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World Toilet Day 2020

Today is World Toilet Day 2020.

I’d like you to take a minute today and think about the Toilet.
Imagine if you didn’t have one?
Spare a thought for the 4 billion people worldwide that don’t have access to a flushing toilet.

Its astounding BUT there are more people with a mobile telephone than a toilet and clean water to wash themselves.
Now, telling your workmates and classmates is a simple way to raise awareness of a sometimes very private subject.
Another way to help is stock up on toilet paper like Who Gives a Crap.
They donate half of their profits to improve sanitation for those less fortunate.

What if Waverley Council trees cause my Blocked Drain?

Did you know 85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots?

Quite often the roots come from trees that line the streets in Waverley Council’s jurisdiction.

They can block drains and sometimes damage the sewer and stormwater pipes that take wastewater off your property.
Many homeowners hold Waverley Council responsible for their blockage and expect they will clear their blocked drains for free because they own the trees.

Well in some cases they do!
But, Waverley Council gets their income from you the ratepayer and as you would expect, they have guidelines for spending ratepayers money to fix your blocked drains.
If you have a Blocked drain and live in one of these suburbs managed by Waverley Council including Bondi, Bondi Beach, Bondi Junction, Bronte, Charing Cross, Clovelly, Dover Heights, North Bondi, Queens Park and Waverley
Click here to see the Waverley Council Sewerage Stormwater Drain Blockage Policy.

The top points are that you the homeowner

Must have a sewer service diagram for your building
Must maintain your sewer pipes.
Must prevent sewer blockages
Must prevent sewerage from escaping into the environment
May be entitled to the Council plumber clearing your blocked drain.

Bathroom cleaning tip #2

We plumbers wash our hands 10 or more times a day.

The Coronavirus pandemic is making us all think about the transmission of germs and how the virus is transmitted on the surfaces we come in contact with.
On any visit to work in your bathroom we could touch the hot and cold taps in your bath, shower or handbasin and the cold water tap to your toilet.

The tap supplying water to the toilet isn’t touched regularly, so, it has a reduced chance of transmission through touch.
But, it is near the toilet so airborne germs are a concern.

The simple task of using the toilet and then wiping ourselves is something we all learned as kids, but, in researching this article I’m surprised to learn the number of different methods people use.
No matter how you do it, the first thing we all do is flush the toilet.

Before we wash our hands!

Alarm bells are ringing for you right now. As they should be!
But(t), let’s be practical.

Whether you have a plumber working in your bathroom or not, keep an atomiser spray bottle with a mix of water and disinfectant with an appropriate cleaning cloth in your bathroom.
Spray the toilet flush button, the cistern lid, the toilet seat and lid and wipe them over thoroughly.
And if you’re keen to clean the entire bathroom, click here to see another of our easy cleaning tips

 

Randwick Council trees are responsible for my Blocked Drain?

Blocked drains are a large part of our workday, every day! And 85% of blocked drains are caused by tree roots. Our home is Coogee Randwick, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney Australia.

Tree-lined streets in Randwick Council are the reason for a lot of the blocked drains we go to.
They damage the sewer drains and stormwater pipes that take wastewater off your property.

Many homeowners hold the council responsible for their blockage and have expectations that the council will clear their blocked drains for free because they own the trees.

Well in some cases they do

But, Randwick Council gets their income from you the ratepayer and as you’d expect they have guidelines for spending ratepayers money to fix your blocked drains.
If you live in one of these Sydney suburbs managed by Randwick Council including Centennial Park, Chifley, Coogee, Kensington, Kingsford, Little Bay, Malabar, Maroubra, Matraville, Pagewood, Phillip Bay, Port Botany and Randwick
Click here to see Randwick Council Sewerage Stormwater Drain Blockage Policy.

The top points are that you the homeowner

  • Must have a sewer service diagram for your home
  • Must maintain your sewer pipes.
  • Must prevent sewer blockages
  • Must prevent sewerage from escaping into the environment
  • May be entitled to the Council plumber clearing your blocked drain

Know your water heater #2

The hot water tempering valve
Knowledge about your water heater will save you money!
Second in the series, This 44-sec clip will show you a typical tempering valve on a gas water heater.
That’s the blue valve on the side of the heater.
It should be checked by your plumber annually and replaced every five years.
The tempering valve is fitted to prevent scalding of the aged, the infirmed and young kids.
It should be on every storage(and continuous) water heater like this.
If you are changing or upgrading your water heater, you should have a Tempering valve fitted.

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

The Lone Drainer And Pronto Coronavirus Diaries. Madrigal Communications

The Lone Drainer Coronavirus Diaries has been a chance to check in with small business to find out how they have been getting on during the Coronavirus lockdown of 2020.
In this clip, I speak with Tim Entwisle from Madrigal Communications.
Tim writes tender documents for Aussie companies that are applying for large government contracts in the construction, energy and telecom sectors.
I’ve known Tim for about eight years.
He’s a Rugby fanatic, an ocean swimmer, a wordsmith.
Tim loves language, and he blogs about our language.
He has written several blogs about Coronavirus.
Check them on his website. https://madrigal.com.au/word-of-the-week-blog/

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!

The Lone Drainer And Pronto Coronavirus Diaries The Fudge Shop #1

The Lone Drainer Coronavirus Diaries is a chance to catch up with some friends and businesses we help to see how they are affected during the Coronavirus lock down of 2020.
In this short clip I chat with Adam Joseph, owner of The Fudge Shop in Darling Harbour Sydney NSW
The Fudge Shop has been shut down.
Adam shares how the Coronavirus has affected his family and his business.

The Lone Drainer And Pronto Coronavirus Diaries #1 Wylies Baths

The Lone Drainer Coronavirus Diaries is a chance to catch up with some of our friends and businesses that we help and that help us to see how they are affected during the Coronavirus lock down of 2020
In this short 4.33 minute youtube clip I speak with Courtney Tallon, the manager of Wylies baths in Coogee NSW

Can Coronavirus be spread through wastewater pipes in a home or hospital?

Sydney April 15th 2020
“Staying connected” has become a part of our language lately.

Did you know we are all connected through the wastewater pipes in our homes?

Whether you live in a single level detached home or a multi-storey building, all our plumbing fittings drain to the same city sewer.

That’s your shower, bath, basin, your WC, kitchen sink, washing machine, laundry tubs and floor drains.
A study showed the 2003 SARS virus spread through the plumbing system of a HongKong residential complex whose residents had 300 confirmed cases and 42 deaths- about 1/6th of the infections and fatalities on the entire island.

Our Australian Standards state “all plumbing fixtures must have a working trap or water seal”. That is, the S-bend at the outlet of the fixtures should have water sitting in them OR flowing through them.

Regularly we’re asked to investigate “a sewer smell” in a bathroom or laundry that is nothing more than a dry trap.
But, its allowing smells and bacteria to come from the wastewater and sewer pipes into your room.

Hypothetically, if an infected neighbour flushed their toilet and that wastewater entered a pipe you’re connected to, then bacteria could pass through a dry trap and enter your bathroom.

While person to person and surface to a person is the most common means of spreading Coronavirus, I want you to be aware that any open or dry traps may allow contaminated droplets into your space.
So
• Do not ignore unexplained foul smells in bathrooms, kitchens or washing areas.
• Ensure all your sink traps and S-bends have water in them.
• Run water into all tubs and showers for a few seconds in the morning and evening, paying particular attention to floor drains in bathrooms and laundries.
• If the wastewater pipework from a toilet, sink or other household appliance appears to be disconnected or open, seal it immediately.
• If you find any crack or leak in pipework, seal it with strong tape.
• Encourage your facilities managers to monitor the wastewater system performance of your building, looking out for things such as drainage overflows or sewer smells.

If you have any questions about this, I invite you to ask me.

Sydney Water restrictions

Sydney November 29th 2019
The continuing drought is having an affect on all Australians.
The dry conditions have added bushfires to that list, and the forecast is for a hot summer.
Here in greater Sydney we sometimes forget about our country cousins, the farmers that produce most of our food supplies and how the lack of rainfall is affecting them.
But that is about to change.
Sydney dam levels have dropped below 46% capacity, and with our growing population, we’ve got to slow down on our water usage.
Thankfully we have a desalination plant to help out.
It may add a nominal charge to our water bills, but I believe that’s a small price to pay.
Sydney Water has announced that from Tuesday, December 10th 2019 greater Sydney will move to Level 2 water restrictions.
For householders, it means there will be a few more rules about how and when we can water our gardens, wash our cars and generally use water around our homes.
We can all save water!
Our business has to apply for a water use exemption.
The exemption doesn’t mean we can waste water.
It means being more thoughtful about how to use it.

How to Change a Tap Washer

Everyone should know how to change a tap washer!  Not everyone wants to, but its a handy skill to have. Read More

Storms bring blocked drains

The well-needed rain that arrived in Sydney over the last few days has created many blocked drains and grates that can easily be fixed.

Take the opportunity in between showers to check any pits or drains around your home that may be blocked by leaf debris or dirt.
Put on your gardening or washing up gloves and you can clean them out, it may save you from some unexpected flooding.
The blocked drain shown here was covered by leaves and gum nuts blown off in the storm. It wasn’t able to cope with the deluge of water.
The garage was flooded.

If your roof gutters are full and overflowing, it may be leaf debris and twigs or even a tennis ball from the summer back yard cricket series blocking the gutter outlets.
If you choose to put a ladder upto the roof gutters to have a look, Please be very careful.
Take care climbing on your roof.
It may be very slippery!

The Lone Drainer’s Recipe #3

The Lone Drainer’s Mushroom Sauce for Pasta
(which doubles as a fabulous addition as a sauce for steak the next night, and takes care of two of the five vegetables per day you are meant to eat.)
This recipe is an example of The Hardworking Plumber’s Secret Timesaving Tip: Cook It Once, Use It Twice, (tastes sensational both times!)

This recipe is so simple as to be hardly a recipe, but it’s impressive to eat nonetheless and made in a matter of minutes. I put this on the stove, on a low heat, go have a shower, (yeah, yeah, I know its dangerous, but The Lone Drainer and his Team are tired after a hard day on the tools and a shower while dinner cooks saves precious minutes which means we get to eat earlier.
(Ed: gotta give it to Dave Conroy, always thinking, thinking…).

And credit where credit is due, this recipe was pretty well invented by Leigh, the best gasfitter in Sydney’s east, then developed by me, whom some experts would say is the best and most modest plumber in the Eastern suburbs….

INGREDIENTS:
½ a box of already cut up mushrooms, the kind you buy at the supermarket
Left over white wine
Garlic (buy the bags of single clove garlic from Harris Farm Markets as they take less time to cut and peel- see pic)
Three tablespoons of cream
A tablespoon of parsley if you have it,
A decent glug, glug, glug of olive oil, i.e. three big tablespoons if you want to be accurate
A bag of salad mix

METHOD
Chop up the garlic any old how. Small is good.
In a largish frypan, heat the olive oil on a medium heat, add the garlic, fry until it smells good but not brown, tip in the half box of mushrooms, stir, turn heat down, add a cup of white wine, and half a cup of water or stock, (the mushrooms should be more or less covered with liquid), stir and let stew while you take a shower or set the table. Put a big pot of salted water on low heat, (again the amount of salt doesn’t really matter, but if you like precision, a tablespoon will do).

Okay, all cleaned up now, turn the heat up under the pasta water till its boiling, add the pasta.

Throw some of the salad leaves into a bowl and dress with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of vinegar. Put on the table. This is your salad to go with the pasta.

Add three tablespoons of cream to your mushrooms and stir. Turn off the heat under them but leave in pan on stove.
Once the pasta is cooked, (it should still have a bit of bite to it as it will go on cooking in the sauce) drain it, put in a largish bowl and add the mushroom sauce to it. Stir and eat. Delicious!

Here is a pic of the pasta in the bowl, ready to eat: (note the inspection outlet in the background- we plumbers are always experimenting with the latest technology)

Next week, we’ll talk about the Plumbers’ pantry cupboard and what you need to keep in it in order to be able to make a delicious dinner in ten minutes flat every night.
Until then,

Read our blog. Cook our food. Admire our plumbing.

The Lone Drainer’s Recipe #2

I scream, you scream, we’ll all scream for
The Lone Drainer’s Passionfruit Ice Cream

I, Dave Conroy, the master of the fast but excellent tasting recipe, have developed a speedy, easy, no- equipment- necessary recipe for fantastic icecream. OK, it’s not super healthy, but it is home made, you know every single good ingredient (3) that’s in it because you put them there and its 100% natural.

Here is the recipe:

Go to the supermarket on the way home from work.
Buy 1 can of condensed milk and 1 carton of cream and 6 passionfruit.
Stir the cream and condensed milk together in a saucepan over a low heat.
Add the insides of the 6 passionfruit and let it sit off the heat while you open a beer, watch the news, have a shower or water the garden.

Then, (and this is the good bit) raid the grog cupboard, find some vodka. Any other liquor will do, but vodka is good because it has no flavor or colour. Gin will work just as well. Anything that won’t mask the flavor of the passionfruit. Add a good slug, around two tablespoons. Stir. Put the lot in a plastic container and stick it in the freezer. It’ll be ready in about an hour.

This wondrous creation has been tried and tested in the The Lone Drainer Test Kitchen many times. There is science at the back of it too. The alcohol in the vodka stops the icecream forming crystals, which make for an unpleasant texture. Alcohol just won’t freeze in a normal domestic freezer. So it keeps the ice cream creamy. Ipso facto, you don’t have to do all that churning with machines and gadgets and what not.

We’ve tried it with whisky and two espresso coffees instead of the passionfruit and that came out tops too. It’s just not a fussy recipe. But it won’t work without the grog. Trust me. I’m a plumber. And I don’t like to waste good alcohol.
Here is a picture of two thirds of my last batch of passionfruit icecream. I did want to photograph it BEFORE eating it, but just couldn’t resist. Evidence of how good it is.

Read our blog. Cook my food. Admire our plumbing.

How much will it cost to fix my toilet?

Running toilet quote…..Is all an email said earlier this week, with the attached picture.

It’s hard to say from this picture I said, but I tried to help the writer by asking a few simple questions
Is it a close coupled suite?
Or are the pan and cistern separate?
Is it the inlet or outlet valve leaking?
Does the water turn off at the control valve?
Is the connection between the control valve and the cistern hard drawn tube or is it one of those flexible braided connections?
The outlet valve is redundant. It could be rewashered if that’s the problem, was part of my email response

The flushing toilet is a wonder of the modern world we can take for granted considering our previous post about 4.4 billion people not having a toilet.
But
Our local bathroom suppliers currently have 48 different types of toilet cisterns on display and that’s not including the antique in our picture.
They all have different water connections and flushing mechanisms.
So please, help us help you by providing as much information as possible about your particular leaking toilet.
In the meantime, you can turn off the water and flush your loo with a bucket.

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!

Giving a Crap on World Toilet Day 2017

The Lone Drainer and Pronto, Sydney will pay tribute to a unique and special observance whose goal is to install a working toilet in emergent nations.

On November 19, The Lone Drainer and Pronto (TLDP), will participate in the World Toilet Day 2017 (WTD2017), a United Nations’ (UN) worldwide event that will highlight the lack of proper sanitation and safely-managed toilets a problem affecting over 4.5 billion people in economically developing nations.
Read More

Wipe your bum for a good cause!

We all poop. Most of us daily, and some of us do so in style. Now your idea of style can be different to mine, but style is a luxury some simply don’t have.

That’s exactly what the World Poop Day is about!

You might have noticed I have been recently ranting about the ‘poop day’ or to be more specific the World Toilet Day 2017 (WTD2017).

This event is not a joke, not a metaphor of some kind – it’s a REAL DEAL.

If your toilet was blocked for a week, then you probably would be jumping out of your skin, right? What if you had no toilet for two weeks or a month?

Unthinkable! Well, some poor folk in third world places have no toilet at all. If you had no proper toilet you’d need to squat wherever you can, which sometimes may be very uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Imagine this. You watch the footy (your team is hammering the other team!) where suddenly you have to go for number two. Easy, you visit the loo.

But what if you didn’t have one?

Option one, you run outside, squat anywhere. Shoot.

Option two, you run next to your neighbour’s house (you don’t want to poop under your own window). Poop.

Option three, poop in your pants. Wash later. You don’t want to miss your favourite game.

Luckily, for most Aussies we don’t have to think about it, we simply head for the throne, and on the throne, we sit. But we need more thrones especially for those who cannot afford one! No need for fancy ones, only appropriate ones.

That’s the appeal of the WTD2017 (build more thrones, and create proper sanitation conditions for those in need). We need appropriate thrones that can properly take care of business without polluting the environment.

On November 19, 2017 (the WTD2017) be sure to pause and feel grateful if you have access to a working toilet. Billions around the world aren’t so lucky!

If you would like to do something positive, you can purchase the Who Gives a Crap toilet paper – we give 50% of the profits towards building more toilets.

Be sure to forward this page on to friends and family. We all need to wipe ourselves after taking a dump – now you can wipe yourself for a good cause!

Something to think about when you reclaim your throne!

I had a few clients and blog readers asking me questions about the upcoming World Toilet Day 2017. To recap, it’s about raising public awareness of the worldwide problem of inhumane toilet conditions that some must deal with.

Today, I would like to answer some of the questions about the World Toilet Day 2017, and suggest an easy way for you to make a difference.

What is the World Toilet Day 2017? (WTD2017)

The WTD2017 is a special observance arranged by the United Nations (UN) to highlight the serious problem of no proper sanitation conditions in many third world countries. Over 4.5 billion people have no toilet / working toilet, which is a third of the world’s population!

When will this important observance be held?

The WTD2017 will take place on November 19, 2017.

Am I at risk?
In Australia, you should be fine unless you live in rural areas with no access to proper toilet and sanitation. If you don’t poop in a hygienic toilet or if the poop is not disposed of properly, then with the aid of rainwater it may enter the ecosystem. This is often the problem in many third world countries. That’s why the goal of WTD2017 is to raise public awareness and get people talking about this important issue – hopefully, that will make a positive difference!

Why should I care?
Well, if no one cares, no one cares, right? But we can all make a difference. You see, according to WHO (2014) improved sanitation could stop around 842,000 people from dying each year.

What can you do?
You could, for example, donate money or support a reputable charity or purchase the Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. (50% of its profits go to building toilets for people who need them most) Here’s the link if you would like to support this important cause. The toilet paper has no chlorine, no inks, no dyes, and no perfume or deodorant. It’s good for your bum–it’s good for the world!

Remember, to pause at least for a moment on November 19, 2017 to think about the World Toilet Day 2017. If you wipe yourself with the Who Gives a Crap toilet paper, you know you’re also making a difference with every wipe!

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.

Make a difference during World Toilet Day 2017!

Did you know that some people must do without a toilet?

In the West, we’re so used to sitting on one when we go for a number two. If the toilet runs smoothly we won’t even think about it. We take it for granted.

But sitting down for number two in comfort and style is a luxury many simply cannot afford. And we’re not talking about having shiny porcelain toilets with fancy fixtures. They have no toilets–be it porcelain, wooden or metal one. NONE.

So, where does the poo go? Well, that’s why you just have to hear about the important World Toilet Day 2017 or WTD2017 for short.

You see, when you reclaim your throne, billions of people must wing it so to speak and take a dump wherever possible. Their toileting might happen anywhere. In the woods behind a tree, under a bridge, or in some fenced in backyard. And, we’re not talking about an emergency where you find yourself driving past midnight hour with your girlfriend, and suddenly you must go.

Of course, those things happen. But imagine having to plan, search and hunt for squatting space every time you need to take a dump! Well, consider this.

According to WHO/UNICEF (2017) a whopping 4.5 billion people either have no toilet or no working toilet. About 869 million people worldwide practise open defecation because they have no proper toilet! But, it gets worse.

A shocking 1.8 billion people drink water that has no protection against contamination from faeces. So, the question ‘where does the poop go?’ becomes a serious issue. Because every time the poop is no disposed of properly it may enter the ecosystem and end up in a drink water reservoir!

So, feel lucky the next time you take a sit on your comfortable porcelain, and you don’t have to use grass or leaves to clean yourself!

Most importantly, be sure to spread the news about the WTD2017.

Ah yes, there is something by purchasing the Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. (50% of the profits are used to build toilets in third world countries)

Thankfully, we have the World Toilet Day 2017, it puts things into perspective a little, doesn’t it?

Use Toilet Paper not Tissues

Tristan from The Lone Drainer And Pronto gives a simple demonstration as to why you should use toilet paper rather than facial tissues in the bathroom.

Toilet paper breaks down when it gets into water, whereas facial tissues bind together rather than falling apart.

Beware, facial tissues can cause a costly blocked drain.
Use toilet paper, not tissues.

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.