Water Damage Insurance Claims Are Still Increasing

Water Damage Insurance Claims Are Still Increasing

Water damage insurance claims are an issue we deal with every week. We are continually called upon to deal with insurance companies or assessors on behalf of clients when they have sustained water damage to their homes.

With COVID-19 lockdowns keeping a large proportion of Australians at home, research from QBE Insurance indicates water damage insurance claims remain at high levels.

New research from QBE Insurance revealed that 77% of people who experienced water damage were home at the time of the incident, unravelling misconceptions that flooding mainly occurs when the house is unoccupied.

The QBE Insurance research statistics reveal that:

  • 77% of claimants impacted by water damage were at home for the water damage incident.
  • Burst pipes, blocked pipes, damaged roofs and old plumbing are the main water damage culprits.

According to the research, internal water damage is typical, with 58% of survey respondents having experienced internal water damage themselves or know someone who has, or both.

This coincides with QBE claims data, which found water damage incidents account for almost a quarter (24%) of all home insurance claims. Water damage insurance claims are one of QBE’s most regular home insurance claims. An average claim is $5,000, and more severe water damage claims commonly reaching over half a million dollars.

“Preparedness and prevention are key to limiting the potential damage caused by internal water damage,” says Arron Mann, General Manager, Short Tail Claims at QBE.

“Water damage can happen whether a household member is at home or not being home more often, as many of us are right now, can increase the pressure on our plumbing and risk to our homes. However, this kind of damage can also be sudden and severe regardless of whether you’re home or not, which is why prevention and knowing what to do when something goes awry are so valuable.”

Despite 53% of research respondents saying their first response to water damage would be turning off the water main, 1 in 5 Australians (21%) don’t know where their water main is, and worryingly, 1 in 5 (18%) also don’t know how to turn it off.

The QBE research also revealed that almost 30% of Australians don’t know what home maintenance tasks can prevent water damage in their homes, with 16% not knowing that home maintenance can prevent it in the first place. Cost is also a factor, with 21% not undertaking any home maintenance because it’s too expensive, while 8% say they don’t have the time.

“Sometimes, the difference between no damage and severe damage can be in how quickly a householder responds. Yet concerningly, many people are unaware that much of this damage – and the stress and cost that comes with it – is often preventable,” says Arron Mann.

The best way to avoid water damage insurance claims is by regular maintenance from Whywait Plumbing. Now this will not prevent every possible water leak scenario from happening, but it will demonstrate to the insurance company that you have been undertaking regular maintenance if claim difficulties occur.

At Whywait Plumbing, we see instances every day of water damage that has occurred through the failure to maintain your home regularly. That is why we recommend all our clients to become a Service Partner and enjoy the VIP benefits of having a Service Partner Plan to maintain your most valuable asset, your home, proactively.

How much does a burst pipe add to your Gold Coast water bill?

How much does a burst pipe add to your Gold Coast water bill?

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 Gold Coast water is set every year as part of the budget process with the detailed current water pricing for 2021-22 available from Gold Coast Water.

What are the costs of 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:

Residential Charges Cost
Sewerage access charge per quarter

$181.03

Water access charge per quarter

$53.02

Total Access Charges per Quarter

$234.05

The usage charges per kilolitre as measured by your water meter are made up of council charges and Queensland Government charges as below:

Residential Charges Cost

City of Gold Coast water per kilolitre

$1.117

Queensland Government water per kilolitre

$3.231

Total Cost of Water per Kilolitre

$4.348

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.

Our experience is that the average water use of 451 litres or 0.451kL per property shown on Gold Coast water bills is not an accurate guide to your water use.

Most homes with more than one occupant will use 1-2 kL every day. However, 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 and alert you to a potential water leak.

The actual cost of water dripping from a tap

What will cause your water usage charges to blow out is having leaking water that you are unaware of. 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 practical purpose.

If we translate the litres wasted to the cost of water, then the numbers become real very quickly.

Cost of a Dripping Tap at 1 drip per second Residential Cost at $4.348 per kL or 1000 litres Business Cost at $8.909 per kL or 1000 litres

1.66 litres per hour

$0.007

$0.015

40 litres per day

$0.174

$0.356

280 litres per week

$1.217

$2.495

1214 litres per month

$5.278

$10.816

14560 litres per year

$63.307

$129.715

The actual cost of a leaking underground water main

You can visually see a dripping tap or running toilet, 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 accurate average for any leaking water main supply pipe because it depends on the type of break in the pipe, what the pipe size is and what the incoming water pressure is.

Recently we had a client with a small leak where we have 24/7 electronic water monitoring installed that is leaking on average of 45 litres per hour, so we use that as a basis for what leaking water main will cost on a Gold Coast water bill.

Cost of a leaking underground water main at 45 litres per hour Residential Cost at $4.348 per kL or 1000 litres Business Cost at $8.909 per kL or 1000 litres
45 litres per hour

$0.196

$0.401

1080 litres per day

$4.696

$9.622

7560 litres per week

$32.87

$67.352

33480 litres per month

$145.57

$298.731

401760 litres per year

$1746.85

$3579.280

A water leak at 45 litres per minute is only a relatively small leak in larger pipes. It is unlikely to show up as bubbling at 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 an easier task to locate a leak. However, unless you have an AquaTrip installed or use our 24/7 water monitoring service, you will still pay for a large amount of lost water before you become aware of the water leak.

If you think you have a water leak contact us because every litre that you lose is costing you $0.004348 for residential properties or $0.008909 for businesses on your Gold Coast water bill. If you naively feel that is inconsequential, we have just rectified a leak for a commercial business client in a 50mm underground polypipe water main that was leaking 106 kL every day, which is 106000 litres every 24 hours. This leak cost $944.354 every day.

Your plumbing hates you! All homeowners find this out eventually

Your plumbing hates you! All homeowners find this out eventually

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.

sewer drains at Southport Sharks installed by Whywait Plumbing illustrate why your plumbing hates you
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 (ABCB).

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
your plumbing hates you until Whywait Plumbing repair the drain

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.

service partner plan from Whywait Plumbing
Whywait Plumbing are Master Plumbers
Christmas Emergency Plumber Gold Coast

Christmas Emergency Plumber Gold Coast

Blocked drains or a blocked toilet are a Christmas nightmare

Christmas and New Year holiday emergency plumbing services on the Gold Coast have always been a priority service that Whywait Plumbing Services has guaranteed to provide 24/7.

We have our licensed plumbers ready to respond RIGHT NOW if you are experiencing any plumbing, drainage or gas emergency.

For the plumbers at Whywait Plumbing the traditional Christmas and New Year holiday period results in attending more blocked toilets, blocked kitchen sinks, blocked showers and blocked drains than any other time of the year. 

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

“how much is this going to cost?”

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

Gary Mays

Gary Mays

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.

David James

David James

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.

Nathan Parrish

Nathan Parrish

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.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU TODAY?

Trouble shooting why do I not have hot water

Trouble shooting why do I not have hot water

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:

M1 SCOPE
This Appendix provides guidelines for the operation and maintenance of a heated water system.
M2 GENERAL
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

why do I have no hot water so call Whywait PlumbingBelow 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

DIY warning

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.

Gold Coast Leaking Roof Repairs

Gold Coast Leaking Roof Repairs

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

gold coast leaking roof with heavy rain pouring from gutters repaired by Whywait Plumbing

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.

gold coast leaking roof repairs from Whywait plumbing servicesWhat 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.

Call Now ButtonCALL NOW