Gurgling Drains

Gurgling Drains

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

gurgling drains caused by roots in drain repaired by Whywait Plumbing

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.


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.

Preventative Maintenance Is Critical Plumbing Advice For Business Owners

Every business relies on many factors and unexpected disruptions are an everyday occurrence to be managed . From a plumbing perspective the best management technique is preventative maintenance which is critical plumbing advice for business owners. One of the most disruptive plumbing problems faced by business owners is a sudden leak or failure of a plumbing appliance or fixture. (more…)

Stupid Things People Do that Ensures Plumbers Never Are Short of Work

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.

  1. 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.
  2.   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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Will We Ever Invent Anything This Useful Again?

Recently the highly respected magazine “The Economist” ran a cover story that asked the pertinent question if we will ever invent something as useful as the flushing toilet again.  No matter which way you look at it the flushing toilet has done wonders for public health in modern society.

The humble toilet and its associated water flushing in its many variations and improvements over the years have helped to stop the spread of infectious disease. In fact a survey of 11000 doctors by the “British Medical Journal” in 2007 voted hands down that the world’s greatest medical milestone since 1840 was sanitation which of course the toilet is an integral part of. Despite all the staggering medical breakthroughs and scientific advances the seemingly mundane advance of reliable sewage and reliably clean water supply was judged the greatest medical advance.

The ancient Indus Valley Civilization were the first to use hydraulic engineering in the earliest version known of flushing water toilets. The Romans used latrines over pipes with running water that carried into the Tiber River. The Romans were the first civilised society over 2000 years ago to realise the requirements to have an integrated plumbing system to pipe in clean water and dispose of used water .

In 1596 Sir John Harrington installed a toilet for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, who would not use it because of the noise it made. Contrary to popular opinion Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet but he did popularise the siphon system used to empty the tank or cistern.

For most of us in Australia flushing toilets and the associated plumbing is something we take for granted. Like most of the population the staff at Whywait Plumbing have never known what it is like not to have a flushing toilet inside the house or to have on demand clean running water inside our homes or a fully functional sewer system to take away the used water.

Close to 90% of us live in an urban environment and for that we can thank plumbing, that allows us to do so safely, without fear of contracting water borne diseases.

Clean potable water is the basis for life and without it the risk to public health and the population as a whole increases. The cost to the community of plumbing failures are substantial and always have been. The recognition by “The Economist” and “British Medical Journal” that the flushing toilet coupled with reliable sewage and water supply is testament to the strength of plumbing laws, standards and licensing in not only Australia but also in Europe and North America. This is because doctors recognised the best measure of medical advance is not its complexity but what it does for the average person with respect to length and quality of our lives. The average life expectancy has increased 35 years since 1840 and roughly 30 of those years are attributable to the advances in sanitation and living conditions.

Even in today’s society, not everyone has access to a flushing toilet and in Asia alone some 2 billion people, which is over 60% of the population of Asia, live without an adequate access to sanitation such as toilets. In many places open sewers are the norm. This would not be tolerated in Australia and we are protected from it thankfully by our plumbing laws.

No matter which way you look at it “The Economist” is correct we will possibly as a society never invent anything as useful again as the flushing toilet which has improved billions of people’s lives.

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