The Easter long weekend is only surpassed by the Christmas and new year period as a time when families travel to be together. It is also the start of the hot water season when clients are reminded of the ever-increasing hot water electricity cost.
For the plumbers at Whywait Plumbing, Easter is a busy period with blocked drains being the most common problem followed by hot water problems.
Unlike Christmas, there is always a spike over Easter in emergency callouts for faulty hot water units. That is because Easter is generally much cooler than Christmas. Around April, we all suddenly realise that cold weather is on the way. Every year we notice the signs with an increase in emergency service callouts with the problem being no hot water. Even in the relatively mild climate of South-East Queensland no-one willingly wants to have a cold shower.
Frequently we cannot help but shake our head’s at all the stress, the waste of time and money these emergency service calls represent to many homeowners. Sadly many of us do not pay too much attention to the myriad of household and mechanical systems that provide so much comfort and convenience in our modern lives. We take for granted our water heaters, toilets, mixer taps, and air conditioners that is until they stop working. Then come the panicked call and a repair job that always ends up costing more than we expect.
Showers are the activity where we use the most hot water. Generally, 40% of the water consumed in the shower is hot water. This is why there is a strong correlation between the length of a shower and the hot water electricity cost.
If your home is like many in South East Queensland you are producing hot water from an electric hot water service connected to tariff 11 with a shower rose you love because you get a deluge of water from it at 23 litres per minute. If your shower is being utilised four times a day for an average of 5 minutes per shower, then those showers are costing you $1125 a year in electricity costs and $107 in water usage costs.
Essentially 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity is used to produce 15 litres of hot water using an electric element hot water service. With electricity prices expected to increase 21% on 1 July and a further 40% over the next three years, there is considerable scope for reducing your hot water electricity cost.
One option is to change your electricity and water guzzling shower rose to a water efficient shower rose using only 9 litres per minute. Based on the standard example above this would immediately reduce your electricity costs to $440 and water cost to $42. If you are able to change your hot water service from tariff 11 to tariff 33, then you will save an additional 40% on electricity costs.
The best option and the one we recommend is the long-term sustainable option utilising heat pump technology. Heat pump technology involves replacing your old fashioned energy-hungry electric hot water service to the highly efficient Sanden “Eco®” Plus Heat Pump hot water system.
Electricity costs have become a political hot potato, with state and federal governments playing the blame game in blaming each other for the doubling of electricity prices in recent years.
Hot water electricity cost is one area you can reduce your electricity costs substantially by being smart about how you heat your hot water and use it. Hot water generated by electric elements is something we always took for granted. That is until surging electricity price increases made us all take another look at our increasingly energy-intensive lifestyles.
At Whywait Plumbing we have had a number of calls from clients who are concerned they are about to be overrun by small drain flies in their bathroom. Generally the concern is that they are in large numbers and no matter what is done to kill them there is always more the next day.
Cleaning Your Drains Doesn’t Get Rid Of Drain Flies!
Many Whywait Plumbing clients had cleaned the bathroom until it could be cleaned no more. So by a process of elimination, they had decided that they were coming out of one of the drains in the bathroom. Frustratingly no matter how often some clients sat and observed the drains they never saw any of the drain flies emerging from the drain in the shower or basin or the floor waste.
What most people observed was the drain flies flying were mainly sitting on the walls or ceiling in the bathroom. Whywait Plumbing can confirm that what everyone had was what is commonly known as drain flies or bathroom flies.
What Do Drain Flies Look Like
A typical looking drain fly on a bathroom wall
Drain flies are dark grey flies and are 2mm – 4mm in length with hairy moth-like wings. They have a jerky flight as they are poor fliers and usually are found close to the floor waste drain or area of origin. This is why they seldom stray outside the bathroom. In most cases, they are breeding in the bathroom floor waste trap.
Drain flies do not bite and are not known to transmit disease of any sort nor do they damage clothes or linen and are considered to more of a nuisance value in a home.
The adult drain flies and larvae can be controlled by eliminating or reducing breeding sites. If the infestation is minor the pouring of bleach into the floor trap will usually work in killing them. However, if that does not solve the problem then you will need to kill them by thoroughly cleaning the drain lines and or sealing of the floor trap.
The reason that they continually seem to be in large numbers despite constantly killing them is that eggs hatch in 32 to 48 hours when the temperature is above 20 degrees. The larvae mature in 9 -12 days and feed on the decaying organic matter that accumulates in the floor waste trap. The life cycle of drain flies is 1-3 weeks. Adults drain flies live about 2 weeks, with old ones dying and new ones emerging. They feed on the wastewater in the floor waste trap. During the day the adults rest in shaded areas such as under the basin or on walls near plumbing fixtures and on the sides of showers and baths. Most activity occurs during the evening when the flies are seen hovering about.
Septic Tanks Breeders
If you are on acreage and have septic tanks they may breed in large numbers and they may be carried by prevailing wind to nearby homes up to 3 kilometres away. Adult drain flies are small enough to pass through ordinary window mesh screens.
Thorough Cleaning of Drain and Traps
It is the experience of Whywait Plumbing that cleaning of the drains from the basin, shower and bath that discharge into the floor trap is only part of the answer. It is also beneficial to clean the floor trap thoroughly and pour bleach down the drain although this is washed away with each use of any of the fixtures.
DrainPro – The Drain Fly Solution
Gary Mays from Whywait Plumbing has gone through this entire experience at his own home in the ensuite bathroom. Gary Mays also installed a DrainPro unit into the floor waste which prevents not only drain flies but also bacteria, odours and insects from exiting through the drain into the bathroom.
It is 3 years since he installed DrainPro units in all of all bathroom floor traps and they have completely eliminated the annoying tiny flies.
At Whywait Plumbing the phones began to ring as soon as the water bills from Gold Coast Water arrived in late January. The most common issue was one of bill shock where residents received bills in the thousands of dollars when their normal bill was around $600.
This was brought home to us here at Whywait when our IT Manager, Brad Horrocks rang about the bill his pensioner father, Neal had received which was $4980 when his normal bill was never over $600. Unbeknown to Neale he had an underground leak in the polypipe watermain coming into his home in Coombabah. This unfortunately is common in the coastal areas such as Coombabah where the water basically soaks into the sandy soils rather than bubbling to the surface.
Neal was fortunate that Gold Coast Water gave him a rebate of $3658 but he was still left to pay a bill of $1322. The sting in the tail of this rebate is that Neale is not eligible for further rebates should he have further leaks in his watermain for 3 years. This puts Neale and all of those like him who are recipients of the 60% rebate from Gold Coast Water where the bill shock is caused by a broken pipe in a terrible dilemma. This is caused by water meters only being read every 3 months and bills being issued every 6 months.
Unless you read your water meter on a regular basis which we strongly recommend then you can suffer a major break in your watermain and not be aware of it for at least 90 days when you receive a letter from Gold Coast Water advising you that you have very high water use readings. If you have already used your once every three years rebate for broken pipes then you will pay for every litre of water that leaks into the ground.
However we do have a solution for everyone who has experienced the drama of water bill shock. Prevention is always the best solution. AquaTrip water leak detection and control systems are the solution. AquaTrip is a permanently installed leak detection protection system that quietly provides protection in the background and under normal conditions you will never know it’s there.
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.
AquaTrip is an active water leak detection system that costs less than the excess charges from Gold Coast Water or the excess on one insurance claim and a fraction of the cost of most annual home insurance premiums. In most cases insurance companies do not cover the cost of watermain leaks or the resultant water costs. AquaTrip will provide your home with a lifetime of protection against such water leak events. AquaTrip is a one time insurance policy.
If Neal Horrocks had an AquaTrip installed he would not only have the peace of mind provided by AquaTrip but would be potentially $700 better off today as he would not have had to pay a water bill of $1322.
For more information on installing an AquaTrip “insurance policy” at your home or building Whywait Plumbing today for a lifetime of protection.
Cheap plumbing fixtures on-line and the desire for a bargain has created an on-line love affair to compare prices of supposedly comparable products and services.
It is a guarantee no matter how much you pay for any product or service you will always find it cheaper on-line. This has given rise to an increasing belief by many consumers that they have paid over the odds and have been ripped off because they found allegedly the same product or service on-line “cheaper”.
It is worth remembering that “cheap” has two meanings. Where plumbing products and services are concerned “cheap” is responsible for some colossally expensive problems. In fact a large amount of work undertaken by Whywait Plumbing is because of consumers who took the “cheap” option. The old adage that you get what you pay for is certainly truer today than at any other time in our history.
Plumbing products that are sold in Australia are subject to stringent testing, designed to ensure that they meet Australian Standards. Once plumbing products meet the required Australian standards they are granted a WaterMark. The product whether its a tap or a toilet or a hot water service or a urinal must display the WaterMark logo as pictured to the right on the product by law.
If you are buying plumbing products on-line from overseas or if your builder or plumber is doing this to cut costs then it is a sure bet that it will end up costing you much more than the money saved in repairs and replacement.
Always make sure you understand what you are paying for and ensure that it has a compliant Australian WaterMark approval. Using a non compliant non WaterMark approved product will null and void your insurance policy if the product is defective and causes property damage.
When you are upgrading or replacing or renovating you will comes across a lot of great looking plumbing products to select from and ones that make great claims in terms of durability and long-life. Usually they are much “cheaper” and are tempting to purchase for the price being offered. Generally where mixer taps and toilet suites are concerned the cheaper the price means corners have been cut in their production. If you cannot see the WaterMark on the product then do not purchase it.
Unfortunately in Australia it is not illegal for non compliant products to be imported and sold. It is however illegal for plumbers to install them. Listening to unqualified salesman who tell you how wonderful the cheap plumbing product is have lead many people to have expensive repairs undertaken. It is always best especially if renovating to stipulate any product supplied for your job meets or exceeds the relevant Australian Standard and or WaterMark for plumbing products.
By Gary Mays
The stresses of a modern diet have for many people turned their bodies into a filter that it was never intended to be. Now a new study that followed over 8,000 men aged 45 to 73 for an average of 15 years illustrates yet again why water should be the drink of choice. The study found that men who drank one soft drink every day are at greater risk of getting more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
“Among the men who drank a lot of soft drinks or other drinks with added sugar, we saw an increased risk of prostate cancer of around 40 percent,” said Isabel Drake, a PhD student at Lund University. Very simply men aged over 45 who drank one 330m/l soft drink a day which is essentially one standard can, were 40 percent more likely to develop more serious forms of prostate cancer that required treatment. The cancer was discovered after the men showed symptoms of prostate cancer, and not through the prostate cancer screening process known as Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA).
The study also found that men who ate a diet heavy on rice and pasta increased their risk of getting milder forms of prostate cancer, which usually required no treatment, by 31 percent. This was in contrast to men who had a high intake of sugary breakfast cereals which raised the incidence of milder forms of the cancer to 38 percent. The men in the study had to undergo regular medical examinations and kept a journal of their food and drink intake.
Isobel Drake confirmed that further research was needed before dietary guidelines should be changed but as everyone is aware there are already plenty of reasons why everyone not just men should cut back on drinking soft-drinks. Previous studies have shown that Chinese and Japanese immigrants in western countries develop prostate cancer more often than peers in their home countries. This reinforces the viewpoint that research on how genes respond to different diets would make it possible to tailor food and drink guidelines for certain high-risk groups.
At Whywait Plumbing we are aware that many people avoid drinking water because of the taste. Often the taste can be improved by the simple diet changes of eliminating sugar and sugary drinks from ones diet and by drinking filtered water. John Hopkins Universty in a recent update on avoiding cancer advocates that you are better off drinking water that is filtered to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. They further recommend to avoid distilled water as it is acidic and not to drink water frozen in a plastic bottle.
It is for these reasons and many others that Whywait Plumbing recommend that to ensure total protection filtering your water supply at the point of entry to your home is the only guarantee you have to ensure the water you are drinking in and bathing in has harmful chemicals removed. A whole of house water filtration system ensures clean, odour free, delicious water throughout the whole house guaranteeing the following:
- Constant supply of delicious water throughout the whole house
- Removes bad taste and odour by removing chlorine, chloramines, carbon based organic compounds (VOC’s) such as pesticides, herbicides and industrial solvents that are in your tap water
- Enhances the flavour of food
- Healthier skin by eliminating chlorine from your baths and showers
- Reduce water problems and unsightly stains throughout your home by using a premium carbon filter
- Extended life of your plumbing fixtures, taps and pipes by eliminating chemicals in your water
- Save money and save time by not buying bottled water
Once we understand that the body is more than 70% water and that water controls virtually every aspect of our health, we can begin to understand its true importance. Not just the water we drink, but the water that we shower in…cook with… prepare juices, teas and coffee with. It all has a significant impact on our health. Water is the foundation of the body, and, like any structure, if the foundation is of poor quality, strength and longevity will not be achieved.