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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

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.

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.

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 the 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

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

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

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.

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.

Welcome to Movember. Mens Health Month

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

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

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

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

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

8 Reasons to drink water!

water yogi

It’s easy to take water for granted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just Add Water

Everyone is talking about the upcoming summer like the imminent return of an old old friend. My sunrise learn to surf visits to the local beaches find them full of boys and girls and boot campers getting buffed for the summer unveiling of the new bod. And everyone is drinking water out of water bottles.

Now, hydration is not a new theme and the sweat produced to work that body needs to be topped up with good old H2O, Adams ale, water, the universal solvent. Its well known that people who engage in strenuous physical exertion or live in a hot climate (that’s us people) need to drink plenty of water.

After swallowing more than my share of the Tasman Sea most mornings, I guzzle water from the beach taps to re-hydrate myself.Drink Aqua

The human body is anywhere from 55% to 78% water depending on your body size. A simple rule of thumb, 2/3 of our body consists of water.

Did you know that your tissues and organs are mainly made up of water?
• Muscle consists of 75% water, Blood consists of 83% water, Bone consists of 22% of water, Brain consists of 90% of water.
• The recommended is 8-10 glasses of aqua per day.
• So remember, if your gonna work it, you have to re-hydrate it.
• Dr Dave says Drink more water!

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.

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!

Stop Leaking Taps

As a plumber, the majority of house calls I make have to do with leaking taps. Obviously in most cases it is correct to call a plumber but some times we are called to houses to carry out a simple plumbing job that takes five minutes which could have easily been completed by anyone with a little know how.

Here are a few pointers that can help to avoid problems like these:

  1. Treat taps gently. They should be turned off with thumb & forefinger. If you are having an arm wrestle turning your taps off, stop it!
  2. Try to repair a dripping tap if you can. Always turn the water supply to the house off first!
  3. Simple repairs can be done by anyone. Don’t forget the o-rings, tap washers, tap seats and fibre washers. Lubricate them all.
  4. There are so many types of taps available today, even the pros need to seek advice.
  5. There is no shame in not being able to repair a dripping tap. I have seen grown plumbers cry over leaks like these.

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!

My car is powered by sewage

Methane powered beetle

Methane powered beetle

This post was brought to my attention by the ever vigilant Richard Piper. When you ring our office for help you may speak to him. Tell him you enjoyed this post; I did!

Sewage powered VW Beetle hits the road in Bristol! A Volkswagen Beetle powered by gas from sewage has taken to the road for the first time in Britain.

This converted Beetle car runs on methane gas. The Bio-Bug was launched on Thursday by Wessex Water, which is generating methane from human waste at a sewage treatment works near Bristol.

The company claims the prototype is able to cover 10,000 miles annually on the waste from 70 households.

If the trial proves successful, Volkswagen will consider converting some of its fleet of vehicles to run on biogas.

Mohammed Saddiq, of GENeco, a Wessex Water subsidiary which runs the biogas plant at Avonmouth, said: “Our site has been producing biogas for many years, which we use to generate electricity to power the site and export to the National Grid. With the surplus gas we had available we wanted to put it to good use in a sustainable and efficient way. We decided to power a vehicle on the gas, offering a sustainable alternative to using fossil fuels which we so heavily rely on in the UK.

“If you were to drive the car you wouldn’t know it was powered by biogas as it performs just like any conventional car. It is probably the most sustainable car around.”

The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association said the launch of the Bio-Bug proved that biomethane from sewage sludge could be used as an alternative fuel for vehicles.

Lord Rupert Redesdale, the association’s chairman, said: “This is a very exciting and forward-thinking project demonstrating the myriad benefits of anaerobic digestion (releasing energy from waste). Biomethane cars could be just as important as electric cars.”

Last month Volkswagen announced plans to conquer the green market with a new generation of hybrid and electric cars.

Stylish French @ Reims and Beaune Hotel

Sydney builder Steve Miller and his wife Carmel were on a working holiday in France and visited this beautiful hotel.

If  you think your kitchen sink tap  or mixer tap needs replacing or  the gooseneck spout  over your tubs is old, then check out this “Gooseneck” spout that made up the plumbing in the hotel kitchen sink.

Steve says it’s gold plated and still works beautifully.

Reims and Beaune Real Goose neck spout 117

Reims and Beaune 111 downsize

This image shows the magnificent detail on the hotels slate tiled roof. Steve was in awe of the skills used to create the turrets, dormers and finials that adorn the roof.

Being a plumber my interest was in the roof gutters made from lead, and well, there are no downpipes, only gutter outlets or “spitters” in the shape of a Gargoyle, that spat the roof rainwater out onto the gravel driveway.

The French are so classy!

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