Why is the operative word in toilet seat arguments
As we’ve all become aware in the last year hygiene is the foundation of health.
Toilet hygiene has become a focus in the home and at work. The simple toilet seat has been focused on as never before.
Arguments over the toilet seat revolve around:
why can’t I leave the toilet seat up
why should I put the toilet seat down
why do I need to close the toilet seat
why do toilet seats have a lid
The answer to all these “whys” is because of basic personal hygiene and overall community hygiene.
Harpic photos reveal the danger of not closing the toilet seat lid before flushing
Over the years, I’ve been asked countless times why do toilet seats have lids. Generally, my answers have centred around because it’s called into law in the Plumbing and Drainage Act, which satisfied most people.
However, now I can finally answer all the questions about toilet lids.
I can better answer that perennial question of why you should always close the toilet seat lid before flushing.
The answer is simple. The lid is there for good hygiene to protect your health and community health.
Harpic commissioned a study to illustrate the dangers we all face by not closing the toilet seat when we flush. Harpic used sophisticated high-speed specialist camera technology to capture a fireworks display of thousands of tiny aerosol droplets being catapulted into the bathroom, contaminating all surfaces up to two meters away. Not only did the droplets spread over a wide area of the bathroom, but they also stayed airborne for up to a minute as they are tiny.
The photos above and below illustrate these fireworks displays graphically illustrating how far into the air a flushing toilet catapults these aerosol droplets.
Flushed toilet water aerosol droplets can contain bacteria & viruses
These photos are of a single toilet flush. Imagine what your towels, facecloths, laundry, makeup and toothbrush look like after multiple toilet flushes with the seat up.
Water in a toilet bowl that has been exposed to harmful pathogens will remain contaminated despite clean water being flushed into the toilet pan multiple times. The contaminated aerosol droplets and particles are very fine and are more than capable of reaching your lower respiratory tract. This potentially can create infections.
If you touch any surface in your bathroom contaminated by the toilet bowl flushing of aerosol droplets you can risk infections if you have cuts or touch your mouth or nose.
Would you clean your teeth with a toothbrush sprayed with flushed toilet water?
Let’s face it. None of us would knowingly clean our teeth with a toothbrush that has been sprayed with contaminated toilet water. But the reality is over 50% of the population never close the toilet lid before flushing.
Unhygienic bathrooms really are dangerous
As a spokesman for Harpic stated after their research was made public, “There has never been a more important time to take extra care around our homes. Although the risks associated with germ spread in unhygienic bathrooms are high, the solution to keeping them clean is simple. We hope our new #CloseTheLid campaign helps inspire people to make simple changes to their cleaning routine that can have long-lasting benefits to the health of the nation.”
The Harpic survey of 2000 respondents was undertaken in the UK, but I guarantee the results would apply equally to Australia.
When asked why they did not close the toilet seat lid when flushing the toilet were:
47% said they were unaware of the danger in not closing the lid
24% said they were afraid to touch the toilet seat lid
15% said they forgot to close the toilet seat lid
Three simple solutions to bathroom hygiene
COVID-19 has been a huge motivation to increase bathroom hygiene with Harpic, suggesting the three steps below are a simple common sense approach for a more hygienic bathroom.
Always close the toilet seat lid when flushing the toilet to prevent germs that potentially contain bacteria and viruses spreading over your bathroom.
Ensure you clean your toilet bowl, toilet seat and cistern with a toilet cleaner that removes limescale, providing a home to germs and disinfecting the toilet to guarantee ultimate hygiene.
Always wear gloves when cleaning the toilet and wash your hands afterwards.
It’s simple just close the toilet seat lid every time you flush
Closing the toilet seat lid is simple hygiene that helps eliminate the potential spread of COVID-19, which we know is found in human waste.
Just remember when you flush with the toilet seat lid up the contaminated aerosol droplets spread up to two meters in all directions spraying you with the droplets as you redress for up to 35 seconds.
Teach your children always to shut the toilet seat for their health: your health and the health of the entire community.
A plumbers call-out fee is a set amount charged by a plumbing business to come to your home or business.
The call-out fee covers all of the costs incurred for the time it takes to arrive. The call-out fee covers employee costs, vehicle costs and business overhead costs.
Generally, for those businesses that charge call-out fees, the call-out fee only allows for arriving at your home or business. It does not allow for any investigation work of your plumbing problem.
What is a plumbing diagnostic evaluation fee?
Here at Whywait Plumbing, we do not charge a plumbers call-out fee to merely arrive at your home or business.
Since 1999 we have charged on every job we are called out to a diagnostic evaluation fee. This fee we require to be paid by credit card when you book your job in with us.
When you call us, we guarantee that we inform you of our initial upfront fault finding/investigation diagnostic evaluation fee and what that fee is.
Once you are happy to accept our diagnostic pricing, we’ll secure your booking by providing your credit card to cover the initial fault finding/investigation diagnostic evaluation fee.
What is the difference between a call-out fee & a diagnostic evaluation fee?
Plumbing companies that charge a call-out fee use it to cover the cost for the journey for a plumber to arrive at your home or business.
Plumbing companies that charge a diagnostic evaluation fee cover the initial journey cost plus the cost to inspect your plumbing problems, diagnose the cause of the problem and provide fully costed solutions.
No call-out fee plumbers
Some plumbing companies heavily advertise that they have a no call-out fee. It may sound good for budget-minded potential customers but…..I guarantee you will end up paying the plumbers call-out fee anyway.
Remember if something isFREE,it has no value to the plumbing business offering it or to the customer receiving it. No call-0ut fee plumbing businesses simply transfer the costs of getting to the job in their other costs plus a margin so either way you pay.
The perception that advertising a no-call out fee creates is that you are getting something for free, as they will be cheaper. Perception is never reality as no business can work for free.
Think about it, would you go to work for free?
What you should ask about a plumbers call-out fee?
Always ask on the phone what is their call-out fee and what does it include. Many plumbing businesses not only have a call-out fee but an additional minimum charge for their time.
Clear communication is paramount to avoiding disputes. Be very clear in your own mind exactly what the plumber will charge you to arrive at your home or business and investigate what work is required.
Why do call-out fees vary so much?
Contrary to popular urban myths, there is no such thing as a set rate or recommended rate or the going rate for a plumbers call-out fee.
Every plumbing business is not the same. Every plumbing business has different employee costs, overhead costs and productivity levels that are required to set a call-out fee or diagnostic evaluation fee.
It is illegal under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 for business to collude in setting prices. The Act aims to give all businesses a fair and competitive operating environment. It covers anti-competitive conduct, price-fixing, unconscionable conduct and numerous other issues, such as advertising. The Act also sets out consumers’ rights and responsibilities.
It is also illegal under the Act for there to be any set or recommended rates by master plumbers associations.
Other factors that influence call-out fees are the type of service required and the time of day and which day. Major variances will occur if you require plumbing service at night, on weekends or on public holidays.
So how much should a plumbers call-out fee be?
Reality is asking how much should a plumbers call-out fee be is akin to asking how long a piece of string is.
Remember, there are no recommended call-out fee rates as every business has to determine what they charge.
As a rough guide in my experience, a basic plumbers call-out fee during normal weekday working hours will vary from $0 to $150 to simply arrive on the job. For an emergency plumbing call-out, the costs increase dramatically and you can expect to pay between $150 and $500.
I can only reiterate that you need to be very clear in your own mind exactly what the plumber will charge you to arrive at your home or business and investigate what work is required.
Both the plumber and the customer have rights and responsibilities. Sadly there is a culture of mutual distrust between customers and plumbers with each being wary of being ripped off by the other.
Here at Whywait Plumbing, we aim to be always upfront with our pricing starting with our initial plumbers call-out fee or diagnostic fee. When we ask you to pay for that diagnostic fee upfront by credit card, we are both making a commitment from the beginning.
We guarantee and disclose our diagnostic fee up front and provide an upfront fixed price guarantee for all residential, domestic clients. There is no game playing, our clients are always informed of costs upfront, and there are never any hidden costs or nasty surprises.
In many homes, the sewer drains have worked fine all year with only two people living in the house. All over the Gold Coast families and friends descend on homes where the plumbing has worked fine all year, or so everyone thought.
Many homes plumbing and sewer drains are stretched to breaking point with a sudden increase from two to twenty people plus descending on Christmas Day.
The result is overflowing sewage and no flushing toilet, which can be a real party stopper, especially in our summer’s heat.
Warning signs of a potential blocked sewer at Christmas
As I repeatedly warn everyone, all too often, the warning signs of an impending blockage in your drains have been there for months.
The most common warning signs of a looming problem sewer drain or toilet are:
gurgling sounds coming from the toilet or bathroom floor waste or laundry tub
an overflowing drain gully outside the house
foul odours in the bathroom or toilet
Do you have a Christmas plumbing emergency?
If you have your extended family and friends in your home and are experiencing any of the following, then you have an emergency.
No Water or a Burst Pipe –if your household has no running water or has water flooding everywhere, this is an emergency;
Blocked Sewer Drains –Bathroom, Kitchen, Laundry & Toilet blockages overflowing inside or outside your home is an emergency;
Blocked Toilets –a blocked or overflowing toilet is an emergency;
Gas Leaks –if you can smell gas call us immediately as this can mean there is a leak that’s potentially dangerous.
What will a Plumber cost over the Christmas & New Year Holidays?
After 44 years of providing emergency plumbing services we know near the top of the question list for every client is
Over Christmas and the 2021 new year holidays, we will provide service as usual.
When you call us, we will explain that we charge an initial upfront fault finding/investigation diagnostic evaluation fee and what that fee is as listed below.
Once you are happy to accept our diagnostic pricing, we’ll secure your booking by your providing your credit card to cover the initial fault finding and investigation diagnostic evaluation fee.
Christmas Day Diagnostic Service Fee:Allows for attending to the job site, diagnosing of work required and presenting costed requirements to you –$550.00 or Service Partner $59.40 inclusive of GST
Christmas Eve, Boxing Day & New Years Day Diagnostic Service Fee:Allows for attending to job site, diagnosing of work required and presenting costed requirements to the client –$330.00 or Service Partner $59.40 inclusive of GST
Our on call Christmas emergency plumber Gold Coast employees
Licensed Plumber & Drainer
Gary will be answering the phones over the Christmas period. Gary began the business in 1976 with Whywait Plumbing celebrating 44 years of continuous service on 11 November 2020.
Licensed Plumber, Drainer & Gasfitter
David has worked for us since 2019 and is our emergency plumber on call on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Licensed Plumber & Drainer
Nathan has worked for us since 2015 and is our emergency plumber on call on the Boxing Day public holiday, New Years Eve and New Years Day.
Yes the tiny flies in your bathroom are drain flies
Last week Lynette, who is one of our Service Partner clients, sent me a photo of her bathroom floor enquiring whether I knew if these tiny flies seemingly coming out of her bathroom drains were drain flies. My simple reply was yes as they are more prolific in spring and summer when temperatures exceed 20°C.
The photo above is dramatically magnified to illustrate the number of drain flies in a small area.
Lynette was concerned that no matter how many times she sprayed the flies to kill them, there was always more flies the next day. In fact, what disturbed Lynette the most was that they just appeared to multiply and accumulate on the walls and floor but only in the one bathroom. The flies were nowhere else in her home or in the other bathrooms.
Cleaning your bathroom won’t eliminate drain flies
Lynette was exasperated and frustrated that no matter how often she cleaned her bathroom, the drain flies just kept returning and multiplying.
She repeated to me what I’ve heard multiple times over the years, that she would clean the bathroom with a powerful supermarket bleach cleaner and by the next day the drain flies would have returned.
A friend had told her to buy a 2.5-litre container of bleach and pour it into all her drains in the bathroom which would kill the flies within 24 hours. After using all 2.5 litres of bleach the drain flies were still there.
What are drain flies?
Drain flies are more annoying than anything else as the sheer numbers in your bathroom are unsightly creating, an illusion that the bathroom is not clean.
They do not bite nor do they transmit any diseases of any sort. Nor do they damage clothes, towels or linen.
Drain flies are prolific breeders which is why people like Lynette get frustrated as the more she appeared to kill, the more prolific they became.
The flies themselves are only around 3-4mm in length being dark grey in colour with hairy moth-like wings which as you can see in the photo below dominate their body size.
Why do drain flies only appear in bathrooms?
If you don’t live on an acreage block with a septic tank or sewer treatment plant, then the only place you will probably experience drain flies is in a bathroom. In septic tanks of sewer treatment plants drain flies breed prolifically but don’t stray far from the tanks which are their food source.
In bathrooms, the flies during the day appear to do nothing other than just sit on walls or under the vanity basin or on the ceiling. This is because they are more active at night, which is why you will seldom see them flying or actually emerging from you floor waste drain.
Even though they are poor fliers the flies are frequently transported by the wind away from septic tanks or sewer treatment plants for distances of 3-5km. This can allow them to enter your home through your insect screens as they are small enough to get through the holes in the mesh. Ultimately they will search for your bathroom floor waste drains because this is where they can feed and breed.
Where do drain flies live and breed?
Since drain flies are such poor fliers, they will always be found within a few meters of the bathroom floor waste drain. This is why you only ever appear to see them in a bathroom.
Infestations occur once temperatures exceed 20°C in spring. The rationale that they keep multiplying is not misplaced as their life cycle is 1-3 weeks from eggs hatching to becoming adult flies. They are prolific breeders with eggs hatching within 48 hours to become larvae. The larvae then mature within 12 days feeding on the decaying organic matter in the bathroom floor waste drain. The adult flies emerge from the drain at night that you then see on your bathroom walls and ceilings will live no longer than 2 weeks.
How you can eliminate a drain fly infestation in your bathroom?
Controlling and eliminating adult drain flies and larvae is by eliminating breeding sites in your bathroom drains. The pouring of bleach into the floor waste trap will typically work if you have a minor infestation.
A major infestation will not be solved by bleach as you need to thoroughly clean the and seal the floor waste trap to eliminate their food source and breeding ground.
From experience, we have found cleaning the whole area around the floor waste and inside the drain with Aquatemp Surface Sanitiser & Disinfectant will clean and disinfect the drain flies breeding ground and food source.
If you are experiencing the annoyance of drain flies that will not go away give us a call at Whywait Plumbing on(07) 5551 5193 to book a service call so we can eliminate them once and for all.
Aquatemp Surface Sanitiser & Disinfectant comes in a ready to use spray bottle that eliminates the drain flies food source and breeding ground effectively plus sanitises, disinfects and protects for up to 24 hours.
I recently had a client comment that Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes far more than doctors bury their mistakes. It is a comment I cannot disagree with in any way. Increasingly we see underground plumbing work that is so non-compliant it’s confirming Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes, knowingly and deliberately.
Calling them mistakes is not being truthful because we all know it’s a deliberate act to cut costs. We all understand those plumbing companies that choose to undertake construction work are under enormous competitive pressure to reduce construction costs continually.
However, because of these plumbing companies buckling to pressure from project managers, builders and developers, they are in an ever downward spiral of negligently breaking the law. The reality is all of the parties involved in the lawbreaking know the chances of them getting caught are slim as the inspections by City of Gold Coast’s plumbing, and drainage inspectors are cursory at best.
Underground water pipes, house sewer drains and house stormwater drains are all buried underground. Unfortunately for property owners, it can take years before the problems become apparent and they investigate the issue. By this time the original construction job is out of warranty, and the QBCC will show little interest in any investigation of negligence.
Investigation and rectification of non-compliant installation of underground plumbing infrastructure fall onto the hapless property owner. Rectification bills can be enormous, and the likelihood is there is no insurance coverage or any desire by the council or state regulatory authorities to investigate.
I believe we have the best plumbing regulations and standards in the world. We used to have the best enforcement in the world to ensure our buildings met the high standards required. The enforcement of the Plumbing and Drainage Act of 2018 and the preceding laws have become so lax that most buildings constructed in the last twenty years have multiple underground plumbing defects. Disastrously for property owners, the majority of these defects are waiting to break down and cause havoc finally.
When these buried mistakes are covered by insurance and break down, causing water damage, every one of us bears a cost via ever-increasing property insurance premiums on all buildings. If enforcement had occurred at the construction stage, then this water damage would have never happened.
It is our experience as maintenance plumbers that builders and developers perceive they can reduce costs and increase profits by not complying with the Plumbing and Drainage act of 2018.
The legal obligations of complying with the Plumbing Code of Australia, which is Volume 3 of the National Construction Code, is not even a consideration.
I accept this lack of compliance has come about due to multiple factors and pressures. Nevertheless, this short-sighted attitude and systematic non-compliance with what is the law affects property owners with prodigious rectification costs. I believe that the project managers, builders, developers and plumbers involved in this ongoing fraud of property owners and insurance companies are well aware of what they are doing but blame it on:
Competitive pressures in the construction industry where the lowest price wins mentality rewards plumbers who take non-compliant short cuts to reduce costs to win jobs
All builders actively forcing cost-cutting on sub-contractors and suppliers
Time constraints on plumbers to complete the job and be paid
The reluctance of builders to inform clients that unforeseen issues have arisen which will increase the cost of construction
The failure of building certifiers and plumbing inspectors to defect non-compliant work and the turning of a blind eye to incorrectly graded trenches, lack of compaction and inappropriate backfilling of trenches
Continual lack of enforcement by the Queensland Government regulators
Every one of the above has in their view a justifiable excuse for what is occurring but all that is required is for the law to be obeyed. The Plumbing and Drainage Act of 2018 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019 merely need to be enforced to stop Gold Coast Plumbers bury their mistakes attitude continuing.
By enforcing the law, everyone is a winner and will return us to the standards that previously existed where non-compliant work was defected without a second thought. Every plumber I discuss this with would be more than happy with this to occur as it would create a level playing field for the plumbing industry where efficiency was rewarded rather than non-compliant short cuts. It further protects property owners and the entire construction industry that is already under a cloud due to the cladding non-compliance in buildings throughout Australia.
As licensed plumbers, we are mindful that non-compliant plumbing is a public health risk. I reiterate most of the non-compliant work is knowingly and deliberate which is ultimately negligent behaviour. Sooner or later insurance companies and no-win no-pay lawyers will awaken to the fact that this non-compliance is negligence resulting in the plumbing industry as a whole is portrayed as cowboys with no integrity ripping off poor property owners.
This is a scenario where no one wins except the lawyers. As a critical industry plumbers cannot allow a perception that plumbers as a whole are unable to undertake legally compliant work. We certainly need no more regulation we just need the existing laws and regulations enforced to protect the community’s health as a whole.
Plumbing quotes over the phone are meaningless without any validation as they are based on perception rather than experienced observation and onsite investigation. Every day we receive phone calls asking us to diagnose a plumbing, drainage or gas problem over the phone. We can only talk in generalities based on the vague information we are given.
Generally, after receiving this general broad sweeping advice, we are then asked how much we would charge to undertake the repair. We then have to explain it’s impossible to give any accurate pricing over the phone without an onsite investigation to diagnose the actual problem.
“When we are asked to diagnose and quote a plumbing problem over the phone, we put on our genie costume and look into our crystal ball.”
The reality is every plumbing problem is unique in its own way. Despite what you think, plumbing installations can be complicated.
Regrettably, 90% of the plumbing infrastructure in any building is concealed.
So what you are observing and attempting to describe to us over the phone is regularly wholly the reverse of what is transpiring under your floor or in the wall.
Sending us photos or videos can be of assistance. Even so, they still only show the extent of the problem, not the actual cause. But the reality is we always cannot give you plumbing quotes over the phone as photos and videos never tell the complete story.
No Professional Plumber Will Give Plumbing Quotes Over The Phone
No professional plumber, no matter how experienced they are can ever give legitimate plumbing quotes over the phone. There is only one way to diagnose a plumbing problem, and that is by an onsite investigation. No matter what you think, you can visually observe, you only see part of the potential problem at best. No two plumbing installations are ever wholly the same no matter how alike they may appear.
Unfortunately, there are too many plumbers who will give quotes over the phone. This is entirely unprofessional and no more than a marketing ploy to entice you to engage them to come to solve your problem. Think about it would you expect a doctor to diagnose a medical condition over the phone. In reality, it’s actually easier to diagnose a medical problem over the phone than it is a plumbing problem, but no doctor will do so without first examining you.
I guarantee that 99% of the time that the plumbing quotes over the phone increase within ten minutes of the plumber’s arrival. This will always be explained away by a myriad of excuses that your description of the problem was not accurately disclosed. It will always be your fault.
The reason the quote they provided to you over the phone increases is simple. Once onsite, the plumber can have a better understanding of all the variables. Even then, once they start on the repairs, there are frequently multiple changes to the cost as more faults appear that were not detected in the initial visual inspections.
Google Searches Do Not Make You a Plumber
It’s continuously amusing talking to someone who has done a Google search to locate what the remedy to their plumbing problem is. Usually, they have already decided what rectification work is required and are ringing getting multiple plumbing quotes over the phone.
It is my experience that 90% of the time the diagnosis is wrong, which in turn ensures the remedy they have decided upon on Google is wrong.
After their Google search, they further confuse themselves by talking to multiple plumbers which just creates further confusion. Ultimately every decision then only becomes about price so they choose a plumber who will come to site for free who advertises “No Call Out Fee”.
Once again, this is a fallacy because no legitimate plumbing business can come to your house for free. Sending a fully equipped truck with a licensed plumber costs at least $150 so I guarantee you will pay all of the costs in one way or another.
Plumbing Problems Are A Challenge For Both Plumber and Client
The reality is solving plumbing problems takes time and patience. We accept that finding a reputable plumbing company can be daunting as often you need to act quickly when a plumbing emergency occurs.
Solving a plumbing problem that is not completely obvious such as water leaking out of a wall can be frustrating. Here at Whywait Plumbing, we are specialist maintenance plumbers so we know that a leak can be occurring in a multitude of locations and running internally until it finds a route to flow freely. That is why we don’t smash open walls or floors to look for the problem but instead use our leak detection equipment to pinpoint the location of the leak.
For a client, this can create a perception we are procrastinating, but the reality is we are using our experience to solve the problem. When it comes to maintenance plumbing, hiring an experienced specialist who is older and wiser will always remove the misconceptions.
Regrettably, plumbers are only remembered for the terrible events that occur, such as a burst pipe or overflowing sewage. Due to the emergency type situations that most people call a plumber, there are numerous misconceptions about what a plumber can do and cannot do quickly. In too many circumstances, this is aligned to the cost rather than the outcome.
Do yourself a favour always and engage a plumber that is clearly experienced and been around a while. Above all else, avoid the temptation to get plumbing quotes over the phone. You need to ensure that your plumber comes to the site and undertakes a thorough site inspection before any work is undertaken.
If you need assistance on any plumbing, drainage or gas problem, call us 24/7 on (07) 55804311 as we have 43 years of experience in solving dilemmas that others cannot.