Let’s be thankful that here in Australia we get off pretty lucky in our experience for what passes as ‘Winter’. We don’t have to endure months of sub-zero temps that can wreak havoc with our household plumbing.
We can rejoice in the fact that pipes that freeze, or worse yet, burst, are not a regular occurrence, especially here in sunny Queensland.
But, even with our version of winter there are a few plumbing precautions we may want to consider.
During the winter months our temps do dip from our usual balmy beach days. And, as the days grow shorter and the mornings chillier, our reliance on our trusty mate, the hot water system, increases.
So, as we are now in our cooler months of the year, it is worth considering some preventative hot water system maintenance to avoid costly repairs and some severely uncomfortable chilly morning showers!
Do you prefer a hot or cold shower?
Are you more of an ‘ease into the day with a long hot shower that warms you up while it wakes you up’ type? Or, are you one of those who welcomes a fullon cold blast from their morning shower ritual that shocks you into the day ahead?
If you’re the latter (and dare we say minority), good on ya! You’re more daring than most.
Cold showers can be a terrific source of increased alertness, stronger immune systems, and improved physical recovery. But, they’re definitely not for everyone!
There are benefits to both hot and cold showering. If you’re curious as to what they are, have a read of this.
For all you who prefer the welcoming warmth of a long hot steamy winter morning shower, please read on.
Why do hot water systems fail more often in winter?
Winter in Australia is traditionally the most common time of year for electric hot water systems to fail.
We use more hot water during winter as we tend to spend longer in the shower warming up in the morning.
The cold water supplying the hot water system is colder which causes the hot water system to work harder and heat longer to bring the degree of desired warmth.
The general temperature overnight is colder, the hot water system, its associated valves and pipes are cooler and this contributes to more work that the hot water system has to do to provide us with reliable hot water each morning.
A heating element and thermostat in a hot water system is very similar to the working of an electric kettle. Depending on use, the heating element in a hot water system will cycle over 15,000 times in a decade. When in need of repair, it requires a licensed tradesperson to undertake due to the requirement to disconnect electricity during the repair process.
The second most common repair of a hot water system is due to the failure of the tank itself. When water is heated inside of a hot water system it expands. The cooler the water prior to heating the greater the expansion. Over time the tank weakens by oxidising or rusting and expansion causes a weld or the cylinder within the tank to fail.
Some insider info…
Direct from the everything you needed to know about hot water systems but were afraid to ask files…
It is not widely known that inside of electric hot water cylinders there is a sacrificial anode. A sacrificial works by oxidising or rusting as the weaker metal rather than the steel tank.
Sacrificial anodes are commonly found where mechanical components are in contact with water. Sacrificial anodes dissolve due to an electrochemical reaction inside the hot water cylinder and after 5 years they become spent and require replacement.
This again is a task best left to a licensed tradesperson due to the different range of anodes and potential for incorrect fitting to damage the hot water service.
Another method to combat the failure of tank cylinders is with the fitting of Cold Water Expansion valves. Nowadays we are required by law to install Cold Water Expansion valves on any new hot water system installations. Cold Water Expansion valves are set to a lower release pressure than a Pressure and Temperature Relief valve.
This allows the discharge of the expanded water from the cold supply pipes instead of hot water from the Temperature Pressure Relief valve. This saves wasting hot water which you have already paid to heat and discharges cold water instead.
Every homeowner can prevent the failure of their hot water system by regular operation of the Pressure and Temperature Relief valve. (Us older plumbers know them as TPR’s)
Pressure and Temperature Relief valves are essential to prevent devastating consequences such as the rupture or explosion of a hot water system if the thermostat fails and the hot water system continuously heats. PTR’s should be operated each 6 months to check their operation and to keep them in working order.
Most hot water cylinders have a warning from the manufacturer to replace the PTR valve at 5 year intervals. This is to ensure the reliable operation of the valve if it is required. If your PTR has begun to discharge water or leak, it is a sign that there is a problem and should be inspected by a licensed tradesperson. There are other valves on the hot water system which fail and require replacement.
Put simply, preventative maintenance can avoid more serious hot water problems from occurring.
A recommended hot water system maintenance schedule
Hot Water System Maintenance (Every 6 months):
Operate the Pressure and Temperature Relief valve
Operate the Cold Water Expansion valve (if fitted)
Check the operation of the Isolator valve (which is also a non return valve)
Hot Water System Maintenance (Every 5 years):
Replace Pressure and Temperature Relief valve
Renew the Sacrificial anode
Check Isolator valve
Check Tempering valve
Check Element and Thermostat for correct operation
I hope this hot water system maintenance advice helps you keep those hot showers running through the cooler months!
Most of us were first introduced to the seductive power of the wet wipe as we tended to the tiny (often explosive) bottoms of our bubs. The convenience of the baby wipe cannot be overlooked in the nappy bag arsenal. They’re cheap, easily accessible, portable, easy to use, great at cleaning up our messy babies from one end to the other. Whether it’s removing remnants of their stormy ‘poonamis’ or cleaning up ice cream smothered faces and hands, wipes have become a cleaning staple since the 50s.
Types of Wipes
Since wipes were first introduced, the types, brands, and uses for these handy little cleaning legends have exploded. Today we can easily get our messy hands on:
Household cleaning wipes
Furniture dusting wipes
BBQ cleaning wipes
Window cleaning wipes
Nail polish remover wipes
Eyeglass cleaning wipes
And, the more popular than ever (thanks to Covid 19), antibacterial wipes
They Have Become Our Go-To Cleaning Alternative
Wipes have cleaned up, replacing the use of disposable and non-disposable cleaner-uppers alike. They’ve taken the place of toilet paper, tissues, paper towel, cloths, towels, cotton pads, sponges and even the beloved Chux!
They are obviously handy little things to have around. But when we’re done with them, then what?
Bowl or Bin?
Many of these products are labelled “flushable” or claim that they are safe for septic use.
But don’t believe everything you read or hear.
In general, wipes do not belong in the toilet, regardless of the claims on the label. While flushable wipes may go down the loo easily, they can eventually cause a lot of problems.
Some are better than others and most wipes eventually do break down. But, they just take much longer to do so compared to their toilet paper counterparts.
Since the breakdown of wipes doesn’t happen as fast, their persistent presence can lead to an increased frequency of clogged pipes and blockages in plumbing and septic systems alike.
Once these hit a 45-degree angle in the plumbing pipes, they can begin to clog, collect and then catch other things that would otherwise clear their path. Over time, instead of being flushed out, they end up plugging up the household plumbing. These seemingly harmless little wipes can also end up blocking the sewer completely – both issues can result in an unwanted backup and possibly damage that requires the help of an experienced plumber.
Besides causing blockage around the home, wipes can be equally dangerous to wastewater equipment and facilities. They’ve actually been known to cling to impellers inside a pump, causing it to burn out. This is why wastewater treatment authorities and plumbing professionals alike continue to plead with the public to cease and desist in their flushing these coveted wipes.
We urge you to make the choice to toss the wipes in the bin instead.
You’ve Been Wipe-Warned!
You’ve been warned. If you’ve been flushing away any signs of your ‘dirty’ little wipe habit, you could well be putting your home’s plumbing at risk. And the choice to flush can challenge wastewater treatment facilities too.
So, if you can’t break your wet-wipe habit, please, please, please make the choice to dispose of them in the bin, not the (toilet) bowl. Your plumbing will thank you for it!
Pop hot water systems quiz: Which company introduced Australia’s first-ever full electronic gas continuous flow hot water system? Answer: Rinnai. Why is that important? Because it was an innovation that revolutionised the way we enjoy hot water today, ensuring that you’ll never face the prospect of a cold shower. It’s just one example of why Australians and Gold Coast locals so often turn to this trusted name in hot water – and why we truly recommend Rinnai hot water systems Gold Coast wide.
Rinnai Hot Water Systems Review
In this Rinnai hot water system review, we’re taking a closer look at the Japanese brand called Rinnai, and the hot water systems that Australians and Gold Coast locals have been trusting every single day for the past 49 years and counting.
Our featured Rinnai Hot Water Systems Gold Coast
Let’s take a closer look at the most popular Rinnai electric hot water systems on the market today.
Rinnai hot water storage systems: The brand has a great range of single and twin-element Rinnai electric hot water systems in a full array of sizes, including gas systems and the super energy-efficient heat pumps.
Rinnai continuous flow hot water: As we said at the top of the page, if you ever wondered who introduced the first continuous hot water solutions to Australia, look no further than Rinnai. Ensuring you never run out of hot water, the first in this series of sleek designs hit the market in the early 90s.
Rinnai solar hot water systems: When you live in Australia, it simply makes sense to use the never-ending and totally free source of energy that beams down from the heavens – the sun. Rinnai’s ultimate range of solar systems is on the cutting edge of innovation, saving you money and helping the planet.
Learn even more about Rinnai
If you’ve seen that instantly recognisable red logo on Rinnai hot water systems, there’s a great reason for that: it’s one of Australia’s leading suppliers and innovators of household products. But here are some facts about Rinnai that may surprise you:
1. Made in Australia
Rinnai may be Japanese, but Rinnai Australia has no fewer than three world-class manufacturing facilities, located in South Australia and Victoria.
2. Made in lots of other places!
But apart from those three facilities, there are about 40 Rinnai manufacturing facilities in Japan and elsewhere in the world.
3. Rinnai does more than hot water
You may love their reliable and innovative hot water systems, but Rinnai also boasts a great range of state of the art air conditioners and heaters.
4. A very old brand
Rinnai has been around for about 50 years in Australia, but the brand is much older than that. Kanekichi Hayashi and Hidejiro Naito founded the company in 1918 when Hidejiro was apparently inspired from blue flames coming from an imported cooking stove.
5. An awful lot of Rinnai hot water systems
Every single year, Rinnai product lovers buy an incredible 12 million Rinnai appliances. The continuous hot water systems are particularly popular, with 30 million sold worldwide to date.
Here at Gold Coast Plumbing Company, we hope you enjoyed this Rinnai hot water system review as much as we enjoyed putting it together! We really do care about supplying and installing only the very best hot water systems here on the Gold Coast wide and would be honoured to give you advice and a consultation today about the full range of Rinnai and other top hot water system brands including Therman and Rheem. Call the friendly hot water team today!
If you love a steaming hot bath or shower, there’s still an awful lot more than that to love about Rheem. Rheem hot water systems are built by an Aussie brand that Australians and Gold Coast locals just like you just love to trust. It’s a range of affordable, super high quality, reliable, and brilliantly energy-efficient products that we’re going to take a closer look at in this Rheem hot water system review.
Rheem Hot Water Systems Gold Coast
Did you know that simply heating the water you need in the kitchen and bathroom accounts for more than a quarter of your entire average energy bill? That’s a lot of money, which is why we recommend Rheem hot water systems Gold Coast wide. Rheem’s hot water systems are not the only kind to your hip pocket, but good for the environment too, thanks to a constantly evolving range of innovative energy and water-saving gas, solar, heat pump and Rheem electric hot water systems.
Gold Coast Plumbing Company’s favourite Rheem hot water systems
You don’t need to look around our beautiful streets for long to know that Gold Coast households just love a Rheem! Our favourite Rheem products are:
Solar: Rheem is nothing less of a global pioneer in solar water-heating technology, and that’s no surprise – because an efficient Rheem system can slash your energy use by 80% and more.
Heat pumps: This new and innovative hot water technology uses the heat in the air to create totally renewable energy. Based on Rheem electric hot water systems, heat pumps use only a third of the energy of a standard system.
Gas: Another of Rheem’s deserved boasts is of being a leader in efficient gas products. Remember the 90s, and the Rheem ‘Stellar’ which was the world’s first five-star gas hot water system? These days, Rheem has super-contact continuous flow gas water heaters that attract impressive 7-star equivalent ratings.
Are you impressed by our Rheem hot water system review? Here are some cool facts about this innovative company that may just blow you away even more:
6 Fascinating Facts About Rheem
1. Rheem made … drums
The original American company, called Rheem Manufacturing Company, actually started out making galvanised steel drums.
2. The full Rheem family
That drum company was founded by brothers Richard Rheem and Donald Rheem, the sons of William Rheem – the former president of the Standard Oil Company of California.
3. That’s quite Ruud
Some historians can’t help saying Ruud when they think of Rheem – because Rheem bought Ruud in 1954. Ruud developed the first-ever automatic hot water system in 1889, which was gas-fired.
4. It was 83 years ago
The first Australian Rheem water heater was made in Sydney in 1939 – two years after the company started making (you guessed it) … drums!
5. What does BHP have to do with it?
BHP made the steel that went into those first Rheem electric hot water systems, and do you know why? The Aussie mining company owned a 50% share.
6. A truly Aussie company
While Rheem may have started out as an American drum manufacturer, the US company was bought out in 1973 – meaning Rheem could claim to being truly Australian. Aussie winemaker Southcorp bought Rheem in 1988, and it’s now controlled by Paloma Co Ltd.
Did you know that only a licensed plumber like the experienced hot water experts at Gold Coast Plumbing Company can install your new hot water system? We not only supply and install Rheem hot water systems, we can also repair your old one or make sure it is perfectly suited to your home, family and needs. So for top quality hot water brands just like Rheem and super-fast installation, repairs and expert advice, give Gold Coast Plumbing Company a call today on 1300 390 361.
You may not have heard of Thermann hot water systems, but that’s not because the company does not have a good reputation. The reason is because they’re new. In fact, if you haven’t heard of them, this Thermann hot water system review is just for you – because you are one of the last to hear about some of the absolute best hot water systems on the market today.
Yes, Thermann hot water systems are quite new to the market, but did you know the brand is the fastest growing in the hot water industry in Australia and New Zealand? There are some very good reasons for that.
The company took a very clever and methodical approach to the local market. First, they carefully identified which hot water technologies were dominating in the various categories – and then set the ambitious goal of producing various types of hot water systems and models with the highest quality of anything else on the market.
In Gold Coast Plumbing Company’s Thermann hot water system review, we’re talking about:
1. Continuous flow hot water systems
Small and sleek, these tidy little units are very energy efficient because they only heat up the water when you turn on the tap. But it means you’ll never run out of hot water, even if you have a busy family.
Thermann’s perks: These systems come with impressive 12-year warranties, with various capacities ranging from 16 to 26 litres that will suit every family’s needs.
If you recognise a modern, small, sleek and unobtrusive continuous flow hot water system, then you’ll feel even more familiar when you see a traditional storage hot water system. These natural gas, LPG or Thermann electric hot water systems are the ones with the big tank, with water heated to 50 degrees and ready for when you need it.
Thermann’s perks: Warranties range from 7 to 10 years, with a variety of capacities from small electric storage units of just 25 litres to a hefty 170 litres.
Think of a heat pump like a fridge in reverse, as it extracts the heat from the environment and then stores the water in a tank. Because the pump technology is using the ambient air temperature to do the heating, the energy efficiency rating is extremely high.
Thermann’s perks: The hybrid Thermann electric hot water systems produce 4kHw of heat for every kWh of energy, making them almost 74% more energy-efficient than a traditional system.
While a heat pump uses ambient air temperature, a solar hot water system uses the sun – making it the most energy-efficient way to heat up water for your home. But while people are still making the switch to solar, the 50-year-old technology is already quite mature, making it very reliable.
Thermann’s perks: For amazing peace of mind, Thermann’s solar systems boast amazing 15-year warranties, and ‘active tracking’ technology means heat is collected no matter where in the sky the sun happens to be.
These big boys are mainly for businesses or other commercial settings that need a lot of reliable hot water on tap.
Thermann’s perks: Every business is catered for with Thermann’s commercial hot water systems. Take the 50 litres continuous condensing hot water unit, for example, which is the only one of its type in Australia.
Thermann’s big boast is that it makes hot water simple – and it’s hard to argue with that. Packed with proven technology combined with the most innovative features on the market, the brief is to produce ultra long-life products that work brilliantly at a great price. It’s why Gold Coast Plumbing Company would be proud to install a hot water system at your place today, so get in touch on 1300 390 361 and ask about Thermann hot water systems today!
“I’ve tried everything, and I just can’t clear that blockage.” “Have you tried using a drain snake? Works every time!”
Plenty of people have had a conversation just like this, but their mind went blank when they heard the reference to a drain snake. No, it’s not a new species of our slithery foes that you might tread on in long grass. The drain snake is actually a very handy innovation that plumbers and homeowners both swear by for clearing stubborn pipe blockages.
Electric eel or drain snake?
Where it gets confusing is that there are different types of drain snake. One Google image search will depict a strange motored device on wheels, but this is more commonly known as a plumbers eel, a plumbing eel, or an electric eel.
However, the electric eel is really just the big brother to the more common hand-held drain snake Bunnings might stock on the shelves. The basic principle is the same with the run-of-the-mill drain snake and the heftier electric eel – and that basic principle is the flexible coils or cables that are wiggled down a drain to slash away at stubborn blockages.
What we are talking about in this article is the hand-held drain snake, which you should consider as the middle ground between using a plunger and calling in the blocked drain experts from Gold Coast Plumbing Company!
A warning about drain snakes
But first, a warning: if you’re not a fairly handy and confident DIY’er, it might be best to stay away from the plumbing snake. Yes, they’re great at unclogging drains. But get it wrong, and you could damage your pipes and create a much, much bigger problem.
To really understand the risk, you need to understand how a drain snake works. Basically, it’s a long flexible stretch of coiled cables with a handle or crank on one end and a corkscrew-like open spring on the other. It works by being inserted into the drain and then uncoiled with the handle – until eventually it reaches and breaks through whatever is causing the blockage.
So if you’re game, here’s how to use a drain snake:
1. Insert the drain snake
To make the plumbing snake do its magic, you’ll need to manually feed the end of it into the pipe or drain. If it’s stubborn, don’t force it because the head of your drain snake is designed to do some serious work.
2. Uncoil the snake
Use the handle to start unravelling the coil so that it goes deeper and deeper into the pipe. Don’t do your unwinding too fast or too slowly, but when you feel a little resistance, don’t freak out – you might have reached the point of the blockage.
3. Attack the blockage
If you’re pretty sure you have reached the blockage, wind the handle forwards a little bit and then backwards a little bit – and repeat this process over and over. This action will help to break up the blockage, but if you hear noises in the pipe that sound unusual or harsh, you may be attacking the actual pipe – so back off a little and try again.
4. Complete the process
Once the back-and-forth handle winding has been done for a while and you no longer feel any resistance, the blockage is probably now clear. Wind the drain snake back up, being particularly careful when the head reaches the top of the pipe once again.
5. Call in the professionals
How’s your drain? Is that water going down perfectly now? If so, well done – you’re a real pro at this drain snake business!
If you still have a blockage, there’s only one thing left to do – call in the professionals from Gold Coast Plumbing Company. Our plumbers are all fully qualified, insured, friendly, and ready to tackle any type of blockage or plumbing problem – big or small. Call today and ask about our lifetime workmanship guarantee. Happy drain snaking!