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How to avoid house flooding this Christmas

How to avoid house flooding this Christmas

This Christmas I can guarantee that burst plastic water reticulation pipes or burst flexi hoses will create more emotional stress and insurance claims than fires and burglaries combined.

How to avoid house flooding is becoming more challenging as we continually add more and more water connections inside our homes. Insurance companies are experiencing year on year increases in ever-increasing water damage insurance claims. The average insurance claim from internal water damage flooding has increased from $17627 in 2014 to $30361 in 2018.

how to avoid house flooding is why whywait Plumbing recommend when your house is empty to turn off your water supply
A collapsed ceiling from a water deluge above caused by a burst pipe

If you are going away on holiday this Christmas and New Year holiday season and leaving your home empty then I only have one recommendation. And that is before you drive off walk over to your water meter box and turn off the water supply.

How to avoid house flooding is simple if you turn your water off at the council water meter. By undertaking this simple task I can 100% guarantee you will not arrive home to a flooded house caused by a burst water pipe.

I’ve written frequently over the last 10 years about the issues we see every week with homes getting flooded. We’ve witnessed an ever-increasing amount of homes having plastic water pipes and flexi hoses being installed. In turn, we have seen an ever-increasing number of burst flexi hoses and split plastic pipes flooding homes.

In all likelihood even if you have copper water pipes you will still have multiple flexi hoses in your home. They will exist commonly in both residential and commercial buildings under the kitchen sink, under the bathroom vanity basins, under the toilet cistern and under the laundry tub.

Every flexi hose is potentially a ticking time bomb. It has become so common that we attend to burst flexi hoses every day. In 1 hour a burst flexi hose can discharge 1500 litres of water so in 1 day that could be 36000 litres of water. We’ve all experienced how far a spilt glass of water runs on a floor so imagine how far 108000 glasses of water will run.

We have multiple solutions available to prevent flooding in your home ranging from AquaTrip valves at the boundary that turns the water off automatically to individual auto shut off valves for flexi hoses.

If you have any concerns about your water pipes, flexi hoses, fridge connections or valves in your home and don’t want to have one of our plumbers spending part of Christmas Day with you then call us today.

In 2019 as we have done so for the last 43 years we will continue to provide full plumbing, drainage and gasfitting services every day up to and right through the upcoming Christmas holiday and 2020 New Year holiday period.

Our normal emergency plumbing services will be available 24/7 as always on:

  • Christmas Day, Wednesday 25 December
  • Boxing Day, Thursday 26 December
  • New Years Day, Wednesday 1 January

Public holiday diagnostic fees will apply to all call outs on those days except for Whywait Service Partners.

I’m always mindful that Christmas greetings can become superficial but even so everyone here at Whywait Plumbing Services wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2020. Remember the best of gifts around your Christmas tree on 25 December in the presence of a happy family with a toilet that flushes and a tap that turns off.

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

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.

Plumbing Rip Offs

Plumbing Rip Offs

Plumbing rip offs, in my opinion, are frequently emotive exaggerations bereft of facts from people whose only motive is not to pay their plumbers bills.

Sadly most plumbing rip offs are perpetuated not on the customer but on the plumber by other plumbers who stupidly aid and abet con artists using them without any payment to condemn work another plumber has undertaken.

Every week we get multiple phone calls virtually demanding that we condemn over the phone other plumbers work or for us tell them that they have been overcharged. Of course, they never wish to pay for this advice and never want it adequately investigated.

Unfortunately, far too many plumbers are completely gullible and get sucked into agreeing with unsubstantiated, exaggerated statements over the phone from someone they have never met. For some bizarre reason, they think by agreeing with baseless opinions from an unqualified person that they will get work from it and even more bizarrely get paid for it!

Despite what some non-plumbers think plumbing is complex in its entirety requiring in-depth knowledge and precision. With the dominance of Google, it is effortless for someone to create a cheap website and make a raft of promises usually based on how cheap they are.

“No call out fee! Free quotes! No service charge! Free plumbing audit! Free gas inspection! $0 call out fee! $40 off today! $99 drain special! Free plumbing quotes!” And so the list goes on when you Google the term “plumber Gold Coast”. All of these “promises” create the perception that you are getting something for free or at a considerable discount.

The often-quoted “There is no such thing as a free lunch” is applicable in this situation. Obviously, it means nothing is ever truly free because the fact is someone has to pay for the plumber to come to your house or business. All of those above claims are designed with the sole purpose of getting you to ring that plumbing company and nothing else. I guarantee you will be paying for them to come out one way or another.

You should know it costs money for a fully equipped and staffed plumbing truck to arrive at your home or business. Some companies will charge a call-out fee which allows for no work. Some companies such as Whywait Plumbing will charge a diagnostic fee which provides for a preliminary investigation of the plumbing problem. Some companies will charge a minimum one hour fee no matter how long they are on site. Some companies offer a free call out, but it will be built into all their costs so beware of all free call out offers as generally, all their other prices are higher.

You are ripping me off because Joe Bumcrack Plumbing Service is half your price

In the last 42 years, I’ve heard multiple variations of this excuse for not paying an account countless times.

Buyers regret is a constant issue for all businesses. I remain bewildered by people who turn to the bottom feeders of our industry and turn them into experts. These hobby businesses are frequently referred to as Joe Bumcrack plumbers for obvious reasons. Of course, Joe Bumcrack’s phone wasn’t answered, and he wasn’t available at 10 pm on a Saturday night to clear the blocked drain. But of course, his word counts because he told the customer what he wants to hear concerning what price should have been charged and plumbing rip offs.

The reality is half the price of what? We have never been interested in being the cheapest Gold Coast plumber. We are not interested in what other plumbers charge because every business differs regarding cost structures, overhead costs and productivity levels that are utilised to set a selling price for a businesses services.

Notwithstanding the urban myth that there is a “going rate” or “recommended rate”  for plumbers, it is illegal under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 for business to collude in setting prices or for there to be any set or recommended rates by master plumbers associations.

Here at Whywait Plumbing, we take pride in our industry best practice service levels. We endeavour without exception to deliver quality workmanship with expertise and long-lasting permanent solutions to complex plumbing problems that are fully compliant with the legal requirements in the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.

A recent e-mail I received with the following quote from Benjamin Franklin, “The Bitterness of Poor Quality Remains Long After the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten” always applies, and that is the lowest price is not still the best. With plumbing problems, they are frequently reactive, and the practice of going back after the job is completed to Joe Bumcrack Plumbing Services for his expert opinion on what work should have been undertaken is counterproductive as you are not comparing apples with apples.

Plumbing is like everything else with a plethora of solutions, methods and opinions to solve problems. This, in turn, creates multiple pricing solutions if you do not specify exactly what products you want installing with the result is that you require. We accept that our customers are often in a situation where they are choosing between the price we must charge versus the quality of the service.

More and more, we are seeing where a customer has researched what he should budget for a job via Google and on websites such as Bunnings. The reality is they don’t have the expertise or knowledge to undertake the research, so end up with a superficial answer. This research then becomes the driving force in determining the price they think they should pay for our service.

It is our experience over 42 years that many clients fool themselves or their employer in choosing the lowest price service to fit within a budget that was flawed from the start. Typically this results in budget blowouts in the short term as the lowers quality service, and products have to be replaced long before they should have been.

Equally, the highest price does not always mean the highest quality service. Frequently the highest price and the lowest price for service are due to inefficiencies in the service delivery combined with there not being a specifically tailored specification.

When you are assessing a company to provide service delivery, please ignore Joe Bumcrack Plumbing Services and their constant cry that all their competitors are involved in plumbing rip offs. The ability of companies such as Whywait Plumbing or Oceanside Plumbing or Waterfox Plumbing to meet your service and business requirements should be paramount in decisions. Equally successful past performance is just as critical to ensuring quality service and installation take precedent over the enticement of a low priced service delivery.

What’s your hourly rate?

No legitimate business works on hourly rates. The reality is most businesses charge a set price for a set service task. Even in the construction industry businesses such as tilers and plasterers charge per m² or brickies per 100 or 1000 bricks laid.

The exception to this is far too many plumbers and electricians who won’t invest in quantity surveying software and the time to create task based pricing. As a result, we have many Joe Bumcrack plumbers who work on hourly rates that do not cover the cost of wages and accuse all their competitors of engaging in plumbing rip offs. Even for a solo operator plumber or electrician, their break-even points will be between $100 – $150 per hour depending on their overhead costs. So if you engage a plumber who is telling you their hourly rate is $80, then you can guarantee they will be doubling up somewhere or charging for services that are not delivered.

Hourly rates are a meaningless component in the overall service cost being utterly subjective to the point of being meaningless.

I’m well aware many people think an hourly rate for a plumber in excess of $100 is a plumbing rip off and extortinate. This is why hourly rates are meaningless because within that price countless expenses have to be covered such as wages, superannuation, workcover, fuel, insurance, vehicle repairs, equipment repairs and replacement, travel time and so the list goes on and on.

I can only repeat that labour is only one component of the cost when working through a task cost in quanity surveying software. The other components are overheads, materials and equipment.

Plumbers who charge using hourly rates frequently engage in charging base to base travel time or charging for apprentices who are really goffas or for making multiple trips to the merchants for materials

Just give me a ballpark price over the phone

I repeat incessantly that no professional plumber can give you an estimate over the phone. Solving plumbing problems over the phone with any degree of certainty is an absolute impossibility. Every plumbing problem is entirely variable and can change rapidly once you start working on it.

The most common price we are asked for over the phone is for replacing a hot water service. Sadly many plumbers will indulge people and give costs for replacing a hot water service over the phone based on “Like for Like” installation. This is utterly deceptive as there is no such thing as a like for like installation. Every replacement installation must be done in accordance with ASNZS 3500.4:2018, which requires substantial upgrades on the original installation which is frequently over ten years old. Of course, once they get on-site, they discover you need all sorts of extras such as valves, insulation and drain installation.

Always require that the plumber comes to the site and gives you pricing after a thorough site inspection. Even then that can change as often once you start on the job, you can get a myriad of faults to show up that cannot be detected by a visual inspection.

How do you know a drain is blocked?

How do you know a drain is blocked?

Frequently a blocked sewer drain comes as a surprise. A common question asked of our plumbers is how do you know a drain is blocked?

To begin with, if your toilet is backing up and not draining, or your overflow relief gully is spewing out sewerage outside then, you need a blocked drains Gold Coast specialist plumber now. I guarantee DIY remedies such as baking soda and vinegar will not clear your blocked drain.

Unfortunately, not all blockages are immediately apparent. Let me assure you it is not normal to be experiencing gurgling in your drains or slow to drain toilets.

The reality is few blockages are a sudden occurrence. Usually, a blocked drain happens gradually so below we will list out common reasons to the question how do you know a drain is blocked.

How do you know a drain is blocked early warning signs

Early warning signs of an impending blocked drain are easily overlooked but below are the most common to look out for:

  • foul odours in your bathroom or toilet that never go away
  • gurgling noises from your toilet or floor wastes when no-one is using them
  • the toilet when flushed filling up the bowl then slowly draining away
  • the overflow relief gully (ORG) intermittently overflowing then slowly draining away
  • the water seal in your toilet completely being sucked away

What are the causes of a blocked drain?

The most common causes that we have seen recently why a drain becomes blocked is tree roots or buildups of flushable wipes. These, in turn, are commonly caused by:

  • broken sewer house drains that allow roots to infiltrate
  • poorly installed drains that have an incorrect fall that will enable buildups in the drain as they cannot flow away
  • low water flows in flat drains that allow accumulations of solids flushed into the sewer
  • objects flushed down the toilet such as flushable wipes, sanitary products or toys that do not break up in the water

Clearing your blocked drain

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above the answer to how do you know a drain is blocked is simple you need to call us on (07) 5580 4311 before you have no functional sewer house drain.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Will Not Clear Your Blocked Drain

Baking Soda and Vinegar Will Not Clear Your Blocked Drain

Sorry to disappoint you but I guarantee that mixing baking soda and vinegar will not clear your blocked drain. What I can guarantee is that you will create a lovely fizzy, bubbling concoction that will fascinate your kids and nothing else.

When you mix vinegar into baking soda, you create a bubbling chemical reaction that produces:

  • a small amount of sodium acetate which is a salt and also known as hot ice
  • ordinary H2O or water

What is not created is a magical chemical that will clear any form of blockage in your drains. I realise this is contrary to the popular urban myths spun by well-intentioned DIY gurus.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Will Not Break Down Buildups of Grease, Fats Oils & Hair

Baking soda and vinegar will not clear your blocked drain because it will not break down the buildups of grease, fats, oils or hair. To break them down so that they run away in water, you require a combination of heat and a surfactant.

In reality, if you have a slow draining shower, basin or sink drain, then don’t waste money on chemical solutions, use salt and hot water. All you need to do is pour half a cup of salt into the drain followed up by slowly pouring a couple of litres of water heated to just before boiling.

You may need to repeat this a few times, but it works by melting some of the grease and fat buildups. This is aided by the natural abrasiveness of the salt which acts as a scouring agent to force more of the grease and fat to flow with the water.

We use an enzyme product when we are clearing trade waste drains and grease traps. We can provide you with it also to ensure your internal waste pipes on the shower, basin or sink don’t clog up with grease, fats, soap or hair. Enzyme solutions need to be used regularly generally overnight, but they do work to keep your drains free from organic buildups. Best of all, by breaking down organic matter, they eliminate odour issues.

Simply baking soda and vinegar will not clear your blocked drain no matter how much you pour it down the drain. You will waste money on buying the baking soda and vinegar to create a lovely effervescence with lots of bubbles and fizzing.

You will waste money on buying the baking soda and vinegar to create a lovely effervescence with lots of bubbles and fizzing.

It is my experience that no chemical drain cleaner really clears drains in the long term. You may fluke a short term solution, but the only way to clear a drain properly is by mechanical means. I realise this means calling us on (07) 5580 4311 and spending money, but it works. The reality is we provide a permanent long term solution using our high-pressure jet rodding equipment that blasts away built-up grease, oil and fats.

Using DIY solutions only delays the inevitable, so why waste money on them and risk damaging your drains or having sewage overflow into your home.

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