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Plumbing Myths

Plumbing Myths

Plumbing myths are money spinners for us at Whywait Plumbing. But we wish they weren’t and you called us for advice first.

So often many of our service calls to blocked drains, broken water main pipes or flooded houses are caused by common plumbing myths and could have been avoided.

Our plumbing technicians constantly see the following plumbing myths causing problems that should never have occurred:

1. You used chemicals from the supermarket to “clear” a blocked drain 

Forget using chemicals such as Draino to clear a blocked drain because they never work. Even if by some miracle they do the problem will return that is a guarantee. There is no DIY solution to a blocked drain and its scary for our plumbers to work on a drain full of harsh and dangerous chemicals. If your drains are gurgling or slow to drain contact us for advice but please don’t waste money on chemical solutions.

2. You think the toilet is a rubbish bin as well

Don’t be fooled by labels that say they’re “flushable” because sanitary napkins, cleaning wipes, paper towel’s, toilet scrubbers, make-up remover pads or pet litter to name a few are in reality not suitable for flushing down the toilet. Very simply they don’t disintegrate quickly enough in the low flows of water flushed through the toilet and eventually will block your homes sewer drain.

3. You think advice from the nice man at Bunnings is all you need to fix plumbing problems yourself

Yes we know its easy to take a photo of your plumbing problem then go down to Bunnings and show the nice man there who will try to diagnose and fix the plumbing problem on the spot and sell you all the parts to do it yourself. We see this every weekend when our plumbing technicians go out to repair these DIY stuff ups. Remember the nice man or lady at Bunnings are not plumbers they are retail shop assistants with no qualifications. Calling Whywait the first time is frequently the cheapest option because as we constantly see DIY jobs are seldom repaired correctly and continue to give problems until we repair it.

4. You don’t have a leak protection or water monitoring system

These days a water leak protection system is not expensive, frequently costing less than the excess on your insurance claim. For Whywait to install a water leak protection system that prevents flooding with a main water shut-off should a leak occur in your water main, internal water pipes, hot water heater, dishwasher, laundry washing machine and more guarantees your home with a lifetime of protection.

5. Your hot water heater will last forever and never needs maintaining

Don’t be fooled into thinking your hot water heater will last forever because the average life of a Rheem or Dux HWS is 7-12 years. Yes you can extend their life by regular maintenance but you must have a regular preventative maintenance programme rather than waiting until a leak occurs because by then its too late. It is almost inevitable that your lack of maintenance will result in a leak while you are on holiday or while you are sleeping.

Remember plumbing problems never go away until proper repairs are undertaken.

Plumbing Guarantees

Plumbing Guarantees

Plumbing guarantees are a source of constant confusion. A guarantee of the fixtures and fittings installed is always carried by the manufacturer not the plumber who installed them. Ultimately all a plumber can guarantee is his workmanship and service levels.

When you use Whywait Plumbing we guarantee you many things and we stand behind all those guarantees because we want you to have a positive experience. At Whywait Plumbers Gold Coast, we enjoy a 95% customer satisfaction rating and this is why:

  • We show up on time.
  • We send only licensed and trained plumbers to your home, each one a full-time Whywait employee.
  • Training and development are ongoing events for every member of our staff.
  • You receive a guaranteed up-front price before we start any work.
  • Our equipment and tools are the latest and best in the business which helps us do our job better and with a better end result.
  • We keep our trucks well-stocked enabling us to complete most repairs with just one visit to your home.

We’re ensure you and our team members are protected by:

  • Maintaining public liability insurance coverage for $20,000,000 that protects your property should a part fail in your home or business.
  • Maintaining WorkCover insurance cover should one of our employees have an accident.
  • Providing warranty protection on the jobs we undertake for you.
  • Ensuring we are fully licensed as plumbing contractors in Queensland and New South Wales.
  • Investing in state of the art communications systems to answer your calls and dispatch our plumbers to your home or business.
  • Investing in modern vehicles that are correctly maintained.
  • Complying with the Fair Work Act.
  • Responding promptly on a 24 hour, 7 day basis to customers who call us in a crisis because they have a water leak, a blocked drain or have no hot water.

I urge you to ask questions about how you will be charged for plumbing services, insurance coverage and licensing before deciding which plumbing company to hire.  Because the more you ask, the more you’ll see that our family-owned and operated company stands head and shoulders above the rest in true value offered.

By Gary Mays

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

Negligence Causes Plumbing Emergencies

Negligence Causes Plumbing Emergencies

Negligence causes plumbing emergencies as a fact I am becoming acutely aware of with over half of the plumbing emergencies we attend having been caused due to a plumbers negligence in the initial installation.

A large part of this negligence is driven by plumbing work being undertaken to a cost and not to the legislative requirements or standards that plumbers are legally obliged to comply with.

As I constantly have to remind clients who are victims of this negligence in near new or recently renovated buildings – everyone who worked on your home did so because they were the cheapest not because they were the best qualified and skilled to undertake the work. Sadly that is the reality in the construction industry.

The most common plumbing emergencies we see that are in most cases attributable to deliberate negligence by the plumber who did the initial work are:

  • leaking water-mains laid in rock and backfilled with rock with no compliant bedding or backfill material
  • broken house sewer drains once again laid in rock and backfilled with rock
  • mixer taps installed without isolation valves

Negligence by a plumber in installing the examples above are just the tip of the iceberg that we see daily but all cause a great deal of damage and are frequently expensive to repair.

The pressure by builders on plumbers to reduce prices and take “shortcuts” increases daily but is not an excuse to ignore undertaking the work in as set out in AS3500 and called into law through the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002.

Under common law, the term “negligence” generally describes damage causing conduct that arises because of the defendant’s carelessness or failure to take reasonable care.

As an example, a plumber who installs a plastic polypipe water main straight onto the rocky ground and then backfills it with the same spoil he dug out has breached his duty of care. As a professional licensed plumber, he is fully aware that the job is not in accordance with clause 5.12 of AS3500 Part 1 for Water Services which states:

The water services shall be surrounded with not less than 75mm of compacted sand, or fine-grained soil, with no hard edged object permitted to come into contact with or resting against any pipe or fitting.

Material used for final backfill shall be free from rock, hard matter or organic material and be broken up to contain no soil larger than 75mm.

As you can see the wording and diagram in Australian Standards are quite specific on how your water main should be installed. They are specific requirements under law not options the plumber can choose to obey.

Very simply if your water main is not installed as above the licensed plumber installing it has done so knowing it is noncompliant and that it is reasonably foreseeable that failure and damage will occur.

In conclusion, I reiterate that most plumbing emergencies are caused by negligence and we are prepared to assist you if you have the willpower to legally seek compensation. It’s your choice but the industry will only be cleaned up when plumbers who continually break the law are hit in their hip pocket.

Plumbing Is Expensive

Plumbing Is Expensive

Not Compliant? It’ll Be Expensive!

Plumbing Costs for Correct and  Compliant Work

Plumbing is expensive if not done correctly and compliantly. Quality plumbing is not a luxury but is a legal requirement under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002.

Cheap, illegal plumbing repaired by Whywait Plumbing after sewer odours were escaping inside an office because there was a 35mm gap allowing the odours to escape where a 65mm pipe had been pushed inside a 100mm pipe

Not everyone can afford a Lexus GS450h at $130497 or a BMW 7 Series 760Li 4 door Sedan at $141,200, but everyone can afford and should ensure they use a quality plumbing company. So if price is your only consideration, PLEASE phone another plumber as there are plenty of “cheap”, “competitively priced”, “discount”, “budget priced” plumbers out there who will do your work to a price but for your own sake please make sure they are:

  • licensed plumbers by the Plumbing Industry Council
  • licensed plumbing contractors with Queensland Building and Construction Commission
  • insured for your protection with at least $10 million of Public Liability

However if you have come to the conclusion that your home is your biggest investment and you want to maintain your home to peak value then please phone Whywait Plumbing provided you want the work undertaken legally and compliantly with Australian WaterMark approved materials and highly skilled licensed plumbers who guarantee their work.

Please don’t phone us and ask for free quotes or free advice over the phone as no professional plumber can give you a price over the phone without an on-site diagnosis. Believe me, every plumbing installation is a one-off no matter how similar they appear.

Just remember if you use the cheap meeting the standard market price plumber ask to visually to see their plumbing license and their contractor’s license as they are required to carry them with them by law. In the end, these licenses are put in place by the Queensland Government for your protection, not for the plumber’s protection.

If you want cheap plumbing or free plumbing estimates or discount to meet the market pricing please do both of us a favour and save each others time by calling someone else.

 

By Gary Mays

Fear of Bunnings and Masters

Fear of Bunnings and Masters getting too strong was brought home to me when attending the World Plumbing Council meetings and Singapore International Water Week in Singapore in July 2014. A question that many Australians are starting to ask is should we fear letting Bunnings and Masters getting too strong?

This was the first time I have attended a World Plumbing Council meeting and was doing so as an individual member plus as an observer from Master Plumbers & Mechanical Services Association of Australia, (MPMSAA).

For me personally, the overwhelming impression after two days was the commonality of issues worldwide. Countries such as India and China admire and would love to have:

  • our professional plumbing standards and laws
  • our training regime inclusive of apprenticeships
  • our licensing of not only plumbing companies but individual plumbers
  • our regulation of all things regarding plumbing, drainage and gas fitting
  • our product regulation and safety whereas all plumbing products must be WaterMark certified

In an equally perverse way countries such as Australia, UK, USA and Canada are deeply concerned about a trend in all jurisdictions that are essentially dumbing down the plumbing industry with the common thread being:

  • reducing training standards
  • deregulating or removing licensing
  • reducing downward regulation standards
  • tolerating more and more DIY plumbing
  • reducing or eliminating product regulation

Unfortunately, in Australia, we take plumbing for granted because our high standards, training, regulations and enforcement of laws mean that unlike many other developing countries people simply do not die from poorly installed plumbing in Australia.

In many countries, strong plumbing regulations have made the world a much safer place. But with that safe environment that plumbing has created has come complacency to the degree that we only appreciate plumbing when we don’t have it.

In the USA this complacency has been capitalised on by large corporations who have built large hardware box store warehouses importing product from all around the world. They have lead the charge to dumb down plumbing standards so they can sell more plumbing products to the public at a much higher profit.

In Australia, we see the emergence of this same pattern lead by Bunnings (Coles) and Masters (Woolworths).

In Australia, much of the reduction in standards is trumpeted by politicians as a reduction in red tape, but in reality, it’s removing public health standards that have protected the general population for 150 years.

Acutely merely reducing public health standards is not a reduction in red tape but the caving in of bureaucrats and politicians to lobbyists who convince them our laws and regulations are too strong and are too restrictive.

Already you see Bunnings adopting the American models of offering full supply and installation of product squeezing the margins of manufacturers and plumbers to the absolute limit and advertising the following ….”gas and electric hot water systems. From just $249* we will arrange your standard installation for you, and if you need an emergency replacement system, we will also organise that to be installed.”

It is utterly impossible to legally and compliantly replace an existing hot water system for $249 (or what is, in reality, $226 exclusive of GST), and Bunnings know it, which is why they have the asterisk after the price which states…. “*Additional costs do apply beyond standard installation. For information on licensing, please view details here.” If you click on those links, it leads you to download a three-page document which is full of exclusions. Very simply the $249 price is entirely false but is designed to get you to buy from Bunnings without checking the details.

After listening to the issues raised by delegates from USA and Canada, we have much to fear if we let Bunnings and Masters get too strong. Already we have seen the effects in the continuous limit of choice in supermarkets, and now we are on the verge of seeing it in the hardware industry. Imagine an Australia where Bunnings and Masters control the plumbing industry:

  • DIY is rampant leading to lower house prices and higher insurance policy costs
  • fewer skilled jobs leading to fewer apprenticeships
  • licensed plumbers working at subsistence levels based on rates decided by Bunnings or Masters as occurs in the USA where a journeyman plumber in LA is paid $20000 a year
  • limited choice of product
  • no Australian manufacturing further decreasing career choice and leading to increasing unemployment

We need to ensure politicians understand the implications of dumbing down plumbing because the SARS outbreak and the current Ebola virus are a warning of what faulty plumbing can create. Virus’ are every changing, ever mutating and as Indian and China are only too well aware that strong plumbing regulations guard your health.

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