It’s been repaired once already in the past three months, why does it need repairing again?
This was the situation that Amy from Robina found herself in just before the New Year when she called us about a leak in her driveway.
Amy and her husband had bought a lovely home in a quiet little street in Robina, Gold Coast. Near to schools, sporting events at the Cbus Super Stadium and close to the Robina Town Centre for fantastic shopping and services.
Robina went through a property development boom in the mid-1980s which was around the time that Amy’s home had been built.
The ’80s were a boom time for things like the Sony Walkman. Our phone cord’s stretched for meters through our homes in an attempt to get some privacy to talk to our “crush” without our parents or siblings overhearing us. ALF was on TV and E.T. at the movies. MTV introduced shock jocks and Apple Macintosh became a fixture in many homes.
Golf course developers became overnight millionaires by enticing Japanese investment dollars.
Let’s not forget the many half-arsed builders of the time whose motto was “greed is good”. These builders were crooked as a butcher’s hook and they did their best to rip off as much as they could from unsuspecting homeowners.
Don’t get me wrong, not all builders were like this; there were many who built quality homes and put their customers before profit here on the Gold Coast. Sadly these decent builders were decidedly outnumbered by the fly-by-night builders who made a quick killing and closed shop before regulators could take action against them.
The reality is that tens of thousands of homes on the Gold Coast have been built like this and ultimately, it is the homeowner who suffers the consequences and cost. You see, the builder doesn’t actually build the entire home. They subcontract out the work to other specialty trades like painters, plasterers, tilers, plumbers and electricians. Sometimes, the builder may not build anything at the property and subbie out everything. The builder makes their profit on the difference between the cost of construction and the sale price to the client. Every cent saved during the construction phase is profit to the builder. This leads to builders selecting subbies who do the work at the cheapest price and unfortunately, the cheapest price is rarely the best quality.
As a local Gold Coast plumber, one of the most common plumbing-related problems we see is the shortcuts undertaken during the construction of homes. Pipes installed incorrectly, whereby water falls back to the fixture instead of flowing to the main council sewer drain. Or water lines buried under builder’s rubble with bricks, roof tiles and metal found amongst the material used to backfill the trenches.
Or in the case of Amy’s home in Robina, the main water pipe supplying the home was installed just a few centimetres below the ground and was so shallow as to be touching the driveway pavers lying directly above.
Three months prior to the Gold Coast Plumbing Company attending, Amy had another plumber repair a water leak under the driveway. As the pipe was shallow and directly under the pavers they had found the leaking water pipe quite easily and simply replaced a small section of the pipe. However, this was never going to be a long term solution to the problem.
You see, holes were developing along the entire length of the pipe. Mostly where the vehicles drove in and out of the garage and the pavers made contact with the water pipe.
Over the years, we have made all kinds of underground water line repairs.
One of my personal favourites was back in November of 2016 when we replaced the entire length of pipe under a driveway without cutting concrete for Michael and his family in Worongary.
The solution we offered Michael was one of three different options to repair the water leak and the option that Michael selected avoided cutting the driveway concrete completely.
In the present case, we were able to provide some information and options to Amy so she could make an informed decision that suited the plans for the future of her home.
To prevent unnecessary future callouts to repair the waterline, it was decided that the best option was to replace the entire waterline under the driveway.
We would install the new waterline in a deeper dug trench, thereby removing the new water line from contact with the driveway pavers entirely. The trench would then be backfilled with material to prevent damage from rocks and foreign objects in the ground.
Once we completed the plumbing work it was easy to pop the pavers back in place, leaving the property looking like there had never been a water leak and a pipeline replaced at Amy’s home.
Amy from Robina has the certainty that there will be no more underground water leaks requiring leak detection. Nor will there be any unnecessary costs for water line repairs and Amy also has the peace of mind that the work is backed by Gold Coast Plumbing Company’s Lifetime Workmanship Warranty.
How to blow up your backyard, Dr Karl, Ig Nobel awards and a new gas cooker
First, let’s get our heads around what is an Ig Nobel Award.
It is an award to honour achievements that make people laugh and then think.
In fact, our very own Aussie, all-knowing, king of all things science, with an asteroid named after him, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki won an Ig Nobel award in 2002 for his research into belly button lint.
The Ig Nobel award is presented at a ceremony by an actual Nobel Prize laureate. I had to Google what a Nobel Prize laureate is, and for anyone else who doesn’t know either, it’s someone who has been awarded a Nobel Prize. Think Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.
Now that we understand Ig Nobel awards, let me introduce you to Cesar Schmitz from Enéas Marques, South Brazil.
In my humble opinion, the Ig Nobel award for how not to remove cockroaches from your backyard must be awarded to Cesar.
Cesar’s wife disliked cockroaches and asked her husband to destroy their nest in the backyard. Cesar tried a beetle spray which drove the roaches above ground. He then poured gasoline into the burrow and lobbed a lit match into the hole while his dogs watched from nearby. Guess what happened next? Yup, a spectacular explosion with flames and soil flying through the air. You’ll be relieved that the dogs were ok. One Twitter viewer commented on the video saying ‘I enjoy how he looks inside the house to check if his wife heard that. “Nothing happened!”’
If you have read this far, congratulations! You might also be wondering what blowing up your backyard, Dr Karl, the Ig Nobel awards and a new gas cooker have in common?
The answer is hydrocarbons: a compound of hydrogen and carbon, such as any of those that are the chief components of petroleum and natural gas.
Did you know that Bunnings stopped selling gas plumbing products to the public due to the danger to homeowners? Gas work that is undertaken by untrained handy-men and unlicensed tradespeople has the potential to cause explosions, damage to property and, worst-case scenario, even kill.
The danger with gas is that unlike a water leak, gas leaks are not visible and can go undetected for some time.
In 2019 a home in Christchurch, NZ was completely destroyed, six people were injured and dozens of nearby homes were evacuated after a gas explosion at the property. The cause of the explosion is still undetermined.
Besides all things plumbing, Gold Coast Plumbing Company also provides:
We understand the dangers of LPG and Natural gas and how to protect your family and home.
Our expert gasfitters routinely provide our customers with expert advice on a variety of gas-related issues, such as:
- replacing the jets on gas cooktops to repair gas burners
- replacing the ignitor modules on stoves or BBQs to get the burners lighting
- full replacement of gas appliances
- Instantaneous gas hot water system repairs
- installations of new Oncegas hot water systems
- regulatory matters surrounding gas regulators for LPG customer
Take the case of Sue from Pacific Pines. She contacted Gold Coast Plumbing Company when she was looking for a licenced gasfitter to connect her new, replacement freestanding stove.
Our gasfitter attended and safely, and legally, connected her stove to the existing gas point, ensuring all work was in compliance with Australian Standards. We also took care of the required paperwork and sent the mandatory Gas System Compliance Certificate through to Sue’s gas supplier. This, along with our Lifetime Workmanship Warranty, is sure to give Sue the peace of mind that her new stove will provide her and her family many years of service.
We always appreciate feedback from our customers and Sue said, “Excellent friendly and professional service. Stephanie was more than helpful during our communications, even when I had to reschedule with late notice. Brent did a wonderful job, couldn’t be happier with the gas and plumbing work. We will use this company again.”
Thanks for the feedback Sue, it is how we improve our service and you now have the peace of mind that the work is backed by Gold Coast Plumbing Company’s Lifetime Workmanship Warranty. We hope that you and your family enjoy your new gas cooker.
What do a newborn baby, an exploding hot water system and a Jumbo Jet have in common?
This was the same question that Angele from the Gold Coast was pondering five days before Christmas.
The 50 litres Rheem hot water system had been installed in a cupboard in Angele’s apartment back in 2002. The system had been working without a problem for 17 years before a burst tank brought an end to this water heater.
This Rheem hot water system had faithfully provided Angele and her family hot water for showers, washing and dishwashing prior to the hot water tank bursting.
The unit had worked continuously without a day off for over 6000 days. Not a single, weekend sleep-in, rostered day off, sick leave or vacation during that entire 17 years of service.
The thermostat would have activated the heating element more than 120,000 times. The water heater would have worked for more than 38,000 hours.
Installed two years after the Sydney Olympics it is a far cry from the first water heater which was invented by a painter named Ben Maughan in London back in 1868. (To know more about the history of Hot water System, visit the blog “3 Types Of Hot Water Systems Explained“)
Angele’s Rheem hot water system would have heated over half a million litres of water during its years of service. In fact, the volume of water that this hot water system heated over its life could have filled a jumbo jet.
Then, at 3 am on the 20th of December, 5 days before Christmas, this unappreciated and unnoticed hero of our home relegated itself to recycling after the water heater tank burst.
How do we know that the hot water system burst at 3 am you ask??? Angele and her newborn baby were awake for an early morning feed when the hot water system went bang.
What do you do when your hot water system explodes? Great question! The first thing that Angele did was to turn the water off.
Shutting off the water to the system is simple. On a 50-litre hot water system, we installed it’s achieved by closing the blue handle on the valve. In fact, to remove any possible confusion, the blue handle is clearly marked with the direction in which to turn it.
The next thing to do is turn off the power to the hot water system. Isolating power is even easier. Just look for the main fuse box and switch off the breaker marked HWS.
Angele then searched the internet for a plumber and found Gold Coast Plumbing Company. It was an easy decision due to the hundreds of customer reviews on Google.
Angele sent Gold Coast Plumbing Company a message on Friday at 3:05 am and by 7:20 am Angele had an appointment for one of our tradespeople to visit her home and provide an upfront price to repair or replace the hot water system that same day.
Thankfully we have been installing hot water systems for a while and knew that the current model Rheem 50 litre water heaters are taller and would not fit. Angele’s cupboard would allow only one type of 50-litre hot water system to fit into the available space and that is a Thermann hot water system. More information is available here Thermann Hot Water Systems Review.
By 12:07 pm Angele had a new hot water system with valves and insulation making it compliant to Australian Standards and most importantly, a tempering valve was installed as well. A tempering valve blends hot with cold water to deliver 50º water at the hot tap. Water at a lower temperature takes longer to cause injury. Did you know that it takes 3 minutes for hot water to cause third-degree burns at 50º and only 3 seconds at 60º?!
Angele now has the peace of mind knowing the tempering valve will make bath time safe for her baby, and on top of that, her new hot water system is backed by Gold Coast Plumbing Company’s Lifetime Workmanship Warranty.
In fact, Angele was kind enough to provide some feedback through a Google review:
Gold Coast Plumbing Company responded to my early 3 am request promptly and got Brent out as soon as he was available. The service was amazing and everything was explained in detail and my old hot water unit had been replaced and installed within hours of attending. Would highly recommend to everyone.
Thanks for the feedback Angele, it’s how we improve.
Dane the owner
Is there a burst water pipe under my driveway?
We were recently called to a home who’s owner suspected a water leak under their driveway. Michael in Worongary noticed moisture starting to appear on the lawn beside his garage. Over the next few days the moisture spread across to the other side of the driveway, along the side of the house and water had started to trickle into the storm water drain at the roadside curb.
When we arrived there was little doubt whether there was a leak. Michael’s water meter was ticking over while there was no water being used in the house and all the other obvious signs were present. The main issue we faced was identifying the source of the water leak. Due to the wide spread nature of the where the water was presenting and proximity to the concrete driveway we opted for leak detection to narrow down the likely locations of the water leak.
Burst pipes under a lawn or garden are normally straight forward and quite often apart from some fresh mulch or some new turf being rolled over the repair most people wouldn’t notice that a repair has taken place once the excess water dries. Unfortunately for our friendly home owner our search narrowed down the leak location to underneath Michael’s painted driveway.
Under concrete repairs can be a little more tricky, the concrete makes precision leak detection more difficult, concrete requires cutting and removal and our work area is often constrained by concrete as we try to minimise the amount of concrete cutting and disturbance to our customers property.
Michael was really proud of his home, his garden and lawns were pristine, his driveway was painted and looked great and we really wanted to keep them that way.
Repair options for water leaking under a driveway.
We had two solutions to present to Michael for the repair of this water leak;
Option 01 was to cut a section of Michael’s driveway, make the repair and pour new concrete to repair the driveway. (The new section of concrete would require painting to match the existing drive at extra cost to Michael and there was the possibility for another leak in the future from the old section of pipe.)
Option 02 was to cut a narrow trench across the driveway and replace the pipe entirely. (This would ensure that there would be no further leaks from the pipe under the driveway in the future.)
Both options had various pro’s and con’s; longevity of the repair, disturbance of the driveway and budget were all considerations in the decision, but all ultimately led to cutting the concrete in the driveway.
After taking some measurements and making an assumption on the whereabouts of pipework we identified a third option and thankfully this didn’t involve cutting the driveway at all. For this repair we thought we were going to be able to expose the leaking pipe at either side of the driveway and insert a new copper pipe into the old damaged poly pipe.
Exposing the water pipe under driveway
We were going to entirely replace the damaged section of the pipe which would make the repair last for many decades and by sleeving the new pipe inside of the old pipe it would be protected from the rocks which had caused the old pipe to burst.
Michael liked this option, it ticked all the boxes and could be executed at a reasonable price.
There was a lot of digging required to expose either end of the pipe on either side of the driveway, we had to weld two copper pipes together and pressure test the welds before installing the pipe and we needed to install special connections to join the new copper pipe to the existing poly pipe supplying the house before the repair was complete.
The repair was completed, Michael and his family were happy and you can read Michael’s daughters review on our Google review page, just scroll the bottom of our website and follow the link to Google.