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.

Plumbing Myths

Plumbing Myths

Plumbing myths are money spinners for us at Whywait Plumbing. But we wish they weren’t and you called us for advice first.

So often many of our service calls to blocked drains, broken water main pipes or flooded houses are caused by common plumbing myths and could have been avoided.

Our plumbing technicians constantly see the following plumbing myths causing problems that should never have occurred:

1. You used chemicals from the supermarket to “clear” a blocked drain 

Forget using chemicals such as Draino to clear a blocked drain because they never work. Even if by some miracle they do the problem will return that is a guarantee. There is no DIY solution to a blocked drain and its scary for our plumbers to work on a drain full of harsh and dangerous chemicals. If your drains are gurgling or slow to drain contact us for advice but please don’t waste money on chemical solutions.

2. You think the toilet is a rubbish bin as well

Don’t be fooled by labels that say they’re “flushable” because sanitary napkins, cleaning wipes, paper towel’s, toilet scrubbers, make-up remover pads or pet litter to name a few are in reality not suitable for flushing down the toilet. Very simply they don’t disintegrate quickly enough in the low flows of water flushed through the toilet and eventually will block your homes sewer drain.

3. You think advice from the nice man at Bunnings is all you need to fix plumbing problems yourself

Yes we know its easy to take a photo of your plumbing problem then go down to Bunnings and show the nice man there who will try to diagnose and fix the plumbing problem on the spot and sell you all the parts to do it yourself. We see this every weekend when our plumbing technicians go out to repair these DIY stuff ups. Remember the nice man or lady at Bunnings are not plumbers they are retail shop assistants with no qualifications. Calling Whywait the first time is frequently the cheapest option because as we constantly see DIY jobs are seldom repaired correctly and continue to give problems until we repair it.

4. You don’t have a leak protection or water monitoring system

These days a water leak protection system is not expensive, frequently costing less than the excess on your insurance claim. For Whywait to install a water leak protection system that prevents flooding with a main water shut-off should a leak occur in your water main, internal water pipes, hot water heater, dishwasher, laundry washing machine and more guarantees your home with a lifetime of protection.

5. Your hot water heater will last forever and never needs maintaining

Don’t be fooled into thinking your hot water heater will last forever because the average life of a Rheem or Dux HWS is 7-12 years. Yes you can extend their life by regular maintenance but you must have a regular preventative maintenance programme rather than waiting until a leak occurs because by then its too late. It is almost inevitable that your lack of maintenance will result in a leak while you are on holiday or while you are sleeping.

Remember plumbing problems never go away until proper repairs are undertaken.

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

Asbestos In Your Bathroom

Asbestos In Your Bathroom

Asbestos in your bathroom is just one of the many issues that can confront you when undertaking a bathroom renovation. Until the early 1980’s the use of asbestos sheets in bathrooms was the norm and can be sitting beneath your bathroom tiles with potential deadly consequences.

Asbestos removal by specialist licensed contractors is only one of the issues you must be aware of when undertaking a DIY bathroom renovation. Despite what you get told in big box hardware outlets such as Bunnings or Masters there are a number of areas that must be undertaken by fully licensed and insured professional contractors being:

  • electrical
  • plumbing and gas fitting
  • asbestos removal
  • water proofing
  • pest control

In all of the above DIY is not an option to reduce costs as doing so has consequences because it is:

  • illegal
  • dangerous to the point of being life threatening
  • usually results in non compliant and sub standard installation
  • non insurable with it creating a situation where any future insurance claims will be denied and the policy null and void
  • removes all warranty protection from products that are defective

If you are confident and capable Whywait Plumbing fully endorse undertaking labouring work yourself, purchasing materials and running the project but remember short cuts and cheap non compliant products will always come back to haunt you.

By Gary Mays

Free Plumbing Quotes

Free Plumbing Quotes

Free plumbing quotes or free estimates are not undertaken by Whywait Plumbing and have never done so on any service or maintenance plumbing works.

Yes we do free plumbing quotes at Whywait Plumbing only if you supply the plansYes, we will do free plumbing quotes if you bring into our office a set of design drawings such as hydraulic plans or architectural plans.

If we have to attend on-site at your home or business premises, there are significant costs involved for us. That is why we charge you a diagnostic fee.

Businesses who advertise that they undertake free quotes or no call out fee are devaluing their time and their expertise. I guarantee you will pay for their time, hidden somewhere in their charges because as the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Think about it, would you go to work for free?

We learnt long ago offering free plumbing quotes or estimates is a waste of money and company resources. In our experience people who call Whywait Plumbing asking for free plumbing quotes or expecting us to come to the site and solve their problems for free fall into the following categories:

  • dreamers who are toying with some vague idea of a plumbing installation such a third bathroom or outdoor kitchen who want us to design it all, solve all the problems but have little intention of using our services
  • price checkers who just want us to give them a comparison price in the hope we come up with a cheaper alternative to undertake the work
  • time wasting people who have a significant plumbing issue such as flooding in their backyard in heavy rainfall who want us to investigate and solve the problems and are absolutely insistent on picking our brains, getting all the information off us so they can then do it themselves or get a handyman to do it
  • the DIY homeowner who wants to pick our brain so he can run to Bunnings and be a weekend warrior playing at being a plumber.

We learnt at Whywait a long ago to accept that we cannot compete with competitors who devalue their plumbing licenses by racing to the bottom with clients who are only interested in PRICE, a cheap price, a less expensive than reasonable price, an entirely unreasonably and pathetically inadequate price that does not even cover the plumbers wages.

As the owner of Whywait Plumbing, I was lucky enough to learn a long time ago that we always had to do our budgets and know where our break-even cost was so we know when to say no. This ensures that we don’t waiver from our commitment to providing outstanding customer service from well trained and professional plumbers who stand behind their work.

As I said previously, there is no such thing as a free lunch because Whywait Plumbing Pty Ltd is a business that is legally obligated to generate profits.

Without profit, any business is just an expensive hobby.

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