Unblock A Pipe With a Drain Snake in 5 Easy Steps

Unblock A Pipe With a Drain Snake in 5 Easy Steps

“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!

How to Get Rid of Drain Flies In 3 Easy Steps

How to Get Rid of Drain Flies In 3 Easy Steps

When it comes to household pests, you’re always on the alert for rats, termites and cockroaches. But here’s something that might not be on your radar: drain flies. Ever been around a sink or a shower or bath or even a kitchen and noticed a teeny-tiny little moth-like fly (or 50) buzzing around? These annoying drain flies typically set up shop in your bathroom or kitchen pipes – particularly if there’s a lot of organic matter in there to feast upon. But the real question is simple: how to get rid of drain flies quickly and effectively?

Drain flies Gold Coast – How to spot them

What’s that tiny thing buzzing around in your bathroom? If it:

  • Looks like a tiny moth
  • Has 6 legs
  • Has a set of fuzzy wings
  • And a set of antenna

Then it’s extremely likely that you’ve run into one of the drain flies Australia is growing to hate. Often called sink flies or sewer gnats the scientific name is Psychodidae.

Getting rid of drain flies

First things first: don’t panic. Although they munch on the gross stuff that lurks in your drains, these little critters aren’t going to kill you, and they aren’t going to endanger the structure of your home either. At the very worst, they have been known to trigger asthma symptoms within sufferers if inhaled.

If you’ve discovered your drain fly infestation in a bathroom that is not used very often, here’s some good news: that’s why they’re breeding there! Even if your unused bathroom appears clean, without using or thoroughly cleaning it regularly, you’re laying the groundwork for a stagnant accumulation of the slimy stuff that drain flies find so tasty. And if you can visibly see mould in your bathroom, it’s definitely time to get out the rubber gloves.

Drain fly remedy #1: Trapping drain flies

Regularly cleaning or flushing your drains is great drain fly prevention. But that solution is not going to help you with getting rid of drain flies that have already made their way into your house.

For that, try this easy DIY recipe. Add equal parts of water, sugar and vinegar to a bowl, and now add the secret ingredient: dish soap. The drain flies won’t be able to resist it – and the consequences for them will be dire.

Drain fly remedy #2: Boiling water.

But wait! Shouldn’t we be trying to stop the drain flies at the very source? It’s all good and well to know how to kill drain flies once they’ve crawled out of the drain, but what about the ones that are still down there?

For that, the solution really couldn’t be easier. As the main problem is usually stagnant drains and pipes that are not often used, the best way is to boil a kettle or two of water and just pour it down the sink/drain. Not only is this a great way to kill the drain flies, it will also help to clear your drains of the gunk that they love to eat.

Drain fly remedy #3: Go the extra mile.

Are you already feeling more relaxed about drain flies? It sounds like you’re ready to go one step further in order to really get on top of your drain fly infestation.

  • Remove any fruit from the area
  • Empty, clean and dry your bins
  • Cover your drains with a plug when unused.

For protecting floor drains there’s a great product we install regularly here on the Gold Coast. Drain Mate is an Australian made product that’s easily installed in your existing floor drains which will reduce noise and trap odours (no more smelly drains) as well as preventing drain flies.

 

While these 3 remedies should help to eradicate those annoying, small flies in shower and bathroom areas, one unfortunate fact does remain: you might have an underlying issue with your drains or pipes that means the critters keep coming back. Luckily, Gold Coast Plumbing Company has all the know-how, experience, equipment and skills to keep your drains, pipes, kitchens and bathrooms running smoothly all year round – so give us a call today!

Hot Water Systems and Dodgy Tradies – Buyers Beware!

Hot Water Systems and Dodgy Tradies – Buyers Beware!

There’s a very real problem that has the potential to cost you thousands of dollars and unnecessary heartache.

It’s the dodgy tradie epidemic that is getting worse, not better.

faulty hot water system installation

faulty hot water system installation

To stay abreast of industry updates and news, I follow a couple of plumbing related pages on Facebook. While having a scroll through the most recent posts, I saw some pictures and comments that instantly made me feel for the customer and angry that a dodgy tradesperson was getting away with illegal and dangerous work.

The picture on Facebook was posted by a plumber on the Gold Coast who was asked to repair a hot water system. The system had been installed two months prior by another tradesperson. He was no longer answering or returning the calls of the upset homeowner.

The hot water system in question had been installed by a dodgy tradie and it was a ticking time bomb. The major faults were as follows:

  1. It had been connected in such a way that if the thermostat failed and the water continued to boil there was a very high likelihood of an explosion due to a blocked relief valve discharge pipe.
  2. A tempering valve had not been installed. This vital component prevents children and the elderly from scalding burns, by blending hot water with cold water to 50 degrees Celsius.
  3. The non-return isolating valve was not installed. The purpose of this component is to prevent hot water from going back through the cold water supply, thereby preventing melting tap washers and plastic components like toilet cistern filling valves for example.
  4. The cold water expansion valve that discharges cold water to prevent damage to isolating valves and other pipework, was missing.
  5. There was no safe tray under the unit to prevent water from flooding the house if there was ever a leak from the hot water system.
  6. Zero insulation on the pipework for preventing heat loss.

The installation did not comply with Australian standards for hot water systems and the pipework looked like my dog had fabricated it (no offence intended Ebony, my lovely kelpie).

Most hot water systems when installed correctly, will provide hot water on demand without further thought. They require a minor service every few years to ensure the relief valve is operational and the replacement of the sacrificial anode, usually every 5 years. However, when certain unfavourable conditions align, a hot water system can turn into a dangerous bomb inside your home.

The television show Mythbusters conducted an experiment where they removed all safety valves from a hot water system and then pressurised the unit. The subsequent explosion launched the tank over a hundred meters in the air and peppered the surrounding area with dangerous shrapnel.

I’m a business owner, a tradesman and an employer, but foremost I’m a person who wants to help people with plumbing problems and provide quality solutions.

I believe that it’s my duty as a business owner to prevent consumers from having a similar experience to the poor customer referred to above. It is the responsibility of reputable business owners to call out dodgy tradies who should not be in business.

It is my opinion that there has been a serious decline in the standard of workmanship, as well as gaps in the fundamental knowledge of tradespeople. Furthermore, I regularly see a blatant disregard for the law and regulations from dodgy tradespeople.

With that in mind, you should ask the following when choosing a tradesperson to repair or supply and install your hot water system:

  1. Will you come to my home and discuss the best type of hot water system suited to my needs? Will you consider the number of people in the home, the energy efficiency of the system, my budget and any future plans that I have for my home?
  2. Do you hold the correct plumbing licence to install hot water systems?
  3. Do you hold the required electrical licence? If there was ever an insurance claim at the property due to an electrical surge, having your hot water system installed by a licenced tradesperson will be a requirement of the insurer.
  4. Will the system be installed as per the Australian Standards and local authority requirements?
  5. Do you offer a lifetime warranty on your workmanship?
  6. Has the system and its components been thoroughly tested?
  7. Will the system and its components be brand new and not ex-showroom floor stock?
  8. Does the system have a minimum 10-year manufacturer’s warranty?
  9. Will indoor installations have the required safe tray and automatic shut off valve to prevent flooding of my home?
  10. Do you submit the legally required Notifiable Work form to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission?

You should get a sense of trustworthiness from the trade business and there should be plenty of customer reviews to support the satisfaction of others who have used the business prior to you.

HWS installed by GCPC

Hot water System installed by our team

The size of the business is also an important consideration. If there is a problem with the hot water system in the future the business that you choose should have the personnel available to attend to perform a warranty repair.

The following picture is a hot water system that we installed inside a customer’s home the day before I wrote this article.

The customer left a 5 star Google review stating the following:

“All the guys are friendly and professional. Had my Hot Water System replaced within 24 hours of my call. Arrived on time, did a professional job, and cleaned up after themselves. Made the whole trauma of dealing with tradesmen a pleasant experience.”

I truly hope that this helps you when making a decision on the repair or replacement of your hot water system and prevents you from having a potentially dangerous and costly experience.

Please contact us to discuss your needs on 1300 390 361.

Regards,
Dane
Owner of Gold Coast Plumbing Company

Hot Water System Leaking? Follow These 4 Steps

Hot Water System Leaking? Follow These 4 Steps

If you’re like most people, you don’t pay much attention to your hot water system. But you really should keep an eye on this vital part of your house, as it is relied upon every single day. You should also do the required hot water system maintenance of your particular system, including checking the very important relief valve every six months. On one of these regular checks, you might notice something alarming: your hot water system leaking.

You may have discovered a leak inspecting your system or investigating a plumbing problem like low hot water pressure. In any case, you need to know what to do next. In this article, we want to layout in 4 simple steps what to do if you do find yourself with a leaking hot water system.

1. Don’t panic!

While it’s true that even a small leak can be a big problem, there is rarely the need to panic. With a bit of luck, a hot water leak is probably covered by a manufacturer’s warranty of up to 10 years.

2. Where’s the leak?

Is your hot water service leaking? Step two is identifying where that water is coming from. It might be the pipes attached to the system, the tank itself, or a different source altogether. If it’s the latter, you have a different problem. If it’s the hot water leaking, move on to step 3.

3. Be proactive

It might be tempting to either get out a spanner or call the plumber at this point. But err on the side of safety and go and turn your water off at the mains. And to be doubly safe, cut the supply of power to your leaking hot water system as well.

4. Call the plumber

If you’re really sure that it’s your hot water cylinder leaking, it’s time to call in the professionals. DIY plumbing can be dangerous, illegal, or against the manufacturer’s warranties and insurance policies. And that’s not to mention that hot water systems are expensive and complex, so it’s not a great idea to fiddle with them.

Leaking hot water system – What’s the problem?

While you’re waiting for your plumber, let’s explore some of the things that might have gone wrong to cause a hot water leak.

1. Tank damage

A hot water system leaking from the tank itself is unfortunately quite common for these hard-working household appliances. In these cases, a brand new system is usually the best or the only remedy.

2. Relief valve

As we mentioned earlier, the pressure valve is a vital part of your hot water system. They are designed to relieve pressure when required, but they also go wrong – and the best sign of that is water that is constantly coming out of the valve. With a bit of luck, the valve can simply be replaced.

3. Pipes

Connecting the hot water system to your household plumbing is a range of fittings and pipes, and over long periods of use and exposure, they wear out or become loose. As with the relief valve, with some luck, your plumber may be able to replace the fittings rather than the entire system.

Hot water service leaking – Repair or replace?

fixing a leaking hot water systemDepending on the age of your hot water system, and the severity of the fault or the replacement cost, it might make more sense to simply replace the entire unit rather than attempt to fix it. The hot water system technology is constantly marching ahead, meaning that if you do replace it, you could claw back that cost over a relatively short space of time in terms of running costs, environmental friendliness, and efficiency.

So while a like-for-like replacement can be popular, looking into your options can be a great way to better match your lifestyle and budget with the growing list of great products on the market. Is it time to make the switch from an electric to gas hot water system? How about going from a tank storage solution an instant hot water system? Or will you take the ‘green’ plunge into heat pump or solar technology?

Our Gold Coast hot water plumbers not only repair, maintain and replace hot water systems, they give the very best advice to those people unsure about how to react to their unexpected hot water leak. Call 1300 390 361 today for fast, friendly, hassle-free service.

The 4 Different Types of Taps for Bathrooms and Kitchens

The 4 Different Types of Taps for Bathrooms and Kitchens

A tap is a tap … right? When you want to fill the sink up or pour a refreshing glass of water, you turn that tap on with your hand and the water comes out. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t several different types of taps that differ quite fundamentally.

First, the definition. What is a tap? To put it succinctly, a tap is a simple mechanical device that allows a user to control the flow of liquid from a pipe. But after that, it gets a bit more complex — because there are at least four different basic types of taps.

Let’s explore the various water tap types.

When you’re browsing the various types of tap for your kitchen or bathroom renovation, you’ll notice that there are absolutely HUNDREDS (and even thousands!) of different tap styles. But in this article, we’re not talking about the many, many different tap styles, materials, finishes and appearances to match your chic decor preferences. We’re talking about the fundamental mechanics of how your tap will actually function.

To break it down, there are four basic tap type configurations: compression washer, ball, disk and cartridge. When you go to change your tap washers to stop a drip or a leak, these tap type differences will be crucial.

The four different types of taps

1. The compression washer tap

Think about the typical garden tap. It’s a simple handle that basically screws out to turn the flow of water off, and screws in to turn it off. It is a very common and traditional tap type that is still found inside many homes, but it can also be the one that causes the most trouble.

How it works: The flow of water is controlled by a nut that is covered by a washer, which is moved either up or down against the seat of the tap. If the sink has hot and cold water, you need a separate compression washer tap for each water source. These types of washers commonly need replacing.

2. The ball tap

If you haven’t heard of a ball tap, you probably know it by its more common name: the mixer tap. It’s called this because a single handle can control the flow from both the hot and the cold water sources.

How it works: Basically, when the user manipulates the handle in different directions, the ‘ball’ rotates and lines up with different holes that control the water flow from the hot or cold sources.

3. The disk tap

However, another of the tap types with a single handle that can be described as a ‘mixer tap’ is in fact a disk tap – and these are more commonly found in the home than ball tap types. You can spot the difference between a ball tap type and a disk tap from the latter’s wider, cylinder-shaped body.

How it works: Water is passed out of the tap when holes inside the tap’s workings align. The holes are located on two disks that are normally made of ceramic so that they last a long time. Another benefit of disk tap types is that a small turn of the tap will have that water flowing at maximum capacity.

4. The cartridge tap

In all honesty, the four different types of taps mentioned above are all quite similar, in that simple on/off mechanisms control the flow of water. The cartridge tap is yet another of the water tap types that are referred to as ‘mixer taps’ all over Australia and beyond.

How it works: These types of taps get their name from the internal cartridge that lies within. When the cartridge is twisted sideways, the temperature of the water is controlled. And up and down movements control the intensity of the flow.

What type of taps should you choose?

Is your tap leaking but you’re not sure what type it is to fix it? On the market for a new set of taps but have no idea which way to go? Gold Coast Plumbing Company can help with that! We are the Gold Coast plumber with 40 years of combined experience in every sort of plumbing issue in and around your home or premises, so call 1300 390 361 for friendly advice and service today.

Gas vs Electric Hot Water Systems: 3 Ways to Help You Decide

Gas vs Electric Hot Water Systems: 3 Ways to Help You Decide

When your old hot water system suddenly stops working, it’s a sinking feeling. You can look forward to a freezing cold shower, complaining kids, and a big water bill if it’s leaking. You might even feel a pang of regret that you forgot to do your hot water system maintenance. But with every setback, a new opportunity awaits – because modern advancements in water heating have sped up big-time in the past few years. And if you need to install a new one in, the big question is: should you go for a gas or electric hot water system?

Gas VS Electric Hot Water – What are your options?

Undoubtedly, a question on homeowners’ minds when they need a new hot water system installed is this: Should I choose a gas or electric unit? And rightly so. For most households, heating water accounts for a quarter or more of the entire energy bill. It means the gas vs electric hot water question is one you need to get right.

Both gas and electric types of hot water systems are available as storage units where heated water is stored in an insulated tank and instantaneous or ‘tankless’ systems where water is heated on demand. So that aside which type of hot water system should you put in? It depends on your property, the way your family uses water, and a number of other factors. Luckily, the hot water specialists at Gold Coast Plumbing Company are standing by and more than willing to give you advice about which way to go. Let’s get the lowdown on gas vs electric with 3 important things to know about each.

3 Important Things About Electric Hot Water Systems

Essentially, electric hot water systems heat your water overnight with an element and store it in a big tank for you to use throughout the day and evening.

1. They’re popular

If you think ‘hot water system’, you’re probably thinking about the electric tank systems you grew up with. However, with climate change now on everyone’s lips, households and governments are trying to spruik more efficient alternatives.

2. They’re inefficient

And why is the tide turning against electric? Because heating water with an electric element is inefficient. However, technology is speeding ahead to make electric hot water options much more efficient, and you can also ask your power retailer about off peak rates that mean heating water overnight is less costly.

3. They’re simple and easy to install

With an up-front price and because they’re easy to install or replace, electric hot water is still an extremely popular choice.

3 Important Things About Gas Hot Water Systems

Fundamentally similar to electric, gas hot water systems simply use a different heat source – LPG or natural gas.

1. They’re cost-effective to run

It’s just a fact: gas is cheaper than electricity. That normally translates across to the cheaper running price of gas hot water systems, and there’s also no need to worry about ‘peak’ or ‘off-peak’ tariffs – because your gas costs the same no matter when you’re using it. One downside is that if you’re not on mains gas, your shower can go cold if your bottle runs dry.

2. Gas units are a little pricier

Actually, the price-tag on gas or electric hot water systems are similar, even if a new gas system will cost a little more. For your extra money, though, you get an extra benefit in the form of a slightly smaller unit and lower running costs.

3. They’re energy efficient

Although visually similar to an electric unit, gas hot water systems are definitely the way to go if energy efficiency is on your mind. The tide of government legislation is, therefore, turning away from electric and towards gas or solar, even though Queensland has been slow to adopt the latest provisions of the Building Code of Australia.

Gas VS Electric Water Heater: Which one gets our vote?

So, the verdict is in – in the gas vs electric hot water race, which is the winner? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Our final piece of advice is to grab a piece of paper and a pen and answer these questions:

  • What energy sources are available at your house?
  • How many people live at your house?
  • Summarise your day-to-day lifestyle
  • How much space do you have for hot water systems?

With your answers, give the friendly experts at Gold Coast Plumbing Company a call on 1300 390 361 and we’ll be delighted to give you advice! We do dozens upon dozens of gas or electric installations and replacements every year in houses near you, so we’re looking forward to your call.