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Don’t flush our drinking water?

As the summer of 2021 approaches, our water consumption is back on the menu.

Even though our borders have been closed to tourists and immigration and Australians returning home to sit out the pandemic have had their numbers slashed, our water consumption continues to rise.

During our current building boom, its not unusual for every new home to have at least two bathrooms with his and hers showers and hand basins’. And even the most modest Sydney home has at least two toilets.

Australians have been world leaders in water conservation with water saving taps and showers now the norm. If you didn’t know the dual-flush toilet cistern is an Australian invention.

Don’t be surprised but the dual flush toilet is still a big water user. Here in Sydney, with a few exceptions like urban domestic rainwater harvesting that uses rainwater to flush our household toilets and fill the washing machine, most of the water flushing our toilets is from our potable water supply. That’s our drinking water!

I grew up as one of six kids in a NSW country town of 13,000 people and our home in town had a metered water supply. But our family had a weekend shack on acres out of town where every drop of water we used was caught in rainwater tanks. The toilet was flushed with water piped from a dam over 300 metres from the house. It was a simple gravity system that piped muddy dam water across a paddock to the toilet cistern and flushing the toilet with the dam water left a brown stain on the toilet bowl.

There was a time when we didn’t go to the shack for a few weeks and what started as a simple toilet cistern leak that went unchecked, drained the farm dam down to a muddy sludge by our next visit. That weekend, as we flushed the toilet with our drinking water from the tank, I learned that our drinking water was way to precious to waste on flushing a toilet.

So, what does that mean here in Sydney?

Simply put, if you have even a slight toilet leak DO NOT IGNORE IT otherwise it will drain our dam.

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.

Flushable wipes block drains

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 blocked drains 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!

To put it simply, hygienic wipes don’t break down like toilet paper and as many household pipelines have imperfections, the wipes get caught and cause a blocked drain.

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 do this in the bathroom!

During our Coronavirus work schedule, I’ve found some fun hints and tips about plumbing and health that are worth sharing.

How germs spread:

  • on your toothbrush,
  • your toilet seat,
  • and the toilet flush button, are just a few examples.

How is water connected to my toilet cistern?

Many modern toilets have a concealed cistern. That’s the tank that holds the water that flushes the loo. Now, they do look fantastic and they do save water.

The small dual flush buttons are the access panel for the internal workings of the cistern. When they need maintenance, the only way to repair them is through that access panel.

The water tap is usually built into the wall and this one couldn’t be replaced without cutting into the wall behind.

Plumbers bathroom cleaning tip #1

Some bathrooms are a little neglected; especially if there are boys in the house.

Like many among us, during Coronavirus isolation, I’ve taken the opportunity to catch up on a few old recipes, a stack of books and some cleaning. And, I feel sharing the following cleaning tip would save everyone some time.

You will need:
1. A can of the cheapest shaving cream you can find in Woolies or Coles.
2. 2 Old bath towels

Spray the shaving cream on and around your toilet, including the floor.
Taking the toilet seat off would earn extra points.

Leave it to sit for 10-15 minutes.

Then, wipe off the excess with an old bath towel and some hot water and wipe over with the other towel.

I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

How much will it cost to fix my toilet?

“Running toilet”…..Is all that was stated in an email earlier this week, along with the attached picture.

It’s hard to say from this picture, 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.

Giving a Crap on World Toilet Day 2017

The Lone Drainer and Pronto in 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). This is 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.
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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 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 the lack of proper sanitation conditions in many third world countries. Over 4.5 billion people have no toilet/working toilet; this 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 have to 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 don’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 a 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 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 not disposed of properly it may enter the ecosystem and end up in a drinking water reservoir!

So, count yourself lucky the next time you take a seat 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.

And yes, there is something you’re contributing 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?

My toilet cistern is leaking #1

“My cistern is leaking into the toilet pan.”

If you press the Full and Half flush buttons and they don’t effectively clear the toilet bowl, that means, their isn’t enough water in the toilet cistern to do the job, or the buttons just don’t work, or the cistern just won’t refill or it’s slow to fill.

Then I know how to fix the toilet that won’t flush properly.

This pic shows the water inlet to the cistern and the outlet valve or flushing mechanism that sends the water into your toilet pan.

Either of the valves shown could be faulty.

If the inlet valve doesn’t shut-off, it will cause the cistern to overfill and spill into the overflow tube that will run down into the pan. You may need a new inlet valve.

If the outlet valve is leaking into the pan, the outlet valve may need to be replaced or re-washered.

Either of these valves leaking could be causing leaks into the pan.

If you’re not sure, just ask us.

Toilet won’t flush properly #1

My toilet won’t flush properly” is a common cry for help in our emergency plumbing business.

We then ask, Do you mean the dirty water won’t flush away?
If the answer is yes and it looks like this, then you have a blocked drain and you need a blocked drain expert quickly

However, if you press the Full and Half flush buttons and they don’t effectively clear the toilet bowl, that means, there isn’t enough water in the toilet cistern to do the job or the buttons just don’t work or the cistern just won’t refill or it’s slow to fill.

Then I know how to fix the toilet that won’t flush properly.

Spend a penny on a hot day

It’s hot in Sydney today; 30°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.

World Toilet Day 2016

Today November 19th, 2016 is  World Toilet Day .

What does working as a plumber in Sydney, one of the greatest cities in the world, mean to me on World Toilet Day?

This is a city of contrast and we get to see mostly the top end where it’s nothing for people to spend over $1000 to buy a new toilet.

Many of the houses we visit have 2 or more toilets and many of us take it for granted that we can use a toilet, then flush the loo with clean drinking water from our seemingly endless water supply.

A lot of Sydneysiders would be surprised to know that about 1/3 of the world’s population have neither a toilet to use or clean running water to drink. Let alone flushing away their bodily waste off to a treatment works, somewhere out of sight. And out of mind!

Today, when you use your toilet, think for a moment how we might help those less fortunate.

During your Christmas holiday, if you visit an underprivileged country and experience poor toilet hygiene, think of those people and how we may be able to help them before World Toilet Day 2017. If you’ve got the stomach for it, take a picture of your travel experience and send it to me.

I’d like to raise awareness of this simple missing basic need for so many.

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 this 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

Toilet Hygiene #1

Q. What’s the 3rd most un-hygienic place in the bathroom?

A. The toilet flush button.

Who’d have thought? Now, wash your hands!
toilet flush button

A plumbers view – Super Bowl 2016

Sunday, February 7th was Super Bowl 50 Sunday in San Francisco. By now you may know The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 at Levi’s Stadium.

What’s that got to do with plumbing? I hear you ask. Well plenty; according to the Scott Tissue company, the toilet is flushed more during halftime than at any other point during the year. That’s 90 million flushes, using 350 million gallons or 1,323,000,000 litres of water, which is the same amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in seven minutes.

Now, that is…..a Super Bowl!

I’d like to know how many blocked drains happened on Super Bowl Sunday!
Superbowl 2016

Be careful what you put in your toilet!

Last night we had an emergency call out to a client that 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 of 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! But the shower and basin were draining better than ever before. The building has a 2 pipe system; the 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

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 Crapper & Co’s logo being displayed everywhere.

 

https://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

 

Using a public toilet. Should I hover or cover the seat?

Here is a little fun on Friday! Have a great weekend, and wash your hands!

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.

 

Toilet Paper or Bidet?

The Harsh Reality of Using Toilet Paper Rather Than Washing with a Bidet

Having travelled Europe extensively, one gets used to a bidet. Coming back to Australia made some of the queried group bemoan the loss of the bidets they got so used to. The question as to whether or not it was environmentally responsible to throw tissue paper in the toilet or in the trash was raised.

The questioner remarked that they were bothered by how much tissue paper is used by a single family and they wondered just what it takes to remove the paper from sewage lines and from the treatment plants. Some experts were asked this question and they came up with answers to those questions and wonderings. Of course, all the experts came from the plumbing services fields and would know best how to deal with this problem; they gave opinions on what they felt were the best options. We also inquired at several plumbing services and a couple of places that offered a professional plumber.

When attached to a sewer line that is maintained and repaired by a city, the toilet paper is decomposed through the processing system. In order to break down any solid matter that is in the waste water, methane is used. Ways to harness this methane gas is being researched and tested to make this process more efficient. Toilet paper blockages in the sewer lines don’t happen often, but consider the fact that the blockages would be reduced if a bidet were used.

Cleaning one’s self with toilet paper in a home that is hooked to a septic tank can cause all sorts of nasty things to happen inside your house when blockages happen. Plumbing services have to be called in to remove the offending paper, and then any crack in the pipe or seam that is a little rough can gather another huge wad of toilet paper and clog everything up again. This is good news for the plumber; they appreciate the business, but for the home owner, this is a costly repair.

Bidets would do away with the need for toilet paper and end the numerous blockages that are created when someone shoves a huge wad of paper down the toilet.

If you are really lamenting the loss of the bidet, call in the plumbing services and get your bidet installed. Almost any plumber will be more than happy to install a bidet for your home. With a bidet of your own, you will reduce the amount of paper that is used, reducing the amount of trees used in the process.

Giving up the toilet paper is much more sanitary than giving up the bidet. The bidet allows for a cleaner person while not using as many resources.

In the end it was decided that the bidet is the best way to go environmentally, for the best sanitation and for low repair bills.