A Serious Hot Water Burn Occurs in One Second From Your Shower or Bath

Perception is reality and nowhere is this truer for us at Whywait Plumbing than when dealing with the issue of hot water temperature and the possibility of a  Serious Hot Water Burn will occur in one secondserious hot water burn.

Everyone has a different perception of how hot they want their hot water whether it is for cleaning or sanitation or personal hygiene use.

Recent research in the United States from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, confirms hot water heater temperatures are too high.

In Australia, most manufacturers preset the thermostats for hot water heater temperature at 60-65 degrees. This is dangerously high for a significant proportion of homes, presenting a scald hazard particularly for young children and the elderly. This is because literally hot water burns like fire because:

At 60°C, a serious burn can happen in 1 second

At 55°C, a serious burn would take 10 seconds

At 50°C, a serious burn would happen after 5 minutes

serious hot water burn from a shower above 60°CIt is estimated a serious hot water burn causes an estimated 1,200 hospital admissions and 50 deaths per year. Young children and elderly adults have thinner skin which burns more quickly putting them at increased risk.

In Queensland, it is the law that hot water delivered to bathrooms used primarily for personal hygiene purposes be regulated by use of a tempering valve or a thermostatic mixing valve that does not exceed 50°C. This is due to the fact that in 1995 the laws were changed requiring tempering valves to be installed on:

all new homes having a hot water system installed

replacement or upgrading of an existing hot water system

or when moving an existing hot water system to a new location on the property

However, homes built before 1995 will frequently still have hot water being delivered at 70°C. It is estimated that 37% of homes still have older electric or gas heaters delivering hot water that presents a scald hazard that will cause a serious hot water burn in one second.

Frequently these homes are rental properties. Many landlords and real estate property managers are unaware that recent litigation has placed a ‘deed of care’ onus on them to ensure the safe delivery of hot water in domestic bathrooms used primarily for personal hygiene purpose.

The installation of a tempering valve is an acceptable solution to hot water scald prevention. Delivering hot water at a consistent temperature is difficult without a tempering valve. This is due to the fact that as a hot water tank is depleted through use then replenished and reheated, the water temperature will not be constant throughout the tank.

Despite a perception by many people, a hot water service thermostat is not designed to provide precise estimates of water temperature. Its purpose is to begin heating when the temperature drops below a set level and turn off when it reaches a set level. Without a tempering valve installed it is almost impossible to assess the exact temperature of hot water delivered from a tap.

The advantage of a tempering valve is that guesswork is eliminated as tempering valves are designed to blend hot and cold water to deliver mixed water at a constant temperature and thus reduce the risk of a serious hot water burn.

Unfortunately for plumbers, property managers, homeowners and property investors hot water has increasingly become a legal minefield with the duty of care provisions.

It is for this reason Whywait Plumbing recommend that you install a tempering valve and maintain it compliantly with annual testing.

The Desert Eco Adapt Cartridge Is A Non-Conforming Product

The Desert Eco Adapt Cartridge Is A Non-Conforming Product

Desert eco adapt cartridge illegally installed in ZeroFlush waterless urinals

Yet again we have come across the installation of the Desert Eco Adapt cartridge illegally installed in ZeroFlush waterless urinals at Queensland Tennis Centre.

Desert eco adapt cartridge installed in ZeroFlush waterless urinals at Queensland tennis centreWe immediately informed the facility manager that these products known as Desert Eco Adapt cartridges were a non-conforming product in a ZeroFlush waterless urinal. We further told Tennis Queensland of our responsibilities concerning reporting non-conforming products to the QBCC. This is due to recent amendments to the Queensland Building and Construction Act 1991, the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002, and the Building Act 1975 concerning non-conforming building products. These amendments came into effect on 1 November 2017. These amendments were effected through the passage and proclamation of the Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017.

Tennis Queensland immediately requested that we remove all of the Desert Eco Adapt cartridges and replace them with the compliant ZeroFlush EnviroSeal operating system.

Removal of the Desert eco adapt cartridge at Queensland Tennis Centre

Before removing the Desert Eco Adapt cartridges, we undertook a thorough inspection of the ZeroFlush urinals. This confirmed what had been reported Desert Eco Adapt cartridge are non-conforming products in all waterless urinals at Queensland tennis centrethat all were emitting sewer odours as they were a sloppy fit into the ZeroFlush stainless steel rim. The cartridges literally slipped up and out as we removed them as they were not sealing to the stainless steel rim on the housing.

As can be seen in the photo on the left despite being relatively new, there are urine stains on the Desert Eco Adapt cartridge as the rubber seal is not designed to fit ZeroFlush urinals and was not only allowing sewer odours to be emitted, but urine was leaking down the side of the cartridge rather than going through the waste outlet drain.

Desert Eco Adapt cartridge creates sewer odours as they are illegal at Queensland tennis centreThese issues can be further seen by the stains on stainless steel rim in the photo to the right. These stainless steel rims were all spotlessly clean when we serviced the urinals in December.

All of the non-conforming Desert Eco Adapt cartridges were removed, and the EnviroSeal operating systems were reinstalled along with new BioPur Wonder Wizard Tab kits after cleaning and flushing of the drains.

Desert Eco Adapt cartridge removed from Queensland Tennis Centre in ZeroFlush waterless urinalsTo the left is a photo of the five ZeroFlush ZF201 urinals after scheduled servicing and with the EnviroSeal operating systems reinstalled.

The EnviroSeal operating systems are a WaterMark approved system for ZeroFlush waterless urinals only. They were tested extensively by IAPMO R&T laboratory at 5001 East Philadelphia Street, Ontario, California 91761-2816 USA from 24/03/14 – 04/04/14. The EnviroSeal operating systems was then given WaterMark certification in Australia on 17/06/14, and it was renewed for a further three years on 07/08/15.

We were informed by Tennis Queensland’s facility manager that the Desert Eco Adapt cartridge was installed as a trial as they are significantly cheaper than the genuine ZeroFlush parts.

The Desert Eco Adapt Cartridge Is A Non-Conforming Product 3It was concerning that the facility manager also informed us that a licensed plumber had installed the Desert cartridges. It is an offence under the Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2003, Part 4 Product Certification for a licensed plumber to install non-certified and non WaterMarked products as per the clauses on the right.

Despite claims made by the Desert Eco Systems Company at http://www.desert.com.au/products/eco-adapt-advanced/ the facts are that their cartridges have no WaterMark certification for any urinal in Australia other than their own Desert No-Flush Urinal.

All plumbing products installed in buildings in Queensland have been required to have WaterMark certification since 2003 under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 and the Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2003.

The Watermark Certification scheme is administered at a national level by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). The requirements for WaterMark certification is specified in the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002.

Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017

Under the primary duty of care of the new laws being the Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017, it is an offence under the Act to supply plumbing products in Queensland that doesn’t have WaterMark certification as these products do not meet the relevant regulatory provisions.

This change is designed to reduce the likelihood of non-conforming plumbing products being installed in buildings in Queensland.

More information on the Watermark certification system, including a list of certified products and information on the certification process, can be obtained from the ABCB website here: http://abcb.gov.au/ProductCertification/WaterMark-Certification-Scheme

Despite being a non-conforming product and illegal to install it is our opinion that the Desert Eco Adapt cartridge is an inferior product compared to the EnviroSeal system that has been designed, tested and certified only to be used on ZeroFlush waterless urinals.

The Desert cartridge was a sloppy fit into the ZeroFlush stainless steel rim that created sewer odour emissions that could have repercussions with members of the public that have respiratory conditions. This potentially exposes building owners and their employees to legal liabilities for having installed a non-conforming substitute product.

The Desert Eco Systems Company has a long history of substituting products and making claims that their products are a conforming product when they are not and never have been. Product substitution where the product has not been tested, and WaterMark certified for the product it is substituting is an offence under the Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017.

Everyone in the chain of responsibility needs to be aware that they are breaking the law if they authorise, instruct or install Desert Eco Adapt cartridges in any urinal that it has no WaterMark for.  Under Australian consumer laws if you have installed a Desert Eco Adapt cartridge in any waterless urinal other than the Desert No Flush urinal, based on the dubious claims made to you by representatives of Desert Eco System Company, then you are not only entitled to a refund of all your money but also compensation to pay for your waterless urinals being returned to a legally compliant status as per your waterless urinals WaterMark certification.

If you have the Desert Eco Adapt cartridge installed in your urinals, then its 99% guaranteed its a non-compliant installation so contact Whywait Plumbing on (07) 5580 4311 today to organise a site audit of your urinals to ensure they are legally compliant.

 

 

Employing An Apprentice Plumber Has Become An Expensive Luxury

Sadly employing an apprentice plumber has become an expensive luxury for many small plumbing companies throughout Australia. This is due to the complexities of the Fair Work Act, to their high wages and the length of time away from work on holidays and at TAFE training.

This has been further exasperated by the explosion in sub-contracting with 65% of all plumbing businesses being a one-person operation who employ no staff at all.

As an industry, if we don’t train for the future, then we have no future. This is why we at Whywait Plumbing have always made it a policy to employ and train at least three apprentices at any given time. Even throughout the GFC in 2008-10, we maintained employment and training for four apprentices.

If you go to university, you don’t get paid and incur a hex debt that you eventually payback for your study. However, if you become an apprentice plumber, your employer pays you for the entire four years of your training, every week, with annual increases.

Currently, the archaic document that purports to be a ‘Modern Award’, the Plumbers and Fire Sprinklers Award 2010 requires a first-year apprentice plumber who has completed year 12 to be paid $13.18 per hour. If the apprentice plumber is aged over 20, he starts on $19.07 an hour. Compare this with how much you will get paid to attend university in the first and subsequent years.

apprentice plumber at Whywait PlumbingApprenticeship numbers have been declining for the last 20 years. Much of the reason for this is due to decisions 20 years ago to focus everyone at high school on obtaining a university education. This has lead to many young people graduating with degrees and then being unable to gain employment in their chosen field of study.

The importance of well-trained plumbers to society as a whole cannot be underestimated. Plumbing as a trade will continue to exist and ensures young people taking up apprenticeships will always have a good job and a good future.

Interestingly apprenticeship completions at 64% is almost on par with university graduations of 67%. In plumbing, 80% of those who never finish their apprenticeship drop out in the first two years.

This decline in numbers of plumbers as a whole available to be employed has been brought home to us in recent months. We have been advertising for two licensed plumbers at that time, and these are fulltime jobs, not casual or sub-contract. It’s been alarming at how few plumbers applied for the job. Interviewing potential employees has been an intriguing and challenging exercise.

apprentice plumber at Whywait Plumbing Dillon Lowes

Dillon Lowes installing new sewer pipes at Niecon Plaza

We have employed two new employees in the last month as an apprentice plumber and welcome to Whywait Plumbing, Scott Moir and Dillon Lowes.

Unlike many of our competitors, we don’t employ sub-contractors, so everyone who works at Whywait Plumbing is a full-time employee. That means everyone working here is paid for six weeks of annual and personal leave plus two weeks of statutory holidays. Sub-contractors don’t receive those benefits plus they have to pay their own superannuation and work cover.

The combination of a reduction in plumbing businesses employing an apprentice plumber and the numbers of plumbers retiring means there is a shortfall of 13% between the number of plumbers available and the demand for plumbers.

All of these issues are increasing the cost of employing plumbers. This, in turn, increases the cost for plumbing businesses to undertake work across the board in both construction and maintenance. Ultimately it’s always a balancing act between supply and demand.

DIY Plumbing Renovations

DIY Plumbing Renovations

DIY Plumbing Renovations & Repairs May Void Your Insurance Coverage

DIY Plumbing renovation & Repairs May Void Your Insurance CoverageDIY plumbing renovations are illegal.  As fully licensed Plumbers, Drainers and Gas Fitters for over 40 years, we know how critical it is that you know your legal limitations and legal responsibilities. This applies in particular if you are planning on undertaking to do, DIY plumbing renovations and repairs.

Unfortunately sitting in front of a television watching home renovation shows such as “The Block”, “Grand Designs”, or “Selling Houses Australia” doesn’t make you an instant plumber, electrician or builder!

Home renovations shows are hugely popular and purely entertainment – they make it look so, so easy and so cheap.

Unfortunately, none of these shows looks behind the scenes or reflects the reality of renovations or DIY by ignoring the two most critical factors which are time and budget.

The reality of renovating and maintaining your home is that:

  • delays are always inevitable due to unforeseen pre-existing problems
  • delays in delivery of products and materials
  • budget blowouts are unavoidable due to the unknown factors
  • be clear in your requirements and realistic in your expectations

Can YOU Legally Undertake YOUR DIY Plumbing Renovations & Repairs?

NO for installation work and YES for some very, very limited maintenance work. Legal DIY plumbing renovations & repairs in Queensland is limited to:

  • Replacing a showerhead 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

And that is all the plumbing and drainage work that can legally be undertaken by anyone who is not a licensed plumber and drainer.

Illegal & Dangerous DIY plumbing renovations and repairs could kill someone plus null & void all your insurance coverage.

DIY plumbing renovations are illegalMost DIY plumbing renovations and repairs are illegal and frequently can be hazardous that when we discover them, you wonder how no one has been killed.

It’s often overlooked by weekend warriors and handymen that illegal DIY plumbing renovations & repairs usually makes your home and contents insurance null and void.

Worst of all, some DIY plumbing installations are dangerous as with this hot water installation in the photo on the right. Luck is the only reason this installation killed no-one as it had:

  • exposed live electrical connections and wires
  • overflow valves dripping onto the floor inside the house
  • plastic pipes that were being melted by the hot water
  • flexible connectors used instead of copper

You should avoid DIY plumbing renovations as frequently you end up costing yourself more with the problems never being repaired. There is no better repair than that undertaken by a licensed, professional plumbing company where the plumbers are experienced, trained, and knowledgeable so call Whywait Plumbing now.

Desert EcoAdapt Urinal Cartridges Are Illegal

Desert EcoAdapt Urinal Cartridges Are Illegal

Whywait Plumbing has, since 2004, been the service agent for ZeroFlush waterless urinals throughout Australia. Before that, we had, and continue to have extensive experience with installing and maintaining both the Falcon waterless urinal and the Uridan waterless urinal. As a consequence of our long and extensive experience, Whywait Plumbing is acknowledged as an expert on the installation, servicing, and maintenance of waterless urinals.

In 2006, as water shortages and drought gripped many Australian cities, so-called water sustainability companies sprung up everywhere. As always, this was to take advantage of government subsidies and offer simplistic answers to what were in reality, complex problems with water requiring expert plumbing knowledge.

One of these companies was Desert Eco who claimed they could give you a pill called the Desert urinal cube to throw into your water flushing urinal, turn off the water supply and turn it into a waterless urinal.

This, of course, was illegal then and remains unlawful now. In fact, in 2010 amendments to AS/NZS 3500.2-2003 had to be introduced to combat the damage that was occurring in urinals everywhere. These amendments clarified the requirements for the use of waterless urinals and effectively banned the practice of converting water flushing urinals to waterless urinals.

In recent years Desert Eco have renamed themselves as Desert, but they are still the same company. They continue making extravagant claims that the Desert urinal cube with a small amount of water dispersed over it every day will activate the cube releasing slowly dissolving beneficial microbes over several weeks that will break down organic matter in the drain and remove unpleasant odours. The worrying thing about this claim is that there is no organic matter in a urinal drain as urine is composed of water and salts.

Whywait Plumbing continues to see the damage that Desert Eco create with their outright lies that they have reduced high maintenance costs with their new EcoAdapt Advanced package and it can be applied to any existing or new waterless urinal. They even illegally claim that their unique Desert EcoAdapt urinal cartridge is reusable and fits nearly all waterless urinal brands.

The installation of the Desert EcoAdapt urinal cartridge in a ZeroFlush waterless urinal has once again caused problems with foul odours being emitted from the urinal and the urinal being slow to drain.

Using the Desert EcoAdapt urinal cartridge for waterless urinal servicing is entirely illegal and non-compliant on every waterless urinal and water flushing urinal in Australia.

The only urinal in Australia that can legally use the Desert EcoAdapt urinal cartridge is their own waterless Desert No Flush urinal which does have a compliant WaterMark certificate to ATS 5200.459:2004 Technical Specification for plumbing and drainage products Part 459: Waterless urinals—Wall-hung.

The use of the Desert EcoAdapt urinal cartridge in a ZeroFlush waterless urinal is illegal and non-compliant as it is in all waterless urinals. Using the Desert EcoAdapt Advanced package will leave you open to possible legal action from plumbing authorities, manufacturers and most of all from the general public for a breach of workplace, health and safety regulations.

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

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