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.
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.
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…)
Do you have mould around the tiles or on the walls in your bathroom or kitchen? If you do then you are not alone as it is a common problem particularly in bathrooms but also in kitchens in South East Queensland due to our sub-tropical climate. Like most problems prevention is vital and often very simple.
Because your bathroom and especially the shower area are the wettest areas in your home it is not uncommon to see mould growing in the grouting and silicon sealants. Bathroom Mould loves the perfect atmosphere to create the ideal conditions for mould growth in the cracks and gaps in the tiling. Consequently mould grows in behind and through the grout joints on the tiles. As can be seen on the photo on the right mould loves getting in behind the silicon seal on the internal corners whether it be the wall or the floor.
The most common area to find mould is in your shower where it is nourished by your body oils, shampoo and soap residue that are left behind every time the shower is used.
Poor air circulation actively assists mould growth as the warmth and moisture created in the enclosed area of a shower offer further ideal conditions for mould growth in the dark areas of the shower around the internal corners and the shower floor drain. Poor air circulation is easily resolved by ensuring you install a good quality bathroom extraction fan above the shower that turns on automatically to remove all of the steam and water particles while you are using the shower.
If you are suffering from mould growth in your bathroom and or kitchen then Whywait Plumbing recommend that you act now to remove it before permanent stains are created. To not only prevent but also treat mould you need to use what nature uses and that is enzymes rather than corrosive chemicals. Enzymes are a natural part of our world and play an important role in everyday life. They are found in every living organism and life is not possible without enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts – not living organisms.
The success Whywait Plumbing have enjoyed with utilising Enzyme Wizard products is incredible with every problem we have utilised it on exceeding not only our expectations but those of our clients. Enzyme Wizard products are a guaranteed supply of plant based enzymes and enzyme products that by their very nature eliminate odours and organic matter, from blood stains, to cleaning carpets and counter tops, removing wallpaper, and even used as a high quality cleaner/degreaser.
For preventing and treating bathroom mould in the bathroom or the kitchen you need to utilise Kitchen & Bathroom Mould & Mildew spray which is a spray and wipe product which is suitable for all surfaces in a bathroom or kitchen whether they are formica or stone bench tops, tiles, glass, timber or stainless steel as it will not only attack existing mould but prevent mould developing.
If you have surface mould in areas such as tiles grout simply spray the effected area with Mould & Mildew spray whilst cleaning the area with a stiff brush. Once you have finished brushing the area leave it 5 minutes then rinse it with clean water. If you have heavy infiltration of mould it maybe necessary to apply a couple of extra times to completely remove the mould.
Frequently you will find mould behind the silicon sealant on the internal corners in tile areas which will require more thorough work. You will need to use a utility knife such as a Stanley knife to scrape off all of the silicon plus ensure you use use a blade to scrape the remnants of silicon clear off the tiles. Once all of the silicon has been removed spray the mould with Mould & Mildew spray as above until it has all disappeared. Once the mould has gone rinse the area clean and dry it thoroughly with a hot air dryer to ensure there is no moisture trapped in the open joint. Finally you will need yo apply a good quality mould resistant silicon to the joint which is specifically designed for high moisture areas.
Once you have removed the kitchen or bathroom mould you need to ensure that you remove the chemical cleaners and bleaches from your cleaning regime and use Enzyme Wizard products in your bathroom and kitchen to prevent mould reoccurring and ensure you have a positive prevention program in place in your home that contain no harmful phosphates or caustic chemicals.
If you observe mould reappearing after a few days of removing then you may have problems with leaking pipes or fittings that require a thorough investigation by Whywait Plumbing to ensure you are not damaging internal frames and wall linings. If you have leaking pipes or fittings behind the wall then mould is only a sympton of a bigger problem and ignoring will not make it disappear. If in any doubt contact Whywait Plumbing for advice on how to deal with mould in your bathroom and or kitchen.
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.