  Although many reasons contribute to headache, dehydration is the common one. This is a big one for me.

Better Productivity at Work: Your brain is mostly made up of water, so drinking water helps you think better and be more alert, cause we need more alerts!

Better Exercise: Drinking water regulates your body temperature, so you should feel more energetic when doing exercises. Water helps fuel your muscles; and I need that.

Helps with Digestion and Constipation: Drinking water raises your metabolism because it helps with digestion.  Fibre and water should  go hand in hand so that you can have your daily bowel movement. Water is good for the personal plumbing as well as the house plumbing.

Reduce Sickness: Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu and things like kidney stones and heart attack.  I fill the water jug and roughly cut 2 or 3 lemons, add them in and leave it to sit for a while. It apparently helps intestinal problems. Plus it can improve your immune system.

Improve your Mood: Your body feels very good and that’s why you feel happy. Helps with Furking   (Having fun…….. while you’re working).

Reduce the Risk of Cancer: Some studies of the digestive system show that drinking a healthy amount of water may reduce the risks of bladder cancer and colon cancer. Water dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and shortens the time in which they are in contact with your bladder lining. Now, that sounds good to me!

Water Saving Tips for your Garden.

water plants
Did you know about 35% of household water usage occurs in the garden?

In my daily rounds the common theme is how the spring has unfolded, the gardens are in bloom, the Jasmine flowers have come and gone. We’ve had very little rain lately on the coast but, after recent temperatures reaching 36 degrees, our gardens are dry.

It helps if you know the needs of your plants. More plants die from over watering than lack of water so don’t drown ’em.

So here are a few water saving Do’s and Dont’s:
– Do choose water efficient plants and grasses.
– Do mulch your garden.
– Do install a drip feed system to water the gardens and lawns. It’s pretty easy to do. If you need a hand just ask us.
– Don’t water in the heat of the day. Heat = Evaporation and the watering process can burn your lawn and plants. Water early or late. Cool is good!
– Don’t assume the garden needs watering. Check the soil to see whether its dry before turning on that hose.
– Don’t water for long periods if your garden slopes. The water just runs off. Allow it to soak in!
– Don’t water on windy days especially with sprinklers and fine sprays. Wind increases evaporation.
– Don’t water everyday, if its practical give em a drink twice a week to encourage the roots to grow deeper
– Don’t water for 1-2 weeks after a good soaking rain.

– Don’t forget to drink yourself. Personal hydration is even more important!
Kanga Paws

Blocked Pipes and Council Trees

Did you know many blocked sewers are caused by the tree roots from Council street trees?
Tree crushes sewerThis is becoming a very big drain on the budget of many local councils.
The council owned trees that make some of our more sought after suburban streets very special, are creating havoc underground by repeatedly blocking the sewer pipelines from many of the homes in those streets. Councils are fighting a losing battle trying to bring the tree roots under control.

The budgets of many local councils are strained as they just can’t keep up with the demand of their ratepayers to attend to sewer blockages caused by these street trees.

There is an economical way for local councils to Stop Tree Roots in Pipes and ease the burden on the budget and the ratepayers who have regular tree root blockages.
Vaporooter Kills Roots. Period!

Happy Plumbers + Great Service = Happy Clients

We have a great team of plumbers here at The Lone Drainer and Pronto! They are good at their job. They Love their work. We call it “Furk”! Having FUn..at..woRK

So on Monday afternoon, 27th October 2014, I got this email.

Hi Dave,
Thank you so very much for taking my phone call early this morning and organising Chris and Leigh to come to my house so quickly.

Chris and Leigh arrived, knocked on my door, introduced themselves with smiles and put me at ease that my sewerage problems would be fixed.

Such a relief. I could not have had nicer people to arrive on my door step. Both well mannered and very pleasant people to talk to.

I also had a problem with my kitchen sink tap. Unfortunately I had to leave Chris at the kitchen sink as I had to go to work. He did a good job and I now have a brand new tap looking at me! Both men were very efficient.

Again, thank you for being so prompt and getting the job on its way.

Kind regards,

Julie B. Randwick NSW

Leigh and Chris with Plunger

Leigh and Chris with Plunger

Don’t put it down your toilet!

Last night we had an emergency call out to a client we had helped recently. But first, let me paint a picture.

Two weeks ago “Kath”, who lives in a 1920s Coogee building had a blocked shower. Kath said it had been slow to drain since she moved in 6 years ago. A little investigation revealed the original pipes ran through the concrete floor and were corroded internally. Corrosion is one of the drawbacks living so close to the ocean.

Anyway, The Lone Drainer and Pronto Super-heroes Leigh and Chris, got her shower running “better than ever before”. In fact Kath rang our office to compliment the boys on their Ps, Punctual and Professional.

So I was surprised to get her evening call-out. It turns out her toilet was blocked! The shower and basin were draining better than ever before. The building has a 2 pipe system and shower, bath, basin and kitchen sink run down one pipe, while the toilet waste goes down the other.

After a little investigation we found there were tampons caught on the corroded inside of the waste pipe.
It was reasonably simple to clear the blockage. Although Kath was a little embarrassed we assured her the best way to prevent it happening again was to follow this simple rule.
Toilet sign

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

A plumbing emergency and ducks we’ve rescued

We were called out to this plumbing emergency that brought an unexpected surprise.

Our client had a blocked drain and when we had just about completed that repair, cutting tree roots from her sewer pipes, she called out because she needed a hand in her back yard.

A mother duck that had been nesting in her dense rear garden had chosen today to take her babies for their first swimming lesson. The ducklings took to the water like ….. well, ducks to water. The only problem was that the water level in the pool was a little low, they couldn’t get out of the pool and they were getting very tired.

Our attempts to rescue them by hand and with the pool scoop, brought a tirade of squawking and flapping of wings from the mother duck. She didn’t want us anywhere near her babies! We found a plank in the back shed which we put in the pool and then draped an old towel along the length of the plank, then stood back.

When mother duck settled down she could see we were trying to help, she led the baby ducklings up the plank and after checking they were all out, she herded them back to the nest in the dense undergrowth.
She gave us another flurry of feathers when we tried to check on the babies.

Every day brings another adventure!

mrs-rogan-ducks-aug034

 

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.

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.

Plumbers and dogs

Can Your Dog and the Tradies Play Nice?

Renovations and refurbishing is a hectic and stressful time for anyone involved, but what about the family pooch. Are you having concerns with your dog getting under feet, barking at the strange men in his house or stealing tools?

This is a common problem. Just like us, your dog can get very stressed about having work done in his home. Any behaviour associated with this stress can be a safety risk for not only your dog but also the tradies. As far as your dog is concerned, the tradies are strangers who have come into their home and have started changing things! In addition to this stress there is also the risk of your dog escaping from the yard, the loud noises of building can also cause significant fear and stress, not to mention the potential for injury, or being exposed to toxins. Unlike the tradesman, there are no protective masks or clothing for your dog.

The best and safest way to deal with this tense situation is to relocate your dog while any work is being done. If it’s a day to day thing then a Doggy Daycare may be just what you need! You can drop off your pooch in the morning before work and easily collect him or her at the end of day, your dog will be exhausted and happy after a day of walks, play and socialisation.

The best way to get your pooch into daycare is to make contact, check their specific requirements and availability. It is the norm for your daycare to ask for a copy of your dog’s current vaccination certificate, your contact details and the details of your vet. Your dog should be desexed (assuming they are old enough) and they should be friendly and socialise well with other dogs, a responsible daycare will also provide stringent supervision on those first few days to make sure everyone is getting along. Then you can rest easy that your dog is playing and having a great time at daycare instead of stressing out and getting underfoot while your tradesmen are working!

This Information was supplied by the Friendly Team at Paddington Pups, Doggy Day Care Centre, Dog Grooming and Dog Supplies Brisbane.

Drainoscopy technology works for a shoe fit!

All plumbers know that apart from looking after our hands, our feet are equally as important. No feet, no action!

I was busy speaking to the smart Real estate property managers of Bondi Beach about the benefits of having a great plumbing team like The Lone Drainer and Pronto, look after their emergency plumbing repairs and the benefits of using Vaporooter for sewer tree root control.

As I walked down Gould street I came across The Running Company Bondi. The owner Chris Chapman had a smile as big as Bondi and it was only minutes before he had me on his treadmill, filming my walking/running gait with some simple, but powerful video tools.

Buying shoes from someone who actually knows about running shoes makes a huge difference. Chris’ advice was so professional and made so much sense. Chris had me on his treadmill in each different shoe I tried on, to check how my feet were landing with his video equipment. Buying running shoes from a shoe expert who is also a runner makes a lot of sense. I have been suffering with knee and hip pain whenever I run since suffering a bad lower leg injury about 14 years ago and when Chris showed me the running analysis he uses I realized why.

As with advice on emergency plumbing repairs, if you’re wearing the wrong pair of trainers you could be setting yourself up for all sorts of problems in a few weeks, months or years from now. It seems most sales people at the big chain stores just don’t know this stuff, which is why it’s important to get checked now before you get injured. If you suffer from any sort of knee pain or shin splints when you run, or want to prevent future problems I highly recommend you spare an hour of your time and come along to meet Chris at The Running Company Bondi.

The importance of getting the right advice about plumbing repairs or your trainers is self evident. Oh, I made a decision about my new runners pretty quickly!

The drainoscopy camera survey makes it easier for our clients to also make an accurate decision about their plumbing problems!

Emergency blocked drains affected by the full moon??

Blocked drains happen everyday in Sydney and all the plumbers on our team love getting out there to help people clear their blocked drain, clean up any mess from an overflowing sewer, and get on with their lives.

We track the most common cause of blocked drains and apart from the very unusual, like a small puppy as seen on a previous post http://thelonedrainerandpronto.com.au/blog/plumber-rescues-puppy/  there are only a few reasons why drains get blocked.

  • Hair – make sure to remove it from hand basins, shower grates and drains.
  • Sand and soil – usually gets washed into the sewer from low lying surcharge gullies and stormwater running down footpaths and driveways.
  • Foreign objects – like dental floss, toilet deodorisers , kids toys or even underwear, will block up sewer pipes very quickly.

The most common cause of blocked drains in Australia is tree roots; they grow into the pipes for many different reasons. Today’s theory has been raised by a colleague who believes that the full moon causes trees to do “something different” every month, like search for more water, or just “flex their muscles”, thus causing more sewer blockages. It is a very interesting theory and we have been tracking it for about 18 months.

Every month, two or three days either side of the full moon we have a 10-15% spike in requests for help on blocked drains caused by tree roots. This month the full moon fell on July 26th 2010, and it was no exception. Of course this only a theory, but we will keep tracking it!

If you see or hear of emergency plumbers and blocked drain specialists acting and  looking a little weird around the full moon………….let me know!