Plumbing Innovations are Disruptive Innovation

Plumbing Innovations are Disruptive Innovation

Plumbing innovations have always been the norm in the plumbing industry. Innovation is change and is always about better ways of doing the same thing.

When I started my apprenticeship the clearing of a blocked drain started using a plunger and was at least a two-man job using 1m long drainage rods. The rods were screwed together and manually pushed slowly down the drain until we hit the blockage. Clearing drains this way frequently took 3-4 hours.

Plumbing innovations mean that we now clear a blocked drain with state of the art high-pressure jetrodding technology that was unknown 20 years ago.

Innovation is always about change, but at Whywait Plumbing we have always been at the forefront of plumbing innovations. We have always lead change as Gold Coast plumbers from the purchase of our first high-pressure water jetting unit in 1992 or installing vehicle tracking systems or introducing guaranteed upfront pricing in 1999.

What we always considered was developing and improving our way of solving your plumbing problems is now referred to as disruptive innovation. I agree disruptive innovation is the new term in business in the 21st century. But it’s not new it’s just a new way of talking about improving our methods and practices using the latest technology.

Change is the norm, but it just appears to be frantic to an outside observer with online banking, online shopping, online flight bookings and so the list goes on. At least with plumbing, it can’t be done online except for those DIY enthusiasts who believe Google Plumbing has all the answers.

The level of disruption through plumbing innovations has impacted all plumbing installation and maintenance has been significant starting with:

  • Increasing use of prefabrication of bathroom and kitchen modules off-site where the plumbing is all undertaken in a factory, transported to the site and connected up to a water and drainage connection.
  • Continual advances in sustainability with the advent of low flow toilets, low flow taps, waterless urinals and recirculated hot water.
  • Advances in energy efficient products with heat pump hot water units, solar hot water, instant hot water and underfloor heating.
  • All of the different materials we now use in the pipework, relining of existing pipework, CCTV cameras to inspect pipes and pipe jointing methods where welding is now obsolete.
  • Excavation methods with advanced technologies in hydro excavation and tracking and locating of underground services.

The ongoing changes in technology in the plumbing industry are disruptive if not embraced. I agree that plumbing innovations cause a significant difference in how we undertake to solve plumbing problems and how the plumbers at Whywait work now.

Ultimately plumbing continues to be about protecting the health and safety of the community for now and the future to ensure we have good quality water and sewer systems in our buildings.

Replacing Your Hot Water Service? What You Need To Know

Replacing Your Hot Water Service? What You Need To Know

Replacing Your Hot Water Service – How Will You Know What’s Right For You?

When replacing your hot water service the most common question asked is what will it cost?
Whilst price is always an important consideration, at Whywait Plumbing believe that there are other equally important factors. This article will help you make an informed decision.

Should The Price of the Replacement Hot Water Service Be The First Consideration?

Besides renovating your home, replacing your hot water service is a major cost. It is often an expense that occurs with very little warning.
Unfortunately, unless you like cold showers, this gives you little time to carefully review available replacement options.

Hot water systems are not all created equal and the choice you make today will be one that lasts for the next ten to fifteen years. With ever-increasing energy costs impacting household budgets, having an efficient and well maintained hot water service has never been more important. A cheap hot water service may cost you a great deal more in ongoing expenses.

With So Many Hot Water Systems On the Market How Do You Know Which One To Choose?

With modern technological advances and the push for energy-efficient heating solutions, it’s no longer a matter of just replacing your hot water system with like for like.  So how do you know which hot water service to buy?

Hot water services are available in electric, gas, solar and heat pump models, and all come in a huge range of sizes. Purchasing the right hot water service for your needs is something you should seek advice about from a qualified hot water specialist. With a little help from Whywait’s Hot Water Specialists you will be able to select the system that best suits your situation.

Hot Water Service FAQ’s

Before making any decisions about a hot water service replacement you will need to think about:

  • What size is your current hot water service and have you ever run out of hot water with your current hot water system?
  • Does your current hot water service operate on an off-peak electricity tariff?
  • Are your hot water needs likely to increase, decrease or stay the same over the next five years?
  • Do you intend to remain in your current property for at least the next five years?
  • What is more important to you the initial up-front installation cost or the ongoing running costs?
  • Is the quality of the product and length of warranty a consideration when comparing hot water services?

Once you have answered the above points it will be time to consider the available options.

Why Is My Hot Water Not Hot Enough?

Why Is My Hot Water Not Hot Enough?

A common question we get asked this time of year concerning hot water repairs is “Why is my hot water not hot enough?

We find our clients tend to notice this problem predominately when showering and in most instances, the temperature of the water hasn’t suddenly changed. It’s more than when the weather is fresher, and we tend to increase the ratio of hot to cold water, and therefore, any fault that affects the hot water becomes more apparent.

Hot Water Not Hot Enough, Common Causes

When customers ask “why is my hot water not hot enough” we always provide as much information as possible.

In our 42 years of plumbing experience and as hot water specialists, we have found the most common causes of this problem are:

Let’s take a closer look at each of these possible problems.

Malfunctioning tempering valve

Tempering valves are designed to blend hot and cold water to deliver water at a constant temperature that does not exceed 50’C. If water entering the tempering valve contains small amounts of sand or other debris, this can become lodged in the filters of the tempering valve and affect the operation of the valve resulting in lukewarm rather than hot water.  Read more about tempering valves.

Faulty hot water service

If your hot water service is older (usually 10-15 years) or you have overlooked regular maintenance, it could result in a problem with the heating system.

A hot water system fails most commonly at these points:

The element is the mechanism within the hot water service that heats the water with the thermostat being responsible for switching the element on and off. Any problem with either of these parts can result in disruption to your hot water.

The relief valve is responsible for releasing built-up pressure as the water heats. If this valve is continuously leaking, then you will lose hot water which in turn is replaced with cold water that cools the hot water stored in the tank.

Hot water demand exceeds the capacity

Typically if a tanks capacity is over 125L, then you would connect to one of the off-peak tariffs, which means that electricity used by the hot water system will be charged at a lower rate. While this makes for a cost-effective solution, it does come with some limitations as you do not have an unlimited supply and if for any reason your demand for hot water increases there is always the possibility that you could run out of hot water.

If you are finding the hot water in your household is consistently not hot enough, and repairs are not required, then seriously consider a more substantial capacity, new hot water system.

Help Is On Hand

Here at Whywait Plumbing, we don’t consider hot water a luxury, it is a necessity. So if you are experiencing a cold shower and asking yourself why is my hot water not hot enough, call us now for Same Day Service.

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.

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.

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