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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