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Do You Know The Risks of Living With High Water Pressure?

For the plumbing technicians at Whywait Plumbing listening to clients recollecting the days gone by when high water pressure was the norm are a frequent occurrence. For many high water pressure had been a bonus, especially when water was virtually provided for free. High water pressure enabled many to stand in one spot and water the whole garden or to literally pressure clean the car or driveway.

Both Gold Coast and Logan regions had high water pressure delivery, frequently in excess of 800kPa and often as high as 1100kPa. In reality high water pressures caused many problems with damage to pipes, appliances, taps, valves and fittings from water hammer which also reduced their operational life plus caused excessive noise in the water reticulation system.

Legally under AS/NZS 3500.1:2003, Plumbing and Drainage – Water Services, the relevant clause is 3.3.4 which states, “Maximum pressure within buildings – Provision shall be made to ensure that the maximum operating pressure at any outlet, other than a fire service outlet, within a building does not exceed 500 kPa.” This was further reinforced with amendments in 2010 to clause 3.2.1 which states, “The maximum flow rate from a shower, basin and kitchen sink or laundry trough outlet shall not exceed 9 L/min.”

These very clear definitions within Australian Standards create a dangerous situation that many home and building owners are unaware of. This is because they have the incoming mains water pressure set above the maximum legislated operating pressure of 500kPa level for most connected plumbing fixtures. These plumbing fixtures include dishwashers, washing machines, mixer taps, refrigerators with water purification and hot water systems.

Having excessive water pressure can cause you more problems than you may be aware of. Aside from damage to pipes, appliances, taps, valves and fittings from water hammer which also reduced their operational life plus caused excessive noise in the water reticulation system, you may also be voiding your property insurance and manufacturer’s warranty on any number of these expensive household appliances.

Most insurance policies and appliance warranties are void if your water pressure is above the recommended operational levels. This will always come back to the requirements of Australian Standards which is of course 500kPa.

Most hot water system warranties are void above 500kPa once again with the reference point being the requirements of Australian Standards. Many people are fooled into thinking they have a compliant system as they have pressure limiting valves installed. In reality the majority of these valves over 3 years old are faulty and in need of replacement.

As council water retailers will not guarantee supply pressures the onus is back on home and building owners to ensure they are compliant with Australian Standards. Most homes and buildings constructed since 2003 have pressure reduction valves installed after the water meter but these frequently require recalibration. Homes and buildings constructed before 2003 seldom have a pressure reduction valve installed which means they are susceptible to the fluctuations in water supply pressure.

If you think a flooded house cannot happen to you then read the story Faulty Plumbing Will Flood Your Home where faulty piping in the ceiling flooded part of a home and resulted in water damage in excess of $50,000. Luckily this homes water pressure was reduced to a compliant level of 500kPa and their insurance policy covered the damage.

If you are unsure of what your water pressure is and whether your system is compliant in regard to your insurance policies then contact Whywait Plumbing Services now to carry out a comprehensive analysis of your incoming water pressure.

Faulty Plumbing Will Flood Your Home

At Whywait Plumbing we have lost count of the amount of flooded homes we have attended.

A flooding house caused by faulty plumbing leaves home owners angry, frustrated and often soaking wet. Whywait staff frequently have to deal with distraught homeowners who are heartbroken by the loss of family heirlooms such as photos and documents.

The problem with most plumbing is that it is hidden in the walls or the roof or the floor or is underground. While some plumbing problems are preventable it is impossible to deal with things you cannot see like pipes in walls or in the roof space.

There are steps every homeowner should take inside their home that ultimately can save you a lot of time, money and aggravation. At Whywait Plumbing we recommend you take the following steps to prevent your home being flooded from inside:

  1. Know where to turn off your water – always know where the main water supply valve is to your home and practice turning it off to ensure you know how to do it. At regular intervals check that the valve is working. When going on holiday turn off the water supply to your home to ensure you do not return home to a flooded house.
  2. Check washing machine & dishwasher hoses – the hoses to these essential household appliances are invariably manufactured from plastic or rubber. These machines are constantly left turned on to the water supply meaning the hoses become part of the plumbing system. In case of an emergency it pays to know where the valves are to isolate the machines plus check the valve is working at regular intervals. At regular intervals check the hoses for bubbles or soft spots or if there is moisture on the hose as these are signs of a potential problem looming.
  3. Check hot water tanks – if you hot water tank is inside your home usually in a cupboard or occasionally in the ceiling it pays to check it at regular intervals. A hot water tank will generally last 7 – 15 years depending on location and water quality. Once the tank is over 10 years of age it is living on borrowed time. Always ensure you know where the isolation valve is for the tank and check it at regular intervals to ensure it is working.
  4. Check toilets – your toilet cistern is connected permanently to the cold water supply and will either be connected to the cistern tap under the cistern by copper pipe or a stainless steel flexible connector. Leaks are common at the connections so it is wise to check the cistern tap is working and to check the copper pipe or flexible connector for kinks or signs of moisture as these are signs of a potential problem looming.
  5. Check sinks and basins – your kitchen sink and your vanity basins are frequently connected to the hot and cold water supply with stainless steel flexible connectors. These connectors are one of the most frequent causes of flooded homes. Frequently there are no isolation valves under the sink or basin so you need to check these connectors at regular intervals for kinks or signs of moisture as these are signs of a potential problem looming.

You cannot prevent everything and unfortunately there are no warnings to tell you something is about to burst.

You can take precautions and check the most common problems outlined above. As an added precaution you can install an AquaTrip.

AquaTrip monitors the flow of water into your property, and will shut off the water automatically in the event of a tap left running, a burst pipe, or if a tap, fitting, pipe, toilet, cistern or appliance is leaking. This will save water, reduce wastage and most critically minimise property damage.

The most important thing though is to ensure every person living in your house knows where to isolate the main water supply and how to turn it off. If you are not sure of how to isolate your water supply call Whywait Plumbing now.

Allconnex’s Demise Will Cost Us All

If you have not already received your first water account since the demise of Allconnex on 30 June then you are about to receive it.

Allconnex began effecting ratepayers of Gold Coast and Logan from 1 July 2010 and its demise on 30 June 2012 was cheered by many. I predict the cheering will be short lived especially for Gold Coast ratepayers who are going to be looking at enormous increases in water charges in coming years to pay for infrastructure upgrades. Very simply sewer and water pipes need maintaining, pump stations require upgrading and sewerage treatment plants require upgrading constantly.

Previously all water distribution was run by local councils and in the main they ran efficient and profitable water departments. Gold Coast Water was a world leader in water distribution winning many awards and returning $80,000,000 in profit every year to subsidise rates and other council services.  Despite what many people think we have not returned to the previous business model. Now Gold Coast and Logan council’s are the retailers which is the water and waste water service provider only. The profits previously were generated by owning and operating the bulk water supply.

The Queensland Government owns the bulk water supply. For Gold Coast ratepayers this includes the Hinze Dam, Little Nerang Dam and the desalination plant . The Queensland Government sets the wholesale price that council’s pay for water.  These costs are then passed on to residential and business customers to pay.

If you look at the water costs for 300 kilolitres of water below, which is the average use for a family, its obvious that Gold Coast water and waste water costs are the most expensive compared to neighbouring council areas.

Remember when your bill arrives this year and in coming years with continual increases do not blame the current Gold Coast city councillors or Queensland government but the eight councillors at Gold Coast City Council in 2011 who ignored the facts and bowed to ill informed pressure groups, voting to leave Allconnex and pay in excess of $60,000,000 to compensate Logan And Redlands councils.

Water & Waste Water Costing Example For Using 300 k/l Of Water

Gold Coast Residential
water connection fee:                             $201.50
waste water connection fee:                   $688.88
300k/l @ $3.27 per k/l:                          $981.00
Gold Coast Non-Residential (Business)
water connection fee 20mm meter:         $358.90
waste water connection fee:                   $688.88
300k/l @ $3.27 per k/l:                          $981.00
300k/l @ $4.23 calc on 90% wastewater:$1142.10
Tweed Residential
water connection fee:                            $128.00
300k/l @ $2.05 per k/l:                         $615.00
$743.00 Tweed Non-Residential (Business)
water connection fee:                            $128.00
300k/l @ $2.05 per k/l:                         $615.00
300k/l @ $1.30 per k/l wastewater:       $390.00
credit allowance of 180k/l wastewater: -$234.00
Scenic Rim Residential
water connection fee:                             $280.00
waste water connection fee:                   $500.00
300k/l @ $3.19 per k/l:                          $957.00
Scenic Rim Non-Residential (Business)
water connection fee 20mm meter          $355.56
waste water connection fee:                   $525.60
300k/l @ $3.20 per k/l:                          $960.00
300k/l @ $5.06 per k/l:                       $1518.00

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