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How to Stop a Blocked drain in Coogee

Stop Tree Roots in Drains

Vaporooter Stops Tree roots in Drains

Hi, It’s Dave Conroy here from The Lone Drainer and Pronto.

I am in Coogee today and we are applying Vaporooter to a house in this tree- lined street. The people who own this house have had problems with their sewer.

Tree roots from this Hills weeping fig (ficus microcarpa) have been growing in their clay sewer pipes for over 10 years and we had been clearing blockages regularly.

We have been applying Vaporooter in those same pipes now for about four years and they haven’t had a blocked drain since. Those are great results!

If you live in a street similar to this, where there is a beautiful canopy above but underground, the tree roots are getting into your sewer pipes, then you should consider Vaporooter to Stop tree roots in your drains.

If you would like to find out about Vaporooter, call me on Sydney 02 9664 4990.

Don’t do this in the bathroom!

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

How germs spread:

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

Know your water heater #2

The hot water tempering valve
Knowledge about your water heater will save you money!

Second in the series, this 44-sec clip will show you a typical tempering valve on a gas water heater. That’s the blue valve on the side of the heater.

It should be checked by your plumber annually and replaced every five years.

The tempering valve is fitted to prevent scalding of the aged, the infirmed and young kids. It should be on every storage(and continuous) water heater like this.

If you are changing or upgrading your water heater, you should have a Tempering valve fitted.

Get into hot water this Winter!

With the winter season underway, its time to think about hot water.

Take 10 minutes to check on your water heater.
Is it gas or electric?

Check it’s location. Ensure that it’s not leaking on any of the pipes or connections.

Check the cold water control feed tap, usually on the bottom left of the heater. Make sure it turns off and back on.

If you have a storage tank, make sure you check the pressure relief valve is working correctly. And that it’s not leaking.

An efficient water heater will supply all the hot water your family will need this winter.

If you’re not sure, call me on 02 9664 4990!

Know your water heater #1

Hi, its Dave Conroy here from The Lone Drainer and Pronto.

As we approach the winter of 2020, my message for today is about hot water.

You need to know how to turn off the water supply to your water heater.
And most importantly, I want you to know what a temperature and pressure relief valve is.

This 1min 48 sec YouTube clip will show you how it’s done on a 50-litre heater. Yours may be different. If you would like to know more……Call me!

Why you need a sewer diagram

One of the handiest tools for a plumbing professional 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 that 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.

The sewer service diagram 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.

Can Coronavirus be spread through wastewater pipes in a home or hospital?

Sydney April 15th 2020

“Staying connected” has become a part of our language lately.

Did you know we are all connected through the wastewater pipes in our homes?

Whether you live in a single level detached home or a multi-storey building, all our plumbing fittings drain into the same city sewer. That’s your shower, bath, basin, your WC, kitchen sink, washing machine, laundry tubs and floor drains.

A study showed the 2003 SARS virus spread through the plumbing system of a HongKong residential complex whose residents had 300 confirmed cases and 42 deaths- about 1/6th of the infections and fatalities on the entire island.

Our Australian Standards state “all plumbing fixtures must have a working trap or water seal”. That is, the S-bend at the outlet of the fixtures should have water sitting in them OR flowing through them.

Regularly we’re asked to investigate “a sewer smell” in a bathroom or laundry that is nothing more than a dry trap.
But, its allowing smells and bacteria to come from the wastewater and sewer pipes into your room.

Hypothetically, if an infected neighbour flushed their toilet and that wastewater entered a pipe you’re connected to, then bacteria could pass through a dry trap and enter your bathroom.

While person-to-person and surface-to-person is the most common means of spreading Coronavirus, I want you to be aware that any open or dry traps may allow contaminated droplets into your space.

So:
• Do not ignore unexplained foul smells in bathrooms, kitchens or washing areas.
• Ensure all your sink traps and S-bends have water in them.
• Run water into all tubs and showers for a few seconds in the morning and evening, paying particular attention to floor drains in bathrooms and laundries.
• If the wastewater pipework from a toilet, sink or other household appliance appears to be disconnected or open, seal it immediately.
• If you find any crack or leak in pipework, seal it with strong tape.
• Encourage your facilities managers to monitor the wastewater system performance of your building, looking out for things such as drainage overflows or sewer smells.

If you have any questions about this, I invite you to call me.

Tree roots don’t know about Coronavirus

Sydney April 14th 2020

Easter is over for another year.

Although our towns are slowing because of the Coronavirus, and we are quickly changing our daily home and work habits, here at The Lone Drainer and Pronto, we are still working away.

Mostly blocked drains!

Working from home is putting our normal facilities under a little more pressure. That means the internet, the exercise areas and our bathrooms.

With all that extra baking and comfort meals, our sewers are under a more significant workload. Tree roots don’t know about Coronavirus, and still seek food and water in the sewer pipes they can grow into.

So, if you hear your drains gurgling don’t ignore them. They are asking for help.

Dormant, but active underground

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

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 to 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 that caused the garage to flood.

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 up to the roof gutters to have a look, please be very careful.
Take care climbing on your roof.
It may be very slippery!

Never a cross word…


HOW CLEVER ARE YOU? WIN A PRIZE TODAY! (Yes! A prize from Dave, The Lone Drainer!)

The first person to email us (info@thelonedrainerandpronto.com.au) a photo of the correctly completed crossword (click on the link on the line below), wins a box of the excellent and bio friendly “Who Gives A Crap” toilet paper.

crossword

How much will it cost to fix my toilet?

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

It’s hard to say from this picture, but I tried to help the writer by asking a few simple questions:

Is it a close coupled suite or are the pan and cistern separate?
Is it the inlet or outlet valve leaking?
Does the water turn off at the control valve?
Is the connection between the control valve and the cistern hard drawn tube or is it one of those flexible braided connections?

The outlet valve is redundant. It could be rewashered if that’s the problem, was part of my email response

The flushing toilet is a wonder of the modern world we can take for granted considering our previous post about 4.4 billion people not having a toilet.
But our local bathroom suppliers currently have 48 different types of toilet cisterns on display and that’s not including the antique in our picture. They all have different water connections and flushing mechanisms.

So please, help us help you by providing as much information as possible about your particular leaking toilet.

In the meantime, you can turn off the water and flush your loo with a bucket.

Who is responsible for my sewer pipes?

Did you know homeowners are responsible for their sewer pipes up to and including where they meet the Sydney Water sewer mains?

A lot of people are shocked when they find that out.

If you need to renew your sewer pipe line because it has been damaged by tree roots and the pipes run out in the middle the road, then, the homeowner is responsible for all the costs of the renewal, including Council road opening fees.

Use Toilet Paper not Tissues

Here is a simple demonstration by Tristan from The Lone Drainer And Pronto showing 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.

My bathroom is flooding!

There are busted pipes in peoples homes every day. Knowing where to turn off your hot and cold water could be the difference between having a few wet items under the kitchen sink and having a total flood.

Yesterday morning we had an urgent phone call with a difference requesting an emergency plumber.

Allan, the homeowner knew exactly where to turn off the water to his home unit. A flexible connection under his bathroom vanity basin had burst.
Allan heard a “pop” then the sound of running water as it gushed out of his bathroom vanity basin onto the floor and out the door. Fortunately, shutting off the water quickly kept the damage to a minimum.

We were able to rescue Allan and his family pronto.

We replaced the ruptured hot flexible connection and changed the corroded looking cold connection also.

My toilet cistern is leaking #1

“My cistern is leaking into the toilet pan.”

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

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

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

Either of the valves shown could be faulty.

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

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

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

If you’re not sure, just ask us.

Urgent hot water help

Its really important to know a few simple things about your water heater.

I just had an emergency call from Emma, who returned from visiting the UK for Christmas. While she was away her water heater leaked through the kitchen cupboards, ruined the carpet throughout her home and flooded the property below.

The neighbour below had to force entry into her unit to turn off the water to protect his property.

Over the phone, Emma asked for help replacing her existing water heater.

I asked her to send a picture of the heater and I now know:

  • There is no safe tray under the heater. Installing a safe tray to prevent future flooding should be considered.
  • The water heater currently is an 80Ltr unit. The modern version is slightly larger and won’t fit in the cupboard. The cupboard may need to be dismantled to remove the existing and fit a new unit.
  • A 50-litre heater may also be too big. (Please check the cupboard dimensions)
  • The current water heater does not have a tempering valve fitted. Australian Standard states “A tempering valve to be a part of any new hot water installation”.
  • There is a flexible connection between the Duo valve and the heater. Australian Standard states “Flexible connections do not comply”.

Does the cold water control valve that shuts off the water to your entire home work efficiently? It will need to, so that the Duo (control) valve  the water heater can be worked on.

Take 3 tips.

  • Know where your water heater is.
  • Know how it turns off.
  • Turn off the water and electricity or gas before you go on holidays.

If you’re not sure…ask me.

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 the 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

Think before you flush the toilet.

Christmas 2015 is upon us. This is the time 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 any plumbing emergency over the Christmas holidays.

A blocked drain can be caused by putting the wrong things down your sinks, pipes and toilets. This can leave you with an expensive plumbing bill to unblock your pipes. It can also lead to an increase in 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 which are 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.

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.

Here are 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. Approximately 10 litres per person.
4. Check that 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 Men’s 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.

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 its 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 amount 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 and the gardens are blooming, 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.