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.



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

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.

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.

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7 Reasons to Choose Hydronic Heating

ColourfulUggBootsDreary and cold — two things you don’t want to be when winter comes and you’re supposed to get comfortable. Seriously. It’s not fun to feel the icy chill of the weather indoors. So how do you stay warm during a cold Melbourne winter?

Non-stop drinking of whisky and other spirited drinks? Constant movement, perhaps breaking out with Zumba moves when temperatures dip? Or do you simply pile on so many layers of thermal wear that you look as though you’re competing for a Guinness World Record?

While your strategies for getting warm during winter sounds like madcap fun, there is another, much saner way to get nice and comfortable indoors. It doesn’t just heat space; it can also make hot water. Melbourne residents can get homes heated properly with hydronic heating. No drinking necessary (unless you want to). No dancing required (unless there’s good music). And no extra clothing needed.

Here are seven great reasons to replace your existing system or have one installed today:

1. Hydronic heating is one of the more efficient heating systems in the market.
This system uses gas boilers that get 95 percent efficiency ratings. It has the ability to customise heating levels so you can target specific areas and not waste the system on the entire home.

2. It’s a highly reliable heating system.
Hydronic heaters contain few moving parts. So you’re not likely to get any problems with it. But know that it has to come with quality components and it has to be installed by a professional plumber who has worked with this system. With these factors in mind, your hydronic heating system might not even need maintenance for years.

3. It’s eco-friendly.
This heating system uses water – its primary component. Water is recycled and recirculated. But you don’t have to use too much water; only minimal amounts are needed to top it up every year. Also, this system has minimal emissions.

4. It’s very attractive.
Your hydronic heater will not look like some bad industrial accessory. If you go with radiator panels, you can even choose from a line up of sleek and modern designs, for contemporary lofts, or traditional Victorian cast iron, for a vintage apartment. If you go with hydronic floor heating, the home appliance will be hidden with pipe work placed within the floor.

5. It’s easy on the pocket.
You can let your hydronic heating system run all through winter and not pay for expensive energy bills. Some systems can cost about 20 percent less to use than a ducted system.

Also, because it can heat your home and domestic water, and, with some systems, heat your pool, you basically get multiple uses out of it.

6. It’s safe and comfortable for everyone.
It doesn’t have any exposed flames or electrical connections so you don’t have to worry about the kids. It gently heats your home without creating hot spots or noise.

7. It’s healthy.
Finally, this heating system doesn’t create dry or humid environments. With minimal movement of dust or allergens, since you don’t need fans to move the warm air around, it’s safe for those with asthma and other allergies.

If you already have a hydronic heating system in your home, we can organise an experience gas technician to help keep it running in tip top working condition.  Just call us on 1300 390 045 and we can organise this for you now.

Gas Leak Dangers

WarningWe were called out to a property in Hampton recently. There was a very strong gas smell coming from the property.

Upon inspecting the property a huge gas leak was found in the copper gas line under the house.  The hole was so big our plumber could put his finger right into it to stop the leak.

This was an extremely dangerous situation as it would have only taken one little spark to set off a huge explosion that could have been fatal.

Luckily we got the problem fixed quickly and the gas line was safe again.

Here are our top 3 tips when it comes to gas leaks.

1. Call a licensed gas plumber ASAP. It is against the law for any person without a plumbing license to conduct works on gas. Safety is paramount when working with gas.

2. Do NOT attempt DIY. This is one area you must leave to the experts.  You will be able to find advice on how to conduct soapy bubble test etc online, but seriously – gas should be left to the professionals. Call one.

3. Do not wait. If you smell gas. Call a plumber. Any slight smell of gas in your home or business could mean that you have a gas leak. Check all appliances to ensure they are fully turned off first. If you still smell gas, call a plumber straight away.

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.