Water-Wise Ways to Maintain Your Garden 1

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Water-Wise Ways to Maintain Your Garden

Water-Wise Ways to Maintain Your Garden

Water Restrictions

In South East Queensland there are no water restrictions applicable to residential or business. Contrary to some ill-informed social media content there have been no water restrictions since 1 January 2013.

All council areas in South East Queensland are interconnected via the Seqwater water grid. This ensures the entire region has access to twenty-six dams and the Gold Coast desalination plant for drinking water.

As a result of the current prolonged dry conditions, the inflows into the dams are the lowest in ten years. Currently water grid capacity is under 60%. If there are no major inflows from the rain in the next six months it is likely water restrictions will be introduced in mid-2020.

water wise garden from Whywait Plumbing

As a result of water grid capacity continuing to drop Seqwater is encouraging everyone to become more aware of their water usage. Ensuring everyone makes an effort now to reduce their water use can make a big difference in the introduction of water restrictions.

Seqwater continually updates water consumption across the six local water service providers. These updates are interesting comparisons of average daily residential consumption. In the last year, residential consumption on the Gold Coast has increased from 177 litres per person per day to 234 litres.

Some of this increased consumption is attributed to increased watering of gardens and lawns. Having a water wise garden is always a positive way to manage your garden and ensure it flourishes year-round.

Maintaining Your Garden

Having a water wise garden reduces your water usage and allows your garden to stay healthy. Healthy plants are important through all climate conditions. During the current drought, you need to be aware that your plants do reduce stress levels and purify the air.

Water-Wise Ways to Maintain Your Garden 3

Your water wise garden is crucial to the environment as all plants contribute to stabilising the ecosystem. Healthy plants all contribute to not only releasing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide they also are a critical part of the water cycle. Your plants also provide birds, insects and small animals with habitats to assist their survival and give them shade.

Maintaining your water wise garden is not a burdensome chore. In fact, the suggestions below should be your normal management techniques to ensuring you have a flourishing water wise garden and lawn year round no matter what climatic conditions we are experiencing.

Water early in the day

Evaporation will occur all year round in South East Queensland so to give your plants a drink early to reduce the evaporation of the water you are giving them.

In summer when the sun rises early we recommend you irrigate your garden and lawn before 6 am. In winter this can be wound back to 8 am.

If you cannot water early then the second choice is to water late. The heat of the day has diminished by 4 pm and can be a relaxing way to end the day by watering your gardens and lawn with a hose.

Be efficient in your watering technique

Whether your watering with a hose or a watering can you need to be efficient and effective. This means you need to water plants deeply and directly on to the root zone area which is at the stem of the plant.

This targeting deep watering technique increases the plant’s water uptake and trains the plant to expect less frequent watering.

Don’t water the foliage

Watering the foliage may make you feel good in seeing water dripping off the leaves but it achieves very little and is a waste of water. The only water needed for a healthy plant is in the root zone.

Watering foliage increases evaporation and assists pests feeding on the foliage. The incidence of plant diseases also increases with constant watering of foliage.

Maintain water levels in your soil

Water crystals or water beads or hydrogel are all water crystals and are a perfect additive to your garden once you have moist soil around your plants.

The water crystals will maintain moisture levels in the root zone around your plants which is where the water is needed. The crystals are small granules made from a water-absorbent polymer. Using them as a soil additive assists your plants to withstand drought conditions as they can expand to six hundred times their size after they come into contact with water. Once expanded they create a water-holding gel that slowly releases water to the plant’s roots.

Choose drought-tolerant plants for your garden

Your water wise garden will thrive when you use plants that are native to your locality. Plants such as most succulent varieties are a good starting point as is philodendron. To get the best advice on the best drought-tolerant plants for your garden we recommend you visit your local specialist nursery who are usually horticultural experts.

Adding a seaweed solution

The perfect health tonic for your plants is the addition of a seaweed solution to your periodic watering schedule. There are many seaweed solutions available which assist your plants to retain water which increases their hydration levels.

Lay mulch in your garden

It’s widely accepted mulching is essential for every garden. Mulching, especially in summer, is vital to reducing evaporation and ensuring your soil remains moist and cool.

Mulch combined with water crystals in the soil increases the soil’s water holding capacity. This combination ensures your water wise garden gets the most out of every drop of water.

Mulch correctly laid and maintained is also the visual finishing touch to your garden.

Install an irrigation system

If you are time-poor installing a drip irrigation system is a perfect solution to maintaining a water wise garden. Drip irrigation is literally what it says in that it allows water to drip slowly into the root zone of plants.

A drip irrigation system can be installed by you if you feel competent in doing so. There are many systems available many of which promote the DIY installation. But remember you always get the quality you pay for so choose carefully.

Drip irrigation systems must be legally connected to your water supply which is where many DIY installations fail with consequences that can be damaging to your family’s health.

If you need expert advice on installing a legally compliant water connection with a timer tap for your garden’s irrigation system then contact us anytime on (07) 5580 4311

Filtered Water Can Ease Hay Fever

Filtered Water Can Ease Hay Fever

Hay Fever Season

taqua water filter taps installed by Whywait Plumbing ease hay fever

Once the footy finals are over we know it’s spring, as the weather warms and evening barbecues become the norm. But for many people, spring is a time to be dreaded. That’s because the advent of spring means its hay fever season for one in five Australians.

Hay fever season comes in stages over the spring and summer. The first stage will be in October/November when windborne pollens of plants and grasses cause allergens. When the pollens become trapped in your nose or eyes, they release their allergens. Fortunately, the pollen allergens are benign, but for one in five of us, our body misreads them as being harmful and fights back. This results in our body producing mucus to expel the pollen allergens.

As the body fights the pollen allergens watery, itchy bloodshot eyes along with a runny nose and sneezing are the most common symptoms of what we refer to as hay fever.

Filtered Water & Hay Fever

As proactive prevention should always be the #1, action you should start with installing a Taqua built-in filtration tap. The filter built into the Taqua tap will remove chlorine and impurities from your tap water. Best of all for hay fever sufferers a Taqua tap is guaranteed to retain the minerals your body needs in your tap water.

Your #2 action in hay fever season should be to drink 800 ml of hot water every day from your Taqua tap. Drinking hot water at 50 ºC assists in easing common hay fever symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose.

This simple action of drinking hot filtered water will make your life more comfortable if you suffer from hay fever plus will assist your general health due to its detoxing effects on the body.

Your #3 action in the hay fever season is to rinse your eyes regularly with cold water to flush out the pollens. Using the filtered cold water from your Taqua tap will ensure that you are not washing chemicals such as chlorine directly into your body.

Filtered Water & Vegetables

We all know that eating fresh fruit and vegetables assists in our overall health, particularly in the hay fever season.

Did you know washing your fresh fruit and vegetables with ordinary tap water loses many of their valuable minerals?

The reason for this mineral loss is due to the free chlorine in ordinary tap water that reacts with the minerals in fruit and vegetables, causing the minerals to break down. In fact, 10% – 30% of all minerals are lost due to washing fruit and vegetables in tap water.

Using a Taqua built-in filtration tap with its veggie spray function is the perfect solution to wash fruit and vegetables to ensure they retain all their vitamins.

Cooking with filtered water from a Taqua built-in filtration tap is a simple way to improve the taste, smell and colour of your food.

Like for Like Hot Water Service Replacement

Like for Like Hot Water Service Replacement

In Queensland, if you see online bunnings hot water service price beat guaranteewebsite  prices or are quoted over the phone a price for like for like hot water service replacement for an electric or gas storage tank¹ system, don’t believe one word of it. The prices are a sham designed to scam you into calling them to book in the job.

I can 99.9% guarantee² you will not receive that price for a legally compliant hot water service replacement issued with a QBCC Form 4 compliance certificate.

The pricing and terminology are deliberately deceptive and are a scam. I will categorically state the prices are absolutely bullshit and lies.

Going back over ten years ago yes all plumbers undertook like for like hot water service replacement when replacing electric or gas storage hot water tanks. Simply this was legally compliant at the time and accepted industry practice.

What is like for like hot water service replacement?

“Like for like” installation is frequently seen as the basis of pricing on websites as a starting point for pricing for replacing your hot water system. They usually use confusing terminology stating that the pricing is starting from what is a low price for a like for like installation. They then vaguely define like for like as being for replacing the hot water system where it is:

  • the same type of hot water system as the old hot water system
  • that the hot water system is being installed in precisely the same location as the old hot water system
  • that the new hot water system is the same size as the old hot water system
  • that the new hot water system has the same electrical requirements as the old hot water system

Of course, it’s not explained clearly like I have using sixty-seven words.  Instead, they tell all of that in one compressed vague sentence of thirty-four words.

And naturally, there will be getting out of gaol clauses that are again vague and confusing. These clauses will state that other costs may be incurred because:

  • you have individual site installation requirements to ensure your like for like hot water service replacement is compliant with all regulations
  • if you require any additional valves installed that were not in the like for like scope of works
  • if you request removal and disposal of the old hot water service
  • if you require a new concrete slab or support base
  • if you need any additional piping to be installed
  • if you require any additional electrical wiring or any electrical work other than disconnecting and reconnecting
  • any work what so ever that is required to the existing plumbing, electrical or gas infrastructure to ensure your like for like hot water service replacement is compliant with the council, state or commonwealth regulations
  • any additional labour or equipment required due to site access conditions

All of the above are standard requirements on any hot water system replacement to meet the legal requirements of the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019.

The whole reason all of the above and many more possibilities are excluded from a like for like hot water service replacement offer is to fool you.

Ultimately every existing hot water service installation has individual requirements when installing a replacement hot water service.  That is why a website price or a quote over the phone is meaningless.

You can only ever get a correct price for replacing your old, leaking hot water service after a comprehensive site inspection. In the small print on all websites that quote like for like replacements they almost always state somewhere that pricing may change once their plumber undertakes a site inspection.

The photo on the right is a Dux 50 dux 50 litre electric hot water servicelitre electric hot water service that has been replaced like for like. Except it is utterly non-compliant because:

  • the hot water pipes are not insulated
  • the relief valve is not insulated
  • there is no pressure reduction valve
  • there is no cold-water expansion valve
  • there is no tempering valve
  • as it is an internal installation, there is no hot water tray to contain water leaking from the tank, pipes or valves
  • there is no automatic shutoff valve to cut off the water should there be a leak
  • there was no QBCC form 4 given to the property owner

There is no such thing as a like for like installation. There is definitely no such thing as an exemption for a QBCC Form 4 compliance certificate if you are only undertaking a like for like installation.

What is required to replace a leaking hot water service?

If your hot water service is leaking and requires a replacement then in all likelihood it will be at least eight years old and probably much more. I can guarantee the infrastructure regarding valves and overflow drains will not be compliant with the legal requirements that we must now adhere to.

We recently replaced the nine-year-old Siddons heat pump unit in the photo on the right Water-Wise Ways to Maintain Your Garden 4that was no longer functioning with a CO2 Smart Heat Pump hot water unit. Even though it was only installed nine years ago, it was utterly non-compliant with the current requirements.

Since 1 July 2019 every hot water service whether its a new installation or a replacement installation must be installed in complete compliance with AS/NZS 3500.4:2018 Plumbing and Drainage Part 4: Heated Water Services.

This standard, along with several other standards, is called into law via the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019.

The installation of a new or replacement hot water service must comply absolutely with the standard and in particular Section 5 Installation of Water Heaters – General Requirements. The scope of this section states explicitly: This Section sets out general requirements for the installation of water heaters, their location, support, cold water service valves, the vent or drain lines, and the first 2 m of heated water supply piping.

This section sets out exactly how all hot water service installations must be undertaken. Nowhere does it refer to a like for like hot water service replacement.

No professional, reputable plumber will quote you on a like for like installation as they know it does not exist. Companies who market on this basis are engaging in deceptive and misleading marketing to get their foot in your door, so they can then upsell you.

Any plumber who starts telling you that you can get a lower price with a like for like replacement is simply a liar.

Every hot water service replacement must have a Form 4 compliance certificate lodged with the QBCC and the appropriate fee paid. Ultimately this is for your protection as compliantly installed plumbing, and drainage installation is about protecting your health.

Replacing a hot water service does not involve guesswork it’s about merely obeying the law and being compliant with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018. If you have had your hot water service replaced as a like for like replacement you need to report it now to the QBCC as an offence complaint. The plumber who undertook the installation will be required to return and complete the installation in compliance with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 at his cost.

If you are uncertain about your hot water service replacement or need assistance contact us on (07) 5551 5193 and we will give you our opinion on how to proceed.

¹ : Replacing an instantaneous gas hot water unit is frequently like for like as it is a straight disconnection and reconnection to the gas connection and to the water pipes. In most instantaneous units, there is no need to install or replace valves as all management of temperature is undertaken in the unit.

² : The only time I have seen a compliant like for like replacement is when a faulty hot water service has had to be replaced within the first 12 months after installation and was already fully compliant. This is a genuine like for like replacement under the manufacturers guarantee where the client pays nothing and where everything concerning the plumbing and electrical infrastructure was already compliant.

What is a Form 4

What is a Form 4

We are frequently asked by clients why we are charging them for a Form 4. The simple answer is because it’s the law.

The reality is the Form 4 system for plumbing and drainage work has existed for over 20 years.

Originally licenced plumbers were required to submit a Form 4 to the local authority plumbing inspectors. On the Gold Coast that meant we submitted them to City of Gold Coast’s Plumbing and Drainage section when undertaking replacement of part of the sewer house drain or water main or replacing a hot water service.

In 2012 legislative changes required that we lodge them with the Department of Housing and Public Works through the Plumbing Industry Council, (PIC) and for the first time we had to pay a fee for lodging a Form 4 of $25.90. In 2014 the QBCC took over the Form 4 process as part of their assuming responsibility for plumbing occupational licensing.

Once a Form 4 is lodged, then it is subject to a random compliance auditing process to ensure the work is compliant with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019. This is undertaken to ensure the work is being conducted to the highest standards to protect everyone’s wellbeing, health and safety.

Whywait Plumbing has always supported the Form 4 process as it ensures that all work on your property is compliant and is registered with both QBCC and City of Gold Coast. If you have a significant insurance claim involving a plumbing failure, an accessor can quickly backtrack to ensure that the work was undertaken legally and compliantly.

Ultimately a Form 4 is there for the homeowner’s protection.

What is plumbing & drainage work notifiable work?

The definitions of notifiable work changed on 1 July 2019. These changes were to ensure clarity and usability, coupled with cost-effective plumbing laws and regulations for plumbers and property owners.

There are essentially twelve categories of notifiable plumbing and drainage work that require a Form 4 which are:

  1. Extending water supply pipes – this is any work on water reticulation pipes other than a fire service on an existing building
  2. Extending or removing a fire service – this applies to any class 2-9 building with a development approval as per schedule 2 of the Building Act 1975
  3. Existing sanitary plumbing – this any work on an existing building where sanitary plumbing is removed, replaced, altered or extended
  4. Existing sanitary drainage – this any work on an existing class 1 to class 10 building involving extending, replacing, altering or removing any part of the sanitary drain system apart from a combined sanitary drain plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  5. Temperature control devices – this is any work with a TMV or tempering valves in any existing building requiring installing, replacing or removing a valve plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  6. Water heaters – this is any work undertaken in any existing building requiring installing, replacing or removing a hot water heater plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  7. Backflow prevention devices – this is any work with a testable backflow device or dual check valve in any existing building requiring installing, replacing or removing a valve plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  8. Greywater treatment plants – this any work involving the installation of a greywater use system that includes a greywater treatment plant installed in a sewered area where the plant generates less than 3kL of greywater daily or for replacing a greywater plant
  9. Fixtures in class 1 or class 10 building – this is any work required for installing a new fixture or relocating an existing fixture in an existing class 1 or class 10 building plus it also applies to extensions or alterations to a class 1 building
  10. Fixtures for class 2 to 9 buildings of 1 or 2 storeys – this is for all work other than sanitary drainage required for installing or relocating a fixture provided the work is for an existing class 2 to 9 building up to two storeys above ground
  11. Sanitary drains – this is any work undertaken to seal a sanitary drain after the connection point to the council sewer or a treatment plant
  12. Sealing supply pipes – this is any work undertaken to seal a water supply pipe after the council water meter provided the work is for an existing class 2 to class 9 building

The QBCC publish simple guides to what is notifiable work and the definitions of building classes as defined in the Building Code of Australia which you can download below:

Form 4 notifiable work compliance

Every reputable professional plumber, I know 100% supports the notifiable work system. It ensures for homeowners and property owners that all work undertaken on their property is performed to the standards required.

If you have had plumbing or drainage work undertaken that you have not been supplied with a Form 4 as per the form shown above and is covered in the categories listed then, you need to report it to the QBCC now or call them on 139333. Ultimately high-quality plumbing and drainage protects your health.

If you are uncertain or need assistance contact us on (07) 5580 4311 and we will give you our considered opinion. Ultimately all plumbing work is not about guesswork; it is about compliance with the law, and the law is the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

Emergency Plumber Mermaid Beach

Emergency Plumber Mermaid Beach

Repeat clients account for over 70% of the jobs Whywait Plumbing undertake.

Last weekend being the Queens Birthday long weekend coupled with the NRL Grand Final meant one of our loyal clients Kristian was looking forward to a great weekend. The last thing Kristian was anticipating was needing an emergency plumber in Mermaid Beach as he drove home from work. Kristian arrived home on Saturday night to gurgling sounds coming from his bathroom. Upon investigation, he found the only toilet in his unit was blocked.

Even though it was 7.45 pm on a Saturday night, Kristian immediately contacted Whywait Plumbing Gold Coast as he knew their phones would be answered as he was concerned his unit had blocked drains. Kristian confirmed all the details with Whywait Plumbing’s Operations Manager, Brad Greenaway, who was answering the phones. The Plumbing Technician on call was Nathan Parrish who was immediately dispatched as Whywait offer a 1-hour emergency response

Water-Wise Ways to Maintain Your Garden 5
Nathan Parish – Emergency Plumber Whywait Plumbing

Upon arrival, Nathan set about testing all the drains in the unit to ascertain the extent of the blockage. Kristian’s home is a small unit in what was once a motel that has been converted into individual home units.

Although the bathroom fixtures had been upgraded, the underlying drainage was the original sewer drainage system. To Kristian’s relief, Nathan found that the blockage was confined to the toilet as the rest of the fixtures were draining correctly.

Using his Rothenberg toilet auger, Nathan was able to guide the auger through the toilet pan without removing it. After patiently operating the auger, Nathan was able to clear the blockage. Flushing the toilet several times to test it indicated that the blockage was cleared.

Nathan cleaned up the bathroom and departed at 9.20 pm leaving behind a relieved Kristian. On Sunday night Kristian gathered with a few of his mates at home to watch the NRL Grand Final between the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders. At 5.30 pm Kristian heard the dreaded gurgling sound originating from his bathroom again. Immediately he was on the phone to Whywait Plumbing, and for the second night in a row, Nathan was dispatched to deal with a blocked drain.

Arriving at 6.05 pm, Nathan again found the toilet blocked and a high water level in the shower floor waste. As Kristian’s unit has no accessible inspection openings into the sewer drains, it was a possibility that the toilet pan would need removing.
Using an extended auger unit, Nathan set about negotiating it through the toilet pan send bend and down the sewer drain. Kristian watched while Nathan set about dispatching the auger down the drain without damaging the toilet pan. Finally, after 15 minutes of slow progress, Nathan hit the blockage and managed to clear it. Kristian and his mates were greatly relieved as they were now able to watch the NRL Grand Final and know they had working drains.

Kristian was so impressed with the service from Whywait Plumbing that he gave us a 5-star review on Google and contacted Gary Mays the owner of Whywait Plumbing to commend Nathan’s skills and recommend he be given a pay rise. If you too are experiencing blocked drains like Kristian and need an emergency plumber in Mermaid Beach to attend promptly don’t hesitate to pick up your phone and give us a call on (07) 5551 5193.      

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