Handy Hints

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Changing A Tap Washer

Posted by on November 14, 2013

Tools and materials
The tools and materials you need to change a washer are available from your local hardware or plumbing store. You will need: an adjustable spanner to fit the tap nut valve, an O-ring Silicon lubricant or Vaseline Needle nose pliers

1. Turn off the mains: this will stop all water flowing into your house or office. The tap & water meter for homes will be out on the street or in your front yard next to the street. If you live in a flat or apartment the mains tap will probably be inside, for example in the bathroom or a cupboard. Turn on a tap in or around the house to make sure that the water has stopped running. (If the water has not stopped running, it will be wise to call a professional plumber). If the mains tap has not been used for many years, you may need a pair of pliers to help turn it off. Ensure you know where the mains tap is to be able to turn the water off in an emergency. If you are not sure where it is, even if you don’t need to change a washer, find out now!

2. Undo the head nut: once the mains has been turned off, undo the head nut on the leaking tap.

3. Replace the washers: you could just replace the tap washer, but it is a good idea to replace all three washer. These are: The large washer around the top of the nut, which is called the body washer (usually orange or green in colour). It should lift off easily. The O-ring on the spindle. To change the O-ring, you need to fully close the tap until the O-ring appears. Then, with a pair of pliers cut it off. The new O-ring should easily stretch and roll on to the spindle.
Lastly, replace the tap washer. It may simply slide out of the spindle or stay sitting in the centre of the tap, in which case you will need a pair of small pliers to remove the washer.

4. Reassemble: first ensure the spindle and the threaded areas are lubricated with a silicon lubricant or Vaseline.

5. Turn the mains back on: once the tap is reassembled, open it three quarter way and then turn on the water mains. When turning the tap off after the washer has been replaced, use gentle hsnd pressure. Over-tightening will cause a lot of damage to the tap seat. A tap should only be tightened until the water flow has stopped, no further. Note: If the tap is still leaking after you have replaced the washer, it means the seat is “pitted” and you will need a professional plumber to regrind the seat for you.

Further information
Most of inside taps use12mm (1/2″) washers; while outside taps (garden taps) take 3/4″ (18mm). Washers cost around $2.50 to $3.00 each. The most popular washer (used by most plumbers) is a heavy-duty washer suitable for taps, with a copper base and a yellow top (Delaware valve) – approximately $3.50 each. This same type of washer is good for outside garden taps – 18mm costs approximately $3.00 each.
If your taps are very old, take the worn-out washer to the hardware or your local supply store so that you get the right washer for your tap.

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Water Damage

Posted by on November 11, 2013

Water damage can vary from a small amount of wood warping or expanding cabinets to more serious damage like buckling of floorboards and damaged internal structures.

Large drips of water can cause slow damage in a specific spot. It is essential that you locate the leak early enough so the damage can be limited to the smallest amount.  A Manly plumber will be able to assist you locating the leak. Unfortunately small leaks usually only happen while water is being used and stop when its tuned off. Taps usually only leak when water is running through them. This makes the leaks can very hard to detect at an earlier stage.  You might notice a water spot but it will eventually dry out. You might even open and close a laundry or kitchen cupboard door many times before noticing any damp or wet water patches.

Water leaks that occur from drainage pipes supplying your home with water have water flowing into them constantly so the leaking will be constant at all times.  This is great as it makes it easier for a Melbourne plumber to locate the leak.  Importantly, with any leaking pipes the sooner they are repaired the less damage they are likely to cause, therefore saving you money.

Below are a few prevention tips to avoid water leak damage to your home or office:

Check the water supply lines and pipes to major appliances for wetness, expanding hoses or other signs of wear and tear. For example, your tumble dryer or your washing machine.

Unclog the drain if pipes are draining slowly and check pipes under the sink for signs of water leaks. You might need a Melbourne plumber to help you unblock the drain.

To reduce leaks and avoid costly repairs, replace your hot water system every 8 – 15 years. A Manly plumber will be required to help you install a new hot water system.

Have your home’s air conditioning system serviced regualrly to avoid leaks and major costly repairs. This will save you money in the long run.

Regularly check for wet patches on walls or in gardens after dry weather months.

Place food dye in the toilet system to check for leaks in the toilet. This works well to locate leaks.

Make sure all your appliances are turned off such as taps, toilets are not dripping; washing machine or dishwashers and other appliances are not running constantly.  After you have turned everything off, check if your water meter is ticking over.  If the water meter continues to tick over, it means there is a leak somewhere in your house.

If you suspect a water leak in your home, it is highly recommended that you call a Manly plumber immediately.

Get in touch with a professional plumbing business such as Melbourne 24 Hour PlumbingMr Plumber Sydney, Geelong 24 Hour Plumbing or Manly Emergency Plumber

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Posted by on November 10, 2013

Backflow occurs when water flows in the opposite direction to what it is expected to flow. The water is intended to flow in one direction and for a  some other reason it flows in the in correct direction.

A drop in water pressure normally causes backflow. Some of the causes for this can be water pipe bursts, pipes freeze or unexpectedly great demand on water systems. This ultimately creates backward pressure in the water supply system.  When a backflow occurs, reduced pressure may allow water from the ground, storage or other sources to enter the system.  One of the biggest concerns is that this allows drinking that we drink to be contaminated via a cross-connection.

A proper device will ensure water flows safely by automatically trapping water that begins to flow in the incorrect direction.  This prevents water from a property being drawn back into the main drinking water supply and causing cross-connection.

The risk ratings of a home or office will determine what type of backflow device will need to be installed.  Homes and buildings are classed as low, medium or very high risk.  A professional plumber can confirm the risk rating of your property.

A proper backflow assembly unit will have test cocks and shut off valves.  Backflow devices must be thoroughly tested when they are installed, relocated or repaired. Devices must also be tested  regularly to ensure they are in proper working order.

Victoria Water States the following about backflow:

Each backflow prevention containment device must be tested on a regular basis.  This is a condition of connection to the water supply.  It means that the device is maintained and continues to operate correctly.  The test will ensure the drinking water supply is protected from backflow.

If a device is defective or faulty, it may:

  • not prevent a contaminated source entering the drinking the water supply
  • cause water to be wasted through leaking devices
  • impact on the water pressure supplying your property

An accredited licensed plumber will need to test all of your devices.  After testing your devices your licensed plumber will submit his report within 2 days on the Victoria water website stating if the device is installed correctly and if it has passed or failed the test.  The plumber will give you a copy of the Prevention Device Inspection and Maintenance Report.  If a valve fails the test and is not repaired or replaced Victoria water can disconnect you from the main water supply.





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When to use an emergency Plumber

Posted by on November 8, 2013

Unfortunately, the stress and panic of a plumbing emergency leads many homeowners to make quick, decisions about whom they call to fix their problem resulting in less than favourable outcomes. While you may get lucky just hiring the first person in the phone yellow pages or the first result that appears on an Internet search engine, you could also end up entrusting your plumbing to someone who will cause more bad destruction than good or leave you with additional hassles and pain resulting in more expenses to your wallet .Even though you need your plumbing emergency handled quickly, it is important to still be choosy and fussy about your plumber. By following these tips, you can ensure that the plumber you select is a professional and that you will receive the best service possible to the home owner.

Who answers takes the  phone call? If you call an emergency plumber and receive an answering machine, be sceptical. A true professional emergency plumbing service should greet you with a real person no matter what time of day it is. Having a live person answer shows that the company cares about service and that they want to help you as promptly and professionally as possible. Additionally, while some plumbers may check their answering machine messages frequently, you always run the risk of your call not being returned until the next business day.

Does the company have the proper insurance?

Although you would like to think that every emergency plumber who advertises their services online and in print is reputable, some unscrupulous individuals take advantage of twenty four plumbing services. Knowing that home owners are likely to make fast and uneducated decisions to receive timely service, companies that are unlicensed and uninsured often advertise overnight, weekend and holiday services. Make sure you ask the plumbing service if they are a licensed plumbing company and fully insured before you let them come to your home or office. Without a license, there’s no guarantee that the company has the correct skills to handle your problem. With no insurance, you could find yourself footing the bill if the plumber’s work inadvertently damages your home or business.

How fast will the plumber arrive? An emergency service that will not visit your home until the following day is not really offering twenty four seven service; they simply answer their phone all day, every day. Look for a company that will handle your needs as soon as possible, no matter when you phone them for service.

Are timely follow-up services available? Some twenty four seven plumbing business is limited service providers who perform only emergency repairs. Look for a company that can return to the scene if necessary in the future to complete full repairs. Often, there is an underlying cause for a plumbing issue that may need additional work to remedy. For example, a toilet may have a sudden clog in the pipes that needs removed but also have a weak flush due to the tree roots in the blocked pipes that will need to be removed.

A Friendly Reminder: just because you’re facing an emergency, you shouldn’t be any less careful about whom you choose to make your plumbing repairs in your home or office. The extra minutes that you spend in a crisis situtation choosing the right plumber can save you hours of hassle down the road and a lot of money.


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Which Hot Water System To Choose?

Posted by on November 3, 2013
  • Natural gas – can be used in storage water heaters and continuous flow heaters.  Natural gas systems are rated according to their energy efficiency and come in both internal and external versions.  Gas storage heaters have a smaller capacity than off-peak electric as they are able to heat the water up at any time of the day or night as opposed to within a certain time period. For more information see gas hot water systems.
  • Off peak electriic – has similar running costs to a natural gas system but is only available where the hot water system has a storage capacity 170 liters plus.  The hot water is generally heated overnight for use throughout the day.  It cannot be used by continuous flow systems and is available for both internal and external use sytems.
  • Solar energy – can provide up to seventy percent of your hot water free of charge, making it a very environmentally friendly option.  They are the cheapest systems to operate but do have a high initial purchase price.  All solar hot water systems come with a “booster” source of power (such as gas or electric) to provide hot water during times when there is little sun.  Mains pressure and constant pressure is available. For more information please see solar hot water systems.
  • Peak electricity – is used for electric continuous flow units and storage water heaters that are smaller than 170 liters in capacity.  They can be expensive to run but are the most popular in areas where space is limited such as in units and apartments. For more information please see electric hot water systems.

  • LPG – is used in areas where natural gas is not available.  It is suitable for both continuous flow and storage hot water.
  • Solid fuels – this includes wood, coal, briquettes etc, so the cost of the fuels can vary widely.  Solid fuels can be used on their own  with off peak electricity or solar in constant pressure systems.  They cannot be used with mains pressure systems unless a heat exchanger is used and cannot be used in continuous flow systems.
  • Heat pumps – is high efficiency and uses around sixty percent less electricity than other electric hot water systems.  They work by extracting heat from the atmosphere using a refrigerant gas and a compressor and using that heat water stored in a tank at ground level.

Hiring a Hot Water Systems Specialist

Hot water system suppliers can assist with:

  • Advising on a suitable hot water system
  • Installation
  • Service and repairs
  • Supply of the hot water unit
  • Minor plumbing

Make Sure that they are able to help you to choose the correct system for the number of people in your household.  They should also allow for possible changes in the use of the hot water system in the future brought about by such things as an expanding family, the introduction of new appliances such as dishwashers and so forth. An expert plumber can install or replace al types of hot water systems, including electric, gas and or solar.

Ensure that the system comes with a warranty, and that the supplier is willing to provide installation in a reasonable time.  It is also useful if your supplier can provide emergency repairs or be able to direct you to someone that does.


The best method to find out about a hot water system is to get in touch with a professional plumbing business such as Melbourne 24 Hour PlumbingMr Plumber SydneyManly Emergency Plumber or Geelong 24 Hour Plumbing

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Which is the most economical hot water system to operate?

Posted by on October 29, 2013

Type of Systems

There are two types of hot water systems; systems that store hot water for use and instantaneous water heaters that heat water as it is required. In the past, there has been debate as to which is the most cost effective with one argument against using fuel to heat and store water that it may not be needed and the other argument stating that using fuel during off-peak times was better value. With the increase in fuel options and the decrease of savings for off-peak usage the old arguments have been turned upside down and consumers now have a tough choice to make.

Store or Heat

Hot water systems that heat and store hot water can be great for families who have a consistent amount of hot water that they use on each given day. As this option stores hot water by the litre, they can run out of hot water. If you are looking to install a hot water storage system make sure you know how much hot water your home uses before choosing your new system.

Types of fuel available for hot water systems

  • Electricity – traditional and in many homes, most electrical systems heat water overnight to take advantage of off-peak cheaper rates. They come in various sizes by the litre.
  • Gas – gas hot water systems are made in instantaneous or storage systems. These are common in areas that have access to natural gas as running them off bottled LPG can be very expensive.
  • Solar – becoming more and more popular with the increase in fuel costs. Solar is certainly cheap to run because the sun is free. Many run in conjunction with other systems to ensure hot water is readily available.
  • Slow combustion wood – these systems heat hot water using a wood fire that you may use to keep your house warm. By using this method, you are receiving double use of one resource.
  • Geothermal and Oil – these systems are used widely overseas but aren’t common in here in Australia. In colder climates these options also provide heating for the home.

Solar versus Traditional

There are many excellent advantages to solar hot water, both environmental and economic. The government has spent millions of dollars on encouraging Australian homes to install solar hot water systems, partially to take some of the load off our power usage but also because it makes good environmental sense. Many people believe that if they install solar hot water they won’t have hot water if the sun is not shining, this doesn’t need to be the case. Many solar hot water systems are installed alongside a back-up system, such as instantaneous gas hot water heating, to pick up any shortage that they may be. If your solar panel is on your roof facing a northerly aspect then you should benefit from at least some free hot water every day all year round. Many households use simple solar heating systems to heat their swimming pools as well for cost reasons. You will often see black tubing on the roofs of houses, these are usually holding water that is being heated naturally by then sun before being put in swimming pools.

Although solar power may be the cheapest option to run day to day it is also one of the more expensive systems to purchase in comparison. If you are looking to stay in your house for more than five years you may find that a solar system will return the investment that you put into it.

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