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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.

Burst Pipe in Bentleigh

BurstPipe

Burst water pipes are one of the most common plumbing problems. When it happens, you’ll think that you’re somehow cursed because of the sheer amount of damage it can bring to your home. From the cost of repairing the burst pipe to the cost of refurbishing the damaged areas, a burst pipe can spell disaster.

There are two simple ways to detect if you have a burst pipe. The first obvious sign you have a burst water pipe is leaking water.  Areas around your property that are constantly wet and do not dry up can indicate you have a burst pipe.

The second, and not so obvious sign you have a burst pipe, is a higher than normal water utility bill and water spots appearing on ceilings and floors.  Sometimes, water leaks can go undetected if very small and not seen.  Watching your meter ticking over is another sign that water is being wasted and you may have a burst pipe.

 

BurstCopperPipeWater leaks from old copper pipes that have burst can sometimes be heard. These pipes can be located inside a wall and the “hissing” sound coming from inside the wall can be the water leaking out.

We have come up with 6 Simple Ways You Can Prevent Burst Pipes In Your Home

 Burst pipes are preventable. Preventative actions will not only save you the great stress that comes with this plumbing issue but it will also save you money and water. So instead of thinking you’re “cursed,” take action and minimise your risk for burst pipes by using these six simple ways.

  1. Insulate outside pipes, taps and drain pipes.

Unprotected piping and sometimes freezing temperatures create the perfect situation for a burst pipe in the system. So focus on those two things and use insulate lagging or foam on the outside pipes, taps, and drain pipes. As you do this, make sure to not leave any bends, joints, or taps exposed; use fitted covers for outside taps.

  1. Keep water running through slowly, at all times.

Do this when the temperatures dip really low. Of course, use a bucket to catch the water so you don’t waste the precious resource. By taking this simple step, you can prevent the line from freezing.

  1. Use pipe lagging for unheated areas.

These areas include your garage, loft, and basement. High quality pipe lagging will insulate your pipes in these unheated areas by maintaining the heat within the pipes. Pipe lagging, incidentally, also prevents condensation on cold pipes.

  1. Leave your heating on to 12 degrees centigrade.

During really cold weather, your heating system should keep your piping sufficiently warm, minimising any risk of a burst pipe.

  1. Fix leaks straight away.

Don’t let any plumbing problem get any bigger. Call a licensed plumber when your taps are dripping or leaking. Leaks have a way of turning into a burst pipe when left unresolved.

  1. Get your piping system looked at by a licensed plumber.

When you plan to be away from your home for a long time, make sure that your piping system is in good condition before you make that trip. A proper check up by a licensed plumber will uncover any small issues that may potentially cause a burst pipe. It’s always a good idea to get ahead of any problem before they turn into a huge expensive headache for you.

Then get recommendations from your plumber about how to leave your pipes when you go (i.e., should you leave the heating on, then turn off the stopcock and drain remaining water in the system?).

What makes a plumber a Master Plumber?

AuthenticWe conduct thousands of jobs each year.

We have been operating since 2002 and 63% of our clients are our loyal, repeat clients who appreciate great service and workmanship.

So I have been pondering the question lately. What makes a plumber a “Master” plumber?

Do you need to have an established business – is there a qualification period?

Is there rigorous testing? if so, who conducts these tests?

What standards need to met to qualify?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having an association that helps develop the industry and provides some valuable tools for business owners.  But surely filling in a form and payment a yearly subscription fee does not constitute a “Master” in anything.

I’ve been witnessing some really unethical, dodgy work lately and it grinds my teeth. Literally.

I am frustrated that these tradespeople (I don’t want to call them plumbers – they don’t deserve the title) are getting away with shoddy, unprofessional work.

I pride my team on their workmanship and recognise that they are some of the best in the industry.  We take photos of all our work so that we have a good handle on quality control.  I like to know that my team are performing work to my standard.

I am proud to call myself and my team Master Plumbers.  We own that title. Not just because we pay a membership, but because We Truly. Just. Are.

 

 

How To Choose The Right Plumber

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Bless the internet.

You can find almost anything, at any time, any where, for any price.

Lately I have been trialling an online service.  Our business is listed as a plumbing service provide.  Consumers go online and post jobs they have.

I thought that, considering our organic search rankings has taken an extended vacation to Timbuktoo, I would give this service a go. My gut said no, but my head said go.

I responded to each enquiry, called customers personally and dispatched a plumber out to help them.

What a waste of time.  All these customers were after was a dirt cheap price. Service or quality were not priority.

Should have listened to my gut.

The same can be said when choosing a plumber. Choose a service that feels right. Here are my 3 hot tips on how to choose the right one.

1. Recommendations, word of mouth.  Ask friends and family who they use. They will always be honest with you and only pass on a companies name and number if they had a good experience.

2. Is there a face behind the name? Calling the first company name that appears in a Google search is all well and good, but who are you dealing with? Who is the face that stands behind the name?  If the website says “we are a family owned and operated business” it would be great to see a picture of who they are.  CAUTION: stock images do not count!

3. What GUARANTEES do they give? One of our core values are Authentic.  We asked our team what that meant to them.  Words they used to describe what authentic meant to them were: genuine, real, from the heart.  Our guarantees mean something.  Our word is everything.

We have grown our team yet our roots remain the same. We pride ourselves on being a small company and being authentic matters to us. After all, we take it personally – all of it.

Plumbing Problem Solvers

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Having over 30+ years of combined experience diagnosing and solving plumbing problems Melbourne wide, we believe that with a great deal of knowledge, a little bit of common sense and a great deal of passion we can solve virtually any plumbing problem for our residential and light commercial clients.

We just had a call from a great customer who wants us to come out and quote replacing a new storm water line.  The insurance company sent out their plumber who proceeded to put the electric eel into the drain and tell them “it’s buggered”.When explaining their issue to Darryl, he straight away noticed something didn’t sound right.

Diagnosing plumbing & gas issues in your home is very similar to how a great doctor conducts his diagnosis.

We look at your house holistically and identify where the issue is and how long it’s been happening for to enable us to give you the right diagnosis to rectify the issue. We ask lots of questions and listen for clues.

Recently we attended a job for a Body Corporate to quote works for a diagnosis made by a previous plumber.  Upon a quick visual inspection of the property it appeared that the works to be quoted was not going to solve the problem.

The quote was to catch the water pooling at the bottom of a property.

How about this.  Let’s see where the water is coming from first, and solve that problem – rather than the band-aid solution of catching it at the bottom.  Kind of like taking panadol for a brain tumor.  The tumor is there, it hurts just like a headache, but it’s a tumor. Fix it.

Finding the problem first is paramount to providing a long term solution.

Conduct thorough investigations first, to come up with the best long term, economical solution.

After all, you would be very skeptical, disappointed and extremely angry if you went to your doctor and after a few minor tests such as taking your temperature, listening to your heart rate and taking your blood pressure, the doctor diagnosed you with a terminal illness.

Just like you expect your doctor to be licensed, competent, knowledgeable and have the relevant experience – you want your plumber to be the same.

So don’t call just any plumber. Call the plumbing maintenance EXPERTS – Service Experts.

We have built our reputation on solving the tricky problems.

Dealing with a Drain Blockage

The drain blockage is an inconvenience that most householders will face at some point in time. This article outlines some of the best ways to deal with a drain blockage, along with some of the things to avoid doing when faced with a blocked drain.

Contacting the local council

Property owners should be aware that sometimes the drain blockage can be the council’s responsibility. This is true if the blockage results from the sewage or council-owned drains and pipes that have backed up into the resident’s drainage system.

Read more

Saving Big with Green Energy

Green energy is as much about social responsibility and benefiting the environment as it is about achieving big savings on energy costs. These are three easy ways that any household can make major savings on energy.

  • Unplug chargers and switch off – The average home has dozen of battery-charged devices, such as notebooks, phones and music players. Unplug chargers when not in use to save more on electricity, and get into the habit of switching off anything that is not being used.
  • Harness the power of the sun – Water heating is energy intensive, so households can save more by investing in a solar water heater. Setting the hot water heating to a lower temperature and using an on-demand water heater are also great ways to save if the household does not have a solar water heater.

Homeowners can also harness the power of the sun by drying clothes on the line rather than in a dryer. Line drying gives an added advantage as sunlight has natural disinfecting properties.

Read more

Steps to Preventing Water Damage at Home

Surveys have shown that water damage is one of the most common causes of loss to householders. Taking steps to reduce the risk of water damage can save homeowners time, stress and money.

Common causes

There are three major causes of water damage in the home. Fixture and appliance supply lines can leak water and lead to water damage. These lines include pipes connecting sinks, toilets, washing machines and other appliances.

Read more