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Why you need a sewer diagram

As a plumbing professional, one of the handiest tools we can have is a sewer service diagram.
It’s a map of where the pipes run within your home.
It’s easily obtainable, and you can get it from Sydney Water, reputable plumbing suppliers and, even your local plumber can get it for you.
It’s simply an A4 sheet.
It has an outline of your home, your property.
It shows where all the pipes run within your home and how they connect to the sewer.
It will make it easier for your plumber to get into your sewer pipes to clear your blockage.
And
If you are planning a preventative maintenance program, it shows points of access where we can get into your pipes with a minimum of fuss.
In the long term it will save you money.
So if you have repeat problems with your sewer pipes, get a sewer diagram and keep it handy.

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.

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

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

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

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!

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!

Water Saving Tips for your Garden.

water plants
Did you know about 35% of household water usage occurs in the garden?

In my daily rounds the common theme is how the spring has unfolded, the gardens are in bloom, the Jasmine flowers have come and gone. We’ve had very little rain lately on the coast but, after recent temperatures reaching 36 degrees, our gardens are dry.

It helps if you know the needs of your plants. More plants die from over watering than lack of water so don’t drown ’em.

So here are a few water saving Do’s and Dont’s:
– Do choose water efficient plants and grasses.
– Do mulch your garden.
– Do install a drip feed system to water the gardens and lawns. It’s pretty easy to do. If you need a hand just ask us.
– Don’t water in the heat of the day. Heat = Evaporation and the watering process can burn your lawn and plants. Water early or late. Cool is good!
– Don’t assume the garden needs watering. Check the soil to see whether its dry before turning on that hose.
– Don’t water for long periods if your garden slopes. The water just runs off. Allow it to soak in!
– Don’t water on windy days especially with sprinklers and fine sprays. Wind increases evaporation.
– Don’t water everyday, if its practical give em a drink twice a week to encourage the roots to grow deeper
– Don’t water for 1-2 weeks after a good soaking rain.

– Don’t forget to drink yourself. Personal hydration is even more important!
Kanga Paws

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.

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.

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?

This image 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

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!

Stormwater drain blockages

Send it down Huey! As Sydney gets through another day of torrential rain and some eastern parts of this country are getting their best rainfall for more than a year, its important to keep your stormwater gutters, downpipes, grates and drains clear.

My own roof gutters were overflowing yesterday ’cause the leaves from our deciduous tree were blocking our down pipes.
Blocked stormwater

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

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!

Common pipelines; easements, ownership and liability #2

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:

A user of a service may attempt to disconnect the joint service and force other users of the service to bear the cost of a direct connection to the main service. Such action will however, be illegal unless conducted in accordance with the Water Board Act 1987 (Water Board (Plumbing and Drainage ) Regulation 1989),2 or a court order declaring that the common user of the service has a right to discontinue the service.

The creation of permanent rights of access is seen as a means of avoiding problems of access in respect of utility services, and applications have been made to the courts over the years to have access to and over utilities such as water pipes and sewers recognised as easements of necessity. The courts have, however, gone to considerable lengths to hold that although such an easement may be considered by a landowner to be essential for the reasonable enjoyment of property, it is not an easement of necessity, because at law, easements over such services are not considered necessary to the land itself.

Although DP 22 raised the possibility of statutory recognition of these “trespassing” services as a means of rectifying the problem, the Board of Surveyors pointed out in their submission that few authorities know with any exactitude the location of their service lines. Consequently, the Board of Surveyors opposes the creation of statutory easements over them until such time as they are properly defined on title. The Commission agrees that such a step may be expensive and premature at this stage. It would seem desirable however, that steps are taken in the long term by the relevant authorities to locate such services, properly record them and establish the appropriate rights over them.

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.

Plumbers love your pets

Your Dog and Dealing with Internal Renovations

Dogs and cats find renovations very stressful: there are strangers in their home changing things, moving things around and disrupting their routine. Some of the risks involved range from escape behaviour, bad dog behaviour, territorial behaviour and the general stress of strangers and loud noises in their space. You also have the risk of injury or the potential of your fur baby being exposed to toxins. Unlike the tradesman, there are no protective masks or clothing for your pet.

Lead and Asbestos, as most of us know, are bad for us, but it’s just as bad for our pets. Years ago it was common for house paint to contain high levels of Lead in addition to Asbestos in our walls. Startlingly before 1970 most paints contained up to 50% lead. Disturbing the paint during renovations can be risky business and you need to ensure you keep yours, and your pet’s, exposure levels down and leave this sort of job to the experts!

Lead and Asbestos will only resurface if it is disturbed; your tradie could unintentionally do this and create a risk. If you’re renovating be sure to follow these simple steps to make sure your family and pets are safe from Lead and Asbestos.

Step 1 – Look into how much asbestos you will have to work around and whether your paint contains lead. The most likely places to find lead paint will be on the kitchen and bathroom cupboards, window frames, skirting boards, doors, architraves, picture rails, exterior walls, gutters, metal surfaces and fascias.

Step 2 – Use the appropriate tools and equipment for the task at hand. Protective clothing is a must! A respirator, disposable coveralls, disposable overshoes, a hat, and gloves will protect you from any dust containing lead. Find somewhere to keep your pets safe while the renovations are happening, a relative, friend or a doggy daycare is always a good idea to get the pets out of the house.

Step 3 – Prepare fully for interior or exterior work. Get experts to deal with Asbestos as there is a multitude of legislation governing the tampering and removal of Asbestos.

Step 4 – Deal appropriately with paint containing Lead. Use techniques that minimise the creation and dispersion of dust or fumes. Large portions of dust or wastewater that contain lead can contaminate the house and garden so it is best not to dry sand or use abrasive blasting. It’s always safer to avoid creating the dust as opposed to cleaning it up after as dust containing only 1% lead can be harmful.

Step 5 – Use a 3 bucket wet cleaning method to eliminate any left over chemicals.

Step 6 – Dispose of contaminated waste appropriately.

This Blog Post was kindly supplied by the Friendly Team at Paddington Pups, Queensland’s Number #1 Doggy Daycare Centre.