We were happy and astounded that we received so much positive feedback about our September newsletter and blog on flushable wipes being an environmental disaster.
A few people felt the photos were a bit too graphic. But let me assure you there is no other way of illustrating what a flushable wipe looks like that is blocking up a drain or toilet.
It was gratifying to see that a week after I wrote the newsletter about the disasters being caused by flushable wipes that Choice announced their 2015 “Shonky Awards” with Kleenex flushable wipes being one of the 8 “winners”.
Like every other plumber worldwide we at Whywait Plumbing are continuing to see a horrendous increase in blocked drains due to the sky-rocketing popularity of these so-called “flushable” wet wipes.
Unfortunately, the term “flushable” is a catchy phrase and a favourite sales pitch presenting an image of convenience and hygiene with the wipes being flushed down the toilet.
But the reality remains that the flushable wipes, once they are flushed down a toilet pan, do not dissolve like toilet paper. They stay intact, and these pieces of non-woven fabric when regularly used are blocking toilets, blocking house drains and blocking the City of Gold Coast sewer system.
It is positive that Choice has continued with their action to stop the sale of ipes labelled “flushable” by producing a very informative and graphic video titled “Flushable wipes – Are they flushable?”
But the facts are that flushable is assumed to mean biodegradable by consumers who love their convenience. As a result, when wipes are flushed down the toilet, there is a misleading assumption that the wipe will be the same as toilet paper and dissolve.
In fact, Choice surveyed 1679 Australians in July and asked: “If a pack of disposable wet wipes is labelled as ‘flushable’, would you expect the wipes to not cause any blocking or clogging of the toilet?”
As we would expect 73% of those surveyed answered yes with 67% saying that they would expect flushable wet wipes to disintegrate “like toilet paper”.
Choice, as you can see in the video, put the flushable product claims to the test. They used an agitation device designed to provide an environment similar to your sewer drain system.
Choice put 12 brands of wet wipes made up of 11 which were labelled as “flushable” and one that was labelled “do not flush” into the agitator along with standard 4-ply toilet paper. The agitator then ran for six hours.
The brands Choice tested that were labelled as ‘flushable’:
- Sorbent Clean and Fresh Wipes
- Sorbent Flushable Wipes – Kids
- Kleenex Cottonelle Cleansing Cloths
- Kleenex Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths for Kids
- Confidence Adult Wipes
- Woolworths Select Flushable Toilet Wipes
- Coles Bathroom and Toilet Wipes
- White King Flushable Bathroom Wipes
- Vagisil Feminine Flushable Wipes
- Harpic White and Shine Flushable Toilet Wipes
- Naty by Nature Babycare Flushable Wipes
As expected the toilet paper started to break up within 90 seconds, then disintegrated entirely as required. All that was left was milky opaque water.
But all the wipes remained completely intact with no sign of them breaking up or losing any strength.
Choice is now running a campaign asking you to be a flush buster and wipe misleading claims off supermarket shelves. Click on the link below to register your support.
Trust me the only things that are flushable in your toilet are toilet paper, urine and faeces.
I can only repeat if you wish to continue flushing wet wipes in all their forms down your toilet then I recommend you become a Whywait Plumbing Service Partner.
Gurgling drains are a warning sign
Gurgling drains or gurgling toilets should never be ignored. A gurgling drain or gurgling toilet is giving you a friendly early warning sign that you are possibly about to experience blocked sewer drains.
Generally, the sounds of gurgling drains will be coming from your toilet or the bathroom floor waste drainage trap when you are using other plumbing fixtures. Simplistically, gurgling drains are similar to you experiencing an asthma attack because the drain is struggling to breathe.
Gurgling drains are trying to breath
Whywait Plumbing CCTV drain camera locating roots in a drain that were causing gurgling drains
When you experience gurgling drains or a gurgling toilet what has occurred in your underground sewer drains is that the drains are full of wastewater that is blocking or partially blocking the drains vent pipe that connects from your drain and extends up above your roof.
Therefore when you use any of your plumbing because the vent is not letting the drain breath, the drain creates a vacuum. The vacuum affects the trapping system in the toilet pan or floor waste trap or occasionally a laundry tub or overflow relief gully in an attempt to get air. Usually, only part of the water in the fixture trap is sucked out leaving the remainder of the water in the trap and it this water movement that causes the gurgling drains as air is sucked into the drain.
The interconnecting plumbing and sewer drainage system in your home is a straightforward system, but it must be able to breathe and get air into the system through your vent pipes. Many people believe that the vent pipe is a stink pipe to remove smelly sewer odours from the sewer drain. This is partially correct but the vent pipes other job is to equalise air pressures within your sewer drains and give you a balanced system that allows wastewater to flow.
Very simply whenever you flush the toilet or have a shower or turn your washing machine on the wastewater immediately runs into your sewer drains. Instantly in the drain, you get water and air displacement with a vacuum being created behind the flowing water that sucks air into the drain to equalise the pressure in your drain and allows the water to flow.
Gurgling drains should never ever be ignored as they seldom go away and should be investigated immediately by calling Whywait Plumbing now on (07) 5580 4311.
Not Compliant? It’ll Be Expensive!
Plumbing Costs for Correct and Compliant Work
Plumbing is expensive if not done correctly and compliantly. Quality plumbing is not a luxury but is a legal requirement under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002.
Cheap, illegal plumbing repaired by Whywait Plumbing after sewer odours were escaping inside an office because there was a 35mm gap allowing the odours to escape where a 65mm pipe had been pushed inside a 100mm pipe
Not everyone can afford a Lexus GS450h at $130497 or a BMW 7 Series 760Li 4 door Sedan at $141,200, but everyone can afford and should ensure they use a quality plumbing company. So if price is your only consideration, PLEASE phone another plumber as there are plenty of “cheap”, “competitively priced”, “discount”, “budget priced” plumbers out there who will do your work to a price but for your own sake please make sure they are:
- licensed plumbers by the Plumbing Industry Council
- licensed plumbing contractors with Queensland Building and Construction Commission
- insured for your protection with at least $10 million of Public Liability
However if you have come to the conclusion that your home is your biggest investment and you want to maintain your home to peak value then please phone Whywait Plumbing provided you want the work undertaken legally and compliantly with Australian WaterMark approved materials and highly skilled licensed plumbers who guarantee their work.
Please don’t phone us and ask for free quotes or free advice over the phone as no professional plumber can give you a price over the phone without an on-site diagnosis. Believe me, every plumbing installation is a one-off no matter how similar they appear.
Just remember if you use the cheap meeting the standard market price plumber ask to visually to see their plumbing license and their contractor’s license as they are required to carry them with them by law. In the end, these licenses are put in place by the Queensland Government for your protection, not for the plumber’s protection.
If you want cheap plumbing or free plumbing estimates or discount to meet the market pricing please do both of us a favour and save each others time by calling someone else.
By Gary Mays
An observant client phoned Whywait Plumbing this week asking, “what do rust spots mean on the flexible hoses on my tap in the kitchen sink.”
Rust is always a warning sign and in a kitchen cupboard, rust spots on the exterior of the stainless steel braided flexible hoses are a good indication that the hose should be replaced before it bursts. The rust is caused by either of the following:
- chemical leakage from household chemicals stored in the cupboard
- deterioration of the inner rubber tube liner
Essentially all stainless steel braided flexible hoses are a stainless steel braided sheath over an inner tube, usually made of highly durable EDPM rubber. The water pressure forces the EDPM rubber inner tubing to expand against the braiding to avoid any uneven stress pressure and preventing further expansion.
If the inner tube liner ruptures and starts to leak the braided stainless steel is also unlikely to rupture at the same time. Usually, water will just leak through the braided stainless steel initially which will result in either rust spots, water leaking or ultimately if the warning signs go unseen a burst hose with the resultant flooding.
Like all plumbing fixtures, a stainless steel flexible hose has a life expectancy and does require periodic checking based on:
- ensuring water pressures are not exceeding 500kPa
- ensuring water temperature is not excessive
- are not being affected by corrosive chemicals
- are installed correctly and the hose is not kinked or stretched
Preventative maintenance is always the most positive way to prevent plumbing emergencies which is why Whywait Plumbing Service Partners receive annual testing of stainless steel flexible hose tap connectors where we identify the location and condition of all flexible tap or hose connections in your home used on your sink, vanity and toilet cisterns to ensure you have no potential bursts lurking in your kitchen or bathroom.
Regular inspections are a key component in minimising the risk of a flooded house from a burst flexible hose and regardless our recommendation is to replace them every 3-5 years as part of a proactive preventative maintenance plan.
By Gary Mays
Every business relies on many factors and unexpected disruptions are an everyday occurrence to be managed . From a plumbing perspective the best management technique is preventative maintenance which is critical plumbing advice for business owners. One of the most disruptive plumbing problems faced by business owners is a sudden leak or failure of a plumbing appliance or fixture. (more…)