Gurgling drains are a warning sign
Gurgling drains or gurgling toilets should never be ignored. A gurgling drain or gurgling toilet is giving you a friendly early warning sign that you are possibly about to experience blocked sewer drains.
Generally, the sounds of gurgling drains will be coming from your toilet or the bathroom floor waste drainage trap when you are using other plumbing fixtures. Simplistically, gurgling drains are similar to you experiencing an asthma attack because the drain is struggling to breathe.
Gurgling drains are trying to breath
Whywait Plumbing CCTV drain camera locating roots in a drain that were causing gurgling drains
When you experience gurgling drains or a gurgling toilet what has occurred in your underground sewer drains is that the drains are full of wastewater that is blocking or partially blocking the drains vent pipe that connects from your drain and extends up above your roof.
Therefore when you use any of your plumbing because the vent is not letting the drain breath, the drain creates a vacuum. The vacuum affects the trapping system in the toilet pan or floor waste trap or occasionally a laundry tub or overflow relief gully in an attempt to get air. Usually, only part of the water in the fixture trap is sucked out leaving the remainder of the water in the trap and it this water movement that causes the gurgling drains as air is sucked into the drain.
The interconnecting plumbing and sewer drainage system in your home is a straightforward system, but it must be able to breathe and get air into the system through your vent pipes. Many people believe that the vent pipe is a stink pipe to remove smelly sewer odours from the sewer drain. This is partially correct but the vent pipes other job is to equalise air pressures within your sewer drains and give you a balanced system that allows wastewater to flow.
Very simply whenever you flush the toilet or have a shower or turn your washing machine on the wastewater immediately runs into your sewer drains. Instantly in the drain, you get water and air displacement with a vacuum being created behind the flowing water that sucks air into the drain to equalise the pressure in your drain and allows the water to flow.
Gurgling drains should never ever be ignored as they seldom go away and should be investigated immediately by calling Whywait Plumbing now on (07) 5580 4311.
Aquatemp Odour Neutraliser used in the basement of Seabank Building created a safe environment for the plumbers from Whywait and building tenants.
The recent replacement of Seabank’s stormwater basement pumps resulted in our having to pump out the basement stormwater pit. Pumping out over 20 years of silt buildup along with inflows of storm water meant we had to utilise a small vacumm tanker from Power Pumping that could fit into the basement. However this meant we could only pump out 2000 litres at a time which resulted in multiple trips to the basement which created a buildup of diesel fumes in the basement.
As can be seen in the photo above the diesel exhaust fumes fogged up the lower basement which made it impossible for Whywait’s plumbers to work in an atmosphere that made them nauseous.
Exposure to diesel fumes in a confined area such as a basement are dangerous to everyone in the area and frequently basement extraction systems are not designed to remove the fumes as quickly as industrial vehicles discharge them.
Fortunately for both Whywait’s plumbers and Seabank’s tenants we were able to spray the basement area with our new Aquatemp Odour Neutraliser which changed the chemical structure of the odourous diesel fumes. The noxious diesel fumes were neutralised within 5 minutes of application allowing work on replacing the pumps to continue in a safe working environment.
Using the Odour Neutraliser the hydrogen in the diesel fumes were converted into a complex organic sodium salt that becomes a non volatile, non odourless and non poisonous compound.
From a safety perspective we had not used a masking agent but had actually neutralised and removed the fumes. Masking agents simply just create a perfume but still allow the insidious actions of the noxious gases to continue which have potential to cause health problems to everyone working in the area.
Aquatemp Odour Eliminator is a water based organic compound derived from betaines and amines that is 100% biodegradable and will be used by Whywait Plumbing in all situations where noxious fumes and odours can impact on everyones health.
By Gary Mays
Here at Whywait Plumbing we are often left wondering at the stupid things people do to their plumbing which ensures plumbers are never short of or will run out of work.
Essentially at Whywait Plumbing we are maintenance plumbing specialists and our primary work is to make house calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. The basic reason plumbers never run out of work is based on two truths:
1) our clients will always need plumbing—or more specifically, plumbing that works—and,
2) some of our clients will always do stupid things that stop their plumbing from working.
Keeping in mind that the maintenance side of plumbing often requires a strong stomach and the need to suppress amusement with other peoples’ self-imposed misfortune. But rest assured that the two truths mentioned above will always ensure the plumbers at Whywait Plumbing will keep your plumbing working to keep your business. Listed below are samples of stupid things that some of our clients do to their plumbing that require Whywait staff to suppress their amusement or often bemusement.
- Leaving hoses connected and turned on at the tap and then going away on holiday. This is a classic plumbing error that one must assume is caused most often by extreme laziness with the only beneficiary being Gold Coast Water with all of the extra water this client ultimately had to pay for when the hose burst.
- Using the drain vent pipe for anything other than venting because there is plenty of room inside the pipe. This client was running TV aerial cables, pay TV cables and computer cables down the drainage vent pipe that come up through the roof. For this client it was the solution for getting all of the cabling into the house through a single 50mm pipe. But as he learnt vent pipes are not just there for their bad looks. Vent pipes not only provide air to drains inside the house and to prevent a suction effect that inhibits drainage but they also get rid of sewer gases that come up from the Gold Coast Water’s sewer main. If you cut a hole in your vent inside the house to run a cable through, you’re tapping into an endless supply of your neighborhood’s sewer gases. He had a nice picture on the TV in his lounge room with full access to the Internet but made the house almost uninhabitable with the fluctuating sewer gases entering the house.
- Using too much drain cleaner. When used judiciously and as directed on the right kind of blockage, drain cleaners can be effective and relatively safe for drains. When used with abandon, they can corrode some drain pipes such as copper which this client managed to achieve while making Bunnings very happy with all of his purchases. Plus so much was poured down the pipe it made the blockage worse.
- Pouring chemicals into a septic system. If you’re used to living with a septic system, you probably know how to take care of it. But this client was renting a house on acreage and did not think twice about using chemicals like drain cleaner, chlorine bleach, paint and even anti-bacterial soaps. These chemicals killed the essential bacteria in the septic tank, and caused it to stop working but of course waited until Christmas Day to finally block when he had a house full of family visiting.
- Screwing, nailing or cutting into a wall without checking for hidden plumbing pipes. The advent of multiple types of plastic water pipes have turned this into a nightmare for plumbers as they cannot be welded up like a copper pipe plus none of the systems are compatible. Doing this with a screw and you might hear a fine spray of water hitting the back of the wall. But this client did it with a chainsaw and got the ultimate gusher hitting not only the hot and cold pipes but also the hot water storage tank.
- Pouring cooking oil and fats down the kitchen drain. If you’re in the habit of pouring cooking oil and fats down the kitchen sink drain you are guaranteeing a drain blockage sooner rather than later. Cooking oil and fat is one of the best things for blocking drains as a recent client discovered managing to block up his entire unit and that of her neighbour in a duplex block on Australia Day when the neighbour was entertaining friends for a traditional barbecue.
- Putting everything down the kitchen waste disposal unit. Unfortunately this client was one of those people who thought a waste disposal unit was the equivalent of a space-fantasy laser gun. Unfortunately she found out it was not in the middle of a dinner party for important clients of her husbands business. A waste disposal unit is essentially a motor with a spinning wheel that has two metal blades, and it does very little to stop the following from blocking your drain even if you do run copious amounts of water into the kitchen sink: bulk flour, bulk rice, flower stems, prawn shells, oyster shells, filleted fish scales and skin and a couple of spoons. The smell was not great either.
- Using the toilet as a rubbish bin. We all know it is stupid to put a lot of solids or newspaper down the toilet but many people do it anyway. This client like many others we rescue believed that if she could just get it to flush away it would be magically out of her life forever. Like many people she had the mistaken belief that at the other end of the toilet there is nothing but a black hole which is a portal to a subterranean outer space that swallows up everything she could discard and it is then whisked off into oblivion. Unfortunately, that oblivion is a 100mm pipe that leads into another 100mm pipe, which was the drainage pipe to her entire house. In other words constantly flushing incorrect items down the toilet over an extended period ultimately caused the entire house to block up and the drain had to be dug up to remove all the solidified debris that had mounted up. The bottom line is if it is not toilet paper or faeces or urine it does not belong in the toilet pan.
And those are just a few of the stupid things we have rectified this year to date at Whywait Plumbing Services.
Recently here at Whywait Plumbing, we have had several calls from clients who are concerned they are about to be overrun by small drain flies in their bathroom. Generally, the concern is that they are in large numbers, and no matter what is done to kill them they continue to multiply as there is always more the next day.
Cleaning Your Drains Doesn’t Get Rid Of Drain Flies!
Many clients had cleaned the bathroom until it could be cleaned no more. So by process of elimination, they had decided that they were coming out of one of the drains in the bathroom. Frustratingly no matter how often some clients sat and observed the drains they never saw any of the drain flies emerging from the drain in the shower or basin or the floor waste. Many clients describe them as lazy flies as they just accumulate on the bathroom walls and seldom fly.
What most people observed was the drain flies flying were mainly sitting on the walls or ceiling in the bathroom. We can confirm that what everyone was experiencing is what is commonly known as drain flies or bathroom flies emerging from the floor waste drain where they breed.
What Do Drain Flies Look Like
A typical looking drain fly on a bathroom wall
Drain flies are dark grey flies and are 2mm – 4mm in length with hairy moth-like wings. They have a jerky flight as they are weak fliers and usually are found close to the floor waste drain or other areas of origin such as shower or bath wastes. This is why they seldom stray outside the bathroom. In most cases, they are breeding in the bathroom floor waste trap.
Drain flies do not bite and are not known to transmit disease of any sort. They do not damage clothes or linen and are considered to be more of unsightly nuisance value in your home.
The adult drain flies and larvae can be controlled by eliminating or reducing breeding sites. If the infestation is minor, the pouring of bleach into the floor trap will usually work in killing them. However, if that does not solve the problem, then you will need to kill them by thoroughly cleaning the drain lines and or sealing of the floor trap.
The reason that they continually seem to be in large numbers despite always killing them is that eggs hatch in 32 to 48 hours when the temperature is above 20 degrees. The larvae mature in 9 to12 days and feed on the decaying organic matter that accumulates in the floor waste trap. The life cycle of drain flies is 1-3 weeks. Adults drain flies live about two weeks, with old ones dying and new ones emerging. They feed on the wastewater in the floor waste trap. During the day the adults rest in shaded areas such as under the basin or on walls near plumbing fixtures and the sides of showers and baths. Most activity occurs during the evening when the flies are seen hovering about.
Septic Tanks Breeders
If you are on acreage and have septic tanks or treatment plant, they may breed in large numbers in and around the tanks. Drain flies then may be carried by prevailing wind to nearby homes up to 3 kilometres away. Adult drain flies are small enough to pass through ordinary window insect mesh screens.
Thorough Cleaning of Drain and Traps
It is the experience of Whywait Plumbing that cleaning of the drains from the basin, shower and bath that discharge into the floor trap is only part of the answer. It is also beneficial to clean the floor waste trap and grate thoroughly. We recommend cleaning the whole area with No-Rinse Floor Cleaner, Sanitiser & Disinfectant, which will clean and disinfect the floor and drain. We don’t recommend the need to continually pour chemical such as bleach down the drain as it is washed away as soon as you use any water in the basin or shower fixtures.
Drain PRO™ – The Drain Fly Solution
In 2010 Gary and Michele Mays the owners of Whywait Plumbing Services went through this entire experience of drain flies invading their ensuite bathroom. Gary Mays installed a Drain PRO™ unit into the floor waste which prevents not only drain flies but also bacteria, odours and insects from exiting through the drain into the bathroom.
It is three years since the installation of the Drain PRO™ units in all of all bathroom floor traps in their home, and they have eliminated the reoccurrence of the annoying tiny lazy drain flies.
If you are experiencing the annoyance of drain flies that will not go away give us a call at Whywait Plumbing on (07) 5580 4311 to book a service call so we can eliminate them once and for all.
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