ZeroFlush Urinals Aid Water and Energy Sustainability

ZeroFlush Urinals Aid Water and Energy Sustainability

Zeroflush waterless urinals installed at Brisbane International Airport by Whywait Plumbing

Zeroflush waterless urinals installed at Brisbane International Airport

ZeroFlush Waterless urinals supplied and installed by Whywait Plumbing are precisely what they sound like. Instead of using water to flush away the urine, like traditional urinals which waste anywhere up to 25 litres of water every time they flush. ZeroFlush waterless urinals utilise gravity, putting urine through an odour barrier or one-way valve system which eliminates 100% of the water from a conventional flushing process.

Replacing a water flushing urinal with a ZeroFlush waterless model can save an average of 152000 litres annually per urinal. There’s one urinal for every three toilets in non-residential properties, which together account for more than a quarter of Australia’s water consumption.

The supply of water to commercial office buildings, shopping centres, educational facilities and hotels utilises a substantial amount of energy. The simple act of installing ZeroFlush waterless urinals and the disconnection of urinals from a buildings water reticulation system can reduce by 50% a building’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Throughout Australia, water charges continue to increase annually. The advent of sewerage discharge factor charges based on the amount of water consumed is increasing in popularity. These charges alone require reductions in water consumption to avoid substantial annual increases. For commercial property managers, this means they must budget for paying for water coming into the building and also going out via the sewage system. This means the installation of ZeroFlush urinals will not only aid with sustainability but reduce water and energy costs.

The urban myth that waterless urinals are unhygienic and stink is a myth perpetuated by opponents of waterless urinals that has no foundation in fact. A recent study by th

e  Shanghai Environment Project Design Institute once again proved that waterless urinals contain five times fewer bacteria than water flushing urinals. Bacteria and germs from water flushing urinals are created by airborne fecal matter that is reproduced when the urinal flushes water. The combination of water moisture with the fecal matter creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and flourish. As waterless urinals don’t flush water every time they have been used the opportunity for bacterial and germ contamination becomes very remote.

The real reason most male bathroom facilities have putrid odours is triggered by the bacteria created from airborne fecal matter and water moisture. Urine by itself has a very soft odour but combined with the water flushing urinals spraying of water particles it can quickly create odours over the entire bathroom facility.

ZeroFlush waterless urinals are a guaranteed path to reducing water and energy consumption plus greenhouse gas emissions in any non-residential commercial building. Installing them will always help water and energy sustainability.

 

Your Average Gold Coast Water Bill is Always Out of Date

Your Average Gold Coast Water Bill is Always Out of Date

Most property owners on the Gold Coast have just received their City of Gold Coast Water and Sewerage Rate Notice for January. Under Queensland law, you must receive a quarterly water bill. The City of Gold Coast issues their water bills in January, April, July and October.

gold Coast water meterWhenever water bills arrive, we get clients asking us why their Gold Coast water bill is always out of date. From experience, we can guarantee the average Gold Coast Water bill is still out of date. For example, most water bills issued in January were for water that was used between July and October. This is due to the contractors who read each water meter having set routes and timelines to read your meter so yes your usage charges are always at least two months out of date. This is why we suggest you monitor your water meter weekly and read how to do it on our page “How To Read Your Water Meter”.

For most homeowners who use around the average daily water usage of 451 litres, the highest costs in the quarterly water bill are their sewerage and water services charges. If you look closely at your water bill you can see that you have the following charges:

  • Sewerage service charges – sewerage access                   $181.03 per quarter
  • Water service charges – water access                                  $53.02 per quarter
  • Gold Coast Water – water usage per kilolitre                          $1.09
  • Queensland Government – water usage per kilolitre              $2.91

In reality, even if you used no water, you would still pay for service charges of $234.05 every quarter or $936.20 every year.

Average water use of 451 litres or 0.451kL per property is not an accurate guide to your water use. In our experience, 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.

If you suspect a water leak, call Whywait Plumbing and ask for our leak detection service.

The Perils of DIY Plumbing

The Perils of DIY Plumbing

Household plumbing is one of those tasks that homeowners always debate over. Should you attempt to complete the work yourself to save a bit of money or hire a plumber and absorb the added cost? Many everyday plumbing tasks seem simple at first glance, so, understandably, you might want to try the DIY route. However, several pitfalls can trap you if you don’t fully understand what you are doing.

Regulatory Issues

Drain inspection point under timber deck located by Whywait PlumbingRecently, we were called out to a Coombabah home to address a blocked sewer drain. However, the homeowner had unknowingly built a deck over the inspection access point. Because of this, we were unable to fix their blocked drain until we had received detailed drain plans from the local council to enable us to find another access point.

While this was not specifically a DIY plumbing issue, the homeowner had likely built the deck themselves. An experienced contractor would have known that it is against the law to build over an inspection opening to the surface (IOS) for sewer pipes. You expose yourself to similar risks when attempting to do your plumbing, as you may be violating regulations and laws of which you are not even aware.

Safety Concerns

Flexihoses used on electric hot water tankOn another recent job, we discovered that a homeowner had connected both the hot and cold water pipes with flexihoses. While this is fine for cold water, hot water must be connected with copper pipe for the first metre from the water heater. This is a requirement of the Plumbing & Drainage Act, so failing to comply with the regulations could result in fines or other punishment.
In addition to the possible legal ramifications, the safety risks are of even more significant concern. Because flexihoses are not designed for use with hot water, they can burst or rupture without warning when exposed to excessive heat, allowing water upwards of 75 degrees to spray everywhere. Had someone been nearby when the hose ruptured, they would likely have been severely scalded.

Financial Risks

In many cases, we get called out to homes to fix plumbing problems that were the result of the homeowner’s attempts to fix their own plumbing. Often, their efforts have complicated matters, resulting in more costly repairs. When you attempt to do your own plumbing, you run the risk of making mistakes that could lead to even more damage to your plumbing system.
An experienced plumber will know exactly how to fix your plumbing problem quickly and accurately. Although hiring a plumber will cost you a bit more than doing the work yourself, you’ll save time and gain peace of mind that the job has been done right. The added cost of hiring a plumber is a small price to pay for the safety of your home.

Your Expert Plumbers on the Gold Coast

When you require a plumber in the Gold Coast region, Whywait Plumbing Services is here to help. We have helped countless homeowners in the area with a variety of common plumbing problems, including blocked drains, cracked or broken pipes, leaks, water damage, hot water system installation and maintenance, and gas fitting, to name a few.

Our friendly associates will be happy to assist you with whatever you need, so don’t be shy about getting in touch. We are available 24 hours a day to serve you because you never know when a plumbing issue might arise. When it happens to you, don’t expose your home to unnecessary risk by attempting DIY plumbing. Call the experts at Whywait Plumbing Services right away!

3 Steps to Avoid Lead In Your Drinking Water

3 Steps to Avoid Lead In Your Drinking Water

3 simple steps to reduce exposure to lead in waterDissolved lead in your drinking water is a reality in Australia. Lead is used across a wide range of plumbing products that are installed in homes and buildings. The most common products lead is used in is brass fittings and taps.

Some brass plumbing fittings allow the lead to dissolve into the drinking water where the water has been unused for long periods. This process is more pronounced in your hot water system where the heating of the water to 70 degrees results in an increase in all dissolved metals in the water, particularly lead. This is why you should always use only cold water for drinking and cooking.

If your water supply is sourced from a rainwater tank, you should also be aware that the increased acidity of rainwater may also increase the level of dissolved metals and lead from brass plumbing fittings.

As we have virtually no lead pipes circulating water in Australia in homes and buildings, it is rare for Australians to have elevated blood lead levels that are related to dissolved lead exposure from drinking water. However, at home, you can reduce your exposure to lead in your drinking water by:

  • Always using the water from the cold tap for drinking and cooking
  • First thing every morning it’s good practice to flush the cold water taps used for drinking and cooking for 30 seconds to draw fresh water through the tap rather than using the water that has been sitting there all night
  • If a home or building has been unoccupied for an extended period, then it’s good practice to flush all cold water taps used for drinking and cooking for at least 3 minutes to flush out dissolved metals. If you are in public parks and use a water bubbler or tap it is good practice to flush the water for 30 seconds, especially if it’s not heavily used.

There is no need to have your water tested for lead. What we do recommend is that you follow the suggestions above to flush dissolved metals such as lead, copper and nickel from your drinking water.

Gold Coast Council Water Rates to Increase

Gold Coast Council Water Rates to Increase

Gold Coast council water rates are about to increase again. For both homeowners and business owners, this could be a double whammy when you couple this with the increases in power bills in recent years.

The Increases are likely to continue in coming years even though the City of Gold Coast has not increased its portion of your water bill at all for three years. Bulk water charges for the City of Gold Coast are recommended to increase by the Queensland Competition Authority a further $12 a year for the next two years.

The City of Gold Coast has now finalised the 2018-19 budget. Your Gold Coast council water rates charges will not increase on the retail and distribution component of the water and sewerage charges from the last financial year.

However, the significant portion of your water cost which is Queensland Government’s bulk water price will increase in line with the recommendations by the Queensland Competition Authority. The bulk water price will increase by 2.5% from $2.74 per kilolitre to $2.91 per kilolitre.

Contrary to some urban myths City of Gold Coast no longer owns Hinze Dam and the desalination plant. Gold Coast Water buys the water that you use through your meter from Seqwater owned by the Queensland Government. The price paid for the bulk water is itemised in your water bill.

Essentially the bulk water charges levied by the Queensland Government makes up the bulk of your water bill.

These charges are still reflecting the poor planning from 20 years ago that resulted in the multi-billion dollar water grid construction in 2007-08 which resulted in supply pipes connecting all of South-East Queensland being built. To a large extent, the pipe grid was constructed without dams being built and to lesser extent dams constructed without pipes which also resulted in the construction of the seldom-used Tugun desalination plant.

For 2018-19 your Gold Coast council water rates will increase on 1 July for your water and sewerage which will comprise of the following charges:

  • Queensland Government bulk water charge $2.91 per k/L
  • City of Gold Coast distribution           $1.09 per k/L
  • Total water consumption charge    $4.00 per k/L 

The water and sewerage access charges will remain the same as in previous years being:

  • water access charge of $212.08 per year
  • sewerage access charge of $724.12 per year.

Currently, water charges are relatively stable, but significant problems are looming. Long term planning is required to address the issues of aging infrastructure and their maintenance costs which will impact Gold Coast council water rates.

Infrastructure Australia in a major report has predicted water bills will go the way of power bills increasing by at least $50 every year. They predict today’s average annual water bill of $1200 will increase to $2500 within 20 years.

The report correctly says we need to start planning now as our dams are relatively full which gives us the rare opportunity of “….clear thinking and long-term planning to meet our future needs.”

As we all know from the water management supply crisis of 2007-09 South East Queensland can be adversely effected quickly with a combination of natural disasters, poor planning and below average rainfall.

Very simply if we don’t start long-term planning now for planning our future water needs the drastic increases in water bills will cripple family and business budgets in the same way power bills are now.

Plumbing Urban Myths

Plumbing Urban Myths

A combination of disposable wipes, paper towels and toilet paper blocking a drain because they were unable to break down in water.

Plumbing urban myths abound these days with social media and media sensationalism.

For the plumbing technicians at Whywait it’s frequently hard to get clients to understand factual information because they have Googled their problem and found what is, in reality, a plumbing urban myth that seems to fit.

Unfortunately, plumbing urban myths abound and below are a few popular myths and the real facts:

  • Myth – disposable baby, kitchen or bathroom wipes and paper towels can be flushed down a toilet. Fact – The photo above is a pipe full of disposable wipes, paper towels and toilet paper that shows they don’t break down and degrade like toilet paper but pile up inside the drain and block your entire sewer drainage system.
  • Myth – loud banging noises in a hot water service are a warning sign that it is about to burst and leak.  Fact – unfortunately, there are no real warning signs that a hot water service is about to start leaking. If you do hear banging or rumbling noises coming from the actual storage tank it indicates that the loose minerals in the sediment in the bottom of the tank are causing air bubbles during the heating cycle and that in reality, your hot water service needs a 5 yearly service that includes flushing the tank of sediment.
  • Myth – Thomas Crapper invented the toilet.  Fact – No he did not invent it but made it work better with the flushing mechanism.
  • Myth – Water flushes in a toilet clockwise in Australia in the southern hemisphere but anti-clockwise in Germany in the northern hemisphere. Fact – No the actual design of the toilet bowl dictates which direction water flushes as such a small amount of water is not affected by the Coriolis Effect.

Myths are often fun but the reality is plumbing urban myths can be dangerous if taken as factual which is why plumbing problems should always be diagnosed and repaired by a licensed plumbing contractor.

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