Would You Know What To Do in a Plumbing Emergency? 1

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Would You Know What To Do in a Plumbing Emergency?

Would You Know What To Do in a Plumbing Emergency?

With owning and operating a 24/7 plumbing company answering after hours calls about a plumbing emergency is something we are used to.

In the many plumbing emergency calls we have taken over the years, the two most common reasons for calling after hours are either a burst water pipe causing flooding inside the house or a blocked drain causing waste to back up and spill over, usually outside but on occasions within the home.
Not only are these situations distressing but they have the potential to cause substantial damage to the home in a short period of time. Knowing what to do in a plumbing emergency not only allows the situation to be handled calmly but enables you to quickly make it safe and minimise damage to the property.

Here at Whywait Plumbing we recommend that all adults residing in a household should at a bare minimum know:

  • Where the main water isolation valve for the property is located.
  • How to turn off the water at the water meter or isolation valve (usually located in a turf box on the property boundary).
  • How to turn off the water at the hot water service.
  • How to isolate the power to the house at the meter board.

Let’s take a closer look at some plumbing emergencies

Burst Pipes
In our 40 plus years as local Gold Coast plumbers, we have found that burst pipes are likely to cause the most damage to a property especially if they happen at night or when you are away from the property.  We have seen a marked increase in the number of these incidences since braided hoses have replaced copper pipes on tapware and toilets.

Our Recommendations
When installing new tapware have isolation valves fitted at the fixture so you can quickly isolate the water should a pipe burst.
Have one of the automatic water shut off device available on the market installed.
Know where and how to turn the water of at the water meter.
Keep a wrench or shifter inside so it is handy should you need to turn the water off in a hurry.
Before going away turn off the water at the meter. If you need to leave the water on for any reason then make sure you turn off the taps to the washing machine, dishwasher, toilet cisterns and any other isolation valves to water filters, fridges or mixer taps.

 Tap Won’t Turn Off
A tap that won’t turn off isn’t technically an emergency as in most instances the water can be isolated at the meter and be attended to the next day. If it’s a hot water tap that won’t turn off then it is best to isolate the water at the hot water service so that you still have cold water to the house. It is a common misconception that you can’t leave a tap running because water is expensive but in real terms with the cost of water being $3.90 per thousand litres you would need to use 42,000 litres of water overnight just to cover the fee to call out our plumber after hours.

Our Recommendations
When installing new tapware have isolation valves fitted at the fixture so you can quickly isolate the water at the fixture should a pipe burst.
Know how to turn water off to your hot water service.
Know where and how to turn the water of at the water meter.
Keep a wrench or shifter inside so it is handy should you need to turn the water off in a hurry.

Blocked & Overflowing Drains
In this day and age having fully functioning drains is something we take for granted and so when drains block it is not only inconvenient but interrupts your normal household routine.
If the drains are overflowing outside although unpleasant they are not really causing any harm to the property and is best left to be attended to in daylight. A much more distressing scenario is if they are backing up and overflowing inside which fortunately is much less common. Whilst we are always happy to come out after hours with workplace health and safety regulations we are somewhat restricted as to what equipment we can operate after hours.

Our Recommendations
Know the location on your property of the overflow relief gully to your drainage system.
If the drains are backing up inside check that the grate to the overflow relief gully is not obstructed. Remove the grate if necessary to allow waste to overflow here.
Limit the use of your plumbing.
Do not run the washing machine or dishwasher.
If necessary use the toilet but avoid flushing where possible.

Here at Whywait Plumbing we understand that not everyone wishes to or is able to deal with a plumbing emergency so our Number 1 recommendation is to have our number handy so you can contact us quickly when the need arises.

Gold Coast Council Water Rates to Increase

Gold Coast Council Water Rates to Increase

Gold Coast council water rates are about to increase again. For both homeowners and business owners, this could be a double whammy when you couple this with the increases in power bills in recent years.

The Increases are likely to continue in coming years even though the City of Gold Coast has not increased its portion of your water bill at all for three years. Bulk water charges for the City of Gold Coast are recommended to increase by the Queensland Competition Authority a further $12 a year for the next two years.

The City of Gold Coast has now finalised the 2018-19 budget. Your Gold Coast council water rates charges will not increase on the retail and distribution component of the water and sewerage charges from the last financial year.

However, the significant portion of your water cost which is Queensland Government’s bulk water price will increase in line with the recommendations by the Queensland Competition Authority. The bulk water price will increase by 2.5% from $2.74 per kilolitre to $2.91 per kilolitre.

Contrary to some urban myths City of Gold Coast no longer owns Hinze Dam and the desalination plant. Gold Coast Water buys the water that you use through your meter from Seqwater owned by the Queensland Government. The price paid for the bulk water is itemised in your water bill.

Essentially the bulk water charges levied by the Queensland Government makes up the bulk of your water bill.

These charges are still reflecting the poor planning from 20 years ago that resulted in the multi-billion dollar water grid construction in 2007-08 which resulted in supply pipes connecting all of South-East Queensland being built. To a large extent, the pipe grid was constructed without dams being built and to lesser extent dams constructed without pipes which also resulted in the construction of the seldom-used Tugun desalination plant.

For 2018-19 your Gold Coast council water rates will increase on 1 July for your water and sewerage which will comprise of the following charges:

  • Queensland Government bulk water charge $2.91 per k/L
  • City of Gold Coast distribution           $1.09 per k/L
  • Total water consumption charge    $4.00 per k/L 

The water and sewerage access charges will remain the same as in previous years being:

  • water access charge of $212.08 per year
  • sewerage access charge of $724.12 per year.

Currently, water charges are relatively stable, but significant problems are looming. Long term planning is required to address the issues of aging infrastructure and their maintenance costs which will impact Gold Coast council water rates.

Infrastructure Australia in a major report has predicted water bills will go the way of power bills increasing by at least $50 every year. They predict today’s average annual water bill of $1200 will increase to $2500 within 20 years.

The report correctly says we need to start planning now as our dams are relatively full which gives us the rare opportunity of “….clear thinking and long-term planning to meet our future needs.”

As we all know from the water management supply crisis of 2007-09 South East Queensland can be adversely effected quickly with a combination of natural disasters, poor planning and below average rainfall.

Very simply if we don’t start long-term planning now for planning our future water needs the drastic increases in water bills will cripple family and business budgets in the same way power bills are now.

Which Hot Water Service Should I Buy?

Which Hot Water Service Should I Buy?

My Hot Water Service Needs Replacing!
Which Hot Water Service Should I Buy?

Besides renovating your home replacing your hot water service is likely to be one of the major costs your household will face. With the cost of heating hot water ranking second in dollar spend for household electricity costs, Whywait Plumbing believes it is imperative that you are well informed before making any decisions on your new hot water service.

With the plethora of makes and models available, the push for energy efficient solutions and a range of next generation water heaters on the market it is now more important than ever to do your research to ensure you select the best option available for your families hot water needs.

If you have been thinking “which hot water service should I buy?”, Whywait Plumbing will help by explaining the options available in the marketplace.

Electric Hot Water Service
Electric hot water services are the most common form of heating hot water. They consist of a storage tank with an element that is thermostatically controlled. As hot water is drawn off and cold water enters to replace it the element comes on to reheat the water.

Benefits

  • Ideally suited for like for like replacement.
  • Available in a large range of makes, models and sizes.
  • Readily available for same day installation.
  • Reasonable up-front cost.
  • Suitable for connection to off-peak electricity tariffs.

Limitations

  • Higher daily running costs unless connected to off-peal tariffs
  • Limited capacity if connected to off-peak tariffs, so you have the possibility of running out of hot water should the demand for hot water exceed the capacity.

Gas Hot Water Service
Gas hot water services come as either the traditional storage tank, which works in a similar way to electric but uses gas rather than electricity as it’s source of energy, or instantaneous gas hot water services which only activate when a hot water tap is turned on. Instantaneous gas hot water services have become more popular than the traditional storage tank due to their superior efficiency. If you do not have reticulated natural gas in your suburb then LPG models are available.

NB: It is imperative that the correct sized unit is installed for your house to ensure adequate delivery of hot water.

Benefits

  • Available in a large range of makes, models and sizes.
  • Reasonable up-front cost.
  • Provide on demand hot water.
  • Energy Efficient Solution

Limitations

  • LPG running costs can be expensive if hot water demand is high.
  • Need to refill gas bottles if running on LPG.
  • Whilst natural gas is cheap to run there will also be service fees charged by the energy retailer.

Solar Hot Water Service
Solar hot water services capture and retain heat from the sunlight and transfer this heat to the water stored inside the tank. Solar hot water services are available in both roof mounted and split systems. Roof mounted solar systems have both the tank and solar collectors or panels located on the roof and split systems have the solar collectors or panels on the roof and the tank on the ground with a circulating pump connecting the two. The heart of a solar hot water system is the collectors as they trap the heat and transfer it to storage, so for optimum operation they need to be located on a north facing roof. Solar collectors are available as both flat panel or the more efficient evacuated tube system.

Benefits

  • Energy efficient Solution.
  • Low to no running costs.
  • Available in a range of makes, models and sizes.
  • Reduced greenhouse emissions.
  • Eligible for government rebate.

Limitations

  • Higher up-front cost
  • Dependent on sunlight for heating so operation is affected by the weather and may also need to boost electrically during the winter months to ensure an adequate supply of hot water.
  • Any hot water used at night will not be reheated until the next day unless the electric booster is on.
  • Must still be connected to electricity so will be charged a small service fee by the energy retailer whether you use electricity or not.
  • Alters aesthetics of the property.

 

Heat Pump Hot Water Service
Heat pump hot water units are designed to deliver hot water day or night no matter what the weather conditions. A heat pump unit uses a fan to draw in ambient air which is absorbed by a refrigerant gas. As the warm gaseous refrigerant circulates through the system it passes through a compressor where it’s pressure and temperature rise. The hot refrigerant then passes through a heat exchanger which heats the water. The refrigerant is cycled back into the system, and the hot water is pumped into the storage tank.

Here at Whywait Plumbing we recommend the Sanden “Eco” Hot Water Heat Pump the most energy efficient hot water heat pump currently on the market as certified by the Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator.

Benefits – Sanden Hot Water

  • Low running costs proven to use 20% of the electricity costs of electric storage tanks.
  • Available in a range of sizes.
  • Energy efficient.
  • Reduced greenhouse emissions.
  • Manufactured for Australian conditions.
  • Fast recovery rate.
  • Eligible for government rebate.

Limitations

  • Higher up-front costs.

 

Got more questions?

Whywait Plumbing are more than happy to help. Call us today to speak with one of our friendly staff.

 

 

 

 

 

Plumbing Innovations are Disruptive Innovation

Plumbing Innovations are Disruptive Innovation

Plumbing innovations have always been the norm in the plumbing industry. Innovation is change and is always about better ways of doing the same thing.

When I started my apprenticeship the clearing of a blocked drain started using a plunger and was at least a two-man job using 1m long drainage rods. The rods were screwed together and manually pushed slowly down the drain until we hit the blockage. Clearing drains this way frequently took 3-4 hours.

Plumbing innovations mean that we now clear a blocked drain with state of the art high-pressure jetrodding technology that was unknown 20 years ago.

Innovation is always about change, but at Whywait Plumbing we have always been at the forefront of plumbing innovations. We have always lead change as Gold Coast plumbers from the purchase of our first high-pressure water jetting unit in 1992 or installing vehicle tracking systems or introducing guaranteed upfront pricing in 1999.

What we always considered was developing and improving our way of solving your plumbing problems is now referred to as disruptive innovation. I agree disruptive innovation is the new term in business in the 21st century. But it’s not new it’s just a new way of talking about improving our methods and practices using the latest technology.

Change is the norm, but it just appears to be frantic to an outside observer with online banking, online shopping, online flight bookings and so the list goes on. At least with plumbing, it can’t be done online except for those DIY enthusiasts who believe Google Plumbing has all the answers.

The level of disruption through plumbing innovations has impacted all plumbing installation and maintenance has been significant starting with:

  • Increasing use of prefabrication of bathroom and kitchen modules off-site where the plumbing is all undertaken in a factory, transported to the site and connected up to a water and drainage connection.
  • Continual advances in sustainability with the advent of low flow toilets, low flow taps, waterless urinals and recirculated hot water.
  • Advances in energy efficient products with heat pump hot water units, solar hot water, instant hot water and underfloor heating.
  • All of the different materials we now use in the pipework, relining of existing pipework, CCTV cameras to inspect pipes and pipe jointing methods where welding is now obsolete.
  • Excavation methods with advanced technologies in hydro excavation and tracking and locating of underground services.

The ongoing changes in technology in the plumbing industry are disruptive if not embraced. I agree that plumbing innovations cause a significant difference in how we undertake to solve plumbing problems and how the plumbers at Whywait work now.

Ultimately plumbing continues to be about protecting the health and safety of the community for now and the future to ensure we have good quality water and sewer systems in our buildings.

Replacing Your Hot Water Service? What You Need To Know

Replacing Your Hot Water Service? What You Need To Know

Replacing Your Hot Water Service – How Will You Know What’s Right For You?

When replacing your hot water service the most common question asked is what will it cost?
Whilst price is always an important consideration, at Whywait Plumbing believe that there are other equally important factors. This article will help you make an informed decision.

Should The Price of the Replacement Hot Water Service Be The First Consideration?

Besides renovating your home, replacing your hot water service is a major cost. It is often an expense that occurs with very little warning.
Unfortunately, unless you like cold showers, this gives you little time to carefully review available replacement options.

Hot water systems are not all created equal and the choice you make today will be one that lasts for the next ten to fifteen years. With ever-increasing energy costs impacting household budgets, having an efficient and well maintained hot water service has never been more important. A cheap hot water service may cost you a great deal more in ongoing expenses.

With So Many Hot Water Systems On the Market How Do You Know Which One To Choose?

With modern technological advances and the push for energy-efficient heating solutions, it’s no longer a matter of just replacing your hot water system with like for like.  So how do you know which hot water service to buy?

Hot water services are available in electric, gas, solar and heat pump models, and all come in a huge range of sizes. Purchasing the right hot water service for your needs is something you should seek advice about from a qualified hot water specialist. With a little help from Whywait’s Hot Water Specialists you will be able to select the system that best suits your situation.

Hot Water Service FAQ’s

Before making any decisions about a hot water service replacement you will need to think about:

  • What size is your current hot water service and have you ever run out of hot water with your current hot water system?
  • Does your current hot water service operate on an off-peak electricity tariff?
  • Are your hot water needs likely to increase, decrease or stay the same over the next five years?
  • Do you intend to remain in your current property for at least the next five years?
  • What is more important to you the initial up-front installation cost or the ongoing running costs?
  • Is the quality of the product and length of warranty a consideration when comparing hot water services?

Once you have answered the above points it will be time to consider the available options.

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