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?).

Burst Hot Water Unit in St Kilda East

 

RheemHWS


Burst Hot Water Unit (Before)

On Sunday we received an emergency call in East St Kilda where an old Rheem gas hot water unit was making a funny noise and leaking water.

Unfortunately, the homeowner had already called another plumbing company who had let them down so they were admittedly frustrated and cautious when calling us.   We reassured them that we would turn up when we say we will and get them out of trouble.

Once on site we found the existing hot water tank to be burst and will require replacement. Murphy’s law has these things happen at the worst time.  The homeowners are planning an overseas trip in two days time so this could not have come at a more inconvenient time for them.

We supplied and installed the new gas hot water service in the same location and installed new cold water isolation valve, gas isolation and new connections. We also removed the old unit from site and cleaned up all the rubbish.

When performing work on any gas appliances the regulation requires that a gas test be performed on the existing gas line for safety.  We take this very seriously as any gas leak can be very dangerous.  We always consider safety first.  Yes, testing the gas line does come at an additional cost and if a leak is detected there are additional costs to rectify.  However, because we uphold safety first and respect the regulation, we always perform this test.  It’s your safety we care about.

We also supplied and installed a new pressure limiting valve on the cold water meter at front of property.  Water pressure coming into your property should be 500kPa.  If we test your water pressure and it is found to be above this recommended limit, we always recommend installing a pressure limiting valve, known as a PLV, to regulate the water pressure. This can prevent any blow outs in your home and cause major water damage.

ThermannHWS

Thermann Gas Hot Water Unit (After)

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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

 

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….

 

Quickie Hot Water Installation Kit…An Industry Low

IMG_2506
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.

Dealing with Blocked Drains

PlungerCrazyOnce you detect that you have a blocked toilet or blocked drains in your home, it is imperative to act quickly and call in expert help at the earliest time possible. The longer you wait, your hassles can be further compounded, especially if you just have one toilet in your home.

Plumbing emergencies often crop up when you least expect them. As such, it would be beneficial to make the necessary preparations ahead of time. First, you need to find a reputable plumber and have their contact details handy even before you need one. This will allow you to save the time and effort required in finding a plumber and you can be ready to call one as soon as a plumbing problem arises.

Next, you need to know the exact steps that you should undertake to contain the problem at hand even before help arrives.

For a blocked toilet, Melbourne plumbers outline the steps homeowners need to go through until the plumbing specialists they’ve called get to the property.

The first thing you need to do, of course, is to call a plumber to help solve the problem.

Once you have placed a call for the plumber, the next thing to do on the list is to shut off the water supply going to the toilet. Here, it is not necessary to cut off the water supply to the whole house. Rather, you can shut off the supply going to the toilet by finding the component that supplies water to it. Typically, this can be found on the wall behind the toilet. This will prevent the water from rising. Do take note that, at best, the water should hold steady. If this does not stop the water from rising, you will need to shut off the water mains.

Once you have contained the overflow of water, the next thing that you can do before the plumber arrives is to clean up as much of the mess as you possibly can, using buckets, mops and towels. As for the water in the toilet, you can simply leave it as it is and let your plumber deal with it when he arrives.

In particular, you should focus your attention on the areas near and around baseboards and cabinets. When water seeps into these, it is highly likely that these can be damaged. As such, you have to make sure that these are dried as quickly as possible. After dealing with these areas, you can turn your attention to the standing water on the floors.

The important thing to remember about plumbing emergencies, including blocked toilets and blocked drains is to remain calm and act promptly. This will allow you to contain the problem at hand and minimise possible damage.

Hydronic Heating Systems Parts

The hydronic heating systems parts used in one home will depend greatly upon the design/configuration that is suitable for the property. However, no matter what the design is, hydronic heating systems will share a few common components.

Furnace/boiler
The boiler, or more accurately, the furnace, is responsible for reheating the liquid before it is distributed throughout the house. Boilers are rated using British thermal units per hour or Btu/h for their input and/or output. A suitable furnace should be large enough to provide ample heat and should offset heat loss.

Circulating pump
The circulating pump or circulator pushes the water through the boiler and into the piping system using an electronically driven pump. Depending on the configuration of the heating system, more than one circulator may be used for different zones in the home and even for other purposes like domestic hot water.

Zone valves
In some hydronic heating system designs, multiple zones are created. But instead of using different pumps for each zone, one circulator may be used in conjunction with one zone valve for each zone. This allows the residents to control each zone using a thermostat.

Expansion tank
Water changes volume depending on the temperature. When hot, water expands, and when cooled, it contracts. The function of the expansion tank is to factor in this change in volume.
Air elimination devices
Air can adversely affect the performance of the hydronic heating system. As such, air elimination devices are used to remove air from the system and put this back to the atmosphere.

Heat distribution devices
Depending on the system design and configuration, a hydronic system in a home can use any or a combination of these: radiant floors and ceilings, kickspace heaters, baseboard convection units, radiators and fan coil units.

Heat exchangers
The function of this component is to transfer heat to the water or a different type of liquid used in the heating system.

Mixing valves
Some hydronic heating system designs require the use of some components which need water that is cooler than the water supplied by the furnace. The role of the mixing valve is to help produce water that is cooler.

System controls
Many of today’s radiant heating systems are controlled using electronic thermostats which can be programmed. These are used to control temperature and are often connected to zone valves.

Piping and insulation
Piping, which can be made out of copper, iron, steel, rubber or plastic, is used to distribute hot water. The insulation, on the other hand, helps minimise the loss of heat.