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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
BBQ’s have stepped up a notch – from the portable BBQ wheeled into the back yard to full functioning mini kitchens complete with large BBQ, sink, lighting and refrigeration! Now that’s outdoor entertaining made easy (and fun!).
With the growth in popularity, outdoor kitchens are now available to suit most budgets and preferences. From the customised, fully integrated to outdoor kitchen packages complete with sink, BBQ and grills, from your local hardware store or BBQ specialist.
Looking for some outdoor kitchen ideas? There are a few things you need to consider before you start planning and building your outdoor kitchen. Follow these outdoor kitchen design tips and your guests will never leave!
When choosing the location of your outdoor kitchen, there are several aspects you need to consider before you set out to design and build.
Is the ground level? There is nothing worse than sitting on chairs on a sloping block. If you need to level the area, this will be an added cost that needs to be accounted for.
Easy access to utilities - Check out where you would like to install your outdoor BBQ and kitchen. This may have an impact on where the outdoor kitchen will be located. If you are unsure, Mr Drains can help locate your gas and water lines and advise on the placement of your outdoor kitchen to maximise space and minimise installation costs.
‘The rule of thumb is the closer to the house kitchen, the less expensive installation will be’. Luke Coulter, General Manager, Mr Drains.
Check out the direction of the sun at different times of the day. You don’t want your guests to be dining in the setting westerly sun. Also, take into consideration the view from your house of the outdoor kitchen, you still want to maintain the view of your backyard, pool or the views beyond.
Plan on a clear path or easy access to your indoor kitchen, as you will still need to grab extra supplies from it, doing the BBQ or party.
As with your indoor kitchen, safety is very important. Provide enough space around the cooking areas so people do not bump into each other with hot dishes or the appliances with open flames.
Ensure the flooring you use is non-slip, as water and other spilt materials could become a slip hazard.
Design your outdoor kitchen, so the BBQ, grills and ovens are located away from high traffic areas and children playing. These appliances can also create smoke, so ensure they are placed in a well-ventilated area.
3. Decide on the appliances you would like
Purchase good quality appliances that are designed specifically for outdoor use and the harsh elements of the weather. They will serve you well for many years and will be easy to operate and keep clean. Look out for stainless steel and ceramic appliances, they are very durable and are low maintenance under all weather conditions.
Gas BBQ’s, pizza ovens, grills and wok cookers are safer and more efficient when plumbed to the gas line. A licensed plumber can install this in line with building and safety codes for endless gas supply.
Will you need a sink? You can install a small sink for quick hand rinses and access to water or choose a larger sink for washing dishes. You will need to call a plumber to plumb the sink to the house’s water supply and connect to a drain.
For safety reasons, ensure you use an electrician and plumber for the installation of all appliances to meet safety and building code regulations.
4. Storage and bench space
Think about the kind of cooking and entertaining you will be doing in your outdoor kitchen. Bench space is needed for food preparation, serving food and cleaning up. Try to maximise the bench space within your design.
Who doesn’t need storage? Choose storage for items such as cooking utensils, cleaning items and supplies you don’t want to be traipsing into the house for.
What kind of seating would you like to use? You have many options to choose from; table and chairs, sofas or bar settings with high stools. This is likely to be dictated by your preferences and the kind of entertaining you like to do. If your space is large enough, you can combine different seating in zones.
Ensure the seating is comfortable so guests can relax. Chair pads will make dining chairs and stools more comfortable as will extra cushions to an outdoor sofa.
The most successful outdoor kitchens function well and are efficient but also have a wonderful atmosphere – whether your outdoor kitchen will be tucked into a cosy corner of your back yard, or the airy balcony with sweeping water views, or surrounded by established plants or a herb garden.
Choose soft lighting in strategic places around the outdoor kitchen for carefree entertaining. But don’t forget to put in task lighting over the cooking areas so you can see when the chops are done!
Let’s face it, the area should be comfortable for your guests. A night of entertaining involves comfy seating whether that is in the form of table and chairs, or some outdoor sofas and a rug.
What about heating and cooling? If you will be using the space in the cooler months, gas or electric heat strips fixed to the ceiling are a great idea to quickly heat the area and extend the seasons you can use the area. If space permits, a fireplace adds a cosy ambience or install a fire pit for a less expensive option.
Some covered outdoor areas become heat traps if ventilation is not adequate, try installing ceiling fans. There are some stylish ones on the market designed specifically for the outdoors.
• People will always gather where the food is, be generous with the space and provide lots of seating.
• It’s all about emerging nature, with the indoors for relaxing entertaining.
• With every product choice, you make for the outdoor kitchen, ensure it is designed for the harsh elements of the weather so they last long and look good for many years to come. Ensure all materials and products used are UV tolerant, waterproof or dry quickly and can be easily cleaned.
No space or budget for an outdoor kitchen?
If space or budget doesn’t quite permit an outdoor kitchen, just yet, how about opening up your indoor kitchen to the outdoors by adding French doors or sliding glass doors. Alternatively, add a benchtop to the outside kitchen window for an instant bistro bar.
For tighter budgets, try hooking up the trusty BBQ to the mains gas line. This is a great way to ensure endless BBQing throughout the summer without trips to the service station for new gas cylinders – that’s got to be just as good!
Outdoor kitchens will not only give you years of fun, laughs and delicious meals, doing it right can add value to your home. If you need help designing your outdoor kitchen, talk to the plumbers at Mr Drains on 9986 1234. We can help you place the appliances in the right spot for functionality and ease of use and access.
All it takes is a little foresight in fire preparation to protect your family and property. With climatic conditions conducive to bushfire this year, Sydneysiders, especially those that live along the bush fringes, cannot be complacent when it comes to bushfire threats.
Pay attention to your decks, windows, doors and roof – these are the areas that can contribute more to your overall bushfire risk than others.
Here are some handy tips to get your house bushfire ready -
- Fit metal fly screens not plastic fly screens on all windows and doors. Plastic will melt in the heat.
- Install fine steel wire mesh screens across vents and weepholes. This prevents embers from entering your house.
- Enclose open areas under your house and deck and seal any gaps in wall cladding. This also prevents embers from igniting your house.
Handy hint – with all LPG cylinders around your home, make sure that pressure relief valves face outwards so that the flame is not directed towards the house. Mr Drains can install new LPG cylinders and check the safety of your existing cylinders.
Roofs and Gutters
- Remove the build-up of leaves from gutters, roofs and downpipes – be careful and wear safety gear when on the roof. If you need help on the roof and cleaning, call Mr Drains.
- Fit quality metal leaf guards, if falling leaves are a constant problem.
- Seal all gaps on external roof (Mr Drains can do this too!).
Vegetation is the primary source of fuel in a bushfire. The amount, type (flammability) and arrangement of vegetation easily affects how a bushfire will spread throughout a garden.
- Mow your grass regularly, and discard of the clippings.
- Keep your yard tidy, removing all dead branches and piles of leave litter or bark, or anything that would be considered ground fuel or combustible material. These fine fuels can ignite and be carried as embers.
- Trim low lying branches from trees about two metres from the ground surrounding your home.
Handy hint - Plant trees and shrubs that are less likely to ignite due to their lower oil content. Avoid climbing plants and vines as these act as ladder fuels, allowing the fire to climb into the canopies of trees. Check out this handy pdf for more information on landscaping for bushfire.
- If you have a swimming pool, alert firefighters by placing a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your front fence. Contact your local fire station for further information.
- Consider purchasing a portable pump to use from your swimming pool or water tank. Mr Drains can install a water tank, if you don’t already have one.
- If there is a fire hydrant outside your home, make sure it can easily be located and accessed.
- Ensure your garden hoses are long enough to reach the perimeter boundary of your property.
What about your business?
If your business is located near or around bush, put in place a strategy to help cope with a natural disaster. A bushfire plan can minimise your losses, help maintain continuity and recover quickly.
Communicate your safety plan with your employees in the case of emergencies.
Check your business insurance product disclosure agreement to ensure you are covered in the event of bushfire.
Turn to technology to help with bush fire prep
Have no idea where to start? Download the Rural Fire Service bush fire survival plan – it will walk you through all the factors you need to consider and decide as a family, should a bush fire threaten your home. You can also download it as an app, so you have it with you at all times.
Fires Near Me
This is the official smart phone application of the NSW Rural Fire Service. This app provides information on current incidents across NSW attended by the RFS and other agencies. It also provides information on total fire bans.
If you need assistance with your roof, gutters or LGP gas cylinder prep, Mr Drains can help in making your house safer during the bushfire season. And don’t forget to call 000 in the event of a fire or emergency.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
In most cases, clearing blocked drains on a regular basis costs a lot of money and time, not to mention the stress knowing that your pipes may block again at any time. Once tree roots and cracks appear in a pipe, they will only worsen over time, as the roots grow exponentially and ground movement widen the cracks.
Each time your plumber clears your drains, your drains will remain root free and unblocked for just so long - until the roots grow back through the cracks and joins to become blocked again.
Trenchless or no dig pipe liner repair is the permanent, innovative, and affordable blocked drain solution. Basically, you are rehabilitating the drain pipe to like-new condition using a continuous epoxy resin and fabric liner that hardens inside the pipes. Cracks are closed and joins sealed so that roots cannot penetrate the pipe.
Have a look at this page, it shows exactly how relining works and seals cracks, and damaged pipes permanently.
In the past, the only permanent solution to blocked drains was full excavation of the entire sewer line. This is a daunting prospect, especially when permanent structures such as driveways and paving and expensive and established landscaping may have to be demolished in the process.
What are the benefits of trenchless pipe repairs?
The most significant benefit of relining is the ability to repair underground piping systems with minimal to no excavation required. The only digging required is a pit to access the pipes, so that the new reliner can be fed through it.
- Established gardens and landscaping will be retained.
- Avoids the costly expense of removing and reinstating hard surfaces such as driveways, tennis courts, paving areas, or when pipes are located under the house.
- Allows for water pipes to be renewed in busy areas, areas of historical, cultural and environmental significance.
- Stronger than PVC
Relining creates a new continuous liner inside the host pipe, no joins are created. This removes the existing joints that are prone to root ingress even in PVC piping. Setting of the reliner takes a couple of hours and once set the pipe becomes stronger and more durable than PVC. Have a look at this video that demonstrates the pipe liners strength and durability. ( link to video on website)
Salvages drain systems
It doesn’t matter how bad the condition of the pipes, even if the pipe has completely worn away, the liner will recreate a new pipe to salvage your drain system and pipes to new. The liner will repair all cracked, damaged or broken sections of the pipe even where the pipe is entirely missing.
Fits all size pipes
Fits all size pipes – it does not require special handling for different size pipes. It can also go around 45 and 90 degree bends and will follow the original pipe system.
Pipe lining is the environmentally friendly solution to blocked drains. By permanently fixing your pipes, you are stopping sewerage from entering the landscape and the water table that can contribute to water pollution and it prevents further water loss.
Save time and inconvenience
The old system of replacement and excavation of your pipes is not only messy and disruptive, it takes a long time. A plumber could be working on your property from numerous days to weeks in some cases. Relining can be completed in less time to replace your pipes. This means minimal disruptions for you and your household.
Long life expectancy
The reliner is a permanent solution, pipe relining increases the lifespan of your pipes. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Cost effective solution
Relining is less expensive than full excavation and replacement of drain systems when costs such as labour for the excavation, and the reinstatement of surfaces and gardens that had to be destroyed to access the pipes are considered.
Trenchless pipe repair and replacement is the innovative, new and affordable way Sydney homeowners are getting the efficient pipes they need while keeping their yards intact. There is no reason to have an entire yard dug up when relining can be done in a fraction of the time and cost.
Interested in relining? Talk to us!. We can complete a free CCTV inspection of your pipe, where you can ascertain their state and discuss if relining is a solution to your blocked drains – re-claim your drain system back from the tree roots!