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OFFICE HOURS
Mon – Sun 7.30am – 4pm
24 Hr Emergency Service

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.

How Does a Toilet Block?

How Does a Toilet Block?

Toilet blockages are more than an inconvenience!

How does a toilet block is a frequently asked question of our plumbers? Your toilet is after the kitchen sink the most commonly used plumbing fixture in your home. It goes without saying a blocked toilet is more than an inconvenience. For most people, a blocked toilet is an unpleasant experience that they don’t have the stomach to deal with and calling a plumber is their preferred option. So how does a toilet block seemingly without reason and ruin your day?

How does a toilet block with foreign objects?

Adhering to the three P’s rule of pee, poo and paper for your toilet ensure never having to ask how does a toilet block from foreign objects. blocked toilets plumber gold coast

Foreign objects are anything that is not toilet paper, urine or faeces. Toilet pans are not waste disposal units and are designed with one function, and that is to dispose of your bodily waste hygienically.

Toilet paper, despite some popular urban myths, does not block a toilet. Toilet paper is manufactured to dissolve in water and rapidly breaks down when you flush the toilet cistern.

In our experience, the biggest culprit and an absolute foreign object in a toilet pan are flushable wipes. Flushable wipes are anything but flushable and cause toilets and sewers to block up and create horrendous plumbing repair bills.

Other foreign objects we frequently see in a blocked toilet are paper towels, facial tissues, cotton tips, Q-tips, cotton buds, ear cleaners, hair removal wax strips, cotton balls, pantie liners, sanitary napkins and our old favourite of children’s toys.

Tampons are frequently blamed for blocking a toilet or drain and yes they are a foreign object. The reality is that a tampon is too small and flexible to cause a toilet to block. We frequently see real estate leasing managers trying to blame a blocked toilet on tampons, but they are a visible symptom of the blockage, not a cause.

The best method of eliminating your toilet from becoming a rubbish bin is to keep a bathroom waste bin in the toilet or bathroom. It is also a good idea to train your children from an early age on what is safe to flush down a toilet bowl.

How does a toilet block in a toilet pan trap?

The reason there is water in your toilet is that the curved bottom part of the toilet is a trap.
The toilet bowl trap is literally what it says a trap.

The trap retains water in it every time you flush the toilet. The purpose of the trap is to prevent foul sewer odours escaping from the drains and entering your home.

Foreign objects are the primary cause of a blockage in the trap, especially if they are rigid and lodge in the trap outlet. In many circumstances, they can be dislodged and the blockage cleared by using a plunger. If you are attempting to clear it yourself with a plunger, let the water drain down before trying to plunge your toilet into preventing sewage water splashing onto your floor.

Toilet paper is frequently blamed for creating a blockage in the trap. In most circumstances, there is a foreign object lodged in the trap outlet that prevents the toilet paper from flushing away.

If you are experiencing frequent blockages to your toilet, then you have one of the following:

  • a toilet pan that was manufactured in the 1990s that was not compatible with the water flow from the cistern
  • poor quality toilet paper that is not breaking up in the water as required
  • an offset pan collar under the toilet that is restricting flow into the sewer drain

If you are experiencing this scenario, it is a process of elimination. The first thing to do is to try a different brand of toilet paper or even try limiting the amount of toilet paper being used. If that does not solve the blockages, then you need to have your toilet suite and drain connection checked out and possibly have it upgraded.

How does a toilet block from a blocked sewer drain?

Commonly the majority of blocked toilets are a symptom of a blocked main sewer drain.  blocked toilet caused by blocked sewer drain
The toilet becoming completely blocked or slow to drain is because the sewer drains are full and there is nowhere for the water in the toilet to go.

If you have a blocked sewer drain, then all of your plumbing fixtures will cease draining. In this situation, plunging the toilet will achieve absolutely nothing. Worst of all, you will likely end up with sewerage all over your floor.

You were likely receiving warning signals from your sewer drain with gurgling sounds from the toilet, and it was slow to drain when flushed.

Gurgling sounds from any plumbing fixture should never be ignored as they seldom go away and should be investigated immediately if it continues to occur.

If you are experiencing regular blockages in your toilet or hearing gurgling sounds, then you need to call us on (07) 5580 4311 before you experience a complete shut down of your main sewer house drain system.

 

What is a Plumbing Emergency?

What is a Plumbing Emergency?

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

Gas Leaks

lraking gas is a plumbing emergency at Whywait PlumbingLeaking 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.

Sewage Overflow

overflowing sewage is a plumbing emergency so call Whywait Plumbing nowOverflowing 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.

Burst Pipe

a burst flexi hose is a plumbing emergency so call Whywait PlumbingA 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.

Why Is My Hot Water Not Hot Enough?

Why Is My Hot Water Not Hot Enough?

A common question we get asked this time of year concerning hot water repairs is “Why is my hot water not hot enough?

We find our clients tend to notice this problem predominately when showering and in most instances, the temperature of the water hasn’t suddenly changed. It’s more than when the weather is fresher, and we tend to increase the ratio of hot to cold water, and therefore, any fault that affects the hot water becomes more apparent.

Hot Water Not Hot Enough, Common Causes

When customers ask “why is my hot water not hot enough” we always provide as much information as possible.

In our 42 years of plumbing experience and as hot water specialists, we have found the most common causes of this problem are:

Let’s take a closer look at each of these possible problems.

Malfunctioning tempering valve

Tempering valves are designed to blend hot and cold water to deliver water at a constant temperature that does not exceed 50’C. If water entering the tempering valve contains small amounts of sand or other debris, this can become lodged in the filters of the tempering valve and affect the operation of the valve resulting in lukewarm rather than hot water.  Read more about tempering valves.

Faulty hot water service

If your hot water service is older (usually 10-15 years) or you have overlooked regular maintenance, it could result in a problem with the heating system.

A hot water system fails most commonly at these points:

The element is the mechanism within the hot water service that heats the water with the thermostat being responsible for switching the element on and off. Any problem with either of these parts can result in disruption to your hot water.

The relief valve is responsible for releasing built-up pressure as the water heats. If this valve is continuously leaking, then you will lose hot water which in turn is replaced with cold water that cools the hot water stored in the tank.

Hot water demand exceeds the capacity

Typically if a tanks capacity is over 125L, then you would connect to one of the off-peak tariffs, which means that electricity used by the hot water system will be charged at a lower rate. While this makes for a cost-effective solution, it does come with some limitations as you do not have an unlimited supply and if for any reason your demand for hot water increases there is always the possibility that you could run out of hot water.

If you are finding the hot water in your household is consistently not hot enough, and repairs are not required, then seriously consider a more substantial capacity, new hot water system.

Help Is On Hand

Here at Whywait Plumbing, we don’t consider hot water a luxury, it is a necessity. So if you are experiencing a cold shower and asking yourself why is my hot water not hot enough, call us now for Same Day Service.

How To Check For a Hidden Water Pipe Leak

How To Check For a Hidden Water Pipe Leak

How to check if you have a water pipe leak

With a water pipe leak, it’s commonly said that prevention is the key. Positive preventive maintenance saves you thousands of dollars in hassles and water damage.

That’s why you want to follow the simple step by step check for a water pipe leak. This will prevent the hassles before they hit you where it hurts most – in your pocket!

Step by Step Instructions

Below we run through:

  1. Check your taps
  2. Check your toilets
  3. Turn the taps off
  4. Check your water meter
  5. Wait 15 minutes
  6. Compare water meter readings
  7. Turn the taps back on
  8. When to call a plumber
  9. When your good to go

 

At Whywait Plumbing, we have always preached that preventative maintenance policies and procedures will prevent many of the significant cost blowouts in plumbing maintenance.

As always, prevention on checking for a water leak is the best solution. An underground concealed water pipe leak is often impossible to see or hear. More so if your home is on sandy soil or has lots of garden vegetation.

The simplest way to check if you have a concealed water pipe leak is to follow the how-to steps below:

Step 1 – Check your taps

Check all taps both inside the house and outside the house are not dripping.

Step 2 – Check your toilets

Check the toilet cisterns are not overflowing or running into the toilet bowl by tipping a few drops of food dye into the cistern and if there is no colouring of the water in the toilet bowl you know there is no leak.

 

Step 3 – Turn the taps off

How do you know a drain is blocked? 3Turn off all the taps that you normally leave turned on, such as the washing machine, dishwasher and the toilet cisterns.

 

Step 4 – Check your water meter

At the council water meter check the meter is not turning and write down the figures on the meter dial.

 

Step 5 – Wait 15 minutes

After 15 minutes recheck the water meter and write down the figures on the meter dial again.

 

Step 6 – Compare water meter readings

Compare the figures you have written down, and if the numbers have not changed at all, then you have no water pipe leak. If the numbers have changed very slightly repeat the test but do it for at least 1 hour.

 

Step 7 – Turn the taps back on

If you are satisfied there are no leaks remember to turn back on the taps you turned off at the washing machine, dishwasher and toilet cisterns.

 

Step 8 – When to call a plumber

How do you know a drain is blocked? 4If the meter dial reading on the water meter has changed after 1 hour then in all likelihood you have an underground concealed water pipe leak, and you need to give Whywait a call to organise leak detection.

Step 9 – When your good to go

If the meter dial reading has not changed, that means your underground water reticulation piping is in good condition.

Prevention is the key

No matter what your results in the above step by step preventative maintenance suggestions, we recommend you repeat it monthly. We also recommend you record your water meter readings every month as any change in water use patterns will quickly indicate a possible leak.

As a rule of thumb, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for any water leak after the council water meter that is on your property. Therefore we recommend that you at least check your water meter reading every month and seriously consider the installation of an AquaTrip water pipe leak detection and control system.

 

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