How To Safely and Easily Troubleshoot A Faulty Safety Switch

My safety switch wont turn back on – what can I do?

This is one of the most common questions we receive and there is something you can do before the experts come out.

The first thing to do is identify what appliances are connected to the safety switch. HINT: There should be a label underneath each switch identifying appliances or areas of your home.

The first step is to turn off all appliances (and even disconnect/remove the power cord from the power point).

Once all appliances have been disconnected, ensure the safety switch is back in the “ON” position.

Then, one by one, turn each appliance on.

If for instance you turn on the dishwasher and the safety switch trips – it’s pretty safe to say that the the dishwasher is the appliance that is tripping and could be faulty.

Common culprits are normally kettles, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, tank pumps.  The fridge being the number 1 culprit! Other common culprits are pool pumps andigniter powerpoints for gas cooktops and water heaters.

If your switchboard does not have safety switches, this would be something you should attend to immediately.  The role of the safety switch is to prevent electrical faults that could lead to electrical fires in your home.  Always keep you and your family safe by having safety switches and surge protection in your home.

Remember also not to overload power boards.  It’s better to have more power points installed throughout your home than overload power boards or run extension cords.

For homes and families that have many devices, you can also change over power points to include USB adaptors making.

In any event we are here to answer all your questions and help troubleshoot as a first point of call.  Call us on 1300 390 045 to have a chat.

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Air Conditioning – How to Recognise a Faulty Air Conditioner

Who doesn’t love a bit of air conditioning? These useful systems are a great way to stay cool in the summer and a fantastic way to enjoy warmth during those colder months – but try as we might, there really is no way to guarantee that our units will stay functioning well into the future. It’s easy to look at the internal fan unit and think that’s all there is to keep an eye on, but what you might not know is that there are a multitude of cables running within your walls, not to mention an external unit that will have its own responsibilities.

When can problems arise?

When can’t they, right? Electricity is great to have access to, but one of the drawbacks is that any device or appliance that relies on it can suffer with an issue at any time, and for any number of reasons. Technically speaking, there are three systems that all air conditioning units consist of. There’s the internal fan, the cables and ventilation shafts and the external unit.

If you’ve spotted that your system could be suffering with a problem, then you’ll undoubtedly want to have it rectified as soon as possible. A good electrician will be able to help with this – but there’s really no harm in trying to find out the cause of the problem yourself. As long as you stay well away from the electrical outlets and avoid cables; recognising the issue can be as simple as you’d imagine.

What types of problems can these units face?

Have you noticed that your unit isn’t turning on when you want it to? If so, then the first place to check is your remote control. It might just need new batteries and this is something that you’ll be able to take care of with ease. If the problem isn’t remote-related however, then you might want to give a local electrician a quick call – as the issue might be a little more electrical in nature.

It’s also not unheard of for air conditioners and HVAC units to suffer with water build-ups internally, but as you can imagine liquid and electricity don’t mix, so if you suspect this – avoid touching the unit at all costs. The most common sign of this event will be a fine mist being emitted from the internal unit when it’s on – or the smell of damp coming from the unit itself.

The most common problem actually doesn’t occur indoors, but outside where the fan and cables are exposed to the elements. If your air smells like leaves, then foliage may have been sucked into the external fan, or if the air supply isn’t as strong as you’d imagine – then there could be a blockage in the pipes. In any event, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with an expert and have them take care of the fault.

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Blocked Drains – What Should You Do If You’re Facing a Blockage?

People like to say that there are only two guarantees in life; death and taxes. We like to think a little outside of the box however, so we’ve thrown an extra ‘guarantee’ into the mix – in the form of blocked drains. These events can occur at the most inconvenient of times and if left untreated, there’s no telling just how substantial the cause of the blockage can become.

What might have started as a few stray hairs can soon lead to a huge clump; heaven forbid if sand or oil manages to make their way into your pipework, too! In these events you’ll typically have just a few options, but what might they be exactly?

Call out the professionals

This is by far the most beneficial (and potentially effective) option at your disposal. By getting in touch with a trained and qualified plumber you won’t have to face damaging your drain and pipes further by attempting to rectify the matter, nor will you need to deal with the unsavoury cause of the blockage either!

It can be pretty appealing to try to remove the blockage yourself, but considering the damage that you might cause if the problem travels further into your pipework – this is the last thing that you might want to do.

Turn off your water supply

As briefly mentioned above, if you allow the blockage to travel further into your pipework; this could result in a larger problem, or even unnecessary damage. Instead of switching the shower head on and turning it to full-blast, it makes much more sense to switch your water supply off to stop anyone else from inadvertently affecting the blockage in your drain.

With the supply off, you won’t have to worry too much about the clump travelling further down into your pipes; and you can then get in touch with an expert to have them take care of the event for you.

If a little DIY is on the cards, then only try the most reputable blockage removers

Sometimes you might find that calling an expert is out of the question – especially if you’re keen to dislodge the cause as soon as possible. It is worth noting that plenty of plumbers offer emergency services, so you could still give them a call if you need them urgently. But if you really are keen to take care of the cause yourself, then your final option will be to invest in a sink and plughole un-blocker.

These products are readily available in stores; but as most will rely on oil-based chemicals to shift the blockage to another location in your pipework (whilst hopefully breaking it down), we wouldn’t blame you for getting in touch with the professionals instead.

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Electrical – How Important Is It to Maintain the Electricity in Your Home?

What’s the one thing that most home owners rely on more than anything else in their homes? Electricity of course. Sure, we all need water on a daily basis – especially when staying hydrated, showering, or taking care of the next load of laundry – but without electrical power, we’d really be left in the dark.

There are three main reasons when electric cables and connections will need to be addressed.

First; if a new home is in the process of being built, then a reliable electrician will need to be called out to take care of the connectivity.

Second; if your home could do with a new set of power outlets, then you will undoubtedly need an expert to pay you a visit and take care of this requirement.

Third; if you’ve noticed issues with certain cables, power outlets, or electrical appliances – then a quick spot of maintenance could well be on the cards.

Why is it so important to leave these tasks to the professionals?

Electricity might be one of the most versatile resources in the world, with uses that are still being discovered; but boy oh boy can it be dangerous. Every single year, hundreds of people die as a result of electrocution and although most homes are well-equipped to moderate the flow of energy within walls, under floorboards and inside of devices – there’s really no guarantee.

Even if the job seems fairly straight forward, it’s never a good idea to attempt a repair or check-up unless you have the right amount of experience. All good electricians will boast a range of licenses and certificates and without these, they simply wouldn’t be able to ply their trade. Knowing that the person that’s dealing with your maintenance is as highly trained as they are experienced can be very reassuring.

Is there anything that you can do to help?

For those of you that might hate having to rely on others to get the job done and would like to play a part in the project; the good news is that you can! Instead of unscrewing ports and outlets, or removing cables to expose any areas that may have suffered with damage; it’s best to leave these tasks to the experts.

But what you can do is direct your electrician to your fuse box when they turn up. Rather than risking flicking the wrong switches off, you might just want to take a back seat and let the pros do what they do best. They’ll be able to almost instantly identify which switches control which parts of your home and once they turn them off – they’ll be able to take care of the maintenance with relative ease.

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Plumbing – Three Uses for Plumbers That You Might Have Not Guessed

What do you think about when you hear the word plumber? If you’re anything like us, the first thing that might spring to mind is a man dressed in overalls, with a hammer in his belt and a few pipes to hand. There are some tasks that these experts are well-known for dealing with, including the installation of water systems and repairing boilers, but what you might not know is that these services are just the tip of the iceberg.

There are plenty of other, lesser known options available to those in need and as most plumbers will have specialised in the majority of them – you can rest assured that your task will be in the best of hands. What are these services, you ask? Well, here’s a closer look at three of them that you’d simply have to see to believe!

Underground water flow installation

When it rains the majority of water will be absorbed by soil, or it will evaporate back into the atmosphere. But what about times where rainfall is especially heavy? Where does the water go then? Well, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the horror stories relating to water damage underground and if you happen to have foundations, whether concrete or wood – they might suffer as a result.

A good plumber will be able to install water flow features, runners and underground pipelines to all but eliminate the concern of liquid build-ups.

Irrigation system installation

There are plenty of home owners out there that enjoy growing plants and crops, in fact anyone with a little bit of garden space could take part. Irrigation systems are a great way to provide a consistent level of water to flowers, herbs and any other type of plant – and as plumbers have an uncanny amount of expertise in the field of water-management, they could help to install features of all sizes.

Even if irrigation isn’t up your alley; you could opt for a similarly suited water-supply feature to add a little something to your outdoor space.

Household tasks

Now we know what you’re thinking… household tasks are some of the most common that plumbers offer, but did you know that rather than chucking out an old, worn, or rusted pipe – you could hire a plumbing company to come out and take care of almost anything water-related. They could reline an existing pipe to keep it functioning, even if the outside one is damaged; or they could even repair a faulty cistern and switch out its internal components.

When it comes to the day to day running of your home, your options will be almost endless – and considering that all plumbing agents are well versed at regular tasks, you’ll undoubtedly find a reason to get in touch with one of them.

Work Desk vs Toilet – Which Has More Germs?

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Did you know that the desktop is one of the germiest places in the office and that 20-30% of women’s handbags have fecal bacteria underneath?

Or that the average work station is jam packed with more germs per square inch than the office toilet, a recent study in University of Arizona revealed.

Research to determine germ hot zones — areas that are prime habitats for viruses causing colds and flu — found typical office phones and desktops, including computer keyboards and mice, have up to 25,000 bacteria per square inch compared to a mere 49 bacteria per square inch on workplace toilet seats.

Office phones, desktops, computer keyboards and mouse, have up to 25,000 bacteria per square inch compared to a mere 49 bacteria per square inch on toilet seats.

A recent survey by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention exposed some disturbing hand hygiene trends. It was discovered that one in three adults don’t wash their hands after using the toilet. One in four don’t wash after changing a baby’s diaper. Fewer than half wash after handling pets or cleaning up after them, only one in three wash after sneezing or coughing and hardly anyone washes after handling money, a major carrier of disease.

With more than 80% of infections carried through the environment, work desks become more susceptible to transmission of germs.

University of Arizona microbiologist, Dr. Charles Gerba says that coughing and sneezing can leave behind “a minefield of viruses” that can live on a surface for up to three days.

According to Health Canada, about 25 per cent of us are felled by the flu each season and 26 per cent get flu shots.

Here are 3 tips to keep your work area as clean as your toilet:

1. Avoid eating in your work desk. If you want to continue your work, make sure to clean

your desk afterwards. Always wipe before and after you eat, to clean any spills right away.

2. Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Hand sanitizers

are an excellent addition to hand washing.

3. Wet the hands with warm water, apply soap, lather for 20 seconds, rinse, towel dry and turn

the tap off with the towel.

Always remember, Stay home if you’re sick, avoid those who are ill, see a healthcare

provider when needed, get regular physical activity and maintain healthy nutrition. Manage

your stress, get enough sleep and wash your hands.

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How To Prevent Major Flooding In Your Home

Darryl Simon, owner of Service Experts was recently featured in a Channel 7 segment on burst flexible hoses, the damage they cause and how to prevent flooding from happening in your home or at work.

Darryl has been documenting the effects these braided hoses have when burst.  Service Experts has attended to hundreds of burst flexible hoses and prevented thousands more from failing and causing flooding to homes.

These flexible braided hoses connect taps and toilets to water and fail over time.  When they fail and burst, they cause an immense amount of water damage and can cause tens of thousands of dollars damage to your home or business.

This can be easily preventable by visually checking these hoses on a regular basis.

Look out for any brown spots.  This means that the steel braided outer is rusting and may fail shortly.

Look for any kinks or twists in the hose.  This can also lead to the hoses failing and bursting.

Change all old hoses for new hoses that have a 15 year warranty.

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Blocked Drain Surrey Hills

DrainageEquipmentWe attended to an emergency blocked drain in Surrey Hills on Friday night and found the shower and basin to be filling up with water and gurgling when the home owner had a shower or flushed the toilet.  This was quite a complicated blocked drain we needed to get a sewer plan from the local water authority.  This plan outlines where drains should run to and termination points such as the boundary trap.

Once we investigated what was happening we returned to site and attempted to locate boundary trap in the front of the property.

We located the cast iron boundary trap that was approximately 2.5m left to right and approximately 1.5m inside boundary when you are looking from the street. Once the boundary trap lid was removed we noticed that the shaft was blocked.  We used our drainage equipment to try and clear the blockage in addition to using CCTV equipment.  The CCTV is like a pair of eyes inside the drain for the plumber.  It gives us a good visual of what is happening inside the drain and what is causing the blocked drain. For instance, the drain could be full of tree roots or the drain pipe could be damaged and broken.

In this case this boundary trap feeds the next door neighbour and was blocked at the base of an old trap. We cleared through with drain machine and tested neighbours drains that runs into this boundary. It was still blocked.

Our next course of action action was to pull out the toilet in the ensuite and insert CCTV.  We now saw that the line was totally blocked and traced the line. Our equipment was getting stuck at a paver location at the front of the property.

We then set up the drainage machine and tried to clear the blocked drain through the toilet branch located at the boundary at front approx 500mm next to the neighbours boundary trap.
DrainTreeRootsWe then moved the drain machine and cleared the lead off with machine. As you can see in this picture from the CCTV equipment, tree roots were the main cause of this blocked drain. Checked with CCTV and lead off to boundary has cracked and there are tree roots present. Cut back with machine up lead off and check ok. Flush through with water, test toilets and fill bath and flush through ok. Drain holds water within 1 meter of trap lead off.

Cleared through boundary with cutter x2 cables check with CCTV and there are tree roots
Present outside property which will need to be cleared out by local water authority. Put the existing toilet back into position and tested.  When you need an expert who can solve your blocked drains on the same day and guarantee a long term solution, call the blocked drain experts. Service Experts 1300390045.

Bathroom Renovation in Ormond

Renovations can be tricky work.  Retro fitting into existing spaces, even more trickier sometimes. Trust me on this, we have a semi-detached 1920’s brick home in Melbourne’s South East and having completed Part 1 of our renovation several years ago, Part 2 had been extensively delayed because of the time consuming, tricky nature of the renovation.  Hind sight would have had us knock down and build instead.  Part 2 of the renovation will have us add a second storey to the existing house. Plans and neeearly finalised, so will keep you all posted on our progress.

In the meantime, here is a small bathroom renovation we recently completed in Ormond.

Kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovations are not really part of our core business, however when we have a great working relationship with a client who is constantly renovating properties, we jump at the chance to be of service to them.

This project was for a bathroom renovation upstairs at a property in Ormond.  The existing bathroom had been stripped out, linings and floors removed and was ready for works to begin. The existing bathroom had a shower and vanity.

The new bathroom layout includes the set up for toilet, shower and vanity.
The existing sewer stack runs under the floor in the bathroom. We needed to alter this stack so that we could cut in a junction to run sewer to new toilet position, vanity and shower. Connect vent back up to stack which terminates through roof.
The builder needed to form flooring in shower base and set up a shower grate in position so we could connect up to waste.

Here are a couple of before pictures:

Before Picture

Before Picture

Before Picture

Before Picture

 

The water pipe work was adjusted  to run to new vanity, toilet and shower positions. Pipe work was run in Rehau piping. Install shower mixer in marked position.
Turn water back on to test new pipe work, silicon around pipes penetrating timbers.
Exact positions of shower mixer/rail and vanity were still to be confirmed. These were needed before commencement of pre pipe.

Once bathroom has been tiled and painted we returned to site and fitted off fixtures. Installed new toilet, connecting up to water supply fitted with mini stop. Connect up tapware and waste for the new vanity. Installed new shower rail, and fit off cover plate and handle for shower mixer.

Here are some pictures of what the bathroom renovation looked like once completed.

Toilet

Toilet

After Picture of Basin Vanity

After Picture of Basin Vanity

Shower Rail

Shower Rail

 

Quickie Hot Water Installation Kit…An Industry Low

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Tonight as I work late in the office, my attention turned for a quick news update.

And what I found has left me gobsmacked.

Quickie Hot Water Valve Installation Kits – thanks to the latest Masters brochure.

Two weeks ago A Current Affair ran a report of being cautious of the Fake Tradie. The cameras followed a man into a large retailer where plumbing fixtures and fittings were being bought to allegedly carry out plumbing work at a property.

Well, not only can small plumbing fixtures and fittings be bought at these retailers, but you can also walk in and buy a hot water service. Now, thanks to DIY videos, you get full instructions on how to install the quickie valve too.

It reminds me of the recent raids in Melbourne that uncovered dodgy dental clinics. It raised fears that patients could have been infected with blood-borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis. Three homes were raided in Melbourne after a tip-off from a registered dentist.

At least you can’t pop by Bunnings and buy dental equipment.

Here are the facts: The plumbing industry is regulated by the Victorian Building Authority. Plumbers are required to be licensed and (hopefully) insured. A plumber cannot take out public liability insurance without proof of registration and licence.

A plumber must lodge a Certificate of Compliance for any job over $750 including labour and materials. To read more of the blah blah jargon you can click here. Oh – and it’s also illegal to conduct any work on gas and most plumbing without a licence.

So, how can these major retailers be selling and instructing the public on how to “DIY” on such items that require a licence?

Just like the risk of HIV and Hepatitis of patients who used the backyard dentist, so is the risk to your family when your home plumbing has been illegally and/or incorrectly installed.

Some time ago Channel 9 reported an explosion to a home when the home owner attempted some DIY on their hot water service. It’s gas people! There is the likelyhood of an explosion happening.

Seriously, what is the plumbing industry coming to? The VBA need to take a stronger approach. The retailers need to be held accountable because at some point, someone is going to be fatally injured doing some DIY because they walked into a major retailer, watched a YouTube video and thought they would save some money.

In the long run, it costs more. More time. More money….let’s just hope and pray not more lives.

Wake up VBA. You’re charged with overseeing a regulated industry. Regulate it. Stop allowing the general public to purchase fixtures that require a licence to install.

Thanks to @theplumbette for posting the brochure.