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Voiding Insurance

Voiding Insurance

Fire is a likely consequence of DIY electrical or gas fitting.

Voiding insurance coverage is the risk you take every time you decide you can undertake your own plumbing, gas fitting or electrical repairs or installation.

Sure the rules and regulations differ slightly between each state in Australia but essentially there are no grey areas in the laws in each state because its completely black and white legally that when it comes to working on the plumbing, gas or electrical systems in your home or business you must be licensed.

Here at Whywait Plumbing every week we deal with the consequences of the weekend warriors who go to Bunnings or Masters and are convinced they can do it themselves after getting advice from a shop assistant. Usually the consequences are that we have to rip everything out and start again.

Everyone in the plumbing industry be it plumbers, manufacturers or council inspectors do not need convincing that DIY plumbing is no good for anyone and most of all it is ultimately no good for the general public. Unless you have a licence you are not insured to undertake plumbing, gas or electrical work.

What they don’t tell you at Bunnings or Masters when selling you all the plumbing pipes and fittings is that it is illegal to undertake you own plumbing. Certainly they do not inform you that DIY plumbing, gas or electrical work will most likely void your home insurance policy in the event of a insurance claim.

There are some plumbing tasks you can legally undertaken without a plumbers licence in Queensland and they are limited to:

  • Replacing a shower head or shower rose
  • Replacing a tap washer or jumper valve
  • Replacing a domestic water filter cartridge
  • Replacing a washer in a toilet cistern inlet or outlet valve
  • Installing, repairing or maintaining garden irrigation system
  • Cleaning or repairing the grate to a drainage gully trap
  • Replacing a cap on inspection opening to a drain

These plumbing tasks listed are all you can do without running the risk of voiding your insurance cover. More importantly there are no gas fitting or electrical tasks you can legally undertake that will not void your insurance cover. Listed below are links and warnings from Queensland Government and Allianz Insurance.

Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC)
Using licensed plumbers and drainers is the simplest and most effective way of ensuring that plumbing work complies with regulations to minimise unnecessary risk to your family’s health and safety. Rectifying defective or non-compliant work can be far more expensive than the original cost. As a consumer, using an appropriately qualified plumber or drainer will help to protect you and your family as well as your bank account.

 

Allianz Insurance
Illegal DIY work can put you at risk of extra costs, injury or death. Leave electrical or plumbing work to qualified professionals. Some of us enjoy a spot of weekend DIY. Others are less enthusiastic but do the fix-ups anyway. And while there are many benefits of doing-it-yourself such as saving on labour costsi, there are safety and legal reasons why the majority of plumbing and electrical tasks need to be left to the professionals. DIY jobs can put you and other people at risk of injury or death. And if you don’t get something done right, you could end up putting people at risk and damaging property in the future.

 

We recommend that you should avoid DIY plumbing, gas or electrical as frequently you end up costing yourself more with the problems never being repaired.

By Gary Mays

Can My Gas BBQ Explode

Can My Gas BBQ Explode

Can my gas BBQ explode is a question we get asked every summer as we all love a barbecue its part of our lifestyle. But every year far too many people suffer severe burns and injuries.

Most barbecues have been lying around, unused over the winter months and as soon as the warm weather returns we all fire up the barbecue without a second thought as to whether its safe to use.

Gas bottles with their regulator and hose connections are the most common potential for leaking LPG gas to literally explode when you are using it.

Before using your barbecue this summer we recommend that you spend 5 minutes to carry out the following:

  • check all your connections are tight
  • check the gas hose from the bottle to the barbecue to make sure it has not perished
  • a soapy water spray leak test on the gas bottle, gas regulator, rubber hose and hose connections

Above is a short video that will run you through seven simple checks before using your barbecue that shows all of the tests listed above including a soapy water test.

Once you have checked your connections are tight and checked the rubber gas hose for any signs of being perished please ensure you carry out a soapy water leak of all the connections.

parts of a gas bottle

You can create soapy water in a bowl with soap and brush it on, or preferably use a spray bottle where you put some gel soap into a spray bottle with water and spray all of the connections.

If a leak is present, the soapy water will produce bubbles indicating the location of the leak. If a leak is detected, you may need to disconnect the joint and clean the mating surfaces. Then re-connect and re-check for leaks again. If you continue to see leaks then it is likely that fitting needs replacing before using the barbecue.

A gas leak on a barbecue can spread very quickly as you can see in the photo above which is why you should follow these basic rules:

  • never use a gas barbecue indoors or in a confined space
  • do not connect or disconnect a LPG cylinder in the vicinity of a naked flame and always shut off the cylinder valve before disconnecting from the barbecue
  • do not use a gas barbecue in windy conditions as if the flames are blown out the LPG can accumulate and create a potential explosion

LPG gas cylinders seldom explode because they all come with a pressure relief valve so if there is a problem with heating up, the relief valve automatically allows the LPG to vent. Consequently rather than exploding the venting LPG in the worst possible scenario can ignite if there is an ignition source and you have a spectacular plume of flame going upwards. The cylinder will in a short time run out of gas and the flame will extinguish and this is why you always use a barbecue outside and away from the house in a well-ventilated area separated from ignition sources.

Remember if you smell gas always turn off the valve at the gas bottle. All gas installation work must be undertaken by a licensed gasfitter so if you have any questions contact Whywait Plumbing Services now.

By Gary Mays

Not All Plumbers Are Gasfitters

Not All Plumbers Are Gasfitters

Gas compliance plate must be installed for all properties verifying the work on all gas is safe & legally compliant.

Not all plumbers are gasfitters with many people thinking that regular plumbers can work on gas appliances and troubleshoot any problems that they are having with their gas system.

To the casual observer it appears that gas and water seem to flow through the same type of pipe systems but the reality is that the way in which they work is totally different.

Gas systems both natural gas and LPG are a lot more dangerous and the slightest mistake can create a gas leak leading to a potential explosion or a fire. For this reason alone if you are having a problem with your gas pipes or appliances you must use a plumbing company that is a licensed contractor to work on gas and employs licensed gasfitters.

You should be aware of the following when undertaking service or installation work on your gas system:

  • The company must be licensed: In Queensland all companies or individuals undertaking gas work are required to have a contractors licence from Queensland Building and Construction Commission, (QBCC) plus every person working on gas must have a a gas work licence issued by the Chief Gas Examiner from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Without these licenses they cannot legally touch your gas appliances or piping system.
  • Ensure you get all legal certification: A gasfitter doing any servicing or installation work on any part of gas system must affix a “Gas System Compliance Plate” as illustrated above on all new installations. The gasfitter is also legally obliged to give you a “Gas System Compliance Certificate” immediately after the installation is complete which you must keep as it is a legal document indicating the work is legally compliant.

Legally your obligations if you use gas in your home or business are that you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that your gas system complies with safety requirements.  This is complied with simply by:

  • regularly having gas appliances serviced
  • ensure all gas servicing and installation is carried out by a licensed gasfitter
  • ensuring you have compliance plates affixed and you retain copies of all gas certificates on site

Ultimately you as the property owner will be liable for the cost of rectification of non-compliant gas installations if the gasfitter who undertook the work cannot be identified plus it potentially makes your insurance coverage null and void.

By Gary Mays

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