It is my experience that many clients mistakenly believe their job is a plumbing emergency. The reality is that most are not and just require routine maintenance unless they are:
- putting your or your family’s life at risk
- flooding your house
Life-Threatening Plumbing Emergency
Leaking gas, whether it’s natural gas or LPG, is dangerous. There are no DIY gas repairs; you must always use a licensed gas fitter.
LPG is highly flammable and being a dense gas; it will sink to your floor and build in intensity. Natural gas is not as combustible as LPG but still dangerous, especially in confined spaces in your home.
If you suspect you can smell gas, then you likely have a gas leak. You need to immediately isolate the gas supply to your home at either the gas meter or at the gas bottles. Once isolated, call us immediately to organise a service call.
While you are waiting for us to arrive at your home ventilate your house by opening doors and windows. Ensure you turn off all your gas appliances and as a precaution your electrical appliances as well. Above all, do not use any naked flames.
Overflowing sewage from toilets or floor wastes needs to be taken seriously. Raw sewage flowing into your house or outside is hazardous, and the risk of contamination is real.
Drains overflowing inside or outside your home require urgent attention, which is why we have a 1-hour emergency plumbing response for overflowing blocked drains. Blocked drains are a potential health hazard and need to be solved by trained plumbers with the correct equipment.
Don’t be fooled that overflowing sewage is only from your sewer drains. Sewage overflow can originate from outside your property very quickly, primarily if your home is located below other properties or if you live in a highrise apartment.
Don’t try to solve raw sewage lying around your home yourself as mopping it up solves nothing. Raw sewage contains parasites, fungi and bacteria that will soak into your floors and walls.
The photo on the right is where we had raw sewage flowing through a three-story terrace house and had to remove all the carpet and throw it away as can be seen on the lawn. The sewage had penetrated floors and walls which all required which required a combination of structural drying restoration and replacement of gyprock plaster wall linings.
A burst water pipe or flexi hose is now an everyday occurrence for plumbers. This is due to the amount of plastic piping now installed in homes instead of copper pipe.
A burst flexi hose is unfortunately all too common. An average house now has multiple flexi hoses installed under the kitchen sink, under the bathroom vanity basins, under the toilet cistern and the laundry tub. The reality is that every flexi hose connected is potentially a ticking time bomb.
Burst or ruptured plastic hot and cold water reticulation pipes occur for multiple reasons such as age, high pressure, poor installation, accidentally drilling into them, poor quality pipe fittings or faulty workmanship.
A burst pipe can cause damage fast to your furniture, floor coverings, kitchen cabinets, vanity cabinets, walls and floors. You need to turn your water off quickly when you experience a burst with the best place at the isolating valve at your water meter. Once isolated, call us immediately as this is a plumbing emergency.
A burst pipe or flexi hose is not a DIY repair and needs to be done compliantly by a licensed plumber who will ensure that the pipe is repaired with approved WaterMark products in accordance with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018.
Unlicensed DIY plumbing work has never been legal in Queensland. Unfortunately, too many people think because they can buy plumbing products at Bunnings, then they can carry out the installation or repairs as well. In reality, the ability to undertake unlicensed plumbing work is extremely restricted in Queensland.
Technically DIY plumbing is classified as “Unregulated work” in Schedule 3 of the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 which was called into law on 1 July 2019.
So the “Unregulated work” that an unlicensed person can undertake in respect to plumbing work is not a great deal and for a good reason, as outlined below. Specifically, in Schedule 3, Unregulated work generally is defined as the following work for premises necessary for the following:
- replacing a shower head or domestic water filter cartridge
- replacing a jumper valve or washer in a tap
- repairing or replacing a drop valve washer, float valve washer or suction cup rubber in a toilet cistern
- replacing caps to ground level inspection openings on a sanitary drain
- cleaning or maintaining a ground-level grate for a trap on a sanitary drain
- installing or maintaining an irrigation or lawn watering system downstream from a tap, isolating valve or backflow prevention device on the supply pipe for the watering system
- repairing or maintaining an irrigation system for the disposal of effluent from a greywater use facility or on-site sewage facility
And those seven tasks listed above are the only legal DIY plumbing jobs that you may undertake without a plumbing licence. The only other exception to this is what is referred to as incidental unskilled tasks such as excavating or backfilling a trench
In Queensland, all plumbing work is legally required to be carried out under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018, Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019, Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2003 and Queensland Plumbing and Waste Water Code 2019. These acts and regulations are comprehensive in their requirements and outcomes concerning individual plumbing licences and training.
In addition, the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 calls into law The Plumbing Code of Australia. This is defined as the document in force from time to time called “National Construction Code volume 3 – Plumbing Code of Australia published by the Australian Building Codes Board. The Plumbing Code of Australia covers every aspect of plumbing and drainage setting out the minimum requirements for the construction, installation, replacement, repair and maintenance of all plumbing systems, specifically:
- Water services
- Sanitary plumbing and drainage systems
- Excessive noise
To be a plumbing contractor in Queensland, a company or individual must also hold appropriate contractors licences by the QBCC under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991.
This is in addition to a plumbers occupational licence that allows us at Whywait Plumbing to lawfully carry out particular plumbing or drainage work. This licence ensures that all plumbing contractors have the correct technical qualifications and occupational license. No one other than a licensed plumbing contractor can undertake plumbing work no matter what the value of the work is. The threshold amount of $3000 does not apply to plumbing, drainage or gasfitting that applies to several other trades with QBCC licenses.
It is not worth the risk to undertake unlicensed DIY plumbing. It is illegal, plus it potentially voids your insurance coverage.
Plumbing laws nationwide safeguard the health of the nation. Plumbing is public health, now, and in the future.
Here at Whywait Plumbing, we frequently get a phone call asking does insurance cover water leaks? Every week we are called upon to deal with insurance companies or assessors on behalf of clients when they have sustained water damage to their home.
With water leaks just like everything else to do with insurance, there seem to be multiple grey areas with numerous interpretations. It is our experience we find every time we deal with an insurance company where the circumstances of the water leak are similar to previous we meet with a different response.
The product disclosure statement issued with your policy is where we find all the confusion starts. This is where the insurance company hopefully discloses what is covered by your policy. If you find the product disclosure statement confusing then call the insurance company to clarify what the coverage is that you are paying for. The more questions you ask, the more you will understand. Remember there is no such thing as a stupid question. Also, remember insurance companies record all calls, so keep diary notes of when you called and who you spoke to. Better still send them an email confirming your phone call and what your understanding was of the answers you received. This creates an electronic paper trail that can be utilised at a later date.
Important Definitions & Clauses
There are three important definitions and clauses which appear to apply to the question does insurance cover water leaks:
- the “Water Damage Clauses” in the actual policy
- the definition of what is water damage
- the definition of what is gradual water damage
The Water Damage Clauses
The water damage clauses you should always read carefully and ensure you understand. Generally, it will have a section with several clauses and subclauses in the policy which will cover water damage and what you can claim for if you make a water damage claim on your home.
As a rule, it will state precisely what water damage your insurance policy covers and what is excluded. The exclusions are what you need to be aware of as often they will include an all-encompassing negligence clause coupled with a failure to maintain your home in good repair. If you have these general all-encompassing clauses, ask your insurance company what they precisely mean as we’ve seen these clauses used to deny coverage where it was in a very grey area and open to interpretation in their favour.
The Definition of Water Damage
Water damage can occur in so many ways that it’s generally not well defined in your insurance policy. In our experience, insurance companies specify water damage in two ways:
- accidental or sudden water damage
- gradual water damage
We’ve found that instances such as burst pipes, burst taps, burst valves, overflowing sewerage, overflowing stormwater and storm damage are covered by most insurance policies. This is because it was a sudden event that you could not have prevented.
In contrast, the damage caused by slow plumbing leaks in pipes, showers, toilets, gutters and roofs not damaged by a storm is not covered as they are classified as gradual water damage.
The Definition of Gradual Water Damage
Essentially gradual water damage is the insurance policy get out of jail free card. It is water damage they assess has occurred gradually over time. Frequently the water damage was visible to the trained eye but invisible to you as it covers the rotting of timber under the paint or mould in the walls, floor or ceiling. Essentially the insurance company will conclude you were negligent in not maintaining your home.
Examples of gradual water damage we frequently see are:
- seepage from leaking taps into cupboards
- leaking shower trays
- leaking shower taps
- leaking toilet cisterns
- leaking drain pipes
- rusted out sections in gutters and roof
The water damage from many of these occurrences is often not covered by your insurance policy as it will be concluded you failed to keep your home in good repair through regular and reasonable maintenance.
Water Leak Prevention
The best way to avoid an unsuccessful water leak claim is regular maintenance by Whywait Plumbing. Now this will not prevent every possible water leak scenario happening, but it will demonstrate to the insurance company that you have been undertaking regular maintenance.
At Whywait Plumbing, we see instances every day of water damage that has occurred through the failure to maintain your home regularly. That is why we recommend all our clients to become a Service Partner and enjoy the VIP benefits of having a Service Partner Plan to maintain your most valuable asset, your home, proactively.
Household plumbing is one of those tasks that homeowners always debate over. Should you attempt to complete the work yourself to save a bit of money or hire a plumber and absorb the added cost? Many everyday plumbing tasks seem simple at first glance, so, understandably, you might want to try the DIY route. However, several pitfalls can trap you if you don’t fully understand what you are doing.
Recently, we were called out to a Coombabah home to address a blocked sewer drain. However, the homeowner had unknowingly built a deck over the inspection access point. Because of this, we were unable to fix their blocked drain until we had received detailed drain plans from the local council to enable us to find another access point.
While this was not specifically a DIY plumbing issue, the homeowner had likely built the deck themselves. An experienced contractor would have known that it is against the law to build over an inspection opening to the surface (IOS) for sewer pipes. You expose yourself to similar risks when attempting to do your plumbing, as you may be violating regulations and laws of which you are not even aware.
On another recent job, we discovered that a homeowner had connected both the hot and cold water pipes with flexihoses. While this is fine for cold water, hot water must be connected with copper pipe for the first metre from the water heater. This is a requirement of the Plumbing & Drainage Act, so failing to comply with the regulations could result in fines or other punishment.
In addition to the possible legal ramifications, the safety risks are of even more significant concern. Because flexihoses are not designed for use with hot water, they can burst or rupture without warning when exposed to excessive heat, allowing water upwards of 75 degrees to spray everywhere. Had someone been nearby when the hose ruptured, they would likely have been severely scalded.
In many cases, we get called out to homes to fix plumbing problems that were the result of the homeowner’s attempts to fix their own plumbing. Often, their efforts have complicated matters, resulting in more costly repairs. When you attempt to do your own plumbing, you run the risk of making mistakes that could lead to even more damage to your plumbing system.
An experienced plumber will know exactly how to fix your plumbing problem quickly and accurately. Although hiring a plumber will cost you a bit more than doing the work yourself, you’ll save time and gain peace of mind that the job has been done right. The added cost of hiring a plumber is a small price to pay for the safety of your home.
Your Expert Plumbers on the Gold Coast
When you require a plumber in the Gold Coast region, Whywait Plumbing Services is here to help. We have helped countless homeowners in the area with a variety of common plumbing problems, including blocked drains, cracked or broken pipes, leaks, water damage, hot water system installation and maintenance, and gas fitting, to name a few.
Our friendly associates will be happy to assist you with whatever you need, so don’t be shy about getting in touch. We are available 24 hours a day to serve you because you never know when a plumbing issue might arise. When it happens to you, don’t expose your home to unnecessary risk by attempting DIY plumbing. Call the experts at Whywait Plumbing Services right away!
A burst flexi hose is a job we attend to almost every day. In all likelihood, you will 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. Invariably when we attend to a burst flexi hose it has been damaged during installation causing kinking and has further experienced corrosion. Almost always the burst flexi hose was a time bomb waiting to happen. The braided stainless steel “simple to install” flexi hose has over the last 10 years replaced copper pipe connections to taps and toilet cisterns. Unfortunately, the braided stainless steel flexi hose has not lived up to expectations and delivered on the rust protection anticipated. In our experience, a burst flexi hose is caused by:
- incorrect installation with multiple kinks in the braided stainless steel
- stretching of the flexi hose to make the connection fit
- chemical attack from household cleaners
All of the above can create the perfect storm scenario in causing the braided stainless steel to corrode and rust. It then is just a matter of time until the stainless steel braiding fails which allows for the inner liner to burst. Here at Whywait Plumbing, we are now installing a polyamide hi class water hooker from Abey Australia which is the most technologically advanced flexi hose we have seen come onto the market. The Abey polyamide hi class water hooker cannot rust or corrode as it uses polyamide braiding that is similar to the Kevlar used in bulletproof vests. The connectors are manufactured from brass alloy so the entire flexihose will never rust even if its continually in contact with chemicals such as chlorine.
We are confident you will never experience a burst flexi hose once we install the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker as they literally cannot rust and cannot kink but best of all they come with a 15-year rust resistant warranty. Kinking is often the cause of a burst flexi hose but cannot occur with the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker. Kinking is simply poor installation as a result of over tightening the connector which twists the stainless steel braided hose. This over tightening creates pressure and tension in the braiding which frequently results in the inner liner bursting through the braiding and rupturing. The Abey polyamide hi class water hooker has a simple design to ensure that it is anti-kink. When we install the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker we are able to use two spanners to counteract any twisting that results in kinking.
Most of the flexi hoses currently used have an inner lining manufactured from EPDM which has the potential to absorb and release harmful chemicals such as chlorine into your drinking water. This ability to absorb chemicals also results in a potential burst flexi hose. With the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker the inner lining is manufactured from Softpex Core. The Softpex Core inner liner gives a superior mechanical performance to EPDM guaranteeing a longer life due to its higher tensile strength, higher abrasion resistance, higher working water pressure and non-corrosiveness. The extensive age/stress testing undertaken resulted in an amazing 0% failure rate.
We strongly recommend that you get us to check your flexi hoses every year for rust and/or corrosion and that they are replaced every five years. This will give you the peace of mind in knowing that the flexi hose in your home or business is not rusting and about to explode releasing water at 25 litres every minute that it flows. Rust is the #1 enemy of a braided stainless flexi hose.
When we replace your existing stainless steel flexi hoses with the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker we guarantee you will get:
- superior strength and corrosion resistance
- tested and WaterMark approved for use in Australia
- superior tensile strength
- superior working water pressure
- a superior mechanical performance with the Softpex core inner liner
- a 15-year rust resistant warranty from the manufacturer
As always we must caution you that installing or replacing a flexi hose is not a legally compliant DIY installation and under Queensland law must be done by a licensed plumber. You need to be aware that undertaking a DIY installation has the likelihood of making your insurance coverage null and void and the manufacturer’s warranty null and void if the flexi hose bursts and causes damage. Don’t wait for the ticking time bomb of your existing stainless steel braided flexi hoses to strike! Call us now to get us to upgrade you to the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker.
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.