It may never be at the top of our minds, but the water that comes out of our taps is really, really important. It washes our clothes, dishes and bodies and waters the lawn. But most importantly of all, it quenches the thirst of our beloved families or helps to make our food. So when it’s not crystal clear, alarm bells start to sound. Is their brown water coming out of your taps? Is it milky coloured? Other strange water discolouration or suspect quality? It can be alarming, but don’t worry quite yet!
Here are 5 water quality problems you should watch for:
1. Brown water from taps
No one wants to get thirsty and find that the water coming out tap is brown.
Brown, muddy or otherwise discoloured tap water can stain your washing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to make you sick. Dirty tap water is often caused by manganese, a natural element that collects on the insides of your pipes. Sometimes, if you just run that tap for a good 10-15 minutes, this process of ‘flushing’ can fix the problem. That’s because the manganese is loosened up because of the pressure, but the biggest risk is really to the whites in your washing!
2. Milky tap water
Just like brown tap water is still safe for drinking, a milky colour in your glass is also probably no great cause for alarm.
Usually, you’re actually just seeing many tiny air bubbles that make their way into your glass after becoming trapped in your pipes. This can commonly happen after some plumbing work, or if a tap is suddenly discharged (but be careful at sudden discharge to stop water hammer – it can be a big problem!) and a release of carbon dioxide occurs. But remember, it’s just air – and air is harmless.
3. Blue tap water
Blue or bluey-green or otherwise coloured water can be even more alarming, especially if that hue is also cloudy in appearance – and the taste itself can be metallic and bitter.
The metallic taste is probably copper which has come from your corroding pipes. It’s a common occurrence if the pipes haven’t been used for a long while. Be aware that copper is not safe to consume, even for the preparation of food. However, the fix can be simple, with a 2-3 minute flush before using the taps quite often enough to clear the copper from the water.
4. Black bits in tap water
If your clean glass of water shows a lot of black, pepper-like specks floating around, it’s a sure sign that some of the gaskets, o-rings, and washers in your actual plumbing are starting to degrade.
Obviously, these bits of your plumbing are not designed to drink, so it’s the perfect time to call a local plumber!
5. Chemical or musty taste
If your water looks clear but it tastes seriously off, there are almost certainly chemicals in your water that you really don’t want to be there.
It could be that normal household chemicals have gotten into your water service lines via the backyard, causing the bad taste and sometimes even a smell as well. If the taste is particularly musty or earthy, it could even be blue-green algae, especially if it’s a warm time of the year. To be safe, don’t drink it as your taste buds are a great detector of unhealthy things to consume!
Luckily in Australia, the water quality is very good across the board, and even if it is a strange colour, it’s not likely to do your family any serious harm. Check out the useful information put out by the City of Gold Coast to see if the colour or smell or your water is cause for alarm.
So if your tap water is brown or otherwise strange, don’t panic. Ask your neighbours if they’re having the same issues, and if in doubt get in touch with the team at Gold Coast Plumbing Company! Cheers!
Water hammer is a hydraulic shock that typically occurs in old pipes after a valve is shut off suddenly. A series of loud bangs also occurs when there is an increase in water pressure in your water line.
So, if you live in an old house, you may think that it’s strange why there are banging noises inside your walls after you stop showering or using a washer. But it is not. It is normal for old pipes to get worn out at some point. And in this case, they absorb shock less from changes in the water pressure as you (or other appliances) rapidly open and shut off water supply flowing through the pipes.
For example, washers automatically control water flow from fully on to off within seconds. So, this sudden stoppage causes a hydraulic shock that makes your pipes bang against other fixtures. Over time this can lead to disastrous burst pipes and water leaks!
The video below explains in more detail the science behind the water hammer effect.
So know you know how water hammer works, it’s time for some water hammer solutions before it’s too late!
Check for loose mounting straps in your pipes
If you have been hearing water hammer for quite some time, it can damage the pipes enough to loosen from their straps or supports. It is recommended to do the following steps to know for sure:
Go to where your pipelines are installed (e.g. basement)
Find the valve that gives water supply to your toilet or other fixtures
Observe as you turn on and off the valve; and
Look for any atypical movements in the pipes
Secure the loosen pipes with a clamp and see if they still produce a hammering sound afterward
If the noises still persist, you might really have a major water hammer problem so read on.
Drain your water system to replenish air chambers
Water hammer in pipes can be kept to a minimum by installing a new air chamber or a water hammer arrestor.
An air chamber is made of copper pipe that is used for absorbing water pressure by compressing it within the chamber. The chamber loses air as water come and go so it becomes less shock absorbent over time, causing that unwanted hammering noise.
Locate the main valve of your water line and shut it off. Next, turn all faucets you could find around the house on. It’s also advisable to start with the highest water outlet in your house till you reach the lowest point.
Drain water from all open faucets and wait for 30 minutes. Make sure that water is also flushed from the toilet before turning the water supply on again to your house.
Observe for 10 minutes to see if the pressure is strong again to supply a steady stream of water throughout the pipeline. If successful, it should stop those banging noises.
Reduce water pressure
If the second tip doesn’t work at all, try to reduce water flow to your house by adjusting the water pressure regulator. This will lower water pressure and essentially help the pipes or air chambers absorb the shock wave to its capacity.
However, if you don’t have a regulator and a water pressure gauge, consider installing one so you can adjust water pressure whenever necessary at the right level. Make sure that your water pressure range doesn’t go beyond 30-55 psi to avoid further damage to your pipes.
Call a plumbing expert for assistance
If everything gets more technical than you expected, or if all else fails, contact a plumber near you immediately. Besides, other water hammer solutions like installing air chambers, arrestors, or even regulators can be a pain for a non-handyman.
Overall, whether you’re trying to resolve the issue on your own or hiring a plumber, regular maintenance is key to preventing water hammer from happening again.
Now, we hope we don’t have to convince you that showering every day is a good idea. But personal hygiene aside, taking a hot or cool shower is either a perfect way to get into the morning, or something relaxing and cleansing to cap off another hard day of toil. But here’s something you may not have given much thought to: outdoor showers. Is it really a thing?
We’ve certainly all used one at the beach from time to time, but many people are discovering the joys of winding down and washing off amid the sun, breeze and even the stars in their actual garden.
Outdoor showers are also practical, particularly if you love getting dirty in the garden or sweaty during exercise. And outdoor showers are even a great way to reduce your big water bill in the long term, as sometimes a quick and efficient splash outside after a swim is all you need.
But in all likelihood, it’s an idea that will either appeal to you and your family or not. If it does, the Gold Coast Plumbing Company can help! We don’t just fix your plumbing, we can also help you renovate your bathroom or take the bold step of exploring outdoor shower ideas.
So if an outdoor shower sounds like a tantalising idea, we’re posing the first two questions you will want to consider before taking the invigorating plunge:
1. Simple or fancy?
Before you start to research outdoor shower ideas, know what kind of outdoor shower you want.
If what you really want is something super-practical to wash the sand or chlorine off after a swim, you can stick to the basics and keep your budget low with minimal parts, plumbing and an entry-level outdoor shower head.
But many lovers of outdoor showers aren’t just into the practical side of things – they want their outdoor shower to be a luxury retreat or indulgence. Believe it or not, many outdoor shower users consider a ‘shower au naturale’ to be one of life’s little pleasures, and like a mini holiday each and every day. And in that case, when it comes to imagination and the budget, the sky is the only limit.
2. Hot or cold?
The outdoor shower memories you probably have are of an invigorating and uncomfortable 30 seconds under chilling cold water. But particularly there’s no reason you can’t pipe steaming hot water to your outdoor showers.
Talk to the plumbing experts about how to manage this hot water outdoor shower solution the most affordably and practically. This will probably mean either tapping into your existing hot water infrastructure, or installing a new hot water system and choosing between electric, gas or continuous flow options.
Another option is to extend the environmental theme of your new outdoor shower idea by ‘going green’ and considering either a heat pump or solar hot water system.
With these two fundamental questions answered, you’re just about ready to strip off and start brainstorming those exciting outdoor shower ideas. But you’ll also be answering even more practical questions like:
What sort of screening or wall do I want?
Will I use plants for aesthetics and to further ensure outdoor showering privacy?
Do I need to consider drainage and outdoor lighting?
Is a half inside/half outside shower a better idea?
So many people are being won over by the practicality and luxury of various outdoor shower ideas. If outdoor showers appeal to you, get in touch with your local plumber. We can help with your outdoor shower on the Gold Coast or next bathroom renovation project, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
After all those rainy days and chilly nights, just about every Australian looks forward to our awesome summer. Currently in the midst of spring, we’re already getting a delicious taste of some warmer weather – and it’s the perfect time to start planning for some lazy summer weekends at the beach or around the BBQ. But according to many plumbers, it’s also a peak time for plumbing emergencies.
Why’s that? While all the cold winter weather has put a strain on your hot water system, summer place’s different pressures on your plumbing infrastructure – and with a particularly hot summer ahead, higher temperatures and increased household use can cause serious plumbing problems.
Let’s dive into some summer plumbing tips to avoid those emergencies common in warmer weather!
1. Get the washing machine ready
With all those sweaty t-shirts and beach towels on the way, your washer will get a heck of a workout this summer. So spare it a thought and see if it needs a little summer loving.
Those hoses actually only last a few years, so check them for signs of wear. Are the clothes still wet after a spin? It’s a sure sign that your washing machine motor is on the way out. Is it leaking or the water not draining well? Is it noisy or knocking? Are clothes coming out looking like new, or are stains now troublesome to shift?
An honest answer to many of these questions could indicate it’s time to splash out or do some maintenance before you’re stuck with a major washing crisis in the middle of summer.
2. Give your drains a break
A great thing about summer is those get-togethers with family and friends. But summer parties are hectic, plenty of people are coming and going and lots of food and rubbish is being consumed and discarded. Often, the innocent victim is your drain.
The most serious Gold Coast blocked drains in summer are actually more related to your garden. Soaking up the suns rays large trees send out roots in search of water. The best place for them to find water in summer is your plumbing, which can quickly become completely locked by tree roots. Avoid planting large trees and shrubs near pipes, and remove any before they cause problems.
Any time of year you should be careful what you try to flush down it. Fats, oils, food scraps and even dairy and sauces do not belong down there, because over time it can build up and block the pipe. Unbelievably, our plumbers also find that egg shells, food packaging and paper towels are extremely common culprits discovered when unblocking Gold Coast drains, so follow this rule: if in doubt, don’t shove it down the drain!
3. Make some toilet rules
Summer means school is out! That’s great for the kiddies, but your toilet may not be prepared for the extra workload – and you’re almost certainly not prepared for those floods and smells! Aussie plumbers report that summer is high season for toilet-related callouts – not just because more people are using the small room, but often because kids in particular are misusing it.
Often, the problem is as simple as kids using too much paper per use and then not flushing it away – causing a clog later down the line. But plumbers also find toy cars and barbie dolls down there, so let the little ones know that the only solids they should wave goodbye to are ‘Number Twos’, before you discover your toilet won’t flush!
4. Organise an annual check
Finally, Spring is simply the perfect season to get a professional to make sure your plumbing maintenance throughout the year has been spot on. That’s because plumbing problems can not only be a nuisance, they can cost you thousands in damage and even pose a safety risk to you and your family.
Many families go away for summer holidays, and Murphy’s Law dictates that if a pipe is going to go bang in the most devastating way, it will be when no one is around to turn off the mains! So do yourself a favour and, once a year, organise a home plumbing inspection to check those pipes, taps, toilets and hot water systems to make sure they’re in tip-top shape for all that summer fun.
Had a summer plumbing nightmare? Got any other bright ideas that could prevent an awesome summer party being ruined by an emergency plumber call-out? We’d love to hear from you!
We’ve all been there before, so we all know that sinking feeling very well. You stand up, press the button and … oh dear. Toilet won’t flush. It never happens at a convenient moment, and it never seems to be an easy fix.
But although your face is red and your pants are around your ankles, just because the toilet won’t flush doesn’t mean the world is ending. In fact, it’s probably not a big deal at all.
It’s certainly not a big deal for our emergency plumbers – whether your toilet won’t flush at all or it’s just slow to empty or fill.
Want to have a go at fixing that unflushable toilet yourself? Go for it! Just make sure you have the Gold Coast Plumbing Company’s number close by if you need help from repairs to toilet cistern replacement!
1. The button
It could be that the toilet won’t flush because there’s something wrong with the flushing button itself. Your toilet flushes when you push a button, turn a lever or pull a chain – so does that mechanism feel normal? Is it all limp or stuck? Do you press it and there’s utter silence? It could be that the linkage mechanism is disconnected or broken.
2. The insides
If there’s something wrong with the actual toilet, and it’s not the button, then you’ll have to dig a little deeper. Most toilet insides can be easily accessed by taking off the cistern lid, revealing the simple mechanisms that handle the flushing process within. Is there something obviously damaged, worn or broken?
3. Is there water?
As well as those simple parts, what you should find inside that cistern is water – the water that should be getting delivered to your toilet bowl in the form of a flush. If there’s no water, your toilet won’t flush – which could indicate that the problem is with your water supply rather than your throne (check other taps), or the cistern inlet valve is blocked.
4. Don’t keep flushing
But what if the toilet IS flushing, but just not flushing properly? Perhaps you flush and the bowl fills up with water but doesn’t drain – the rule here is to stop flushing! The only thing worse than a toilet that won’t flush is an unflushed toilet that overflows all over the floor!
5. Clear a clog
If that’s what is happening, the problem is not that the toilet won’t flush, but that the toilet is clogged. Even so, it might not be a big deal. Hopefully, you’ve got some rubber gloves handy – so put them on and prepare to do some digging. It could be that you have a simple (ahem) ‘obstruction’ within wrist-reach. So don’t be shy and give it a go – you might even find that mobile phone that went missing last Tuesday!
6. Take the plunge
If it’s not an obvious obstruction that is causing the problem, it’s time to grab that plunger. The plunging method is pretty simple – make sure the business end is submerged and start vigorously pushing and pulling on that tight seal. If you’re lucky, the clog will unclog and the water will drain. With a little more luck, once you press that flusher button, the problem will be solved.
Toilet won’t flush? – just don’t panic!
If you’ve got to this point and your toilet still won’t flush, it’s still not time to panic. You could:
* Try a special toilet or drain cleaning enzyme or chemical product
* Cook up your own mix of baking soda and vinegar
* Buy or borrow a special plumbing ‘snake’ to get deeper into that drain
* Try a wet vacuum
* Give our article about unblocking a drain a quick read.
Still having no luck because that toilet won’t flush? It’s time to call in the cavalry. The guys at the Gold Coast Plumbing Company are seasoned experts when it comes to fixing that ‘toilet won’t flush’ emergency. No drain can’t be unblocked, no leak or drip can’t be stopped, and no toilet can’t be either fixed or replaced. Reach out to the Gold Coast Plumbing Company today.
As long as drains have existed, preventing blocked drains has frustrated those who maintain them.
Modern drains have come a long way, quite literally from their inception around 2800 years ago by the Roman empire. Designed to prevent the spread of disease by keeping waste water separate from fresh drinking water the Romans were the first to utilise a system of drainage to protect the health of it’s citizens.
Here on Australia’s Gold Coast, there are 3329 kilometres of sewer drains running under our feet worth an estimated $1.3 Billion and close to 250,000 sewer connections.
A large Australian home could have up-to half of a kilometre of waste pipes connecting fixtures like toilets, showers and sinks with various connections, junctions and bends in the system connecting your property to to the main council sewer drain.
It’s an interesting fact that every year 7 million mobile phones are dropped down the toilet and Americans use 433 million miles of toilet paper each year. We will in our lives spend an average of 3 years on the dunny and use of mobile phones has now overtaken reading as the most common activity while on the toilet.
When you consider the complexity of the waste pipe network in our homes it’s small wonder that there are little problems that need the attention of a plumber from time to time.
From this plumbers perspective, preventing blocked drains and sewer blockages occurring is as easy as following the 3 “P” rule.
Only flush…Pee – Poo – Paper.
Give Goldie the gold fish the burial he deserves, keep the lid down and door shut so that the kids can’t see how well Spiderman can swim.
Next time the constabulary pays an unexpected visit throw your stash over the neighbours fence so they can enjoy it instead of flushing it away.
Dispose of cooking oils in the garbage, do not flush sanitary products , false teeth, hand grenades, puppies, jaw bones, Rolex watches or gold.
These all fair dinkum objects that have been removed from sewers. The puppy was accidentally flushed by an overly exuberant boy while bathing and thankfully was retrieved without harm, pardon the pun.
The problems caused by flushing items like the previously mentioned objects pale in comparison to the cost and resources required to address the number 1 cause of preventable blockages in pipes. The dreaded “Flushable” wipes.
The wipes bond together with the grease and fat of the sewer system to create enormous “Fat Bergs”.
A fatberg as heavy as 11 double decker buses was discovered in a London sewer, that’s 130 tonnes!
The problem is not just in the council sewer system but in our Australian homes as well. The wipes get stuck on imperfections inside the pipes, tree roots or in dips and bends where grease and fat have accumulated. They then bond to more wipes as they are flushed and pretty soon the pipes becomes completely blocked.
So the solution to preventing blocked drains in the first place is simple if you stick to the 3 “P” rule and don’t flush “Flushable” wipes. If you do find problems with your drains, we have some DIY tips for unblocking drains or get in touch and we’ll take care of Gold Coast blocked drains for you!