5 things you can do to prevent a blocked drain

Blocked drains can be a real emergency especially if your whole house gets blocked up and you cant use the toilet or shower so here's 5 things you can do right now to prevent a blocked drain. Did you know that some household blockages can actually be prevented and there things you can do your self to stop it happening?

Keep toilet paper to a minimum - This may seem a little odd, especially as toilets are designed to be used with toilet paper. However, using too much toilet paper can cause your drain or toilet to block. So how much is too much? Well thats a tricky one. Different toilets have different flow rates and outlet sizes so there is no none rule fits all here. However if you flush the toilet and the water level rises a significant amount before draining, its a good sign you have overloaded the toilet.

Use stick on fresheners instead of the cage types - While cage type toilet fresheners are common, it is also common for them to get accidentally flushed down into the drain where they get stuck. Fortunately there are new stick on types that can be used that stick directly onto the side of the bowl. Not only these pose no threat at all to your drains, they are actually more hiegenic as there is nowhere for the germs to hide.

Put food scraps and oil in the bin - This should be an obvious one but we are all guilty of trying to push those few pesky food scraps through the drain grate after we have finished washing the dishes. While its definitely not as pleasant to remove them by hand and place them in the bin, it does save your drains from food build up which may eventually cause a blockage

Clean your shower drain - Hair has to be the most common reason we see for shower drains to block up. You have you someone in the house who brushes their hair in the shower or it may even be you. You can rest assured that some of that hair is getting stuck and over time will cause your drain to block. Most showers these days can be cleaned by hand by removing the grate and this should be done often enough to keep the drain cleared.

Keep kids away from outside drains - Kids love to explore and experiment, and the drain connection pipe in your rear yard can be an attractive object to experiment. “Lets see how many toys we can get inside that drain” If you have a child that would love to play this game, it could be time for a chat or better yet find a new play area. Toys may be fun to put in the drain but they are not fun or easy to get out.

What to do when your drain blocks up

What To Do When Your Drain Blocks Up

So you have a blocked drain. Your stressed and your not sure what to do. In fact your pulling your hair out right now. Well, we understand having a blocked drain can be stressful but don't worry, follow these steps and you'll be well on your way to getting your home back to normal

Stop using the drain. This may seem obvious however just because the toilet flushes doesn’t mean the contents of said toilet are actually going where they should. Using your drain when you know you have a blockage only makes the cleaning and unblocking process more difficult. Not to mention messy.

Organise your plumber. Now is the time to get professional help. You'll need a plumber who has lots of experience and the right equipment for the job. Blocked drains can be complicated and should only be tackled by trained professionals

Keep children and pets away from the area - while they might think its an interesting thing to play with, blocked drains can leave a mess that is not only unsightly and foul but also unhygienic as well. Keep your kids and pets safe by keeping them away from the effected area

Close any doors that lead to the area - the last thing you want is anyone touching or accessing the area. Make sure that any unsuspecting guests don't accidentally enter the area but making sure all doors to the area are locked or noticed put in place

If you have sewerage inside your home try to clean this with a mop and bucket. Sometimes some sewerage will end up inside your home. To prevent damage to your home and to keeps smells and germs at bay, it is a good idea to clean the area as soon as you can with a mop and bucket. Try adding some detergent into the bucket as well to help the smell and kill the germs

Wait for help to arrive - let the professionals deal with the drain blockage while you relax. Your drain professional will know what type of blockage you have and the best way to fix it. They will be arriving with a professional drain cleaning vehicle and will be assessing your home as soon as they arrive. They will also be letting you know the charges up front for any works before they start.

Our expert professional plumbers clear blocked drains in Melbourneblocked drains in Geelong and blocked drains in Canberra.

Avoid costly hot water repairs in 5 easy steps

When your hot water system stops working it can be a real disaster. Not only do you have the inconvenience of having cold showers but the cost of repairs can be hefty depending on whats wrong. There are however things you can do to get the most out of your current hot water system and reduce the likely hood of needing expensive repairs done

Turn your system down - I know what you might be thinking, “but Richie I like a good hot long shower!” Don’t we all. My point is that more than 70% of all houses we attend have there hot water system turned up too high, not only does this cost you more to run but it puts extra stress on the tank which shortens its life. It also burns out the thermo couple quicker and shortens the life of the burners. So do your self and your system a favour and turn your system down

Release the PTR - whats the PTR you ask? It's the little valve on the right hand side of your system which acts as a safety release valve when the system is heating. Releasing this every 6 months allows the valve to open to full position which ensures it will work when you need it to.

Don’t cover your system - we have repeatedly seen home made covers for systems that effect the way the system works. Placing cover over your unit can restrict the air flow into and out of the system which can effect the combustion and in some cases stop the system working all together.

Keep your grass short - This may seem like an obvious one but we have seen some systems that have grass actually growing inside of them because the lawn was not kept under control. Keeping the access panel on and grass away from your system ensures it works as it is supposed to.

Don’t let pets dig under your system - Dogs love to dig right? Yep! well some dogs may see your foundations under your hot water as the perfect place to invest some digging time honing there skills. Unfortunately if the foundations are moved and the system starts to lean, you’ll be calling your plumber soon as the system will eventually turn its self off and you will more than likely need to re install the system from scratch. Soo… ensure your dogs dig up the roses instead of your hot water system.

How hot should your hot water be?

Can your hot water system actually be too hot? Does it really matter that much? Hot water inside the home is a necessary part of every day life. We use it from cleaning the dishes to showering the dog. So its important that this is done safely. Water that is hotter than 60 degrees is very dangerous especially to older senior citizens and younger children too.

However your water temperature can be too cold. With water sitting at lower temperatures Legionella can grow causing serious health concerns.

Above 70 °C : Legionella dies almost instantly

At 60 °C : 90% die in 2 minutes

At 50 °C : 90% die in 80–124 minutes, depending on strain

At 48 to 50 °C : Can survive but do not multiply

Ideal growth range

Setting too high can scald someone using the water. Setting the water too low can grow Legionella, so what temperature should you set your water. So what should you do?<

Check your hot water temperature - If you have a thermometer at home, run some hot water and test it. The temperature should be no hotter than 55 degrees at the tap, if it is hotter than that you should have your system turned down

Adjust your tempering valve - If your not sure what this is we don't recommend attempting this step on your own. If you do, Check what setting your hot water system is at and then check your tempering valve setting. Your system should be set to 60 degrees or hotter but the tempering valve should be set to deliver water no hotter than 55 degrees at the house

Got a burst water pipe? What to do next…

Got A burst water pipe? Almost everyone who lives in a home with toilets, showers and taps is going to have to deal with a burst water pipe at some stage of their life. So what to you do if this type of plumbing disaster happens to you? Below I will explain the things you need to know and do so you'll be prepared and handle it like a pro.

Who does this usually happen to? Notice I said people who live in a home and not just the person who owns the house. Thats right, you could be staying at your parents home for the weekend, you could be lodging at an Air BnB for the weekend or you could just be home alone one night. Everyone will deal with this plumbing disaster at some time or another.

How do I know if I have a burst water pipe? Several signs to look for when you suspect you a burst water pipe.

  • You could see water building up in a pool in your garden - you may even see a stream of water running across your concrete path way
  • Water spurting out of a wall or wetness around walls that seems to be getting worse
  • Hissing or loud spraying sounds in and around areas within your home where plumbing is installed
  • A high water bill - extremely high water bills are often a sign you have a hidden leak

So what can you do? Here are some practical and essential tips of things you can actually do once you have determined you have a burst water pipe.

If you have a burst outside your home

  • Turn off the water supply at the water meter - this will shut off the flow of water and stop the leak, it will also turn the water off to the whole house so toilets and showers will not work
  • Keep pets and children away from the effected area - hot water bursts especially can be harmful to pets and children
  • Contact your local plumber as soon as you can
  • You may turn the water back on briefly and only if it is safe to do so, so you can shower and use toilets then turn it back off again
  • Keep water off during the night should you need to wait overnight to get help

If you have a burst inside your home

  • Turn off the water supply at the water meter - this will shut off the flow of water and stop the water flowing into your house, it will also turn the water off to the whole house so toilets and showers will not work. Do this as quickly as you can
  • Do not turn the water back on for any reason
  • Contact your local emergency plumber and stress you have an emergency and need immediate assistance
  • Reduce damage to your home by using a mop and bucket and any old towels you have to clean up excess water
  • Contact your insurance company ASAP and inform them what has happened and get a claim lodged

Tips for tennants

  • Follow the steps above but contact your agent to get an emergency plumber for you
  • If your agent is uncontactable or is refusing to help you do have the right to organise a plumber yourself and seek reimbursement once the burst pipe has been fixed. (Check with local laws about the exact procedure and amounts you are able to claim)
  • Do your best to limit the damage to the landlords property, this will make the rectification works easier and less time consuming and will enable you to get back to normal quicker

A note on insurance - most insurance companies will pay for and damage resulting as a cause of the burst water pipe. They will not usually cover the pipe repair itself. If you have a hidden water leak, your insurance company may cover the cost of investigation water leak detection works and the damage caused by the leak, again they do not usually cover the pipe repair.

Follow these simple instructions and you will be able to deal with a burst water pipe at home or at work easily and with very little stress. Handle burst water pipes like a pro


friendly plumber in kitchen

Richie's last tip - If you are going away for a weekend or an extended amount of time (like leaving a holiday house or going on holiday from your home) turn the water off at the meter. This will save you a considerable amount of stress while your away as well as protecting your home from potentially catastrophic damage