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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

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Why Flushable Wipes Shouldn’t Be Flushed

flushablewipes_1All too often we attend to blocked drains that are caused by flushable wipes and last night was no exception.  Last night we were called out to an emergency blocked drain in Box Hill. Upon the service experts inspection he found the sewer drain to be blocked at the boundary trap.

The service expert set up his drainage equipment including a high pressure water jetter and CCTV drain camera equipment to investigate the blockage to the boundary trap located at the rear of the property.

He found that the issues were located down the boundary trap and there were tree roots growing into the drain just past the inspection going to the main sewer.  The drain was full of tree roots and these so called “flushable wipes”

Kleenex’s range of flushable wipes are getting the thumbs down from consumer group CHOICE.

In 2015, Choice awarded these flushable wipes the Shonky Award.  Choice conducted tests on Kleenex’s ‘Clean Ripple’ range, finding the wipes post a blockage threat to household drainage pipes.

It’s claimed the so-called flushables cost the Australian water waste industry about $15 million to clear every year. One Aussie household was hit with a plumbing bill of $16,000 after the wet wipes clogged their pipes.

“Although the new wipes disintegrate more than the old wipes, they don’t break down fast enough,” said Choice Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

“We believe they post a blockage threat, particularly in the first several metres of pipe on the consumer’s property.”

Well, we agree and warn against the use of flushable wipes, that aren’t so flushable after all.  The issue of these flushable wipes can be exacerbated by the state of your sewerage drains.  If your drains are prone to clogging because of tree roots, then flushable wipes are only going to make it worse and clog quicker and more frequently.

Stick to good old toilet paper.  It will save you money in the short term and save you the frustration of a 10pm emergency call to a plumber too.

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Failed Flexi’s Flood™

Burst Flexible Water ConnectorIn a recent Channel 7 news segment, Service Experts was cited as the Melbourne plumber documenting the issue of burst flexible hoses online.

For many years we have been attending to flooding in properties that causes thousands of dollars damage to the property, treasured belongings and lengthy insurance claims.

The cause?

Burst flexible water connections, flexi’s for short – and Failed Flexi’s Flood™!

Having served thousands of clients over 14years, Service Experts has witnessed the damage that burst flexible water connectors cause.

Most properties contain several sets of flexi-hoses under sinks, vanities, and connected to dishwashers and washing machines. All of these can cause major floods in a matter of seconds when they burst. To prevent major flooding and damage flexi hoses must be inspected at least every five years.

Early signs that old flexi-hoses are about to fail and cause flooding will be indicated by brown spots appearing along the flexi-hose and/or the hose being kinked and stretched. Brown spots that appearing along the flexi-hose are signs of rust and a warning sign that the hose will burst in a matter of time.

Service Experts replaces worn and burst fled-hoses with heavy duty, durable, longer lasting flexi-hoses that carries a 15 year manufacturer warranty.

In the recent Channel 7 news segment, the reported mentions a strata building in Brisbane that had several units experience flooding and damage caused by these burst flexible hoses and had moved to have all flexible hoses checked and replaced throughout the building.

Service Experts has been documenting the damage caused by these burst flexible hoses for many years and educating and warning all customers of the potential dangers lurking behind toilets, under vanities, sinks, washing machines and taps.

To view these videos and more, visit Service Experts’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/PlumbAssist

If you want to save thousands of dollars in repairs and unwanted insurance claims, call Service Experts on 1300 390 045.

Quality, Service & Price…Can You Really Have It All?

I received a phone call yesterday afternoon.  As Service Experts offers a 24 hour 7 day emergency plumbing service, the phone rings at all times of the day & night.

It was “Nick” (name changed for obvious reasons).  He had a toilet that was blocked because excessive toilet paper had been flushed down it (aka he had a big dump).

“Of course we can help you Nick”.  “I can dispatch a plumber to be on your doorstep within the next 1 hour to help you out. Just to let you know, we do have an after hours service call.”

I went on to clarify our after hour charges and accepted forms of payment upon completion of the job.

“What?!”, screamed “Nick” down the other end of the phone. “Really?!” – “Yes Nick”, I replied.  “It is Sunday but I can get our on-call plumber to attend within 60minutes”.

“I don’t want to pay that much”, said “Nick”. “What else can I do?” I suggested that our service call was pretty fair considering it was Sunday and I could have a plumber attend within 60 minutes. If we weren’t the right fit for “Nick”, I suggested that he kept scrolling down Mr Google to find a plumber who could come out within a 60 minute time frame and help him out.

As the internet becomes more and more competitive in the plumbing industry and service seeking sites become more prevalent, we face this scenario quite a bit.

Customers want quick service.  Like yesterday!  They want a quality service and they want the cheapest price.

It is well known that out of the three – Service, Quality and Price, you can really only have two.  If you don’t care about quality you can have a cheap price, but you can’t expect good service too.  If you care about service, not so fussed about quality you will probably still pay a decent price. If you want good service and good quality, then be prepared to pay a fair and reasonable price for that.

In addition to “Nick’s” phone call,  our on-call plumber attended to three other plumbing emergencies over the weekend. These lovely customers appreciated the prompt service and the fact that their problem was fixed so they could get on with enjoying the rest of their weekend.

I hope “Nick” got his toilet unblocked….

 

Water Damage: The Fast and Furious

LeakingPipeImagine coming home after a wonderful night out to find a Locksmith, Plumber and Policeman at your home.

It’s happened, and it could happen to you too.

Heading out for a weekend away or holiday?

As a preventative measure remember to turn off you water at the main water meter so that in the case of an emergency your home is protected from major flooding.

We had a call one evening from an occupant in an apartment notifying us that water was entering through their ceiling.  They believed there was a water leak coming from the apartment above.

The occupant of the above apartment was away.

In addition to us attending, the police were called, as was a locksmith to enable us to enter the apartment and investigate the case of the water leak.

Upon us all entering the apartment is was very apparent that the cause of such incredible water damage was a burst flexible water connector.

In 96% of homes and businesses we attend, we see these hoses incorrectly fitted or about to fail and cause major flooding.

Water had flooded the apartment, damaged the carpet and furniture.  It was a mess.

In virtually every plumbing emergency call we receive, we guarantee to be on your doorstep within the hour.  In some cases, even quicker.

Being fast and responsive is key to minimising any further damage that water can cause to your home or business.

So next time you panic remember call the Plumbers who are here to Assist – Service Experts 1300 390 045.

We operate our 24 hour emergency service 365 days a year.