My life as a Plumber in Adelaide this week has been very interesting and has kept me quite busy. I have been doing a few different things such as a Natural Gas Hot Water installation in Banksia Park, Bathroom renovation in Henley Beach, Plumbing Report in Hindmarsh, Emergency Plumbing call out in Adelaide and the rest of my time has been working with Waterless Urinals in the suburb of Unley.
I was first called to attend a commercial office building with a report of blocked urinals in the men’s toilet bock on the first floor; upon arriving to site I found that the urinals on this level (top floor) of the building were waterless urinals. Now before I go any further I would like to explain what a waterless urinal is. The conventional urinal always has some sort of water flushing device installed with it, whether it is a cistern or an auto flushing device. These are used to dilute the urine and avoid a build-up of urine in the drain causing blocked drains. The new eco-friendly style of urinals on the market now no longer require a cistern or auto flush device and rely on a special integral trap which catches the urine and dilutes it before discharging into the sewer drains. Now as long as these are flushed weekly and the chemical additive is maintained there are no problems with this type of urinal, but if they are not there can be huge problems and this is where my story continues.
I was informed that this was an on going issue with these urinals and that the next port of call was to investigate what is actually causing the problem. After removing one of the urinals from the wall I found that the drains had a bad build-up of urine scale and this was just at the start of the drain. In order to gain proper access to the rest of the drain I first had to try and clear the blockages in the sewer line so that I could then insert a sewer drain camera and have a full visual of what is actually going on inside the drain. I set up my hydro jet drain cleaner and started to clean the line with one of my smallest hoses, after approx. 30 minutes I managed to burrow a small hole in the line and started to get some water flowing, enough to now insert the sewer camera.
Once inside the sewer pipe line it become very obvious that this had indeed been an issue for a long time and the urine build up in this pipe had been growing for many years. Unfortunately the cleaning contractor in charge or maintaining the urinals wasn’t doing the correct maintenance and the waterless urinal wasn’t doing its correct job (diluting the urine).
So the next step was to start hydro jetting the entire sewer line, after 1 hour of jetting and checking progress with the CCTV camera it became apparent that progress was very slow. The more current build-up of urine had been cleared away from the 80mm drain pipe which now left a 40mm diameter hole in the sewer line, but the remaining build up stuck the pipe walls was going to take some serious work to remove 100%.
I started using my remote mini reel with the screw driver nozzle and hydro jetting the line with 4000psi of water at 26 litres a minute working this back and forth on the affected areas, this went on for another 2 hours and progress was gradually being achieved, the very bad sections of the line where gradually returning to the normal status which was great news. After a total of four hours hydro jetting the sewer line and checking in continually with the CCTV camera I had returned the pipe to its original status, the whole pipe line had been de scaled and it was 100% clean, just like its original installed status.
This was a great result and it was not invasive at all, it allowed for the problem to be fixed without having to replace the sewer lines which was first thought might have to be the case due to the severity of the blocked drain lines. If the sewer pipe lines did need replacing it would have been a huge project and the costs would have been well into the tens of thousands of dollars due to the locations of these pipes etc. Instead this job has cost only a small fraction of that amount and the total down time for this toilet block was only a couple of days.
The urinal has now been re installed and the toilet blocked cleaned. Now as long as the manufacturer’s instructions are followed closely (see the video below) there will never be a problem like this again which will be good news and provide the owner of the building with trouble free eco-friendly plumbing for many more years to come in the future.
In South Australia there are 3 main energy sources for the heating of Hot Water and they are: Gas (both natural gas and lpg), Electricity and Solar.
Going back a few years now the South Australian government made changes to the laws surrounding the installation of Hot Water systems in Adelaide. These changes were introduced to try and conserve energy consumption and help the environment by using a cleaner energy source for heating of hot water.
One of the main changes to the installation of new Hot Water Services was that if you (the plumber/gasfitter) were contacted about an electric hot water unit in a domestic house hold this was not allowed to be replaced with another electric hot water system the same as what is already installed at the house. There were exceptions to this rule such as: if the electric hot water service was installed at a commercial property or if the hot water system was installed in a unit or apartment, if these circumstances were present then you could replace the electric hot water service with another unit the same.
The options then available to the customer in a domestic situation where they could not have another electric hot water service re-installed were as follows: Install a heat pump hot water service which start from around $2,500 supply only or take advantage of another incentive that was on offer which was to have natural gas installed to property if it was available in the street. The option of natural gas was put in place to help with the banning of electric hot water replacements. After applying to have natural gas installed to your property the gas company would supply gas into the property boundary free of charge. Once this was done the gas plumber could then supply gas pipe lines to your new gas hot water service. There were rebates which were on offer for having these appliances installed to your house such as $500 rebate for new hot water services.
At the start of this year 2014 there were adjustments to the rules and a huge reversal of the laws surrounding the replacement of electric hot water services in domestic properties. Currently if a customer has a 250L electric hot water service installed they can have this replaced with like for like or something smaller, but nothing larger in capacity. The current rebates on installation of new gas hot water services are still available and also the supply of natural gas to house for free is still on offer. With these changes to the laws it has now made the cost of repairs to hot water services much more affordable for the public of Adelaide. Given that the pipe work in most cases doesn't need huge alteration and the cost of these hot water units is usually at least half of that of a heat pump unit it has made getting a new hot water system a much more affordable exercise.
Most manufacturers offer a 10 year warranty on the tank of the storage hot water service so it is not an expense that people have to deal with a lot but now that the laws have been revived again getting hot water has now been made much more affordable in Adelaide.
I hope you have a great week and stay cool as we start to experience some of that hot Adelaide weather again getting closer to summer, until next week happy plumbing, Aaron.
Technology throughout the plumbing industry of Adelaide is forever changing with new products and tools continually being introduced to the plumbing and gas fields.
These products and tools are designed to maximise efficiency and improve how we perform our day to day tasks as plumbers and gas fitters in Adelaide.
By improving efficiency inevitably allows me to pass this benefit onto my clients by saving them money on labour when performing there various plumbing tasks. No matter how small or large the project is with the new technology on today’s market there are plenty of ways to offer cost saving measures.
I personally operate some of the latest tools on the market to maximise my efficiency and allow me to have an advantage over my competitors who have not invested their money into the future of plumbing in Adelaide. Along with these various tools I always try to offer the latest products to my customers allowing them cost saving options also in various different ways.
A few of the most common items which I find myself using as a plumber and gasfitter in Adelaide are:
Hydro Jet Drain Cleaning Machinery: A lot of people think when they have a blocked drain the plumber will just come out and put his electric metal snake machine down there drain and the drain is cleared. Yes this may be the case, BUT this is not the way of the future. Plumbers like me who have invested in the future of clearing blocked drains in Adelaide have invested substantial funds into their business by purchasing a Hydro Jet Drain Cleaning Machine. These hydro jet drain cleaning machines inject 5000psi of high pressure water into the blocked drain with 31 litres coming through the various nozzles available depending on the type of blockage being attended to at the time. By using technology such as the hydro jet drain cleaning machine it allows me to offer my customers a 100% guaranteed drain cleaning service each and every time anywhere in Adelaide I attend a blocked drain pipe. There is nothing that stands in the way of this machine when it comes to blocked drains, blocked storm water drains, blocked grease lines or blocked shower drains the hydro jet drain clearing machine will get through any type of blocked pipe line.
Fernco Non Return Grate Valve: This is a relatively new product to the Adelaide Plumbing market. Previously before the chrome floor grate became popular in bathrooms everyone had a plastic diamond shaped floor grate in there shower, laundry or bathroom. If there was ever an issue with soap suds coming up through the floor they would exchange this for a floor grate which had a ping pong ball inside of it. When the soap suds would rise up the ping pong ball would also rise and eliminate excessive amounts of suds rising through the floor. But now that we have an increase of chrome floor grates on the market a new device has been introduced to us plumbers, the fernco non return floor grate valve. To see what this product looks like and how it works please take a moment to view my video I created whilst installing one of these for my customer in Adelaide.
Viega, B-press and Pro Press Copper Fittings: When you think copper pipes or brass fittings you think oxy and acetylene welding of these pipes. Yes this still exists, BUT there is an alternative to this, it’s called copper crimping, various different manufacturers have their own product with different names such as Viega, Pro Press or B-Press this is an amazing advance in the installation of copper pipes and repairing of burst/broken copper pipes. These products are available to suit both water and gas and range from really small sizes such as ¼” and go all the way up to 4” diameter. Yes these fittings are a lot more expensive than the traditional welded fittings but the installation times and applications these fittings can be used in far out way any cost difference. These fittings can be used whilst water is still flowing and the joint can be crimped in a matter of seconds, the chance of a leak is almost next to none (providing joint preparation is done to the manufacturer’s recommendations). This has been a great addition to the plumbing market; once again the initial out lay is quite a sum of money but in the long run the savings in customer satisfaction and minimal down time in emergency plumbing situations far out way this in my opinion.
What I have talked about this week in my blog about plumbing and gas in Adelaide is what I find to be the most beneficial plumbing tools and products to my business. As previously stated there are new items coming into light every day, but the items such as hydro jet drain cleaning and Viega propress technology are what I have invested my money in to date and have had huge success with this new line of technologies.
Gas main upgrades around Adelaide is a large project which has been happening now for a few years in various different suburbs at different times. I can remember when some of this work first started getting performed out at Para Hills going back nearly 4 years ago and I have now noticed there is a large amount of gas pipe work being replaced along South Terrace in the CBD of Adelaide.
The old steel pipes/galvanised pipes in the ground are very old and have started to deteriorate after being in the ground for a long period of time and inevitably started to leak and an increase on demand for natural gas, this has lead to the introduction of the Gas main upgrades. In most cases a new poly pipe (usually black with a yellow stripe) tiger pipe is inserted inside the old metal pipes and fed along to various different take off points to houses or commercial properties. The reason that this can be done is that the pressure now being applied to these gas mains can be as high as 350kpa allowing for a smaller diameter pipe to now perform the same duty as the larger diameter pipe at lower pressure.
There are various different trades involved with this type of work, but mainly the role which is mostly utilised is that of a Gas Plumber or Gasfitter. His or Her role is to make sure that the new gas pipes are sound (no leaks) and that all the pipes being installed are done so according to the South Australian Gas Code. As we all know Gas can very dangerous if not installed and operated correctly, that is why it is vitally important all the work involving the gas pipes themselves is performed only by a licensed gas plumber or gasfitter.
I myself have not personally been involved with the Natural Gas main upgrades around Adelaide, but have had many calls to attend gas leaks at the customers house once the new gas lines are installed given that I'm a fully licensed South Australian gasfitter.
This has happened due to the fact that once the gas has been shut off to a property in order to turn it back on the properties gas pipes must then tested for soundness (no leaks), if a leak is detected using a water manometer it is then my job to try and locate the leak for the customer in order for them to have gas again to there property. Some of the leaks are minor and under ground so no one has ever noticed it until now when a test for soundness has been performed. Depending on the situation it can be quite quick and easy to fix or sometimes be very hard.
Due to the large amount of pressure now being applied to these new Gas pipes a gas pressure regulator is now needed at each properties gas meter. Most houses around Adelaide use to receive approx 1.2kpa of pressure in there pipes. In some new installation situations the customer is now being given 2.75kpa. This can be a very good benefit to the customer, given that gas works on flow not so much pressure it is allowing for the gas plumber to now install a smaller diameter pipe and this means the overall cost of the installation can be quite lower, sometimes by as much as $400 depending on the size of the gas line going in.
With the current construction of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital at the end of West Terrace and North Terrace in the city a new large steel gas main has recently been installed to feed the Hospitals appliances and machinery. The new pipe line was bought in from Greenhill Road, Wayville and it has been installed along Goodwood Road towards the intersection of Anzac Highway and then all the way down West Terrace to finally connect up to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Natural Gas is a far better alternative for energy compared to that of electricity and it is great to see that the New Hospital will be utilising this.
As we now head into a long weekend here in Adelaide I hope you all have a safe time and remember if you need a Gas Plumber call me - Aaron from Mayfair Plumbing and Gasfitting 0429 361 819.
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Aaron Stewart owns and works in the business of Mayfair Plumbing & Gas Fitting from there offices now based in Adelaide, South Australia. Aaron and his team of licensed plumbers and design consultants are passionate about there work. In this blog they will bring you plumbing and gas tips gathered from around the globe over 20 plus years of experiences in the many different fields of plumbing. If you are looking for a plumbing firm who can do everything from design, construct, project management and scheduled on site maintenance contact the Mayfair Plumbing Group.