Is bacteria & mould in your showerhead making you sick?

Is bacteria & mould in your showerhead making you sick?

The wet and warm environment of your shower head is a prime real estate for germs, bacteria & mould

Bacteria in your showerhead is reality. Your showerhead is prime real estate for sediment build-up from fine particles in the water, bacteria and mould.

You no doubt think that stepping into your shower will wash away dirt and germs in the showerhead. However, studies from the University of Colorado, NYU Langone Medical Center and Manchester University have concluded that bacteria thrive inside and outside showerheads. Furthermore, they have found showerheads have the potential to harbour more bacteria than your toilet.

 We live surrounded by bacteria, some being beneficial, some being harmless, and a few are potentially lethal. These potentially lethal bacteria in a showerhead may cause lung infections, yet few of us consider the implications of bacteria in your showerhead.

Mycobacteria are found in abundance in showerheads

All the studies concluded that bacteria in your showerhead is real. These bacteria can cause illness live in our showerheads. Therefore, it’s important to understand how people can be exposed to them.

The most likely cause of lung infection that you can get from a showerhead is mycobacteria.

Mycobacteria is a bacteria distantly related to bacteria that cause tuberculosis and leprosy. It is part of rapidly growing mycobacteria and is typically found in water, soil, and dust.

Dr Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, confirmed that bacteria grow in moist wet places like showerheads. “This is a reminder to clean your showerhead, which nobody does,” he said, though “most of us are likely to tolerate mycobacteria and not get sick from it.”

Bacteria in showerheads won’t cause an outbreak of lung infections. However, Dr Siegal suggested people who are run down or who have a compromised immune system or a chronic condition may be vulnerable. Dr Siegal said bacteria also live on your toothbrush and in your basin, and on any moist surface to put it in perspective,

Dr Siegel recommends cleaning your showerhead every week or two with a disinfectant that contains ammonia to be sure you kill all the germs nesting there. “Add your showerhead to the list of things in the bathroom that need cleaning,” he said.

What is mycobacteria bacteria in your showerhead?

As Dr Siegal pointed out, you are unlikely to get sick with mycobacteria. Infections with atypical mycobacteria in Australia occur at a rate of 1.8 cases per 100,000 population.

In Queensland, all cases of mycobacterial infection are notifiable under the Queensland Public Health Act.

The Australian Government Department of Health undertook the last national survey on mycobacteria in 2000. The main sites of infection are identified in the respiratory tract, soft tissue, pulmonary and lymphatics. 

To read the mycobacteria survey for consumers, click here.

 

Bacteria that could be found in your showerhead

Manchester University has conducted studies into the condition of the inside of showerheads. There were multiple bacteria and fungi found in the showerheads that they tested which were:

The solution is to clean your showerhead regularly

As Dr Siegal recommended, you should regularly clean your showerhead, which doesn’t mean just the parts you can see. While infection rates are low, it makes sense to keep your showerhead clean – particularly if you have recently been ill, or are run down or are more prone to infection due to a compromised immune system.

Cleaning your showerhead means removing it from its arm or hose and then dismantling it to clean both inside and out to remove any scale, debris or bacteria that potentially is lurking unseen inside the showerhead itself.

Few of us have ever contemplated the simple act of jumping into the shower in the morning to wake you up or to leave you feeling relaxed and fresh last thing at night before getting into bed is potentially a health risk.

Should you replace your showerhead regularly?

According to some “experts”, Bacteria in your showerhead is so much of a risk you should replace your showerhead every six months.

This is pointless as good quality showerheads that are cleaned and maintained will last ten years plus. Imagine the cost of having new showerheads installed every six months, especially if you have three bathrooms, all with showers.

The range of modern showerheads available is extensive with most of the quality brands from manufacturers coming with full 2-5 year warranties.

In South-East Queensland, we don’t have hard water that destroys plumbing fixtures. This means cleaning your showerhead regularly is all that is required.

How to clean a showerhead?

Bacteria in your showerhead is controllable by cleaning a showerhead properly. Despite the urban myths you hear, bleach will not clean your showerhead.

The reality is, as the research clearly indicates that keeping your showerhead clean could mean the difference between good health and bad health, so reduce the potential risk and keep your showerhead clean with this simple method.

Your plumbing hates you! All homeowners find this out eventually

Your plumbing hates you! All homeowners find this out eventually

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.

sewer drains at Southport Sharks installed by Whywait Plumbing illustrate why your plumbing hates you
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 (ABCB).

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
your plumbing hates you until Whywait Plumbing repair the drain

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.

service partner plan from Whywait Plumbing
Whywait Plumbing are Master Plumbers
Here’s why you should always close the toilet seat lid before you flush

Here’s why you should always close the toilet seat lid before you flush

Why is the operative word in toilet seat arguments

As we’ve all become aware in the last year hygiene is the foundation of health.

Toilet hygiene has become a focus in the home and at work. The simple toilet seat has been focused on as never before.

Arguments over the toilet seat revolve around:

  • why can’t I leave the toilet seat up
  • why should I put the toilet seat down
  • why do I need to close the toilet seat
  • why do toilet seats have a lid

The answer to all these “whys” is because of basic personal hygiene and overall community hygiene.

Harpic photos reveal the danger of not closing the toilet seat lid before flushing

Over the years, I’ve been asked countless times why do toilet seats have lids. Generally, my answers have centred around because it’s called into law in the Plumbing and Drainage Act, which satisfied most people.

However, now I can finally answer all the questions about toilet lids.

I can better answer that perennial question of why you should always close the toilet seat lid before flushing.

The answer is simple. The lid is there for good hygiene to protect your health and community health.

I can answer these questions thanks to Harpic the #1 selling toilet cleaner in Australia and forty other countries worldwide.

Harpic commissioned a study to illustrate the dangers we all face by not closing the toilet seat when we flush. Harpic used sophisticated high-speed specialist camera technology to capture a fireworks display of thousands of tiny aerosol droplets being catapulted into the bathroom, contaminating all surfaces up to two meters away. Not only did the droplets spread over a wide area of the bathroom, but they also stayed airborne for up to a minute as they are tiny.

The photos above and below illustrate these fireworks displays graphically illustrating how far into the air a flushing toilet catapults these aerosol droplets.

Flushed toilet water aerosol droplets can contain bacteria & viruses

These photos are of a single toilet flush. Imagine what your towels, facecloths, laundry, makeup and toothbrush look like after multiple toilet flushes with the seat up.

Water in a toilet bowl that has been exposed to harmful pathogens will remain contaminated despite clean water being flushed into the toilet pan multiple times. The contaminated aerosol droplets and particles are very fine and are more than capable of reaching your lower respiratory tract. This potentially can create infections.

If you touch any surface in your bathroom contaminated by the toilet bowl flushing of aerosol droplets you can risk infections if you have cuts or touch your mouth or nose.

 

Would you clean your teeth with a toothbrush sprayed with flushed toilet water?

Let’s face it. None of us would knowingly clean our teeth with a toothbrush that has been sprayed with contaminated toilet water. But the reality is over 50% of the population never close the toilet lid before flushing. 

Unhygienic bathrooms really are dangerous

As a spokesman for Harpic stated after their research was made public, “There has never been a more important time to take extra care around our homes. Although the risks associated with germ spread in unhygienic bathrooms are high, the solution to keeping them clean is simple. We hope our new #CloseTheLid campaign helps inspire people to make simple changes to their cleaning routine that can have long-lasting benefits to the health of the nation.”

The Harpic survey of 2000 respondents was undertaken in the UK, but I guarantee the results would apply equally to Australia.

When asked why they did not close the toilet seat lid when flushing the toilet were:

  • 47% said they were unaware of the danger in not closing the lid
  • 24% said they were afraid to touch the toilet seat lid
  • 15% said they forgot to close the toilet seat lid

Three simple solutions to bathroom hygiene

COVID-19 has been a huge motivation to increase bathroom hygiene with Harpic, suggesting the three steps below are a simple common sense approach for a more hygienic bathroom.

  • Always close the toilet seat lid when flushing the toilet to prevent germs that potentially contain bacteria and viruses spreading over your bathroom.
  • Ensure you clean your toilet bowl, toilet seat and cistern with a toilet cleaner that removes limescale, providing a home to germs and disinfecting the toilet to guarantee ultimate hygiene.
  • Always wear gloves when cleaning the toilet and wash your hands afterwards.

It’s simple just close the toilet seat lid every time you flush

Closing the toilet seat lid is simple hygiene that helps eliminate the potential spread of COVID-19, which we know is found in human waste.

Just remember when you flush with the toilet seat lid up the contaminated aerosol droplets spread up to two meters in all directions spraying you with the droplets as you redress for up to 35 seconds.

Teach your children always to shut the toilet seat for their health: your health and the health of the entire community.

How much should a plumbers call-out fee cost?

How much should a plumbers call-out fee cost?

What is a plumbers call-out fee?

A plumbers call-out fee is a set amount charged by a plumbing business to come to your home or business.

The call-out fee covers all of the costs incurred for the time it takes to arrive. The call-out fee covers employee costs, vehicle costs and business overhead costs.

Generally, for those businesses that charge call-out fees, the call-out fee only allows for arriving at your home or business. It does not allow for any investigation work of your plumbing problem.

What is a plumbing diagnostic evaluation fee?

Here at Whywait Plumbing, we do not charge a plumbers call-out fee to merely arrive at your home or business.

Since 1999 we have charged on every job we are called out to a diagnostic evaluation fee. This fee we require to be paid by credit card when you book your job in with us.

When you call us, we guarantee that we inform you of our initial upfront fault finding/investigation diagnostic evaluation fee and what that fee is.

Once you are happy to accept our diagnostic pricing, we’ll secure your booking by providing your credit card to cover the initial fault finding/investigation diagnostic evaluation fee.

What is the difference between a call-out fee & a diagnostic evaluation fee?

Plumbing companies that charge a call-out fee use it to cover the cost for the journey for a plumber to arrive at your home or business.

Plumbing companies that charge a diagnostic evaluation fee cover the initial journey cost plus the cost to inspect your plumbing problems, diagnose the cause of the problem and provide fully costed solutions.

No call-out fee plumbers

Some plumbing companies heavily advertise that they have a no call-out fee. It may sound good for budget-minded potential customers but…..I guarantee you will end up paying the plumbers call-out fee anyway.

Remember if something is FREE, it has no value to the plumbing business offering it or to the customer receiving it. No call-0ut fee plumbing businesses simply transfer the costs of getting to the job in their other costs plus a margin so either way you pay.

The perception that advertising a no-call out fee creates is that you are getting something for free, as they will be cheaper. Perception is never reality as no business can work for free.

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

What you should ask about a plumbers call-out fee?

Always ask on the phone what is their call-out fee and what does it include. Many plumbing businesses not only have a call-out fee but an additional minimum charge for their time.

Clear communication is paramount to avoiding disputes. Be very clear in your own mind exactly what the plumber will charge you to arrive at your home or business and investigate what work is required.

Why do call-out fees vary so much?

Contrary to popular urban myths, there is no such thing as a set rate or recommended rate or the going rate for a plumbers call-out fee.

Every plumbing business is not the same. Every plumbing business has different employee costs, overhead costs and productivity levels that are required to set a call-out fee or diagnostic evaluation fee. 

It is illegal under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 for business to collude in setting prices. The Act aims to give all businesses a fair and competitive operating environment. It covers anti-competitive conduct, price-fixing, unconscionable conduct and numerous other issues, such as advertising. The Act also sets out consumers’ rights and responsibilities.

It is also illegal under the Act for there to be any set or recommended rates by master plumbers associations.

Other factors that influence call-out fees are the type of service required and the time of day and which day. Major variances will occur if you require plumbing service at night, on weekends or on public holidays.

So how much should a plumbers call-out fee be?

Reality is asking how much should a plumbers call-out fee be is akin to asking how long a piece of string is.

Remember, there are no recommended call-out fee rates as every business has to determine what they charge.

As a rough guide in my experience, a basic plumbers call-out fee during normal weekday working hours will vary from $0 to $150 to simply arrive on the job. For an emergency plumbing call-out, the costs increase dramatically and you can expect to pay between $150 and $500.

I can only reiterate that you need to be very clear in your own mind exactly what the plumber will charge you to arrive at your home or business and investigate what work is required. 

Rights and responsibilities

Both the plumber and the customer have rights and responsibilities. Sadly there is a culture of mutual distrust between customers and plumbers with each being wary of being ripped off by the other.

Here at Whywait Plumbing, we aim to be always upfront with our pricing starting with our initial plumbers call-out fee or diagnostic fee. When we ask you to pay for that diagnostic fee upfront by credit card, we are both making a commitment from the beginning.

We guarantee and disclose our diagnostic fee up front and provide an upfront fixed price guarantee for all residential, domestic clients. There is no game playing, our clients are always informed of costs upfront, and there are never any hidden costs or nasty surprises.

Urinal Odours

Urinal Odours

Urinal odours are not acceptable

Urinal odours are too often just accepted by commercial building managers. The reality is urinal odours should not be accepted as they are usually easy to rectify.

Solving urinal odours can be time-consuming if you don’t employ an experienced plumbing company to investigate the cause of the odours. Seldom are the odours a urinal issue.

The first steps in solving that infamous male public bathroom are to pinpoint the source of the odour.

Once the source is located, then the best method for eliminating the source of the odour can be undertaken,

Your male bathroom facility should be odour free

Male public bathrooms that have the distinctive urine odour generally only have that “lovely” odour for four main reasons:

  • substandard air extraction and ventilation

  • substandard cleaning procedures

  • floor waste traps that are poorly maintained

  • urinals that are not regularly serviced and maintained

Substandard air extraction and ventilation

It is common practice for a public bathroom to have mechanical ventilation. Poorly performing ventilation systems that remove little air create hot and humid bathrooms.

A simple trick to check the extraction fans are working is to place a piece of toilet paper over the grate. If the paper is not sucked up into the grate and falls to the floor, you have a problem.

If you believe you have poor air ventilation, you need to have it checked over by your air conditioning service company.

Substandard cleaning procedures

Short cut cleaning procedures are the most common cause of urinal odours.

Frequently this is a result of poor cleaning and using cheap chemical cleaning products such as bleach.

Poor cleaning procedures are easy to detect with brown stains in and around the urinal. Usually, there will be urine stains on the floor as well because many males are bad shots.

Ensuring your cleaners receive training on cleaning urinals correctly will solve multiple odours and presentation issues in a public bathroom. Trained cleaner combined with using good quality urinal cleaning products such as Aquatemp Spray & Go Urinal Cleaner & Deodoriser will make a monumental change in eliminating urinal odours.

Odours emitting from the floors around urinals is common, especially with water flushing urinals. This is created by water mist combining with urine to settle on the floor in the tile grout. If the floors are not cleaned correctly, this bacteria will multiply continuously and rapidly. Cleaning the floors with specialist bathroom cleaning products such as Aquatemp No-Rinse Floor Cleaner, Sanitiser & Disinfectant will eliminate urinal odours in the floor tiles.

Floor waste traps that are poorly maintained

Floor wastes in a male public bathroom should only be connected to the basins. Disappointingly this is not always the case, especially in older buildings.

One of the first things to check when locating the source of urinal odours is to check that the urinals are not connected to a floor waste. If the urinals are connected to a floor waste, then you need to install a one-way valve into the floor waste to stop odour emissions.

Another common odour issue with floor waste drains is that the grates and pipe are never cleaned which allows bacteria buildup. Frequently this will be accompanied by poor ventilation which allows the odour causing bacteria to multiply and thrive.

Once again, this links back to correct cleaning procedures when cleaning the floors. That is why we recommend cleaning the floors with Aquatemp No-Rinse Floor Cleaner, Sanitiser & Disinfectant which will eliminate urinal odours in the floor tiles and floor waste grates.

Urinals that are not regularly serviced & maintained

Far too many building managers either fail to maintain their urinals or outsource their urinal servicing to cleaning and hygiene companies to reduce costs.

Not maintaining urinals only ensures you will create bigger problems at a later date.

Outsourcing urinal servicing to cleaning and hygiene companies is illegal as they cannot undertake any servicing work on urinals apart from cleaning them.

All urinals are required to be serviced and maintained correctly and legally compliantly as per the WaterMark certification for the urinals in accordance with the manufactures instructions.

Only plumbers are licensed to undertake urinal servicing by the Queensland Government plumbing regulator, the QBCC. The QBCC are legally required to protect public health and safety under Queensland’s plumbing and drainage licensing system.

Once again far too many building managers will outsource urinal servicing to companies such as Desert Eco Solutions. Desert use cheap, inferior substitute parts which guarantee you will experience urinal odours.

Under Queensland law and the WaterMark approval system on all urinals, it is illegal to use substitute parts. These means any parts that are not the genuine WaterMark tested and approved components for each urinal model under their WaterMark approval.

How to prevent urinal odours

At Whywait Plumbing, we are specialists in ensuring your bathroom facilities and urinals are a healthy environment.

Our product range and specialised services ensure your urinals are compliantly maintained, hygienic, and an odour free experience for your employees and clients alike.

We guarantee that urinal odours can be eliminated by following simple cleaning and maintenance procedures.

Specialist urinal cleaning products

Call Now ButtonCALL NOW