What Is A PTR Valve?

All industries use acronyms to describe certain things.

In plumbing the PTR valve (as commonly known in the industry) is short for the Pressure and Temperature Relief Valve. It’s part of your hot water system and is designed to relieve the increase in pressure caused by water expansion during the normal heating cycle.

As long as the PTR Valve is doing it’s job you will never know it’s there and also never know if it’s about to blow…quite literally.

Manufacturers recommend that these valves are maintained and replaced between 3-5years to ensure the safe working operation of your unit.

We won’t bore you with technical details – after all you really only notice when something isn’t right if you can see or hear something wrong with your hot water system or run out of hot water.

When Things Go Wrong

When you notice that there is something potentially wrong with your hot water heater it is really important that you identify the right shut off valves and turn off the water to the unit.

If you haven’t maintained or service your unit, parts can fail and ultimately the unit can too.

We strongly recommend against fiddling or attempting any handyman work on your unit or the pressure and temperature valve yourself: it definitely pays to be safe. Especially when it comes to your gas hot water heater.

Always engage a qualified, licensed and insured plumber gasfitter to help with your hot water heater repairs or replacement.

I Need A Plumber Now

If you have no hot water or your hot water heater is hissing loudly and spewing water – then call us immediately and we can arrange for one of our experienced team to be with you shortly.

Turn off the water and gas to the unit and we will be there to help.

Experiencing hot water issues?

Call Service Experts now on 1300 390 045 or 0411 098 306

Alternatively, you can contact us using this form.

, , , ,

Never Run Out Of Hot Water Again

If you find yourself constantly running out of hot water with everyone together – it could be a great time to explore upgrading your hot water service from a tank to a continuous flow system.

Storage Tank vs Continuous Flow

A storage tank uses gas to constantly heat the water whereas a continuous flow (or tankless water heater) only heats the water as its needed.

How Are You Doing?

Hi Tanya, Chief Chick at Service Experts, Plumbing and Electrical.

I just wanted to do a quick check in and see how you are doing.

How are you managing the juggle? How are you working from home? Are you managing kids as well and homeschooling them? How are you doing? So I just wanted to do a quick check in.

I actually did write an article on LinkedIn a little while ago. I’ll put the link in the bottom of the email. It was just the lessons that kind of, I’ve learned. From working as a husband and wife team and how it translates to how things have changed to now and how we’re actually working.

So there might be a few things in there that might be of interest to you. It might help a little bit. I know we’re a few weeks in now, so people have kind of settled into their routines and how they’re doing it, but it might also help. So feel free to have a head over there and have a bit of a read. Um, I so just want to see how you are all staying connected.

Are you using Zoom or houseparty? I actually recently had a Zoom catch up with some really old school friends from Sydney, which was really, really nice. It was lovely to see them, and it was lovely to catch up. So, you know, it seems to be the buzzword at the moment. Everyone seems to be, you know, catching up via zoom for a social catch-ups as well as work as well.

I know times are changing, they’re all different and we’re connecting in different ways, but it really is nice to see people one on one and actually connect this way by video or by zoom or house party or whichever way you’re connecting. I was actually thinking as well.

It’s been a really great opportunity to learn new skills. I know in our house we’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking. It makes a big difference from that post-school school activity rush coming home and making like the same old dinners. Spaghetti bowl or whatever, you know, whatever’s quick and easy to kind of throw together for everyone.

And we’ve been coming up with some real menu winners, so hopefully you’ve been exploring that as well. It’s actually been really nice to sit down at the dinner table as a full family every single night, or as many nights as we possibly can and actually enjoy some really different meals. So definitely something for the menu that we’ll be adding in the future.

I know it’s been a great time. I’ve been watching social media posts. People are starting, you know, wanting to learn new skills or looking at, you know, in the downtime, picking up new skills or improving skills that they’ve got. One of the things I would have loved to have done is to actually refresh our website.

It’s, it’s been a long time since it’s needed. Some TLC, if you’ve, if you’ve been over to our website recently, it definitely needs a little bit of TLC and, and a refresh. So one of the skills I would love to be able to teach myself to do is to do that. But then I had this bit of a, a brainwave, and I thought that you might have this.

Skill set. So if you are a graphic designer or somebody involved in website design, then I would love to hear from you because you know, whether you are working or not working at the moment, whatever your situation is, maybe in return there’s something that we can do and help you with. So, you know, it might be a hot water service that’s on its way out that you’ve really been, you know, it’s coming.

You’ve been putting it on the back burner. Maybe you’re in need of some new toilets or tap where you want to refresh it up, a bathroom, or maybe that switchboard that you know is unsafe and needs to be upgraded, needs to be done. So feel free to get in touch with me either by, you can call, text, email, send me an inbox message.

However way. Put all the details in the email that you can connect with me or with us and feel free to reach out. I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to know how you can help us. And in return we can help you.

And finally, will you be standing in your driveway or on your balcony tomorrow at 6:00 AM to commemorate Anzac day.

Daryl and I, and, and hopefully the kids will get up early and we’ll stand now driveway to commemorate and also to remember those things. For Victorian police officers who tragically lost their lives in that horrific, horrific incident a few couple of days ago. So it’s it’s challenging times, but remember, everyone life is so precious.

So please, from Darryl and myself and our team, please keep safe, keep well, and keep strong.

, , , , , ,

COVID-19 Plumbing & Electrical Home Safety Checklist

Drains
Drains block due to various reasons. In your home you have two drainage systems running:

  1. Sewerage System – The waste that comes from your home from the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, sinks and other plumbing components.
  2. Stormwater System – Flows from rainfall.

These systems are essential to the health of your home. The last thing you need when isolated at home are for toilets to block up or your kitchen sink to gurgle and groan.

Here are some tips to keep your drains running clear and efficiently. If you follow these simple steps and you still experience blocked drains then a plumber experienced with a drain machine, high pressure water jetter and CCTV drain camera can investigate and look deep into your drains to check whether tree roots have damaged and cracked pipes.

Do NOT flush the following items. They will clog up drains and cause blockages:
• Flushable wipes (ironic! They are “flushable” – isn’t everything? However, they do not break down and get stuck in drains causing huge issues.
Have you heard of the Fatberg? If you can stomach it – google it.
• Sanitary item They too get stuck in the sewer system and block drains.
• Excessive toilet paper With stores still running 24/7 to keep our stocks available you may be rationing rolls of toilet paper. But once we are back to normal – keep it mind to limit how much you flush.
• Newspaper/Napkins/Serviettes etc It was common during the second world war cut up squares of newspaper hung with a piece of wool, replaced toilet rolls in the shortage. However, as paper is quite dense it can block drains and cause huge issues.
• Grease – After cooking always dispose of cooking oils etc in a glass jar and throw in the garbage. Grease down drains also ends up in our waterways and causes damage to marine life and our oceans.

Hot Water
Hot water is something that we take for granted and when we don’t have any, can cause havoc and subsequent health issues.

While we are forced inside for a greater part of our day more pressure is placed on our hot water needs. Now is a great time to get a health check on your hot water system and perhaps consider upgrading to an instantaneous unit so you never run out.

As we go into our winter flue season (over and above the COVID-19 issue) it’s even more important now for those in the older age groups to have a constant flow of hot water. Cold showers mean they may be more susceptible to sickness. Keeping healthy must be a priority and hot water plays such an important role.

Unfortunately, like with anything in our home, hot water systems can fail without any notice and at any time of the day or night. Getting a health check can prevent such emergencies.

Pipes (Copper, PVC, Braided Flexible Hoses, Galvanised)
Pipes are the cornerstone of connecting all our water and gas to fixtures such as toilets, taps, washing machines, gas cooktops, hot water systems, showers, baths etc

When pipes burst or leak – Water gushes. Gas escapes.

The very best precaution you can take IMMEDIATELY is to inspect flexible connections that connect your taps and toilets to water. These should be inspected and changed every 5 years.

These pipes are “ticking time bombs” in your home.

If you do just one thing to protect your family while in isolation from a plumbing disaster – do yourself and a favour and check these! Failed Flexi’s Flood™ and it’s damaging.

Here are a couple of links to videos on what they are, what to look for and what to do.
Take this seriously.

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-PG7bamPM3xL7ivYYohNJw
Burst Flexible Hose Video: https://youtu.be/ltd1KXIq61I

Gas
Cooking is an essential part of life and being home more means we are preparing and cooking food more regularly. Ensuring your gas cooktop is safe and your gas supply coming into your home is leak free is very important. Make sure to contact your plumber even if can smell the slightest amount of gas.

As we move towards the colder season, gas becomes an integral part of our day for heating and hot water needs.

Most importantly we must be keep our families safe when using gas appliances and ensure that all internal heaters are checked prior to the winter season for carbon monoxide leakage.
Please refer to the Energy Safe website for further messaging regarding this potentially fatal hazard and ensure all heaters are checked.
Energy Safe Victoria: https://esv.vic.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ESV_Beware_carbon_monoxide.pdf

Safety Switches
Safety switches are incredibly important in your home.
Check your switchboard to see if you have them installed.
Safety switches save lives.
A safety switch quickly switches off the electrical supply when a fault is detected.
An effective safety switch can prevent electrical fires, electric shock.
If your home is built prior to 1991 then you may not be protected.

If tripped, the fault may be an appliance so the easiest way to trace it back is to do the following:
Step 1: Turn off all appliances and disconnect from power point
ie toaster, dishwasher, cooktop, fridge, kettle, washing machine etc
Step 2: Flick the safety switch back up to the “on” position
Step 3: One by one, turn on each appliance. If a certain appliance trips the safety switch then you know the fault is with that appliance and DO NOT use.

Surge Protection
A surge protector is an appliance or device designed to protect electrical devices from surges in voltage.

Working from home and having multiple devices plugged in and running at the same time can cause power overloads. Do not overload power boards or run extension cords.

Ask your electrician to check if you have surge protection the next time they perform a home electrical safety check.


Smoke Alarms
On April 5th we turn our clocks backwards as daylight savings ends.
This is a good opportunity to check your smoke alarms too and ensure you and your family are safe from any potential fire hazards.
Replace batteries on those that are low and have an electrician test hard wired smoke alarms.

We have also put together a list of online resources you can access on how to look after yourself and your families wellbeing:

● Headspace – How to cope with stress related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) https://headspace.org.au/young-people/how-to-cope-with-stress-related-to-covid-19/
● Coronavirus: How To Talk To Your Kids About The Disease
https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/coronavirus-how-to-talk-to-kids-disease_l_5e5c615ac5b601022113151d
● Reassuring Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/parenting-new-generation/202003/reassuring-children-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
● BeyondBlue – Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak
● ReachOut – Self-Care
https://parents.au.reachout.com/skills-to-build/wellbeing/self-care-and-teenagers
● Calm – some resources to help us stay calm and grounded
https://www.calm.com/blog/take-a-deep-breath?utm_source=lifecycle&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=difficult_times_nonsubs_031720
● Quarantine at home – coping tips
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/quarantine-at-home-coping-tips
● How to stay positive 🙂
https://www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminlaker/2020/03/13/how-to-be-positive-in-the-coronavirus-world/#580fbb7f3450


Where to access support:

● Lifeline – visit www.lifeline.org.au or call 13 11 14
● BeyondBlue – visit https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ or call 1300 22 4636
● onPysch – Telehealth counselling and support, https://onpsych.com.au or call 1300 659 350
● Headspace – visit https://headspace.org.au/
● Parentline – 13 22 89

The Importance of Quality Control, Staff Training and Safety For Any Industry

Two days ago, our electrician knocked on a customers door, stood back and waited for the customer to open up and greet him. First impressions are very important and a relationship can be made or broken in those first 3-4 seconds.

Upon opening the door to him, the customer snapped “Why are there two of you here? – my job is very small” .

And it reminded me of a piece of negative feedback posted to one of our social media channels a couple months back, where I left a lengthy reply.

My electrician responded that the other man with him is an apprentice and not to worry – “you aren’t being charged for two men, we’re here to help”.

I understand. It can be overwhelming having two extremely handsome tradies on your doorstep 😉

In all seriousness it can be. Especially if you haven’t used our service before, don’t know what to expect and have seen all the current affair episodes about getting ripped off by tradies.

However, apprentices play a really important role in keeping trades alive and educating the next generation of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, bricklayers etc

On the job training, not only for apprentices but for all staff, is imperative for constant improvement, developing skill sets and learning from peers.

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning”. – Benjamin Franklin

We also use the opportunity to quality control on the job. Having the responsibility of staff entering customers homes, we need to ensure that they uphold the standards both in technical quality and customer service experience.

Our team take many many photos whilst onsite to allow us to quality control technical ability and also for future assistance. But nothing comes close to having a teammate coaching and training on the job.

Safety is also another reason there may be more than one tradesperson turning up for your job. We take safety seriously and always ensure we do things the right way – the safe way. Sometimes jobs require two, three or four staff on site. We do whatever it takes to ensure our staff and your family are safe.

Finally, onboarding new staff is also a great opportunity to teach the “how we do it our way” because part of our difference is how we do what we do…..and let’s be honest – there are many out there who have the attitude “chuck it in and she’ll be right”.

Every industry has them. It’s just not our way.


, ,

Saving Money On Water Usage

Water Meter

If you live in an apartment, townhouse or unit you may be paying more for your water bills than you should.

Many properties managed by Owners Corporations or Body Corporates are engaging plumbing professionals to install individual water meters feeding units rather than just “splitting the bill” between occupants.

Some units have families of 5 living in them whilst others are single occupants – all the while having differing levels of water usage.

Installing individual water meters is a project undertaken between the owners corporation, a licensed plumber and the local water authority to ensure that all occupants are only responsible for the water usage within their occupied unit.

As utility rates for gas, electricity and water increase, many occupants welcome the individual water meter installation as opposed to sharing the quarterly invoice for water usage.

Many older units still have galvanised water lines that should also be replaced for copper.  This will also reduce the likelihood of bursts along the old galvanised line. Something we see a lot of in older areas with building over a certain age.

We recently had a call from someone looking to install a new water meter at his unit and had not called a licensed plumber for advice beforehand.  Paperwork had already been lodged with the relevant local water authority to have a new meter installed and they had been given no framework of the work involved.

Always ensure you speak to a licensed plumber before undertaking any project as you may find yourself stuck in a situation that costs you more than you bargained for.

 

Top 6 Tips To Keep Your Family Safe From Fire Hazards

Each year more people die and are injured in house fires than bushfires. In 2017 there were 1,532 preventable house fires in Melbourne resulting in the loss of three lives and causing $32 million property damage.

  • 48 per cent of those fires started in the kitchen
  • 7 per cent in the bedroom
  • 5 per cent in the lounge room
  • 3 per cent in the laundry

There are some very simple rules to follow to help keep you safe in your home. Print them out and discuss them with your partner, family or housemates. They could save your life one day.

Keep emergency numbers near the phone

  • Ensure emergency numbers are keyed into all the phones in your home.
  • Dial 000 (triple zero) for fire, police and ambulance.
  • It’s never too early to teach children how to responsibly contact emergency services.

Practise your home fire escape plan regularly

  • Identify the quickest, safest way to get out of the house from every room,
    including upper floors.
  • Agree on a place to meet outside (letter box or nature strip) and practise it.
  • Ensure your house number is clearly visible so emergency services can find you quickly.
  • Document your plan.

Stop, drop, cover and roll

  • If your clothes catch fire – stop, drop, cover your face with your hands and roll to smother the flames.
  • To help someone else, throw a woollen blanket over them to extinguish the flames.

Get down low and go go go!

  • If there’s smoke in your house, get down low and go, go, go!
  • In a fire, the safest area for breathing is near the floor where the air is cooler and cleaner, so remember to crawl low in smoke.

Check doors for heat before opening

  • Use the back of your hand to check for heat, then get down low and crawl to safety.
  • Close doors behind you if possible. If the door is hot, use another exit.
  • Get everyone out of the house as quickly as possible.

Call the fire brigade

  • Call the fire brigade from a neighbour’s house, public or mobile phone and wait for them to arrive.
  • Tell them where the fire is and if anyone is still inside.
  • Never go back inside for any reason.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your home is safe is to have your electrical switchboard inspected and ensure there are safety switches installed.

To schedule your annual safety check call us on 1300 390 045

This is a FREE service to all our Home Protection Shield Plan Members

Our $375 Gift To You

Top Plumbing Tips For A More Comfortable Home

When it comes to plumbing, many things can go wrong. Some plumbing issues are very easy to repair, while others can become quite a bit more difficult. No matter how difficult or simple the plumbing problem may appear, it’s wise to have some plumbing knowledge to ensure that repairs are done correctly and efficiently. After all, it’s your home, and you don’t want any nasty surprises by trying to do the work yourself without knowing what to do.

Use this article to help you understand what’s happening and make the best decision for your family’s plumbing needs

Prolong the life of your toilet. Avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach tablets, blue toilet deodorizers, or the other odor removers inside your toilet. These may deodorize, but they can seriously damage the rubber pieces in the toilet, causing poor functionality or even complete breakdown of the fixture. This will create a messy surprise that no one wants.

Only water down the drain! Don’t pour cooking grease, leftover frying fat or any oils down your sink drain. These materials may be liquid when you pour them in, but they will solidify and can constrict the space in your pipes. If you own a garbage disposal, grease can even cause the blades to stop working if they have fat on them.

Upgrade your shower heads. Not all shower heads are the same. Save money on water costs by investing in energy efficient shower heads that still give you a good shower but put out less water. A single energy efficient shower head can save you $100 or more each year.

Watch what you flush. Too many people use their toilet like a trashcan. To limit toilet problems, reduce what you flush down the toilet. Never flush paper towels, tissue, diapers, or feminine hygiene products. Even flushable wipes can cause problems! These things do not break up correctly and they can clog your pipes.

Use a screen. Hair is a common material in drain clogs. Stop the clog by covering your drains with screens to keep hair from going into the pipes. You can remove hair much easier from a screen as opposed to getting it out of the inside of a pipe.

It’s easy to forget about your plumbing when it’s working well. But when a plumbing emergency happens, it can get messy, uncomfortable, and even unsafe very quickly! Taking preventative measures means you will not have to spend as much on plumbing repairs. Drain clogs are probably the most frequent issue you will run into with your plumbing. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent plumbing emergencies from happening, and even ways to save money to make sure your family is safer and more comfortable.

Simple Electrical Tips When Trouble Strikes

Has this ever happened to you?

You want to turn on the coffeemaker in the morning… only to press the button and not see any coffee being brewed! Or maybe you plug in your phone to charge but it never charges!

We never really think about our home’s electrical systems until something doesn’t work correctly. And then we notice that something’s wrong!

Your home is made up of many systems, one of them being the electrical system: wires run through your home to power your lights, fans, and receptacles so you plug in your appliances and gadgets.

So, when something is not working, what should you do?

First, see if there is power anywhere else in the house. It could be that there’s a power outage affecting your home or the whole block but you didn’t notice because it was such a sunny day!

If there’s power elsewhere, make sure there is nothing wrong with the appliance or gadget that you’re trying to plug in! (It happens a lot: you might think there’s something wrong with your home’s power when in fact your coffeemaker has just decided to stop working or your phone cord has actually broken.)

If there’s nothing wrong with the device then the problem may be associated with that power point and/or any other powered items sharing the same electrical line. (For example, maybe there are too many appliances plugged in and turned on to that one line.) Unplug other items that share the same circuit.

Next, head to your electrical switchboard (sometimes people call it a “fuse box” or “circuit panel”) and look for any breaker that has been tripped. Reset it to restore power to that line. (Your switchboard is made up of circuit breakers that will temporarily “break” the line when something is wrong.)

If power is restored to the line, great! Go back to making coffee… and just keep an eye on how many items you plugging in to the power point that share the line at any one time.

If power is not restored, you may consider calling an electrical expert to help you. Do not attempt to investigate further or do your own electrical repairs. Electrical current is dangerous and can even be deadly. Leave it to the pros. Get an electrical expert to help you and they’ll quickly and easily diagnose the problem and give you a recommendation to help you solve it.

Our home’s electricity is something we don’t think about… until we no longer have it available to us. Use this simple list to help you troubleshoot any electrical issues you face in your home.