Plumbing Tips & Hints

Doctors and Plumbers are not usually compared to each other, but when you think about it, the work of plumbers is just as important as the work of doctors in protecting the overall health of the community.

In Australia, it’s easy to take clean drinking water and sufficient sanitary systems for granted. But as recent bush fires and floods have taught us, these systems can break down very quickly under emergency conditions and the implications can be life threatening.

While most of us understand that clean drinking water is a concern for most people in developing nations, a lot less is kown about the important initiatives being undertaken by the plumbing industry to elevate these serious problems.

In developing nations, a good plumber is every bit as important to a child’s survival as the doctor who treats a water born disease that sound plumbing could have averted.

  • Not having access to clean water and effective sanitation systems leads to disease and death.
  • 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe water supply.
  • 2.6 billion don’t have effective sanitation systems.
  • 3.1 million people die each year that could have been saved with basic plumbing systems.

Since the first World Plumbing Day three years ago, the event has continued to grow in significance. People are getting involved all over the world. It provides a chance to recognise unheralded heroes – plumbers.

 

Common Warning Signs

  • It’s time to get a new water heater if:

The tank leaks, you hear a rumbling noise, the efficiency is down from where it was previously or the water is a little brown or discoloured.

  • The toilet needs repair:

If its leaking from the tank or the base. Also, if you hear a vibrating noise when flushed.

  • The garbage disposal suddenly stops:

Check the plug under the sink to see if it’s still plugged in the electrical outlet. If any object falls into the disposal, DO NOT attempt to remove it on your own. A plumber must be called.

 

Emergencies

  • Make sure to be familiar with the location of the incoming main water supply and shut off valve and label it.
    (This helps in the event of an emergency to shutoff the water quickly.)
  • Locate, identify and label all other shut off valves and check periodically if they are working correctly.
    (This helps to prevent any water leaking situations as well as emergency problems.)
  • Make sure to know and be familiar with the location of the drain valves on your heating units and hot water heater.
    (This allows for proper maintenance during not heating seasons.)
  • At the onset of dripping ball valves and taps, call us right away. Do not hesitate, it could possibly make a simple problem turn into a disaster.
  • Make sure to keep our telephone numbers in a handy location.
    (This prevents further chaos in an emergency situation.)

 

Slow Draining Sinks

Run hot water into the sink, the hotter the better, even boiling. If the sink has a disposal unit, turn it on. If this doesn’t clear the obstruction, try using a plunger, making sure the plug on the drain on the other side of the double bowl doesn’t pop loose. It’s good practice to apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to the rim of the plunger before using it to ensure a tight seal, thus greater suction.

If your sink drains are chronically slow and you live in an older house, the problem may be an accumulation of sludge in the lines. No amount of plunging and chemicals is going to fix this. What’s needed is to use a metal snake down each of the drain lines. You should get us to do this for you.

Quite often, the problem here is simple. Hair tends to collect at the drain itself and can be easily removed to clear the obstruction. If there is a screen over the drain, remove it and insert a bent wire such as a coat hanger to fish out any hair or debris that may be stopping the drain. If there is a pop-up drain, raise it and try pulling the debris right out.

If this fails to clear the obstruction, try using the plunger. But you will need to plug the opening at the bottom of the overflow plate to keep the pressure from escaping there.

 

Toilets

  • Toilet overflow:

If you believe your toilet is about to overflow, quickly remove the tank lid, reach down and push the flush valve closed. It covers the tennis ball-sized opening in the bottom of the tank. That keeps the bowl from overflowing while you clear the obstruction.

  • Toilet Check:

Remove tank lid, add food coloring to the water in the tank. Check the bowl in ten or fifteen minutes. If you see color, the valve may be leaking. This should be done every few years. Most such leaks are silent.

If your toilet ball float is leaking and filling with water here is a useful trick to tide you over until you can get a new one. Take off the float (by unscrewing it), empty it, then screw it back on and wrap it in a plastic bag.

 

Showers

If the water pressure is very poor in your shower it may be due to lime-scale build up. Always clean your shower heads every three months. If the scale is too bad it may be an idea to get either a new hose, or a new shower head.

The simplest but sometimes the most stubborn clogs. Occasionally, hair will collect at the drain, but more often, it will be deep inside the pipes. Problems can often be prevented here by installing a supplemental screen in the drain to prevent any hair from passing through.

 

Maintenance

Areas that require regular maintenance are:

  • Taps (‘O’ rings, jumper valves)
  • Toilet Systems (perishable rubbers, leaking)
  • Hot water units (release relief valve every 6 months
  • Guttering and Downpipes (regularly clean leaves)
  • Water Filtration Units (change filters every 6 months)
  • Waste disposal units (flush regularly)
  • Stormwater pipes (slow discharge indicating blockage)
  • Sewer Pipes (slow toilet flush indicating blockage)
  • Check your meter periodically. If no water is running in the house, all dials on the meter should be stable. A movement in one of the dials may indicate a water leak, probably in a toilet. This could cost you dearly over time.
  • Schedule in advance maintenance and servicing of your heating and/or cooling system.
    (This keeps your units running in top-notch shape and prolongs the life of your appliances.)

Things to NEVER do:
1. Put coffee grounds in your sink drains
2. Hang a knick-knack shelf over your toilet.
3. Pour hot water into toilet. It could crack the bowl.
4. Put any mechanical cleaning device in your toilet tank.
5. Throw disposable diapers in toilet.
6. Keep wastebaskets under sinks. Bumping drain pipes cause leaks.
7. Throw sanitary napkins in toilet.
8. Run the dishwasher if disposal unit is full of food waste.
9. Use drain cleaners containing dye.
10. Use toilet tank lid for a shelf.
11. Let children play in bathroom with small toys.
12. Hang a shelf for heavy objects over a sink.
13. Plant trees or large shrubs over sewer lines
14. Dig deep holes or trenches in your yard before locating water, gas, and sewer lines
15. Place cornhusks, artichokes, onionskins, celery, or other high-fiber material in a disposal unit.
16. Pour fats or cooking oils into your sink.
17. Hire a plumber to do work without understanding precisely what he plans to do.
18. Leave water turned on to hoses for washing machines, dishwashers, and garden hoses when not in use.

 

We can help you with any plumbing service you require in any of the areas we service including, but not limited to the Hornsby and Waitara 2077, Wahroonga and Normanhurst 2076, Warrawee and Turramurra 2074, Pymble 2073, Gordon 2072, Killara 2071, Lindfield 2070, Asquith, Mt Colah 2079, Mt Kuringai 2080, Berowra and Cowan 2081 and Berowra Heights 2082, Brooklyn 2083 and Thornleigh and Pennant Hills 2120, Beecroft 2119, Epping 2121, Eastwood 2122 and West Pennant Hills 2125.

Call us for fast, reliable and friendly service on 94773663.