Do you have issues with your plumbing such as toilet or gas leaks? Would you like to know why you have a high water bill? We can help you!

Laser Plumbing & Electrical Lismore answers your most common plumbing questions in the FAQ below.


Leaks

Q: How do I know if my toilet cistern is leaking?

A continuously running toilet can waste up to 300 litres of water every 24 hours. A clever way of checking to see if your cistern is leaking is to put some food colouring in the cistern and see if it runs down the back of the toilet pan. If it does, you have a leaking toilet cistern.

If the leaking is severe, turn off the cistern via the cistern stop tap by turning it clockwise. This is a tap located usually below the cistern. Sometimes they can be found inside the cistern.

Q: What does it mean when water continually drips into the bowl?

This means the inlet valve, the outlet valve or both needs to be replaced or serviced.

Q: My shower is dripping, what should I do?

If your shower head is dripping but only for a short time after you've had a shower, it may just be the shower head emptying itself of any residual water. If however the dripping is constant over a period of several hours or days, you'll need to check the integrity of the taps and seals and have them replaced if faulty or worn. Our trained plumbers can service your taps so you don't have to worry about leakage, damage or water wastage.

Q: There is water leaking out of the pressure temperature relief valve on the side of my hot water system. What should I do?

Discharge water at the pressure temperature relief valve and check after an hour to see if it is still dripping. If the drip is constant, see if you can locate the make and model of the pressure temperature relief valve (usually found on the tag) and contact Laser Plumbing & Electrical Lismore.

Q: What happens when I have a leaking tap?

A leaking tap dripping every second will amount to up to approximately 84 litres of water wastage every 24 hours. If it is a hot water tap dripping you will also be paying for wasted energy in trying to maintain heat in the water. If the leak is left for too long then the tap valve seat will erode causing very costly repairs.


Smoke Detectors

Q: Why is my hard wired smoke detector beeping?

Hard-wired smoke detectors have a 9 volt battery for back up purposes when there is a power outage. When this battery is running low it causes the detector to beep, indicating required replacement.

Q: How long do smoke detectors last?

Smoke detectors have a life of 10 years and should then be replaced. This is because the sensing element becomes less sensitive and does not comply after that period. The smoke detector has a date on the back of it and the 10 years starts from that date. It is important to maintain and replace detectors when due because it is proven thay they save lives.


Blocked Drains and Burst Pipes

Q: What is water hammer and how can we avoid it?

Water hammer is caused by a sudden change in the velocity of liquid in your pipes. It's important to get this fixed as soon possible to avoid possible pipe damage or burst pipes.

Q: My drain is blocked. What should I do?

Simply clearing a drain does not imply that the cause of the blockage has been rectified. Blocked drains are generally caused by tree roots, faulty joints, broken pipes or objects that have entered the drain, such as children's toys.

Laser Plumbing & Electrical Lismore can determine the source of your blockage, then clear your drain quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. We have the latest drain cleaning and drain clearing equipment, as well as CCTV to get the job done fast.

Q: What do I do with a blocked floor drain?

A blocked drain in your home can be from a build up of hair, soap fillers, and other dirt and grime. Remove the grate and clean out anything that may be clinging to it. Pour a cup of disinfectant or drain cleaner down the drain and flush it out with a bucket of clean hot water. If the blockage remains, you may need a professional with a high pressure water jetter or an electric eel to clear the drain.

Q: How does the plumber know what is blocking the drain?

Our plumber will use various tools to analyse the issue, including CCTV cameras, water jetters and plumbing drain rods.


Electrical Protection

Q: I have a circuit breaker that keeps tripping or a fuse that keeps blowing. What should I do?

You should most definitely have the problem check by a qualified electrical contractor.  There are many and varied reasons why this may be occurring ranging from overloading of circuits to faulty cabling or equipment.  In all cases, it requires the expertise of a licensed electrical contractor with the correct equipment and experience in fault finding techniques.

Q: Is it expensive to have a surge arrestor fitted to my switchboard?

Not usually.  In most modern switchboards it is relatively easy to install one and also a very good investment. Surges can come from a variety of sources, either a grid related problem such as wind affecting the overhead lines, a transformer failing, a vehicle hitting a pole or lightning due to a local storm.

We have assisted a great number of these concerns in recent years, mostly due to lightning.  The mid-level style surge arrestor is a very good starting point, as it can save your valuable electronic devices from being destroyed.  The average house has more electronics than ever before. There are sensor lights, smoke detectors, circuit boards in ovens, washing machines, clothes dryer, microwaves and fridges. Then there are televisions and computers and all of their associated add-ons.  Without any protection, all of these items are at risk of random destruction from surges.


Meters and Isolating Taps

Q: Why do I need to know where my isolating/meter taps is?

Always know where your meter/isolating tap is to your house or unit in case of an emergency. If you are in a situation where your home is flooding the first thing to do is turn off the water at this tap.

In a unit, your isolating tap will generally look like a single tee head tap sticking out of the wall, however in a house the tap will be with the meter.

If you can find it but it won't stop the water you should have it replaced.

If in a unit block - ring your strata managers who will send a plumber to replace it.

If in a house - ring your local council.

Q: What if I can't find my meter/isolating tap?

If in a unit block - the taps are usually hidden in the kitchen sink cupboards or under the laundry sink and you may have two if you share a hot water heater. Sometimes they are hidden in duct work, so before you start taking the place apart, speak to a neighbour that has been in the block a while as yours will probably be in the same place as theirs.

If in a house - The tap may be overgrown or buried. If this is the case, line up your front hose cock and the fence in a straight line. The meter and tap will probably be just inside your front boundary fence lined up with the hose cock. If you still cannot find it, check where your neighbour's meter is and look in the same place in your property.

Failing all these search methods, call Laser Plumbing & Electrical Lismore to help locate your meter/isolating tap.

Q: What should I do if I can smell gas?

Turn off the gas meter.

The gas meter is usually located at the side of the building. The stop valve will either be a lever or a small handle. To turn off the gas, turn the lever or handle 90° from its original position. Call Laser Plumbing & Electrical Lismore, your licensed plumber immediately.


Water Bill

Q: Why have I got a high water bill?

A high water bill is generally a sign of a undetected water leak. These mostly come in the form of broken water pipes, running/leaking toilets or taps or burst water heaters.

Here's a way you can check for leaks using the water meter:

Before you go to bed, check your water meter (found just inside the front boundary of your property and you'll see a tap handle at one end and the meter at the other, the meter dial usually is covered by a small metal flap). Lift the flap and write down the meter reading. Ensure no one uses the water until morning, then check the meter again and compare numbers. If the morning figure is higher, you have a water leak that needs to be traced and fixed. Call Laser Plumbing & Electrical Lismore if this occurs.


Septic tanks

Q: How often should I inspect my septic tank system?

Septic systems should be inspected and pumped a minimum of once every three to four years. You may not be experiencing any problem now, but a full septic tank may allow unwanted solids to flow into the drain field, which is the part of the system that consists of a distribution box, with a series of connected pipes. Each pipe allows water to flow into a bed of stones, which drain into the ground. If paper and other solids flow into the drain field it becomes blocked and ineffective. A blocked drain field is costly to repair or replace. Make sure to get your tank inspected whenever you feel necessary to prevent this costly maintenance.


Hot Water Systems

Q: I don't have any hot water. Do I need a plumber or an electrician?

This is a good question. In most cases the problem is electrical. It is usually an element or thermostat problem and therefore electrical.

This still applies if water is running out of the small electrical cover, as it is often the element seal leaking. If the cyliner is old or leaking from the pressure relief valve or other fittings, it may need repair or replacement and this requires a plumber.

Q: Why do I need to install a tempering valve on a domestic hot water system?

Tempering valves must be installed so that your hot water complies with Australian Standards (AS 3500). This legislation requires hot water to be set at a temperature to minimise the risk of scalding.

Q: How does a tempering valve work?

Basically, a tempering value blends hot and cold water to ensure that the water is delivered at the correct temperature water for the application. There are a range of different tempering valves depending on the plumbing application and vary between domestic and commercial applications.

Q: Is installing tempering valves compulsory?

YES. In NSW you must install a tempering value if you are replacing a hot water system. In all new homes or renovations, it is compulsory to install a tempering valve to your hot water system.

Q: What are the different types of tempering valves?

Here are the different types of tempering valves:

  • Blue Cap Tempering Valve - Commonly used for electric water heaters.
  • Green Cap Tempering Valve - Best for gas hot water systems.
  • Orange Cap Tempering Valve - Solar hot water and heat pump hot water systems.
  • Black Cap Tempering Valve - For large capacity systems.

Q: Confused about tempering valves?

Laser Plumbing & Electrical Lismore can advise you on the latest plumbing laws and can ensure that your plumbing is installed to Australian Standards. If you are making changes to your hot water system and need advice, call the team at Laser Plumbing & Electrical Lismore.