More and more Gold Coast plumbing businesses are advertising that they have no call out fee or a $0 call out fee. The perception this creates is that you are getting something for free as they will be cheaper. Of course, perception is never reality as no business can work for free. Let’s face it would you go to work for free?
Let’s face it, would you work for free?
Call Out Fees Ensure All Costs Are Transparent
Legitimate, professional plumbing businesses charge a call out fee because it costs from $50 – $150 just to arrive at your door. A call out fee is there to cover the expense to reach your home. This is because employees are still paid for driving to your home plus there is the running cost of the vehicle and all the other costs that never stop in running a business. Simply the call out fee helps cover costs, it’s not a profit centre nor could any plumber live off a call out fee.
Reality is that if a plumber is not charging you a call out fee then they are going to charge you the cost in coming to your home somewhere else.
The reality is that if a plumber is NOT charging a call out fee then the cost is coming from somewhere else…namely the fee they charge for a job.
Advertising a $0 call out fee or no call out fee is purely playing with words. It is a tactic to get you to call them because they know once they are at your home you are unlikely to send them away because you just want the plumbing work done.
There are four separate tasks involved in undertaking a plumbing repair:
- coming to your home
- inspecting the reported plumbing problem
- diagnosing the possible multitude of possibilities for what is causing the problem
- undertaking the repairs
No Call Out Fee Is Simply Playing Word Games
The splitting of costs into the above cost centres is sensible and transparent because every cost has to be paid for. There is no cost advantage to you if you pay no call out fee but are then charged $155.00 to inspect the blocked toilet and then be told that you have what you already knew that the toilet is blocked and the cost to unblock the drain is $660! Its just semantics and word games to get you to call them because you saw the word FREE.
Remember if something is FREE, it has no value to the business offering it nor to the consumer receiving it. Two old sayings apply when considering using a company that advertises no call out fee:
- there is no such thing as a free lunch
- you get what you pay for
At Whywait Plumbing we charge a call out fee and offer an upfront fixed price guarantee. There is no game playing, our customers are always informed and there are no hidden costs or nasty surprises.
A burst flexi hose is a job we attend to almost every day. In all likelihood, you will have multiple flexi hoses in your home. They will exist commonly in both residential and commercial buildings under the kitchen sink, under the bathroom vanity basins, under the toilet cistern and under the laundry tub. Invariably when we attend to a burst flexi hose it has been damaged during installation causing kinking and has further experienced corrosion. Almost always the burst flexi hose was a time bomb waiting to happen. The braided stainless steel “simple to install” flexi hose has over the last 10 years replaced copper pipe connections to taps and toilet cisterns. Unfortunately, the braided stainless steel flexi hose has not lived up to expectations and delivered on the rust protection anticipated. In our experience, a burst flexi hose is caused by:
- incorrect installation with multiple kinks in the braided stainless steel
- stretching of the flexi hose to make the connection fit
- chemical attack from household cleaners
All of the above can create the perfect storm scenario in causing the braided stainless steel to corrode and rust. It then is just a matter of time until the stainless steel braiding fails which allows for the inner liner to burst. Here at Whywait Plumbing, we are now installing a polyamide hi class water hooker from Abey Australia which is the most technologically advanced flexi hose we have seen come onto the market. The Abey polyamide hi class water hooker cannot rust or corrode as it uses polyamide braiding that is similar to the Kevlar used in bulletproof vests. The connectors are manufactured from brass alloy so the entire flexihose will never rust even if its continually in contact with chemicals such as chlorine.
We are confident you will never experience a burst flexi hose once we install the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker as they literally cannot rust and cannot kink but best of all they come with a 15-year rust resistant warranty. Kinking is often the cause of a burst flexi hose but cannot occur with the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker. Kinking is simply poor installation as a result of over tightening the connector which twists the stainless steel braided hose. This over tightening creates pressure and tension in the braiding which frequently results in the inner liner bursting through the braiding and rupturing. The Abey polyamide hi class water hooker has a simple design to ensure that it is anti-kink. When we install the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker we are able to use two spanners to counteract any twisting that results in kinking.
Most of the flexi hoses currently used have an inner lining manufactured from EPDM which has the potential to absorb and release harmful chemicals such as chlorine into your drinking water. This ability to absorb chemicals also results in a potential burst flexi hose. With the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker the inner lining is manufactured from Softpex Core. The Softpex Core inner liner gives a superior mechanical performance to EPDM guaranteeing a longer life due to its higher tensile strength, higher abrasion resistance, higher working water pressure and non-corrosiveness. The extensive age/stress testing undertaken resulted in an amazing 0% failure rate.
We strongly recommend that you get us to check your flexi hoses every year for rust and/or corrosion and that they are replaced every five years. This will give you the peace of mind in knowing that the flexi hose in your home or business is not rusting and about to explode releasing water at 25 litres every minute that it flows. Rust is the #1 enemy of a braided stainless flexi hose.
When we replace your existing stainless steel flexi hoses with the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker we guarantee you will get:
- superior strength and corrosion resistance
- tested and WaterMark approved for use in Australia
- superior tensile strength
- superior working water pressure
- a superior mechanical performance with the Softpex core inner liner
- a 15-year rust resistant warranty from the manufacturer
As always we must caution you that installing or replacing a flexi hose is not a legally compliant DIY installation and under Queensland law must be done by a licensed plumber. You need to be aware that undertaking a DIY installation has the likelihood of making your insurance coverage null and void and the manufacturer’s warranty null and void if the flexi hose bursts and causes damage. Don’t wait for the ticking time bomb of your existing stainless steel braided flexi hoses to strike! Call us now to get us to upgrade you to the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker.
With owning and operating a 24/7 plumbing company answering after hours calls about a plumbing emergency is something we are used to.
In the many plumbing emergency calls we have taken over the years, the two most common reasons for calling after hours are either a burst water pipe causing flooding inside the house or a blocked drain causing waste to back up and spill over, usually outside but on occasions within the home.
Not only are these situations distressing but they have the potential to cause substantial damage to the home in a short period of time. Knowing what to do in a plumbing emergency not only allows the situation to be handled calmly but enables you to quickly make it safe and minimise damage to the property.
Here at Whywait Plumbing we recommend that all adults residing in a household should at a bare minimum know:
- Where the main water isolation valve for the property is located.
- How to turn off the water at the water meter or isolation valve (usually located in a turf box on the property boundary).
- How to turn off the water at the hot water service.
- How to isolate the power to the house at the meter board.
Let’s take a closer look at some plumbing emergencies
In our 40 plus years as local Gold Coast plumbers, we have found that burst pipes are likely to cause the most damage to a property especially if they happen at night or when you are away from the property. We have seen a marked increase in the number of these incidences since braided hoses have replaced copper pipes on tapware and toilets.
When installing new tapware have isolation valves fitted at the fixture so you can quickly isolate the water should a pipe burst.
Have one of the automatic water shut off device available on the market installed.
Know where and how to turn the water of at the water meter.
Keep a wrench or shifter inside so it is handy should you need to turn the water off in a hurry.
Before going away turn off the water at the meter. If you need to leave the water on for any reason then make sure you turn off the taps to the washing machine, dishwasher, toilet cisterns and any other isolation valves to water filters, fridges or mixer taps.
Tap Won’t Turn Off
A tap that won’t turn off isn’t technically an emergency as in most instances the water can be isolated at the meter and be attended to the next day. If it’s a hot water tap that won’t turn off then it is best to isolate the water at the hot water service so that you still have cold water to the house. It is a common misconception that you can’t leave a tap running because water is expensive but in real terms with the cost of water being $3.90 per thousand litres you would need to use 42,000 litres of water overnight just to cover the fee to call out our plumber after hours.
When installing new tapware have isolation valves fitted at the fixture so you can quickly isolate the water at the fixture should a pipe burst.
Know how to turn water off to your hot water service.
Know where and how to turn the water of at the water meter.
Keep a wrench or shifter inside so it is handy should you need to turn the water off in a hurry.
Blocked & Overflowing Drains
In this day and age having fully functioning drains is something we take for granted and so when drains block it is not only inconvenient but interrupts your normal household routine.
If the drains are overflowing outside although unpleasant they are not really causing any harm to the property and is best left to be attended to in daylight. A much more distressing scenario is if they are backing up and overflowing inside which fortunately is much less common. Whilst we are always happy to come out after hours with workplace health and safety regulations we are somewhat restricted as to what equipment we can operate after hours.
Know the location on your property of the overflow relief gully to your drainage system.
If the drains are backing up inside check that the grate to the overflow relief gully is not obstructed. Remove the grate if necessary to allow waste to overflow here.
Limit the use of your plumbing.
Do not run the washing machine or dishwasher.
If necessary use the toilet but avoid flushing where possible.
Here at Whywait Plumbing we understand that not everyone wishes to or is able to deal with a plumbing emergency so our Number 1 recommendation is to have our number handy so you can contact us quickly when the need arises.
Back in September 2015 we here at Whywait Plumbing first alerted our clients in newsletters and blogs to the fact that flushable wipes were in fact not flushable. At the time we said flushable wipes are an environmental nightmare and we stand by that claim.
We have repeated over and over again that the only things that are flushable in your toilet are toilet paper, urine and faeces or if you like to adhere to the three P’s rule of pee, poo and paper.
But as we all know a multitude of products labelled as flushable wipes or wet wipes have been claimed by their manufacturers that they could be simply disposed of by flushing down the toilet.
Last Thursday the first of the ACCC prosecutions against manufacturers Pental and Kimberly-Clark Australia had a positive result in the Federal Court of Australia.
The manufacturer of White Kings flushable toilet and bathroom cleaning wipes Pental Limited and Pental Products Pty Ltd was fined $700,000 for its continual false and misleading claims that their products disintegrated “just like toilet paper” in the sewage system. The ACCC has separate ongoing proceedings against Kimberly-Clark Australia.
White Kings products in labelling, packaging and promotional materials included the following misleading statements:
- White King Toilet Wipes are made from a specially designed material, which will disintegrate in the sewage system when flushed, just like toilet paper
- Simply wipe over the hard surface of the toilet … and just flush away
The Federal Court ruled all these statements were, in fact, false with ACCC Commissioner, Sarah Court stating, “These White King wipes can’t be flushed down the toilet, and Australian wastewater authorities face significant problems if they are because they can cause blockages in household and municipal sewerage systems.”
This is a huge win for the sewers and house drains where blockages have been an ongoing issue creating $16000 plumbing repair bills for homeowners.
Here in Queensland Michelle Cull from Queensland Urban Utilities said it was a “real win” for sewers as “We remove around 160 tonnes of flushable wipes from our sewerage network every year. Laid end-to-end, that’s enough to stretch all the way from Brisbane to Bali. We spend around $1.5 million a year clearing blockages from our sewer pipes and flushable wipes are a big contributing factor.”
The campaign by Choice against flushable wipes has been an outstanding success. In 2015 Kleenex flushable wipes were an outstanding winner in their 2015 “Shonky Awards” which we highlighted in Flushable Wipes Win “Shonky Award” from CHOICE at the time.
On Thursday after the Federal Court, decision Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey reiterated that the false claims about flushable wipes were a “grubby marketing tactic that left households, local councils and water services organisations having to struggle with the cost of removing these wipes from the sewage system”.
The $700,000 fine is a positive message to manufacturers and the water industry and plumbers are now hopeful the manufacturers of wipes products now prominently label DO NOT FLUSH on all their products.
The $700,000 fine also sends a positive international message as the water industry worldwide has collectively committed to a position statement where all wipes and personal hygiene products must be clearly marked DO NOT FLUSH and that they can only be disposed of in the rubbish bin.
Here at Whywait Plumbing, we hope this $700,000 fine reinforces to everyone that any wipe product is never flushed down the toilet. I can only repeat if you wish to continue flushing wipes in all their forms down your toilet then I recommend you become a Whywait Plumbing Service Partner.
In August 2014 after a large number of issues where every other job we attended was a leaking water main, I concluded that all of them were caused by incorrect installation. In our monthly newsletter and in a blog I highlighted that negligence causes plumbing emergencies.
Since 2014 nothing has changed with polypipe leaking water main repairs being a constant source of work. The number of defective installations in new homes reinforces that a City of Gold Coast plumbing inspection is not a guarantee.
It is positive to see that the Department of Housing and Public Works issued Building And Plumbing Newsflash 558 on 13 March highlighting issues on the correct selection and installation of polyethylene (PE) pipe which is commonly called polypipe or blue line poly, used as a material for water supply installations. The QBBC also raised the matter in a blog Health and safety concerns relating to PE pipes, or ‘blue line poly’.
The issues we see every day on almost every leaking water main has been highlighted in the Newsflash with the Department stating “…..has become aware of issues associated with PE pipe including pipe leakage resulting from material splitting and holes developing in the material. Although the direct cause of these failings has not been determined, it is timely that the department issue advice on the correct selection and installation of the product.”
When installing a polypipe water main a licenced plumber must ensure that it is done so in accordance with the Plumbing Code of Australia and the referenced standard which is AS/NZS 3500.1-2015. These are not options but are law as per the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002.
The following clauses in AS/NZS 3500.1-2015 must be complied with in regard to installing any underground water main:
- Clause 2.3 Selection and Use of Materials and Products – this clause states that materials and products used in a water service shall be selected to ensure fitness for their intended purpose and goes on to list all those factors so that there is no doubt.
- Clause 5.2 Proximity to Other Services – this clause is very specific on hoe water service pipes are to be separated from any other underground services including gas or electrical and drainage pipes. The separation distances range between 100mm and 600mm depending on the size of the water service and the type of the neighbouring service. The specific requirements are laid out in clauses 5.2.1 through to 5.2.10.
- Clause 5.9 Depth of Cover – this clause once again is very specific in stating the depth at which underground pipes shall be with table 5.9 giving specific loading conditions and the minimum cover or depth which ensure the pipe is protected. In most cases the minimum depth is 300mm unless there are vehicle loading factors which then can require the pipe to be at 750mm depending on what the ground surface is.
- Clause 5.10 Bedding and Backfill – this clause is the one we see most commonly ignored on the Gold Coast and is what causes the entire leaking water main to require replacing. The clause is very specific in stating that the pipe must be surrounded entirely with a minimum of 75mm of compacted sand or fine grain soil with no hard edged object in contact with the pipe. Again very specifically it states the final backfill shall be free from rock, hard matter, organic matter and be broken up to ensure that there are no soil lumps larger than 75mm.
- Clause 5.11 Installation in Contaminated Areas – this clause states exactly what is a contaminated area and that a pipe laid in a contaminated area shall be installed in a water tight, corrosion resistant conduit.
The clauses above are quite specific on how your water main should be installed. They are specific requirements under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002. They are not options the plumber can choose to opt in and out of.
If you suffer a leaking water main and it is not installed as per the above clauses the licensed plumber installing it has done so knowing it is non-compliant and that it is reasonably foreseeable that failure and damage will occur over time. Very simply this is negligence.