Water-Wise Ways to Maintain Your Garden 1

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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

Filtered Water Can Ease Hay Fever

Filtered Water Can Ease Hay Fever

Hay Fever Season

taqua water filter taps installed by Whywait Plumbing ease hay fever

Once the footy finals are over we know it’s spring, as the weather warms and evening barbecues become the norm. But for many people, spring is a time to be dreaded. That’s because the advent of spring means its hay fever season for one in five Australians.

Hay fever season comes in stages over the spring and summer. The first stage will be in October/November when windborne pollens of plants and grasses cause allergens. When the pollens become trapped in your nose or eyes, they release their allergens. Fortunately, the pollen allergens are benign, but for one in five of us, our body misreads them as being harmful and fights back. This results in our body producing mucus to expel the pollen allergens.

As the body fights the pollen allergens watery, itchy bloodshot eyes along with a runny nose and sneezing are the most common symptoms of what we refer to as hay fever.

Filtered Water & Hay Fever

As proactive prevention should always be the #1, action you should start with installing a Taqua built-in filtration tap. The filter built into the Taqua tap will remove chlorine and impurities from your tap water. Best of all for hay fever sufferers a Taqua tap is guaranteed to retain the minerals your body needs in your tap water.

Your #2 action in hay fever season should be to drink 800 ml of hot water every day from your Taqua tap. Drinking hot water at 50 ºC assists in easing common hay fever symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose.

This simple action of drinking hot filtered water will make your life more comfortable if you suffer from hay fever plus will assist your general health due to its detoxing effects on the body.

Your #3 action in the hay fever season is to rinse your eyes regularly with cold water to flush out the pollens. Using the filtered cold water from your Taqua tap will ensure that you are not washing chemicals such as chlorine directly into your body.

Filtered Water & Vegetables

We all know that eating fresh fruit and vegetables assists in our overall health, particularly in the hay fever season.

Did you know washing your fresh fruit and vegetables with ordinary tap water loses many of their valuable minerals?

The reason for this mineral loss is due to the free chlorine in ordinary tap water that reacts with the minerals in fruit and vegetables, causing the minerals to break down. In fact, 10% – 30% of all minerals are lost due to washing fruit and vegetables in tap water.

Using a Taqua built-in filtration tap with its veggie spray function is the perfect solution to wash fruit and vegetables to ensure they retain all their vitamins.

Cooking with filtered water from a Taqua built-in filtration tap is a simple way to improve the taste, smell and colour of your food.

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.

Its 99.9% certain that Plumbers don’t have Supermans X-ray Vision

Its 99.9% certain that Plumbers don’t have Supermans X-ray Vision

X-ray Vision Would Be a Plumbers Dream Come True

Anyone who knows me is aware I frequently state that when we get a plumbers licence, we didn’t also get given a pair of Superman’s glasses with X-ray vision.
Plumbing infrastructure is 90% concealed in walls, floors and underground. The ability for a plumber to transform into Superman and see-through physical objects would be an obvious solution when you have problems.

As Plumbers and Electricians are only too aware many people think we possess X-ray vision when it comes to solving their concealed infrastructure issues. There is always a sense of irony in the fact that people will make multiple visits to a doctor to get a diagnosis of a health problem. But believe we only need one visit to diagnose a complex issue in their plumbing, gas or electrical infrastructure.

Looking after your plumbing infrastructure can be challenging when most of the infrastructure is concealed. Most people are vaguely aware there are water pipes and drainage pipes somewhere that connects to their bathrooms, kitchen and laundry.
The vague awareness only transforms into reality when the infrastructure stops working. A leaking water pipe or a blocked toilet suddenly create a perception that something is wrong somewhere.

That’s when you call a plumber to investigate. Often this is where the “fun” starts as we arrive at your home to see exactly what you can see. This means we have to start investigating. Depending on the problem investigating is a process of elimination.

Water-Wise Ways to Maintain Your Garden 4This is why I say Superman’s X-ray vision would solve so many problems for us. Ultimately all we can call upon as Plumbers is our knowledge and experience to eliminate possibilities. Yes, there is the technology we can use. The limitations of the technology are endless with equipment such as a CCTV drain camera being useless to use on a blocked drain as ultimately all we can see is dirty water.

This is why I say Superman’s X-ray vision would solve so many problems for us. Ultimately all we can call upon as Plumbers is our knowledge and experience to eliminate possibilities. Yes, there is the technology we can use. The limitations of the technology are endless with equipment such as a CCTV drain camera being useless to use on a blocked drain as ultimately all we can see is dirty water.

Here at Whywait, I believe we have invested wisely over the years in technology and continue to do so. Equipment such as CCTV drain cameras, sonar locators, pipe tracers, gas detectors, leak detection equipment and much more. Much of the investigative technology we utilise derives from medical technology, so it is continuously evolving.

I’m looking forward to the day when we can access portable X-ray or sonar equipment that will allow us to see clearly the location of infrastructure in your walls, floors and underground.

Ultimately I still believe its the experience and patience of our Plumbers to investigate your problems and eliminate the possibilities before we jackhammer up your floor or smash open your walls.

Here at Whywait, I believe we have invested wisely over the years in technology and continue to do so. Equipment such as CCTV drain cameras, sonar locators, pipe tracers, gas detectors, leak detection equipment and much more. Much of the investigative technology we utilise derives from medical technology, so it is continuously evolving.

I’m looking forward to the day when we can access portable X-ray or sonar equipment that will allow us to see clearly the location of infrastructure in your walls, floors and underground. Ultimately I still believe its the experience and patience of our Plumbers to investigate your problems and eliminate the possibilities before we jackhammer up your floor or smash open your walls.

Your Average Gold Coast Water Bill is Always Out of Date

Your Average Gold Coast Water Bill is Always Out of Date

Most property owners on the Gold Coast have just received their City of Gold Coast Water and Sewerage Rate Notice for January. Under Queensland law, you must receive a quarterly water bill. The City of Gold Coast issues their water bills in January, April, July and October.

gold Coast water meterWhenever water bills arrive, we get clients asking us why their Gold Coast water bill is always out of date. From experience, we can guarantee the average Gold Coast Water bill is still out of date. For example, most water bills issued in January were for water that was used between July and October. This is due to the contractors who read each water meter having set routes and timelines to read your meter so yes your usage charges are always at least two months out of date. This is why we suggest you monitor your water meter weekly and read how to do it on our page “How To Read Your Water Meter”.

For most homeowners who use around the average daily water usage of 451 litres, the highest costs in the quarterly water bill are their sewerage and water services charges. If you look closely at your water bill you can see that you have the following charges:

  • Sewerage service charges – sewerage access                   $181.03 per quarter
  • Water service charges – water access                                  $53.02 per quarter
  • Gold Coast Water – water usage per kilolitre                          $1.09
  • Queensland Government – water usage per kilolitre              $2.91

In reality, even if you used no water, you would still pay for service charges of $234.05 every quarter or $936.20 every year.

Average water use of 451 litres or 0.451kL per property is not an accurate guide to your water use. In our experience, most homes with more than one occupant will use 1-2 kL every day. Remember your water usage will vary every day based on the number of occupants at home each day and their water use behaviours. That is why we recommend you read your water meter weekly as that will give you a better guide about your average consumption but will also alert you to a potential water leak.

If you suspect a water leak, call Whywait Plumbing and ask for our leak detection service.

3 Steps to Avoid Lead In Your Drinking Water

3 Steps to Avoid Lead In Your Drinking Water

3 simple steps to reduce exposure to lead in waterDissolved lead in your drinking water is a reality in Australia. Lead is used across a wide range of plumbing products that are installed in homes and buildings. The most common products lead is used in is brass fittings and taps.

Some brass plumbing fittings allow the lead to dissolve into the drinking water where the water has been unused for long periods. This process is more pronounced in your hot water system where the heating of the water to 70 degrees results in an increase in all dissolved metals in the water, particularly lead. This is why you should always use only cold water for drinking and cooking.

If your water supply is sourced from a rainwater tank, you should also be aware that the increased acidity of rainwater may also increase the level of dissolved metals and lead from brass plumbing fittings.

As we have virtually no lead pipes circulating water in Australia in homes and buildings, it is rare for Australians to have elevated blood lead levels that are related to dissolved lead exposure from drinking water. However, at home, you can reduce your exposure to lead in your drinking water by:

  • Always using the water from the cold tap for drinking and cooking
  • First thing every morning it’s good practice to flush the cold water taps used for drinking and cooking for 30 seconds to draw fresh water through the tap rather than using the water that has been sitting there all night
  • If a home or building has been unoccupied for an extended period, then it’s good practice to flush all cold water taps used for drinking and cooking for at least 3 minutes to flush out dissolved metals. If you are in public parks and use a water bubbler or tap it is good practice to flush the water for 30 seconds, especially if it’s not heavily used.

There is no need to have your water tested for lead. What we do recommend is that you follow the suggestions above to flush dissolved metals such as lead, copper and nickel from your drinking water.

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