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The Joy of Toilets in Coogee

Exactly 12 months ago today the Mayor of Randwick Noel D’Souza, broke ground on the new Coogee Beach toilet block.
I am happy to report that these new facilities were un-officially opened 360 days later on Friday September 1st 2017. The first day of spring.
And it was worth the wait!
The discomfort to beach regulars and the interruption of the foot traffic flow along the upper and lower promenade right in the middle of Coogee beach is a distant memory.
I’ve been watching the evolution of the site and my almost daily hop, skip and jump along the lower prom and the detour around the street level construction zone sensed that this simple toilet block would be another jewel in the Coogee crown.
I was right.
The spring weather on Fathers Day saw people out in droves.
They were happy to use the new facilities.
I had to try ’em for myself.
The plumbing is state of the art.
The hand wash facilities at the front of the change room with electronic sensor taps that spit water into the free form basins when they detect your hands in range, compliment the soap dispensers.
The showers in this open public area are all push button.
I tried one and had my shirt sleeve soaked by the instant arrival of fresh H2O from the water saving shower head.
Mums and Dads will be able to rinse off and have their kids do the same without having to go into the change rooms and toilets dedicated to both sexes.
I didn’t venture into the ladies but the mens change room is great.
5 low maintenance stainless steel WCs with concealed water saving cisterns and an easy to maintain urinal about 5 metres long with 5 additional showers and plenty of clothes hooks and seating to get changed before and after swimming are features.
The entire area can be easily washed down and the beautiful polished concrete floor and the brightly tiled walls will help keep the facility sparkling.
During my roaming the freshly laid turf in the park above, I had wondered about the new concrete seating and the glass panels set into the ground there.

I’m pleased to say they are skylights for the change rooms below.
Brilliant!

Well done Randwick City Council.

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

Home Buyers Beware of non-compliant plumbing

Home buyers beware.

For us, the heat in the real estate market is reflected in the lack of due diligence by potential home buyers prior to purchasing properties in our suburban real estate grab.

Yesterday we helped a young couple who just bought their first home in the Ryde district.
house sold
They had bought a house that had the bathroom toilet illegally connected to the surcharge gully which was outside the bathroom and near their front door. The gully had a deck built over the top of it to make the front of the house more appealing.

Every time the toilet was flushed the discharge spilled into the gully underneath the deck. Yuk!

After living in the house for only three weeks they started to question the blocked drain symptoms displayed by the toilet. There was also some doubt about the sewerage smell at the front door.

Apparently the young owners had undertaken a pre-purchase building inspection. Somehow the building inspector did not pick up this illegal plumbing connection.
Blocked WC
The only advice I can give you is that if you have a friend that’s a plumber don’t get him to look at the property before purchase.

Instead, get a plumber who has plenty of experience in looking at domestic homes, who has an eye for the unusual and is prepared to look a little harder than just scratching the surface.

Any rectification work to the problem we have just uncovered will be expensive. In the $3000-$5000 range.

That is not what these new eager homeowners were expecting.

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

Why this plumber makes a regular blood donation

New Blood 2
Its a simple thing to give blood. It doesn’t hurt at all! In fact it makes you feel really good…. and you get to help someone else.

Who knows, I may get to help you or your loved ones.

So what does that have to do with plumbing……

Well, only that all of your pipes need flushing from time to time. Even your personal pipes!

This is Furk! Having FUn at woRK.

Storm drains overflow

We had another storm blast through Sydney this afternoon.

We were safely on a boat in Rushcutters Bay fitting the gas cooker as the 60 knot wind blew through.
Safe from the storm
The rain poured down with hail stones thrown in. The storm flooded all the local street drains and in some places the gutters were up to 400mm deep in stormwater.

Please check the grates and drains around your home and ensure that they are clear and running freely. The storms come quickly and can create lots of damage fast.

If you need help…… Call us!

Plumbing Emergency – Can’t turn the water off!

When you have a plumbing emergency

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

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

Get your personal 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 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.

Melbourne Cup Tip

The winner

Broncos and Cowboys Long Weekend

The October long weekend brings a sporting feast to Sydney. NRL fans will descend on our city for the Grand Final between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys.

The Lone Drainer and Pronto loves cowboys and horses. My heart says Cowboys but the head says Broncos.

The Epsom Handicap will be run at Royal Randwick. I’m tipping Sadlers Lake with the great Jim Cassidy riding. Whilst in Melbourne, the AFL sees the the Hawks Hawthorn up against the Eagles from West Coast. Go the Eagles!

What ever you’re doing, have fun! And if you have a plumbing emergencyyou can call us!
The winner

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!

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 and 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.

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

My Plumber is a Wizard

Sometimes its great to laugh at ourselves.

I’ve always loved the Wizard and this is a good one!
Wizard ID Plumber

Be careful what you put in 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

Flush with Facts #3 Thomas Crapper

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

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

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

 

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!

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.

Finely tuned athletes create blocked drains!

The 19th Commonwealth Games in New Delhi India have made headlines for several reasons.

Firstly, the Australian athletes have done exceptionally well. I have personally enjoyed the efforts of swimming legend Geoff Huegill on the comeback trail after a long break from the discipline of training.
Huegill, the man they call Skippy, swam the best race of his life in the 100m butterfly final. His time, 51.69sec, was easily the fastest he has ever swum and astonishingly places him, at 31, second in the world this year behind the greatest swimmer of all time, American great Michael Phelps.

A problem with blocked drains in the athletes village was blamed on an abundance of used condoms blocking up the sewer pipes. Indian newspapers reported the blockages, organisers are denying it saying “there was no blockage in the drains in the village and no emergency plumbers were called in.
But one fact remains, the supply of complimentary condoms has been depleted by 4,000. So either there have been a lot of water fights, or groups of young athletes at their physical and hormonal peak have been “getting to know one another”.

I know which one my money is on!

It was during the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games that condoms were first purposefully handed out to athletes, and organisers have continued to do so ever since.

Whether you are in New Delhi, Double Bay, or Mosman, we don’t recommend disposing of condoms by flushing them down the loo into the sewer pipes.

But if it does happen, It sounds like a job for The Lone Drainer and Pronto!

Washing machines & dishwasher maintenance

With 3 growing boys living at home who eat like there is no tomorrow, between playing rugby, cricket and doing patrols at Coogee Surf Club, we have plenty of dishes to wash up every day as well as laundry to do every day, so much so, that both appliances broke down at the same time!

Yes it happens to plumbers as well!

So we had our brightest plumbing apprentice just install a new dishwasher and washing machine and it made me aware of the importance of these water appliances and how we should maintain them.

1. Their hoses are rubber, so with hot water they perish and may rupture; so check them regularly.
2. Many people turn these control valves or taps off at the end of every wash. In our house that would be impossible.
3. Turn taps off when going on holidays. Don’t forget to turn them back on when you return.

Just recently, our emergency plumbers rescued a young mother who had been to Adelaide for three weeks. The hose feeding her washing machine ruptured causing many dollars worth of damage:

  • Her washing machine shorted out electrically (needs a new machine).
  • The laundry/bathroom was covered in mould from the steam (needs repainting).
  • Assorted bits and pieces of furniture were damaged.
  • The carpets in the hallway were waterlogged.
  • The parquet flooring at the end of the hallway had buckled and would need major repairs, then re-sanding and staining.
  • Not to mention the aggravation of removing all furniture and of course taking the young children away from the home for several days whilst these procedures were carried out. The fumes from the floor staining were intoxicating.

Antonio Gaudi water conservationist

Barcelona 2010

To visit Park Guell and see the home and creative brilliance of Antonio Gaudi is a special treat.
Gaudi created Park Guell for the citizens of Barcelona. It has gardens and homes with a view of the city and the Plaza.

The Plaza is a meeting place for the people of the city and the brightly coloured mosaic seating around the man made plaza had a secondary purpose. The dry Mediterranean weather usually meant excess water used on something as soothing as a fountain for the citizens and visitors to the city was a waste of water. That didn’t phase Gaudi.

The water catchment created by the Plaza was a brilliant idea to collect any rainwater that fell, and through an underground filter and the storage system, the rainwater was then piped to the mouth of a Mosaic dragon lying in a garden with a fish and lily pond at the bottom of the beautiful staircase.

The ergonomic design of the seating around the Plaza, which was beautifully decorated in mosaics, was incredibly comfortable to sit back, relax and talk with friends and family.

Gaudi’s design allowed any water from those brief showers to fall to the back of the seating and then get channelled off quickly into a gutter on the outside of the seating and then dispersed to the dry garden areas below through a series of “spitters” hand carved in stone.

Absolutely Beautiful!

Park Guell Lion

Park Guell Lion

Rain lions

Rain lions

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.