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Toilet paper is no longer a hot ticket. Guess what is?

The stampede on toilet paper has slowed for now
But, I overheard an 18 year old chemist assistant telling her mum about the latest hot items running out the door of her pharmacy during the lockdown over the last 4 weeks that is worth sharing.

She rattled off a list of items and her thoughts on why.

With respect to brand names…
Armaforce – General health
Panadol – Just in case they get the virus
Thermometers – 36.3 is normal body temperature
Lemsip – To keep colds away
Betadine – I don’t know why
Voltaren – Over training by the work from home crew
Thrush cream – They’re all wearing leggings and have thrush. Bad idea
Pregnancy test kits – There will be a baby boom early 2021
Nail polish – They can’t go anywhere

Why have a Drainoscopy?

Today our post is simple.

A client called from Bronte.

Since Christmas they’d had 3 blocked drains causing the downstairs toilet to overflow. Yuck!

The plumber they had been using didn’t have a drain camera and it was suggested that the pipes were broken.

We were able to clear the blockage quickly, then, give the pipes a Drainoscopy.

That’s Lone Drainer speak for “put a specialised drain camera in the pipes and see what is really going on”.

The pipe was full of tree roots. That’s all!

We cut out the roots and had another look.

A simple Vaporooter treatment will keep the roots away. With a Guarantee!

Yes, the pipes are old clay pipes. You can see where the roots have been cut out. But, they work and will for some time to come.

The best way to find out is to see it for yourself.

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 Recipe collection

The Lone Drainer Recipe Collection

It’s the second month of the New Year and we’re all still full of good intentions.
I, The Lone Drainer, the fastest plumber in the Eastern suburbs, hereby announce my New Years Resolution: I will become a better cook. I am committing in print in the hope that my public announcement will help me stick to the program.

Here’s how it will work:

Every week, I will publish a new recipe, fully tried and tested in The Lone Drainer Coogee kitchen and stomach. I’m aiming for easy, fast and not too many ingredients. And something that won’t make me fat. I want to be a fit, healthy fifty year old. (Ed: who are you kidding Dave? Rumour has it you’re closer to sixty already!)

It won’t always be a recipe, sometimes it will just be a meal idea, suitable for a man to make. (OK, sexist, I know. I’ll rephrase that. What I mean is suitable for me, a mere male without a lot of cooking skills, but certainly a man who likes to eat well)

Here is No 1 Recipe, a sample of my easy- after- a -hard –days- work –plumbing meal idea:

Go to the supermarket.
Buy a bag of mixed salad leaves, a bottle of bread and butter pickles, and a piece of salmon.
Put two potatoes and two carrots on to boil.(Good plumbers need carbs. We work hard and burn a lot of energy)
Spread the salad leaves on a plate. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil on the leaves. (uncooked olive oil is good for keeping cholesterol down)

BBQ the salmon. Or cook it on a heavy cast iron frypan. Six and two minutes on a gas stove

Put the salmon on top of the leaves. Put the now cooked potatoes and carrots next to the salmon on the plate . Add a couple of dill pickles. There is dinner. Four vegetables, fish for protein and a few carbs for energy. Twenty minutes tops.

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

Winter rain comes with a blast

Winter Rain and blocked pipes.

The forecast east coast low started dumping rain on us last night. Road accidents caused by wet conditions and local flooding are the norm today. The weather bureau suggest these conditions will hang around until Monday.

Blocked storm water drains, storm water pipes and storm water pits have been the order of the day today after the rain came thick and fast.

Where possible, keep your roof gutters and drains clear of leaf debris to avoid flooding and pipe overflows.
rain

Rain causes Bronte wall collapse

Sydney’s sustained rainfall has almost washed out the third cricket test between Australia and the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The rain may have helped the Windies at the SCG but nearby Bronte residents awoke yesterday to find their Macpherson Street neighbours wall had collapsed into the street.

My initial drive past the site to survey the damage was met by a pile of sand, outdoor table and chairs, a picket fence and kids cubby house that had slipped onto the road.
Bronte collapsed wall
It was interesting to see old earthenware pipes amongst the rubble. Maybe their stormwater pipes were blocked or leaking into the sand, probably washing out the pipe line, and the continuous rain caused the collapse.

I do not believe anyone has been injured. Here’s hoping this family can get back into their home soon.

Back to work for a New Year

Many of us are back to work today January 4th 2016 after our Christmas break. Time, love and laughter with family and friends, rest and re-charge.

We’ve had a few plumbing emergencies that couldn’t wait. Blocked drains, burst water pipes and a rusty galvanised gas service that led to a complete pipe re-run on New Years Eve.

People are grateful to have help from an emergency plumber.

They also like to laugh and learn. I recommend you watch this clip for Poo Pourri. This is what I call Furk!

Having FUn at woRK

BTW After the laughing stopped, I ordered some Poo Pourri. It works! If you’d like some let me know.

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.

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!

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!

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.

Melbourne Cup Tip

The winner

Water saving tips for Spring

Now we are really into spring,  the gardens are blooming and after our long weekend heatwave, the lawn needs to be watered.

A dripping tap can waste up to anywhere between 30 and 200 litres of water a day. That’s over 70,000 litres a year.
dripping tap
So here are a couple of simple water saving tips to get you through spring and the long hot summer ahead.

Ensure all household and garden taps are always turned off tightly so they don’t drip. Don’t force taps as you can damage them and actually cause leaks.
Develop a regular routine of checking all indoor and outdoor taps, washers and pipes for leaks, cracks and breaks. Check all your household appliances for water leaks. Learn how to repair leaking taps; a new washer is inexpensive and easily available at your local hardware store.

If in doubt call us for some over the phone guidance on  02 9664 4990.

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 Hawks Hawthorn up against the Eagles from West Coast. Go Eagles!

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

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

On Monday afternoon, 27th October 2014, I got the following 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

Water….. Water everywhere!

Its been raining……. a lot! We have had blocked stormwater pipes, blocked sewer pipes, burst pipes, damaged water pipes and leaking taps of all kinds to attend too. The common denominator is Water

Yes, Water.

Now summer is just around the corner and it’s getting hotter, we are exercising more and sweating a lot!
So my simple health tip, not just for athletes, is drink more water! It flushes unwanted toxins from your body and keeps the brain alert. It just makes you feel better.
Drink h2o

Help! Where does my Hot Water turn off?

HELP!

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

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

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

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

If you need help Call us 02 9664 4990

Water heater valves

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

Common pipelines; easements, ownership and liability #3

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:

LIABILITY FOR COSTS

Role of the Water Board

An important and related issue that was raised in DP 22, in respect of utility services, is establishing liability for the repair and maintenance costs of common service pipes for individual users. The problem only really exists in respect of joint sewer services, because the Water Board will absorb the costs of repair and maintenance of water services (joint or single) within the areas of its operation. In those cases where the Board does not assume responsibility, it can still do the repair work itself and then issue notices for payment to the users of the service. The Water Board Act 1987 (NSW) does not contain any guidelines in respect of apportioning the costs of the work carried out.

The Water Board does not assume the same level of responsibility in respect of sewage services. A liability policy similar to the water supply policy (as discussed above) was considered for sewage services, but was rejected as too expensive. Where the Water Board is aware that work needs to be done on a joint sewer service, the Board will issue a defect notice requiring the users to repair the service within a certain period of time. Sometimes repair is ordered to take place within 24 hours, if the damaged service is deemed to be a health risk. It may also be the case that the users of that service realise that the service is in need of repair and attend to the repairs prior to receiving a notice from the Board.

Existing guidelines for apportioning costs

There are no guidelines to assist the owners in dividing the cost of repairs, although DP 22 argued that Regulation 9 of the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation (September 1989) could be interpreted as making owners jointly responsible for the maintenance of their water service pipe, sewer or storm water drain.8 Some users may argue that they were not responsible for any damage to the service and thus refuse to pay anything; other users may argue that the cost of repair should be divided equally, regardless of which users were directly affected, on the basis that the service is jointly owned; and others may consider the amount charged to be excessive and only wish to pay an amount they consider appropriate. Although a recommended rate may be obtained from the Master Plumbers Association, this rate is not a standard or enforceable rate and the final figure charged may be higher or lower depending on the circumstances.

In practice, one user (usually the person most affected by overflow from the blockage) often pays for the repairs and is then forced to seek contribution from the other users, and when payment is not forthcoming, he or she may be forced to litigate for the recovery of the money. Whilst a user may wish to claim equally against each of the other users of the service, it is difficult to prove what their contribution should be. A plumber may be retained to give expert advice about who or what caused the damage to the service. This lack of legislative direction stands in sharp contrast to the specific contributions that unit owners of a Strata Titles plan are required to provide by way of levy where maintenance and repair of the common property is necessary.

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, 51.69 sec, 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.

Sydney Water fights tree roots in sewer pipes

Sydney Water, the guardians of our main sewer pipes, are constantly waging war against tree roots in our main sewer lines!

Many clients from Double Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Edgecliff, Woollahra, Paddington, Rose Bay, Point Piper and Darling Point, residents with lots of trees and tree roots growing in the sewer pipes around their homes, report Sydney Water are systematically surveying the mains around their neighbourhood.

If you have a tree root problem on the branch to the sewer pipes for your home, they will advise you.

To cut tree roots from your sewer pipes before it becomes a plumbing emergency follow their advice.

To keep the tree roots out of your sewer pipes you should seriously consider using Vaporooter.

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 is 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!