Monday, August 19, 2019

Helpful Hints

If you are considering having any plumbing work done around your home, particularly with RENOVATIONS TALK TO US FIRST!  There are many traps with services and fixture types, ie toilet styles, etc.

Plumbing is a learned skill, and often mistakes are made because the home handyman does not have the knowledge of the proper tools and materials for the job.

Before you have a go at doing the job yourself you need to ask yourself the question "What is the worst thing that can happen if I don't get it right?' 

The answer may be - 'flood the house out while I am away on holidays' - 'cause the tiles to fall off the shower wall' - 'an excess water bill'................

The best protection and advice is - USE A LICENSED PLUMBER WITH A CURRENT QBCC LICENSE

Here is a list of some common problems

EXCESS WATER USAGE

Dripping taps, leaking toilet systems, etc are likely to incur an excess water bill with your local authority.  The real concern is the leaking water pipe under the ground or slab of your premises which cannot be seen. Frequently these occur for lengthy periods before being detected and have resulted in water bills of thousands of dollars.  They can also cause substantial erosion under concrete slabs resulting in damage to foundations.

Things to look out for are persistent wet areas in the lawn, dampness in concrete paths, driveways and floor areas.  Floor tiles lifting or sounding hollow can also be indications of water leaks.

Apart from the excess water bill raising the alarm, regular checks of the water meter can be made by turning off all taps, water outlets in the house and then watching the meter to make sure it is not turning over.  If you are still concerned a simple pressure test by a licensed plumber will detect any hidden leaks.  A constant dripping tap can fill up an average sized family swimming pool in a year.

RENTAL PROPERTIES

If you own a RENTAL PROPERTY new laws relating to who is liable for excess water costs may apply.  We suggest you visit www.rta.qld.gov.au and also discuss this issue with your property manager.  To insure this certificate complies with the Government requirements and to prevent any comeback from disgruntled tennants it is strongly recommended this work is carried out by a LICENSED PLUMBER WITH A QBSA LICENSE

Most rental managers recommend their own tradespersons to look after plumbing, electrical, etc.  We are able to offer a PERSONAL and INDEPENDENT SERVICE with your plumbing needs.  i.e. negotiate rates, inspect your house for other repairs, etc.  If you require our services it is simply a matter of advising your property manager and ourselves we are to carry out these services.  We can invoice you direct and consult with you about any concerns.

BUYING A HOUSE - IS IT LEAKING.................IN THE WALLS................UNDER THE SLAB

So you are looking at buying a house.  Obviously you will require a Building Inspection report.  One of the most important things missing in these reports is whether there is a water leak in the supply pipes to fixtures and fittings.  Slow leaks can be difficult to detect particularly if they are under slabs or in wall cavities.  Bathroom shower areas are of a particular concern where the cause of dampness in the floor/wall areas is usually attributed to faulty sealants, or no sealants behind tap flanges.  Be careful - these may not necessarily be the cause of the problem.

If you are going to the trouble of requiring a Building Report it is worth going the extra step to engage a licensed plumber to conduct a simple pressure test on the water lines leading from the water meter to the fixtures in the house.  This will confirm if these are any hidden leaks in the water service. Only a licensed plumber is qualified to certify this test.

TOILET SUITES

  • If you are considering replacing or installing an additional toilet suite, it is best to seek our advice prior to purchasing the products.
  • The most important issue is the set back distance from the outlet to the wall.  Also bottom and rear entry water supplies can be a problem.
  • There are numerous makes, types and styles of toilet suites on the market, some of which may not fit the dexisting drainage system.
  • Be aware of 'bargain' suites offered at auctions, etc, as they may not be approved to the Australian Plumbing Standards, and parts may not be available.
  • Quite often during installation, other 'problems' such as water connections, can develop - a Licenced Plumber will be in a position to address these issues.
  • For general household use we recommend that you install well known brands, e.g. Caroma, Fowler, Raymor. Parts are easily available.
  • Installation by a Licenced Plumber with QBSA accreditation will ensure workmanship is guaranteed.

HOT WATER

  • ELECTRIC HOT WATER systems can now be installed in new homes and replacements.  
  • Ensure they are installed to industry standards and tempering valves, etc are fitted
  • By law a PIC Form 4 is required to be given to you by a licensed plumber after installation

SEPTIC TANK INSTALLATION

Where no town sewerage systems are available it will be necessary to install either a household treatment plant or a septic system.  This may be dependant on local Government requirements.  Issues such as the area of land available for transpiration trenches, the slope of the land and soakage rates of the soil are factors that will need to be taken into account when making a decision of what type of sewerage system can be used.

These issues need to be discussed with an engineer who may be in position to prepare plans for submission to Council if a septic tank system is considered suitable.

Designs of  septic tanks and transpiration trenches have considerably improved in recent times, which permit all black and grey water wastes to enter the tanks.

The advantages of installing a septic tank system are:

•    No ongoing yearly plumbers/ council fees associated with a treatment plant
•    No moving parts which require maintenance/replacement
•    No electricity to run pumps
•    No irrigation sprinkler system or lines to maintain
•    Reduced installation costs

OVERFLOWING TOILET

When bringing up to the nightmare of plumbing problems, the daddy of them all equals the overflowing toilet.  There’s nothing enjoyable about it.  To fix an overflowing toilet first turn off the cistern stop cock which should be located below the cistern.   This will stop water from entering the cistern. If the cistern inlet valve is the problem it is usually cheaper to replace it.  Flush valve leaking, try a new washer however, be prepared to spend an hour or two searching for the right part.

Yuk!  We don't mind letting this trade secret out......If a full bowl is the problem and you feel ambitious, try using a rag type mop as a plunger.  You will need to keep the bowl full of water using a bucket whilst you engage in this somewhat unpleasant experience. (careful not to splash it on your feet).  If this fails it is usually due a sizeable blockage further down the drain from tree roots, a foreign object or simply being overworked.  You will then need to call in the heavy artillery,i.e. a plumber with a hogh pressure drain cleaning machine in the yellow pages.  Sometimes it doesn't hurt to first enquire if the neighbours are having a similar problem.  If so it may well be a council problem, give them a call they are usually very helpful as they have the good gear. 

TAP WON’T TURN OFF

Usually caused by a cracked washer or furrow in the combination seat.  You will need to turn the water off.  The isolating tap is usually located at the water meter.  If you have trouble locating the meter follow the front hose tap out to the yard boundary, this is a good starting point.  Units and commercial premises may be different.  The only way to fix the problem is to repair the tap. If the seat has a furrow it will need reseating – to do the job properly you will need the right tools valued at about $80. Possibly cheaper to call usServices we guarantee our work.  Until the problem is fixed the trick is to turn the water on at the meter only when you need it.

PS. Be careful not to break any water lines or loosen other fittings behind the walls or in the floor.

WATER FILTERS

If you are really concerned about the quality of the water you drink why would you buy bottled water when you don’t know what’s in it or where it actually came from?  By installing a quality water filter plumbed into your house water supply you know you will have the real product.  Your townwater supply goes through strict testing and quality control before it is delivered to you and your family.

If you are really worried about the town water, install a rainwater tank & run it through your filter.

A quality water filter will give you peace of mind plus it is on tap whenever you need it, and it's FREE! Also, help save the environment by reducing plastic bottle waste and the cupful of oil it takes to make these containers.  Cost – around $400 installed for a two filter Australian made unit.

We also do rainwater tank installations.