Your plumbing hates you! It’s a fact.
Your plumbing hates you because you show no respect for your plumbing systems. You routinely do hideously disgusting things to it, with it and into it.
You routinely ignore the needs of your plumbing systems to be given some tender loving care. You just assume your plumbing will always work for you as you desire.
Your plumbing literally sees you at your worst. As a consequence, it’s always plotting revenge on you. Those gurgling sounds you sometimes hear when you flush the toilet is your plumbing waiting for the right moment to strike back in revenge.
The favourite time for your plumbing to strike back with a lethal attack is at Christmas or Easter when plumbers are scarce and have to charge expensive call-out rates.
That gurgling sound you hear when you flush the toilet is liquid evil
The most mistreated plumbing fixtures in any home are the toilet and kitchen sink. The toilet is the most abused plumbing fixture as it’s considered a receptacle to dispose of anything and everything.
Describing gurgling sounds as liquid evil is a perfect description. The photo below illustrates perfectly why paper towels should not be thrown into the toilet.
Paper towels as you can see are not designed to be flushed down a toilet. Paper towels are not designed to enter your sewer drains. If you choose to flush paper towels into your toilet the photo below perfectly illustrates why your plumbing hates you.
As you can see the plumbing systems had the ultimate revenge for the lack of respect. In this instant, the paper towels work their way through to the manhole and blocked the entire sewer drainage system.
The paper towels will frequently block your toilet pan but they can flush through into the sewer drain where they will slowly go down the drain until they jam against a junction or a point where flow is restricted such as in a manhole.
From there on the whole plumbing system will grind to a halt as the water from every drainage point in your house fills up the sewer drains.
Foreign objects that cause a blocked toilet are flushable wipes, 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.
Gurgling drains don’t clear themselves ever!
If your main sewer drains block, it doesn’t take long for your homes toilets and internal drains to begin to back up.
Hopefully, your overflow relief gully works correctly, and the sewage overflows into your garden rather than inside your house. Either way, it’s messy and yucky having to clean up sewage that has overflowed.
Blocked drains, whether backed up or overflowing, are not only inconvenient but can also pose a risk to your health.
Gurgling drains, smelly drains or slow draining sinks are all signs that your blocked drains need urgent attention.
Plumbing problems are confronting
Solving plumbing problems can be a challenge for us as plumbers and you as a client. The reality is solving plumbing problems takes time, patience and, above all, experience.
Google searches do not make you into an instant plumber. In our experience, a Google diagnosis is generally wrong.
Regretfully many people associate plumbers with unpleasant events that they have experienced with their plumbing, such as a burst pipe or overflowing sewage that flooded their house.
Due to the emergency type situations that most people call a plumber out for, 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 which seldom solves the problem.
Your plumbing hates you since you have a lot of plumbing infrastructure
Bear in mind you have considerable plumbing infrastructure that is out of sight and consequently out of mind. That is until it stops functioning.
The reality is 90% of your plumbing infrastructure is concealed in walls, under your floor, in your roof space or underground outside.
Below the photo of sewer drains, we installed at Southport Sharks illustrates what we face as plumbers when diagnosing your plumbing problems.
The sewer drains inside your house under the floor once installed are inaccessible as they are covered by concrete. To repair the drains is a significant cost in just accessing them coupled with rectification and then replacing the concrete.
Maintaining your plumbing infrastructure is an investment. In our experience, most unforeseen problems with your plumbing originate from when your home was originally constructed. As I’ve said many times these days, in reality, all buildings are constructed to a cost, not to the legal, regulatory standards of the National Construction Code
(NCC) administered by the Australian Building Codes Board
The photo below illustrates how much work we have undertaken to repair broken sewer drains under your concrete floor. In this instance the work required was:
locate by CCTV drain camera the exact location of the broken pipes
cut the concrete slab with a quick-cut demolition saw
remove the slabs of concrete and dispose of off-site
excavate by hand to expose the sewer drain pipes
cut and remove the broken and crushed sections of the PVC sewer drain
install new PVC pipes with flexible joints
test the drain to ensure there were no leaks and it was fully functional
backfill and compact the excavation
drill into the concrete slab to install reinforcing steel to tie the replacement concrete to the existing slab
install a replacement concrete slab
Concealed plumbing infrastructure will always be expensive to repair
We understand how you can feel that your plumbing hates you when we have to undertake major work to repair plumbing infrastructure that is concealed in walls or under your concrete floor.
From our perspective, we know we are delivering bad news that you don’t want to hear. The frustrating thing is that you frequently don’t see all the work that goes into repairing a broken sewer drain as by the time we are finished there is literally nothing to see. The video below illustrates perfectly the repairs we undertook on a drain under a 50 year old stone wall and when completed you would never have known we had been there.
Proactive prevention is preferable to a reactive emergency
There will always be unplanned plumbing emergencies that you can never foresee. That is a simple fact of life.
But proactive preventative maintenance can eliminate the majority of potential plumbing emergencies.
This is why we recommend our Service Partner Plan© to all our clients. The annual audit is focused on locating potential problems before they occur.
Enquire today how you can simply be signed up to get extra benefits and service advantages in managing your properties plumbing, drainage, roofing and gas infrastructure.
Water hammer or banging pipes are differing faults with your water reticulation system.
In theory, you should never hear the sound of water moving through your hot or cold water pipes. All you should ever hear is the water flow from the tap or fixture in the room it’s installed in.
Essentially water hammer is a shock wave created inside your piping.
What causes water hammer?
Plumbing is essentially the movement of water through pipes. It, therefore, has the potential to be noise creating and create what is referred to as water hammer.
Water hammer that is noticeable occurs with copper water pipes. But plastic water pipes also suffer from water hammer, and it’s just harder to hear it.
Water hammer audible noise in copper pipes is generated primarily by:
High water pressure
Quick closing mixer taps
Quick closing solenoid valves
Faulty or worn brass seats in taps
Broken tap washers
Airlocks in pipes
Shock waves in pipes
There are four very common noise complaints with water pipe reticulation systems being:
Sharp banging or hammering sounds coming from pipes
A series of loud bangs when the washing machine or dishwasher is in operation
A loud bang from a valve or tap
Audible ticking sounds that diminish after the tap is turned on
An intense banging or hammering is a result of faulty valves, defective mixer taps, defective solenoid valves, broken taps or broken tap washers or poor clipping of pipes.
A series of loud bangs while you are using the washing machine or dishwasher is caused by the instantaneous opening and closing of the solenoid valves in the machine as it traverses through its cycle.
Excessive water pressure can accentuate all of these causes as water pressure legally cannot exceed 500kPa inside the building.
The ticking sound can build up then diminish and are in fact the sounds generated by pipe expansion. This is caused by the pipe heating up when the hot tap is turned on as the hot water replaces the cold water and then cools down.
Water hammer is a shock wave
Water hammer will occur much more if your pressure is excessive. The common causes of water hammer are quick closing mixer taps or solenoid valves on washing machines and dishwashers.
In the picture above the shock wave is generated at the face of a quick closing mixer tap because the flow of water moving under pressure is stopped suddenly by the instant turning off of the mixer tap. The shock wave then ricochets back from the face of the mixer tap cartridge, through the stationary water in the pipe. The shock-wave creates enormous pressure moving at 1280 meters per second through the pipe.
This same effect is replicated more intensely by the solenoid valves in your washing machine and dishwasher as unlike mixer taps they instantly open and shut as you machine moves through cycles.
Water hammer is an early warning alert
All of the sounds or the audible noise commonly referred to as water hammer tend to be highlighted in copper water pipes. Water hammer still exists in plastic piping systems, but it is diminished significantly as the plastic pipe absorbs the sounds.
Your plumbing reticulation pipes, taps, valves and appliances are all susceptible to damage caused by the impact of shock waves even if you hear no noise.
The noise is essentially an early warning system telling you to rectify the problem before damage occurs.
Water hammer is avoidable
Water hammer is avoidable and can be rectified regardless of whether you have copper or plastic water reticulation piping.
Banging or noisy pipes usually occur when the water reticulation pipes have not been clipped correctly as per AS/NZS 3500.1 : 2018 when the house was originally constructed. This can be much more challenging to rectify compared to water hammer.
To prevent damage to plumbing pipes, taps, fixtures, hot water valves and appliances both the noise element and shock wave element of water hammer need to be eliminated.
The noise element is auditory. The loud bang of water hammer when you turn off a tap or your washing machine is running alerts you to water hammer problems. Without the noise, there will be no indication of a problem until the damage is caused or your home is flooded by a burst flexihose or appliance hose.
The elimination of the water hammer eliminates the shock waves which impose undesirable stresses on reticulation pipes, flexihoses and appliances.
Why do I not have hot water?
May, June and July are the coldest months on the Gold Coast, and no-one wants to start the day with a cold shower in winter. Unluckily for some clients of Whywait Plumbing who are not Service Partners it is in these months they go to the shower and question why do I not have hot water?
Unfortunately, hot water systems are a case of out of sight out of mind. Continually where hot water systems are concerned, there were warning signs that there was a problem. Over the summer months, hot water problems are overlooked as the demand for higher temperature; hot water is not a critical consideration.
Several warning bulletins in Queensland have been issued by the QBCC and Queensland Health advising homeowners that their hot water systems need to be maintained and serviced frequently.
AS/NZS 3500.4:2018 Heated Water Services
The Australian standard that all hot water installation is based around is AS/NZS 3500.4:2018 Heated water services that are an integral part of the National Construction Code of Australia issued by the Australian Building Codes Board and it is all legal requirements in Queensland.
In AS/NZS 3500.4:2018 there is Appendix M which provides guidelines for the operation and maintenance of your hot water system which is below:
This Appendix provides guidelines for the operation and maintenance of a heated water system.
In order to ensure maximum performance and length of operation, water heaters should be inspected periodically.
M3 MAINTENANCE OF HEATED WATER SERVICES
Heated water services should be maintained in accordance with the following:
(a) Water treatment units: Where installed, water treatment units should be inspected periodically to ensure proper operation.
(b) Water vessels and tanks: All vessels and tanks should be inspected and cleaned periodically, and in accordance with any requirements of the regulatory authority.
NOTE: The frequency of periodic cleaning depends upon the quality of the supply water, design, materials of construction and the pipe system. Combinations of materials giving rise to corrosion should be avoided.
(c) Valves: The following valves should be inspected periodically to ensure proper operation:
(i) Temperature/pressure-relief valves.
(ii) Expansion control valves.
(iii) Thermostatic mixing valves.
(iv) Tempering valves.
(v) Other associated valves/devices.
(d) The requirements of AS/NZS 3666.2, where applicable.
Common reasons for why do I not have hot water
Below are listed the most common reasons we attend to clients jobs who call up to as why do I not have hot water? Listed are elementary troubleshooting ideas that you can undertake yourself to resolve or understand why your hot water is cold:
- blown fuse or circuit breaker – replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker and if it blows again it’s probable there is a fault with your element or thermostat, and you need to call Whywait out to repair
- Energex relay switch failure – this is not the easiest to detect but if you are on off-peak rates and there are no obvious electrical faults or water leaks then its worth a phone call to your energy supplier to check whether the relay switch has failed to activate in your area
- defective relief valve – most relief valves on the side of the HWS only have a life span of around 3-5 years. Still, they can jam open so first check if you see water running from it by pulling the lever up and then easing back down again. If water continues to run then you need to call Whywait out to service the unit
- no water at all – this is when you wake up turn the tap on and cold water flows, but there is no flow from the hot water. Frequently this a failure of the non-return or isolating valve and a quick way to check is to turn the handle on the valve all the way off and then all the way back on. In many cases, the hot water will simply begin to flow again. However, if there is still no flow you need to call Whywait out for repairs
- water fluctuation from hot to cold – there are several reasons for this occurring, but the most common is a faulty tempering valve. There is nothing you can do to solve fluctuation other than call Whywait and read our information on tempering valves
- water leaking from hot water tank – there is only a maximum of 7 possible points on an HWS tank where there are joints that can possibly leak. Only 2 of those are concealed in the housing so if the water is leaking from the tank and its not from the visible water connections you need to call Whywait for service to check the HWS. In all likelihood, if the hot water tank is more than ten years old then its a 50/50 chance you need a new one installed
The above reasons are the most common problems you will experience with why do I not have hot water. As you can see above, there are only a few simple DIY solutions when you have no hot water.
A word of warning though. Please never open up the housing near the bottom of the tank where the electrical connections are as they are all live wires inside there and therefore very, very dangerous.
Whether you have a solar, heat pump, gas or electric hot water system they do need periodic maintenance so for all hot water problems call Whywait Plumbing now on (07) 5580 4311 as we guarantee a same-day rapid response for hot water problems.
What do you do when your roof is leaking?
A Gold Coast leaking roof is common as our weather is notorious for extreme rain events. Summer storms are the most likely time you may experience a leaking roof. Heavy rain accompanied by strong winds can create the scenario for a roof leak that cannot be replicated. Like all plumbing problems, a leaking roof will not go away.
Signs that you have a leaking roof
heavy rain causing gutters to overflow can create a Gold Coast leaking roof especially if you also have blocked stormwater drains
A leaking roof does not always show up when the rain is pouring down. Obviously, the water inundation occurs during the storm, but signs of the roof leak can show up much later.
Water dripping through the light fittings or a crack in the ceiling creating a wet patch is a visible sign you have a Gold Coast leaking roof. Some of the obvious signs that you have a leaking roof are:
- water drips occur while it is raining or shortly after the rain stops
- water is running down interior walls
- the water drops will be a dirty brown colour resulting in dirty wet stains on gyprock ceilings
- your gyprock ceiling develops a bulge
- gyprock ceilings or walls become mouldy
- ceiling insulation is wet
Water damage from a roof leak
A Gold Coast leaking roof is an unwanted water feature that can create multiple hazards in your home or business premises that include:
- damage to the timber trusses that hold your roof up
- bulging to the gyprock ceiling that can result in it falling down in sections that are inundated with rainwater
- damaged roof insulation
- damage to electric lights and wiring
- create a breeding ground for mosquitos
Health risks from a leaking roof
An obvious risk from any water leak is the occurrence of mould and mildew. An intermittent roof leak that creates dampness is more likely to create the perfect breeding ground for mould in carpet and gyprock.
Mould spores from wet carpet, gyprock ceilings and walls can transfer quickly via air conditioning that can cause respiratory issues for everyone who comes in contact.
What you should do if your roof starts leaking
A roof leak that suddenly occurs as a result of storm damage will usually take you by surprise. The first thing to do if you experience a sudden roof leak during a storm is to move furniture, electrical appliances and any valuable personal belongings away from the leak area. If you cannot transfer your furniture, try to cover it.
Once you have moved your personal belongings, try to put a bucket under the water drip to contain the mess from the dripping water. Having further buckets is a necessity so you can empty the buckets. If the water is spreading use towels to contain it and try mopping the area to soak up as much water as possible.
How to repair a Gold Coast leaking roof
A roof leak needs to be investigated and repaired as soon as you become aware of it. Roofing repairs are not DIY jobs and squeezing silicon all over a roof achieves very little. A roof can be a dangerous place with falls from roofs by DIY warriors accounting for a large number of hospital admissions.
There are no quick fixes with a leaking roof. A leaking roof can be leaking in more than one place, and it is a process of elimination to solve the roof leak. You need to be aware that your house insurance will cover you for storm damage. However, if the water damage is attributed to your negligence due to you ignoring a previous leaking roof, there is a strong possibility they will reject your insurance claim.
Whywait Plumbing is Gold Coast leaking roof specialists. Our plumbing technicians have experienced most leaking roof issues and will ensure your roof is inspected and repaired before the water damage becomes worse.
Call us today on (07) 5580 4311 to organise for a fully licensed Whywait Plumbing roof leak expert to inspect your roof.
Google Plumbing & Dr Google are both like your drunk friend – dramatic & unreliable.
Google Plumbing has no Queensland plumbing licence issued by the QBCC. Likewise, Dr Google has no registration as a medical practitioner issued by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to ensure the delivery of safe and competent health services.
As good as Google can be for searching everything and anything I guarantee no-one at Google ever completed a plumbing apprenticeship or a medical degree or an electrical apprenticeship.
I was chatting with my GP recently, and she voiced her frustrations with patients that Google their symptoms and then make an appointment to see her. Almost invariably, Dr Google is wrong. Usually, the patient has typed in symptoms that frequently give an utterly incorrect diagnosis of multiple possible ailments. She said even more frustrating is that she then spends most of the appointment convincing them Dr Google was wrong.
She was so happy when I told her as plumbers we go through exactly the same issues daily. Everyone I know that is in a service industry that has a consumer focus has the same problems and frustrations of being an instant expert thanks to Dr Google or Google Plumbing or Google Electrical.
We all agree Google is excellent, especially for product searches. But when you are in business, it can also be incredibly frustrating when clients tell you they have Googled the problem and you are wrong. Ultimately for doctors or plumbers or electricians, all we can do is diagnose the issues based on the information presented and go through a process of elimination of possible causes.
The headline above comparing Dr Google to a drunk friend I just had to adapt and use after I saw it in a column by Tony Shepherd of The Adelaide Advertiser just after discussing Dr Google with my GP. I must admit it amused me as the description is perfect – dramatic and unreliable. You can read the full column by clicking here as it is a great read. The first lines are “Cyberchondriacs, step away from the search engine. Online symptom checkers are almost always wrong and should never replace a real medical professional, writes Tory Shepherd.”
This advice equally applies to plumbing because it can be difficult enough to diagnose plumbing problems when on site let alone on a computer or over the phone. As I continually reiterate no professional plumber can diagnose issues over the phone or give you an accurate price. There is only one way to diagnose plumbing problems, and that’s by having a real plumber on-site to investigate. Even then, complex issues become a process of elimination.
From the plumbing and ultimately health perspective, the most frightening issue we’ve seen with COVID-19 is all of the online suggestions on DIY installations of bidet seats and douche sprays. Google searches during the “toilet paper crisis” increased tenfold for bidet seats due to multiple social media posts and newspaper articles on so-called alternate toileting devices. Google will only ever give you generalised answers that are tailored to you as Google tracks you online with artificial intelligence.
Tony Shepherd correctly points out – “Maybe it’s best to think of Google not as a medical professional but as Librarian Google, who holds plenty of information and might be able to help you find it, but might also be miffed at the amount of noise you make so just points you in the general direction of some stuff.”
My favourite lines after that are – “Or Friend Google who, after three champagnes, will tell you everything’s going to be great, but at 2 am starts crying into their whisky about how you’re going to die.”
Those lines above sum up precisely the daily frustrations that so many consumer-focused service businesses experience. The old saying about computers of rubbish in, rubbish out is correct. The flawed Google searches of an inexperience person create multiple issues as nonsense input into a Google search will guarantee nonsense results.
Ultimately Google is a tool or research assistant that can help you put things together in a logical manner or can throw a real spanner in the works. A Google search cannot replace a doctor or an electrician or a plumber, no matter how good Google artificial intelligence is.
Your Gold Coast water bill issued by the City of Gold Coast as a Water and Sewerage Rate Notice arrives every three months. Currently, every water meter is manually read every three months with your Gold Coast water bill coming soon after. The cost of water is set every year as part of the budget process with the detailed current water pricing for 2020-21 available from Gold Coast Water.
What are the costs on your Gold Coast water bill?
For most homeowners who use around the average daily water usage of 451 litres, the highest costs in the quarterly Gold Coast water bill are their sewerage and water access service charges. If you look closely at your water bill you can see that you have the following access charges:
|Sewerage access charge per quarter
|Water access charge per quarter
|Total Access Charges per Quarter
The usage charges per kilolitre as measured by your water meter are made up of council charges and Queensland Government charges as below:
City of Gold Coast water per kilolitre
|Queensland Government water per kilolitre
|Total Cost of Water per Kilolitre
In reality, even if you did not use one drop of water, you would still pay for water and sewerage access service charges of $234.05 every quarter or $936.20 every year.
In our experience, the average water use of 451 litres or 0.451kL per property is not an accurate guide to your water use. 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.
The real cost of water dripping from a tap
What will cause your usage charges to blow out is having leaking water. Leaking taps and toilets are frequently overlooked and put off to another day. A dripping tap that drips one drop every second will use 40 litres of water a day. The reality is that it becomes 280 litres a week and then 1214 litres a month and then 14560 litres a year. This is all water charged for on your Gold Coast water bill that you never utilised for any useful purpose.
If we translate the litres wasted to the cost of water, then the numbers become real.
|Cost of a Dripping Tap at 1 drip per second
||Residential Cost at $4.212 per kL or 1000 litres
||Business Cost at $8.662 per kL or 1000 litres
1.66 litres per hour
|40 litres per day
|280 litres per week
|1214 litres per month
|14560 litres per year
The real cost of a leaking underground water main
A dripping tap or running toilet you can visually sight but the real killer to your Gold Coast water bill is your underground water main pipe leaking. For residential users, these are usually leaking polypipe water mains that were never installed correctly when the house was built. Only occasionally is a water leak apparent and bubbling to the ground. Most of the time they are a silent Gold Coast water bill killer leaking 24/7 undetected.
There is no real average for any leaking water main because it depends on the type of break in the pipe and what the incoming water pressure is. Currently, we have a small leak where we have water monitoring installed that is leaking on average of 44 litres per hour, so we use that as a basis for what a leaking water main will cost on a Gold Coast water bill.
|Cost of a leaking underground water main at 44 litres per hour
||Residential Cost at $4.212 per kL or 1000 litres
||Business Cost at $8.662 per kL or 1000 litres
|44 litres per hour
|528 litres per day
|3696 litres per week
|16016 litres per month
|192192 litres per year
A leak at 44 litres per minute is only a small leak. It is highly unlikely to show up bubbling to the ground unless it is directly under the grass in a shallow trench. Even looking at your water meter, it will not be evident unless you are testing your water use at the meter by checking for a water leak.
How much does a leak cost per litre
We have always recommended that you test your water usage through your water meter every month. By having comparable figures, you will soon ascertain whether you have a leaking pipe.
We have always recommended that you install an AquaTrip water leak detection system after your water meter. An AquaTrip Water Leak detection system with an integrated automatic shutoff valve supplied and installed by Whywait Plumbing is a permanently installed leak detection protection system that quietly protects against leaks 24/7. It is a one time only insurance payment.
With our modern leak detection methods, it’s a much easier job to find a leak but unless you have an AquaTrip installed or use our water monitoring service you will still pay for a lot of lost water before you become aware of the leak.
If you think you have a leak contact us because every litre that you lose is costing you $0.004212 for residential properties or $0.008662 for businesses on your Gold Coast water bill. If you believe that is inconsequential, we have just rectified a leak for a business client that was in a 40mm underground pipe that was leaking 96 kL every day, which is 96000 litres every 24 hours. This leak was costing $831.55 every day.