Categories Blog

5 Quick and easy plumbing checks to do before buying a house

Found the house you love? It looks great, meets your budget and is in the location you wanted. Fantastic!
Buying a home is a big investment.
Now is the time to do your checks before you close the deal.
The building inspector gave the tick of approval. The pest inspection passes with flying colours. Have you forgotten anything?

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What about the plumbing?

Unfortunately, the pre-purchase building inspection does not include examination of the drains and plumbing, only the sewer layout. It does include details as to the condition of the plumbing inside and outside the house.

Mr Drains have heard so many stories from customers that they didn’t check the condition of a houses’ plumbing before they purchased, only to find out months later, sometimes just a few weeks, that they have an issue with the plumbing. We hate having to tell them that they now have to spend money fixing problems and blockages that could so easily have been avoided.

Blocked drains and dodgy plumbing and pipes can be a huge expense, occurring at a time when you least expect it. Not to mention the damage it can cause to your new house, property and perhaps your neighbours’ property – not a good start for friendly neighbour relations.

There are some easy checks that you can do before purchasing a home. Here are the things you can look at before purchasing a home. It won’t take long if you follow our checklist and will give you peace of mind and could save you thousands of dollars in plumbing problems later –

1. Hot Water System

Most hot water systems last for approximately 10 years. Check the unit itself, which is usually installed outside the house. Note the model number of the hot water heater and the serial number. The age of the water heater is usually determined by the model of the heater.

You can email Mr Drains at service@mrdrains.com.au with this information and we can advise on its age.

Check for any damage to the hot water heater and if there is any corrosion. This may reduce its life.

Take note of the location of the hot water heater, especially internal hot water heaters. If the unit were to leak, will it cause water damage to your home?

If the hot water system is old, a new replacement hot water system can range in price from $1700 up to $3500, fully installed.

2. Water Hammer

Turn on the taps and check that there is not a hammer noise when the water flows through the pipes. A hammer noise is the pressure caused when water has to stop suddenly or change direction when a valve has to close quickly. This pressure can cause major problems, from noise and vibration to pipe collapse.

You will need to get a plumber to assess the cause of the water hammer. Your plumber will recommend solutions to remedy the noise and stop further damage to the pipes.

3. Water Leaks

Check around taps and under sinks for any sign of water damage or water lying on a surface. You may be able to follow the water to see where it is coming from. A leaking tap is easy and inexpensive to fix but if it has been left unchecked it could be causing bigger problems such as ruining the vanity or weakening the floor.

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A leaking toilet can do severe damage to the flooring and subfloor. Check for discolouration or warping around the base of the toilet and check if the floor around the toilet feels weak or moves when standing on it. Also try to wiggle the toilet bowl. If it moves it could mean that the seal is weakened, the flange is not secured or the toilet bowl is not secured to the flange.

4. Noises

Gurgling sounds as the water flows down the drains could mean that they are blocked. It could be blocked with kitchen scraps, oil, soap scum or hair or it could mean there are tree roots and/or cracks in the pipes. This is a more serious problem and can cause heartache and damage to your new house if it overflows.

5. Healthy trees and grass patches

Take a look through the garden noting the layout for the sewer pipes. Are there very healthy trees along this sewer line? This could mean the tree roots have penetrated the sewer pipes and are having a great feed from them.

Healthy grass patches could mean that there is an external overflow. Check for water sitting on the surface of the lawn or any unpleasant smells.

It is even more important to check for blocked drains when sewer pipes are located under the street or located in an area that is hard to access. This will add extra plumbing costs to have them cleared and fixed.

Download our new home plumbing checklist as a guide when completing a pre-purchase plumbing inspection.

We don’t want you to get any nasty surprises after you move into your new home. Mr Drains has over 28 years’ experience checking and clearing plumbing in Sydney homes. We can do plumbing inspections that include a CCTV inspection of the inside of your pipes. This can locate blockages, faults and uncovers any unseen problems that may cost you thousands of dollars to fix and damage to your new house. It is well worth the investment.

CALL NOW on 9986 1234 – Mr Drains is offering a pre-purchase CCTV inspections for only $99 – just mention this blog when booking!

Categories Blog

Awesome outdoor shower ideas and tips

Awesome outdoor shower ideas and tips

How does a simple little outdoor shower bring so much pleasure and look so great in any backyard?  It doesn’t have to be elaborate, in fact the simpler, the more rustic, the better in most instances.  And when you stand under it, letting the water fall on your body, after a sweaty session of lawn mowing, or to wash the salty residue from your sun kissed skin, it can be exhilarating.

An outdoor shower can be a great addition to any backyard to beat the summer heat.  Not only can they be used to rinse off the chlorine from your swimming pool, or the salt if you are lucky enough to live near the beaches, it’s a great place to clean up the kids from dirt and mud after a long play in the backyard or to wash the kids in summer – bath time doesn’t have to be a chore and there’s no clean up after!  Use it to clean the muddy best friend, your dog! Or cooling off after a workout session or mowing the lawn.

The best part about an outdoor shower is you don’t need much room in your backyard or down the side of your house to fit an outdoor shower. You can create a cosy niche or put it on the corner of your deck, they are practical and look great.

The best bit is your outdoor shower ideas don’t have to follow any strict rules.  Have some fun and use different materials to add style to a simple shower.  They can be as elaborate as you like or simply just a shower.  

Now what does it take to install your own outdoor shower?

Just add water –

The simplest and most cost-effective installation is to hook your hose to the outdoor shower.  Your showers will be cold and will limit the shower use to summer months only.


To keep installations costs down, install it close to water supply, usually an existing bathroom or the garden taps.  The further away the shower is the more the costs in labour to dig the trenches for the pipes and cost of the pipes.

Hot or cold water?  This would depend on your personal needs but hooking up to hot water, means you can use it year-round.  

Take note of the location of your hot water tank because if it will be some distance from the outdoor shower it will use a lot of water waiting for the hot water to come through.  Also ensure the hot water is tempered to 55 degrees as most outdoor showers do not have a tempering valve.


Drainage

If your outdoor shower will be located against the wall of the house or other building structure or the slope of the land heads towards these structures, it is best to install proper drainage by a plumber.  This will stop water affecting the house walls or foundations over time and will prevent mould and moss growing around your shower area.

Garden drainage – this is where the grey water seeps directly into the garden surrounding the outdoor shower.  You will need to have permeable ground for the water to drain away at a reasonable rate.  A pit can also be dug out and filled with gravel, pebbles or other permeable material so the water can slowly drain into the surrounding soil, instead of sitting on the surface.

Use the existing outdoor drains – connect the drain to the existing outdoor drainage system.

Connect to the wastewater system – this will require a licensed plumber to join the outdoor shower drain to the existing wastewater drainage system.  Although this is more expensive than the others, this solution prevents any water damage from the outdoor shower.

If you are unsure, Mr Drains can advise on the type of drainage which will be best suited to your outdoor shower.

Waterproofing
Waterproofing will be needed if your outdoor shower will be against the wall of your home or very close to something that could be damaged from the water.  If it is free standing or away from your house, there is no need for waterproofing.  

Durability
As with everything you install that is exposed to the elements, ensure it is durable to stand the weather and harsh climate.  Structural or marine grade steel are robust materials suitable for an outdoor shower.  Brass and copper can be used as well and will develop a beautiful patina over time.  Choose fittings that are designed for outdoor use to extend their life, and look for products that offer a warranty.

Rainware have a modern, stunning range or try Reece for the stylish Milli Inox collection.

Screening
You may not need to install an outdoor shower enclosure for a little discretion.  Check the view from your neighbours, as they may not like being able to see you showering.  Use plants, glass, wood panelling or sheets of corrugated iron for a little privacy.



Safety


Slips, falls and burns are the dangers from an outdoor shower.  Give some thought to the following –  


•    Choose non-slip flooring to prevent falls and slips.  
•    Install the outdoor shower away from powerlines and power points to prevent electrocution.  
•    During installation, ensure the plumber tempers the hot water to a maximum of 55 degrees as most outdoor showers do not have a tempering valve.
•    When using the outdoor shower, run the water for a few seconds before using as sometimes the sun can heat the water and cause scalding.

Add-ons for extra special fun

Do you want to add a bath tub for the ultimate in outdoor bathing!  Hours of entertainment for the kids (and cheaper than a pool!) or wash the pooch without the mess.
Will you need a shelf for soap and shampoo?  Use bio-degradable products to care for the environment.  How about a seat or bench to sit on or use for your clothes?

Have a think about how you are going to use the shower.  If it is after a session of surfing, you may want a spot to lean the surfboard on, somewhere to hang up a dripping wetsuit.

If it will be used for swimmers, hooks for towels and wet swimming costumes is a nice touch.

Here are some cool outdoor showers to get your creative juices flowing.  Or sometimes, the trusty old hose and tap will suffice!  

Call Mr Drains today on 9986 1234, if you have questions or concerns regarding the installation of your outdoor shower.