Your plumbing hates you! It’s a fact.
Your plumbing hates you because you show no respect for your plumbing systems. You routinely do hideously disgusting things to it, with it and into it.
You routinely ignore the needs of your plumbing systems to be given some tender loving care. You just assume your plumbing will always work for you as you desire.
Your plumbing literally sees you at your worst. As a consequence, it’s always plotting revenge on you. Those gurgling sounds you sometimes hear when you flush the toilet is your plumbing waiting for the right moment to strike back in revenge.
The favourite time for your plumbing to strike back with a lethal attack is at Christmas or Easter when plumbers are scarce and have to charge expensive call-out rates.
That gurgling sound you hear when you flush the toilet is liquid evil
The most mistreated plumbing fixtures in any home are the toilet and kitchen sink. The toilet is the most abused plumbing fixture as it’s considered a receptacle to dispose of anything and everything.
Describing gurgling sounds as liquid evil is a perfect description. The photo below illustrates perfectly why paper towels should not be thrown into the toilet.
Paper towels as you can see are not designed to be flushed down a toilet. Paper towels are not designed to enter your sewer drains. If you choose to flush paper towels into your toilet the photo below perfectly illustrates why your plumbing hates you.
As you can see the plumbing systems had the ultimate revenge for the lack of respect. In this instant, the paper towels work their way through to the manhole and blocked the entire sewer drainage system.
The paper towels will frequently block your toilet pan but they can flush through into the sewer drain where they will slowly go down the drain until they jam against a junction or a point where flow is restricted such as in a manhole.
From there on the whole plumbing system will grind to a halt as the water from every drainage point in your house fills up the sewer drains.
Foreign objects that cause a blocked toilet are flushable wipes, paper towels, facial tissues, cotton tips, Q-tips, cotton buds, ear cleaners, hair removal wax strips, cotton balls, pantie liners, sanitary napkins and our old favourite of children’s toys.
Gurgling drains don’t clear themselves ever!
If your main sewer drains block, it doesn’t take long for your homes toilets and internal drains to begin to back up.
Hopefully, your overflow relief gully works correctly, and the sewage overflows into your garden rather than inside your house. Either way, it’s messy and yucky having to clean up sewage that has overflowed.
Blocked drains, whether backed up or overflowing, are not only inconvenient but can also pose a risk to your health.
Gurgling drains, smelly drains or slow draining sinks are all signs that your blocked drains need urgent attention.
Plumbing problems are confronting
Solving plumbing problems can be a challenge for us as plumbers and you as a client. The reality is solving plumbing problems takes time, patience and, above all, experience.
Google searches do not make you into an instant plumber. In our experience, a Google diagnosis is generally wrong.
Regretfully many people associate plumbers with unpleasant events that they have experienced with their plumbing, such as a burst pipe or overflowing sewage that flooded their house.
Due to the emergency type situations that most people call a plumber out for, there are numerous misconceptions about what a plumber can do and cannot do quickly. In too many circumstances, this is aligned to the cost rather than the outcome which seldom solves the problem.
Your plumbing hates you since you have a lot of plumbing infrastructure
Bear in mind you have considerable plumbing infrastructure that is out of sight and consequently out of mind. That is until it stops functioning.
The reality is 90% of your plumbing infrastructure is concealed in walls, under your floor, in your roof space or underground outside.
Below the photo of sewer drains, we installed at Southport Sharks illustrates what we face as plumbers when diagnosing your plumbing problems.
The sewer drains inside your house under the floor once installed are inaccessible as they are covered by concrete. To repair the drains is a significant cost in just accessing them coupled with rectification and then replacing the concrete.
Maintaining your plumbing infrastructure is an investment. In our experience, most unforeseen problems with your plumbing originate from when your home was originally constructed. As I’ve said many times these days, in reality, all buildings are constructed to a cost, not to the legal, regulatory standards of the National Construction Code
(NCC) administered by the Australian Building Codes Board
The photo below illustrates how much work we have undertaken to repair broken sewer drains under your concrete floor. In this instance the work required was:
locate by CCTV drain camera the exact location of the broken pipes
cut the concrete slab with a quick-cut demolition saw
remove the slabs of concrete and dispose of off-site
excavate by hand to expose the sewer drain pipes
cut and remove the broken and crushed sections of the PVC sewer drain
install new PVC pipes with flexible joints
test the drain to ensure there were no leaks and it was fully functional
backfill and compact the excavation
drill into the concrete slab to install reinforcing steel to tie the replacement concrete to the existing slab
install a replacement concrete slab
Concealed plumbing infrastructure will always be expensive to repair
We understand how you can feel that your plumbing hates you when we have to undertake major work to repair plumbing infrastructure that is concealed in walls or under your concrete floor.
From our perspective, we know we are delivering bad news that you don’t want to hear. The frustrating thing is that you frequently don’t see all the work that goes into repairing a broken sewer drain as by the time we are finished there is literally nothing to see. The video below illustrates perfectly the repairs we undertook on a drain under a 50 year old stone wall and when completed you would never have known we had been there.
Proactive prevention is preferable to a reactive emergency
There will always be unplanned plumbing emergencies that you can never foresee. That is a simple fact of life.
But proactive preventative maintenance can eliminate the majority of potential plumbing emergencies.
This is why we recommend our Service Partner Plan© to all our clients. The annual audit is focused on locating potential problems before they occur.
Enquire today how you can simply be signed up to get extra benefits and service advantages in managing your properties plumbing, drainage, roofing and gas infrastructure.
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.
Flushable wipes are an environmental nightmare which is what I termed them in September 2015 when we here at Whywait Plumbing were seeing a horrendous increase in blocked drains.
At the same time, consumer advocacy group CHOICE published the results of their dirty testing of “flushable” wipes and cleaning cloths in their testing labs. CHOICE came to the same conclusions that plumbers had long learnt and that was that “flushable” wipes were in most cases NOT FLUSHABLE.
Last year we promoted to Whywait Plumbing clients to join the CHOICE campaign to get rid of “flushable” claims on products that aren’t safe to flush.
The worst offender in everyone’s eyes was the Kleenex brand. In fact, the website for Kleenex Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths For Kids claimed that the cloths break up in the sewerage system like toilet paper. As a result of this claim, CHOICE put it to the test and found that while toilet paper dissolves in a few minutes but the Kleenex wipes held together for over 21 hours.
Kleenex has responded to the CHOICE campaign by releasing an allegedly new and improved “flushable” wipes product. As a result, CHOICE has tested this new product and found nothing has changed. Kleenex new flushable wipes will still block your drains because they do not disintegrate like toilet paper.
CHOICE is now advocating that you don’t let your friends and family get caught by Kleenex and here’s what you can do:
1. Share on Facebook
2. Share on Twitter
When the CHOICE lab tests were widely published in all media last year, and the false Kleenex claims were exposed it sent a strong message to Kleenex. In fact, the message was so strong they apparently felt they needed to reinvent their “flushable” wipes.
But as CHOICE testing has found the “NEW” wipes are nowhere good enough to be considered safe to flush down your toilet. They are NOT FLUSHABLE, and they certainly do not disintegrate like toilet paper. As CHOICE states companies such as Kleenex need to deliver on their promises and should be prohibited from selling products that mislead consumers.
These Not-so-flushable Kleenex wipes put your homes sewer drains at risk of blockage still. As a community, we can and need to get these falsely marketed products off the supermarket shelves. That is why I urge you to tell your friends and family about the dangers of these dodgy Kleenex products to help keep your house drains, and the City of Gold Coast sewer drains flowing.
Here at Whywait Plumbing, it gets very frustrating at times when clients want us to install products they have purchased “cheaply” online or bought from non-specialist outlets who import cheap non-compliant product. All products we install are required by law to have a WaterMark certificate and a WELS water rating label certificate. It is illegal for licensed plumbers to install non-compliant products.
WELS Water Rating Label certificates are on every product plumbers install. Unfortunately, many of our clients are confused by the rating requirements, which is mainly because there has been little public education and therefore awareness.
In 2005, the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme as a joint initiative of the Australian, State, and Territory governments became law. Under the WELS Water Rating Label scheme, products that use water must be tested under standardised conditions in a laboratory by a government regulator. Each product is given a comparative rating score of between one and six stars to indicate the product’s efficiency. The WELS Water Rating Label certificates or stickers are very similar in appearance to those used for energy rating labels for things like fridges, dishwashers, washing machines, heaters and air conditioning units.
The WELS Water Rating Label scheme was instituted to eliminate and educate on unnecessary water use. The WELS Water Rating Label scheme on current projections is expected to save 800,000 megalitres of water by the year 2021 across Australia. This equates to about a billion dollars of water bill savings. A further little-known benefit of the WELS Water Rating Label scheme is a reduction in greenhouse gases which is estimated to equal to the removal of 90,000 cars from Australian roads every year.
When the plumbers at Whywait raise the issue of WELS Water Rating Label certificates, many of our clients ask which products have to have WELS labels? Very simply under the WELS Water Rating Label scheme, the bathroom products that need to be rated in Australia are:
- shower heads
- toilets pans, cisterns and urinals
Installing water-efficient showerheads in your home’s bathrooms account for 25% of the water savings under the WELS Water Rating Label scheme. This is due to the significant difference in the amount of water used in showers with a standard showerhead using between 15-25 litres of water per minute. A 3-star rated showerhead only uses 6 or 7 litres per minute which means installing a water-efficient showerhead reduces your water consumption in the shower alone by 40%. Using less water in the shower has the added benefit of reducing your electricity or gas bill as you use about 40%-60% less hot water.
All taps used in kitchen sinks, bathroom basins, bathroom showers and laundry troughs must be WELS rated. However, a bath tap although in all likelihood WELS rated does not require to be flow reduced as you use the same amount of water to fill a bath no matter what. Flow restrictors mean the bath takes longer to fill. Most mixer taps and many combination tap spouts have an aerator that is combined with a flow restrictor, installed on the spout outlet that mixes the water with air, and in the process can cut the amount of water used from 15-22 litres per minute down to around 3 – 6 litres per minute.
Finally, the WELS Water Rating Label scheme requires flushing toilets and urinals to meet a basic level of water efficiency. Waterless urinals are not required to have any form of WELS certification. Concerning toilets, an average flush is calculated as one full flush and four half-flushes. Therefore a compliant toilet suite cannot exceed 5.5 litres per average flush. Water-efficient toilets make up a significant amount of the water savings under the WELS scheme with savings of 22% as a traditional toilet used 11 litres per flush compared to water-efficient dual flush toilets that use, on average less than 4 litres per flush. This adds up to savings of 52 litres of water per person, per day, and can add up to $800 less in your water bill over ten years.
When choosing plumbing products for your home, it is a good idea to take into consideration the information on the WELS Water Rating Label and the savings you can make over the long term on both water and electricity or gas bills.
For more information on the WELS scheme, go to waterrating.gov.au.
Drain odours have plagued Aidan Clarke the owner of Marine Energy Systems at Murarrie since 2006. Since opening his workshop and showroom, he had been trying to solve the problem of foul odours in their bathroom. The smell was so bad that employees had complained that it was making them nauseous.
ADCO Constructions, the builder of the complex, had organised their plumber to replace the drainage connection for the toilet suite to no avail. Odour blockers had been placed in the bathroom, but they too were of limited value and failed to address the problem with drain odours continually there.
The problem was particularly acute after weekends with the door having to be jammed open on Monday to get fresh air into the bathroom. The problem was particularly embarrassing when clients of the company viewing product in the showroom needed to use the bathroom.
In May 2011 in absolute frustration, Aidan Clarke contacted Gary Mays of Whywait Plumbing to solve the drain odours problem. After a thorough inspection of all existing drain connections to the toilet, shower and basin it was concluded that the only logical place that the drain odours could be emanating from was the floor waste trap in the middle of the floor.
As a result, Gary Mays from Whywait Plumbing Services contacted John Carroll from Eco Guardians to obtain his advice to see if a new product he had discussed with Gary Mays previously would solve the problem. A DrainGuardian™ was supplied to us to fit into the floor waste. The DrainGuardian™ was installed in less than 5 minutes, replacing the existing grate cover.
Once installed water was poured down the floor waste ensuring there was a water seal in the DrainGuardian in addition to the existing water seal in the main 100mm trap that makes up the drainage floor waste system.
DrainGuardian™ eliminating drain odours from floor wastes
The entire process of installation was completed to ensure the sceptical, long-suffering Aidan Clarke that the DrainGuardian™ would provide greater protection to any form of odour emission from the floor waste and end the problem he had been enduring.
The DrainGuardian™ works by creating two physical barriers to smells and vermin while it also kills airborne bacteria, waterborne bacteria and fungi. In the smelly bathroom at Marine Energy Systems the improvement was immediate and permanent.
The results were almost instantaneous as within one day the DrainGuardian™ had eliminated odour problems in the bathroom. The elimination of the odours in such a short time proved conclusively the problem that Marine Energy Systems had been enduring since 2006 had been the floor waste trap all along. There was nothing structurally defective with the floor waste trap that was causing odour emission’s which makes the source of the odours a common problem we find these days in that it is a venting problem in the entire sewer drain system to the property. What had been happening was a siphoning effect that caused the floor waste trap to be sucked either completely or partially dry that allowed drain odours to be emitted through the floor waste and into the bathroom.
Aidan Clarke now categorically states, “ DrainGuardian™ should be compulsory in every floor waste in every bathroom as a clean bathroom environment cannot be underestimated. I have wasted incredible amounts of money on trying to solve this problem as it was a cause of acute embarrassment to me, our staff and to clients. Our bathroom is now a pleasure to enter with there being no drain odours at all thanks to a straightforward solution in DrainGuardian.”
If you are experiencing drain odours book Whywait Plumbing to investigate today by calling us on (07) 5580 4311