What Kids Need To Know About Plumbing to Prevent an Unexpected Call Out

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Kids are curious creatures. The simplest of activities like throwing a rock or filling a bucket with sand is a natural part of their play and necessary for their growth and development.

They love to explore and create experiments, test boundaries and push all the buttons, eager to see what happens next.

So it’s vitally important we teach our kids about plumbing. There are buttons and pipes and grates and spouts around the home (and even in the extended community like parks) that need to be used with care. Your child may be curious to play with these or use them as part of their play. But it often ends in disaster resulting in an unexpected call out to a plumber, which wasn’t part of the family’s budget for the week.

Here are some things kids need to know about plumbing to prevent an unexpected call out. Most plumbing issues caused by kids can be preventable. These tips as are also important in keeping your child safe.

Teach kids about grates and open pipes outside

The external area around your home will have storm water grates, rain water tanks, downpipes, hose taps and overflow relief gullies.

Down pipes and rainwater tanks are not playground equipment to be climbed on. Any weight on downpipes can disconnect them from gutters.

Grated drains outside like storm water pits or over flow relief gullies (ORG) should not have their grates removed and filled with rocks or garden debris.

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Overflow relief gullies are a sewer trap which ensures any blockages on the main sewer line, don’t back up into your house. It’s important these stay clear so they can do as their name suggests, overflow. Any blockages in an ORG, can cause a backup of waste water to the fixtures in your home, like the sink and basins.

Salmon Plumbing has tools to retrieve rocks or foreign matter thrown down the ORG. Sometimes, the rocks can flush down the line requiring high-pressure drain cleaning equipment to blast the blockage away. Teach kids not to lift grates and throw anything down an open pipe. It will cause a blockage and you will need to call a plumber to remove it.

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In the local community, there are often creeks or waterways with open storm water pipes.  It’s important to teach kids not to swim or wade in these waters – especially in summer during heavy rainfall. Water can travel fast down these pipes, sucking any solid matter or objects with it. Teach kids to keep away from flooded drains at all times to prevent a fatal accident.

Teach kids what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet

Only the three P’s should be flushed down the toilet. Poo, pee and toilet paper. No toys, no wipes, no playdough, kinetic sand or slime. And only a few pieces of toilet paper at a time – not the whole roll!

Sometimes the toilet can be seen as an automatic rubbish bin, flushing away whatever you don’t want. But our sewer system network is not designed for these items. Any plastics or broken toys should be recycled, donated or put in the bin, not flushed down the toilet.

Teach kids to turn the tap off after every use

Overflowing taps can happen. Even adults can be notorious for multitasking and forgetting to turn a tap off, resulting in an unexpected flood. Teach kids to focus on the job at hand and turn the tap off after use. This can ensure no drips, which can be a drain on your water bill.

Tap spouts aren’t monkey bars

A tap spout is not a monkey bar. It’s self-explanatory, but anything that juts out from the wall can often be viewed as something to climb on or swing from to a child.

Keep fingers away from a draining bath

It’s not common, but it does happen when little fingers get caught down the bath drain. To prevent kids getting their fingers stuck, take them out of the bath BEFORE you pull the plug. Also, place little kids away from the plug end of the bath, to prevent the plug being pulled during wash time.

We love kids, and they truly make the world a better place, but their curiosity can cause unexpected plumbing problems.

If your child has been a bit over-eager with the plumbing in your home, and you need some items retrieved or fixed, give Salmon Plumbing a call.

Beware Of This Common Kitchen Sink Blockage Affecting Households Every Winter

Water flowing through the kitchen sink

When winter rolls around, bring on the hot chips and gravy. In fact bring on all the comfort foods like roasts, carbs and casseroles. Anything to keep the belly full and hands warm while embracing all the comforts winter draws us to. Unfortunately, these foods can also cause a common kitchen sink blockage that has plumbers called every winter to fix. Here is the most common kitchen sink blockage you want to avoid this winter.

Common kitchen sink blockage

Oils and fats rinsed down the kitchen sink drain will do more harm than good to your pipes.

In winter, when fats and oils sit in cold pipes, they congeal and form solid clumps, or as Queensland Urban Utilities likes to call them ‘Fatbergs’. These solid masses of fat will block your drains if they are not disposed of accordingly.

If the evening meal has resulted in leftover fats and oils, or gravy that no one has licked off the plate, there are a few ways to dispose of these to prevent blockage.

  1. Allow the fats to cool and solidify then scrape them into the bin.
  2. When rinsing roasting trays or plates with oil slicks or excess sauces and gravy, immediately turn the hot water tap on to ‘flush’ away the oils from the trap.
  3. For extra measure, boil the kettle and pour boiling hot water down the kitchen sink to ensure the breakdown of the fats and oils.
  4. A small squirt of dishwashing liquid down the drain and a full bowl of water drained down the sink will disperse the oils in the pipes, which will prevent blockage.

DIY tricks on fixing a kitchen sink blockage

There are a few DIY tricks that can break up a blocked kitchen sink.

  1. Sprinkle bi-carb soda and pour hot vinegar (microwave for 1 minute) down the drain.
  2. Use a household plunger to loosen the blockage
  3. Undo the sink trap and pour the water into the sink with the plugin. Ensure the trap is free of food blockages.
  4. Pour a household drain cleaner down the sink. These are readily available from your local hardware or grocery store. Do try the natural remedies before going down the chemical aisle.

If none of these remedies removes the blockage, it’s time to call your plumber. A drain cleaning machine or an electric eel may need to be used to blast away the blockage. Salmon Plumbing is experienced in types of blockages. Contact the team to get your kitchen sink unblocked today.

Top Home Tips for Unblocking Drains

Woman Using Plunger In Sink
Woman Using Plunger In Sink

One of the most common – and most unpleasant – home repairs everyone will endure at one time or another is a clogged drain. When left unattended, a clogged drain can cause nasty odours and even flood your home.

The good news is that in many instances you can unclog the drain yourself and at little to no expense. One of the first and easiest solutions is to use hot water.

1. The Boiling Water Method

This method works best for light or small blocks, and it should only be used on metal pipes (if you have PVC pipes, the hot water may melt or soften the joints in your pipes, resulting in unwanted leaks).

The best way to do this is to take a kettle of boiling water and pour it down the sink. Give it a moment or two and then run water from the tap to see if the clog has been removed.

2. The Vinegar and Bicarb Soda Method

Before buying a commercial drain cleaning product, try making your own with vinegar and bicarb soda.

Take half a cup of bicarb soda and dump it directly into the drain and as far down as you can. Then add half a cup of vinegar to the mix. This will result in a fizzing effect which will help eradicate any grease that may be blocking your drain.

3. The Plunging Method

For this solution, you’ll need a cup plunger and, depending on where the clog is, some duct tape.

If the clog is in the sink or bathtub, take a strip of duct tape and stick it over top of the overflow drain (this prevents the air or water from escaping and sends it instead towards the unwanted clog). Fill the sink with a bit of water and then use the cup plunger to apply steady pulses until you think the clog is removed or when you feel the pressure changing inside of the pipe.

When To Call a Plumber

There is a wide selection of chemical products on the market which are supposed to help unclog drains. But they may be unfriendly to the environment, and can be hazardous to use. They can even make your clogged drain issue even worse.

If none of the above methods helps you remove the clog, it’s a good idea to call the Salmon Plumbing team in Brisbane. Our team of fully qualified and insured plumbers have the equipment necessary to assess the issue and to take care of the clog for you as quickly as possible.

Contact us online or give us a call at (07) 3862 2600.

The Most Common Causes of Blocked Drains and Pipes

As a homeowner or tenant, there are few sights more terrifying than a sink or toilet beginning to back up as the water level inside it rises. But while water rising and overflowing into the room is the common result, the causes of the problem are more varied. Let’s look at some common causes of blocked pipes and some of the warning signs to look out for.

Warning Signs

By knowing the early warning signs that a drain or waste pipe is on its way to becoming blocked, you should be able to get on top of the problem early and call a plumber before it gets worse. As always, a little prevention is better than a lot of cure!

A sink that drains a lot slower than usual is usually a sign that something might be amiss further down the line. Similarly, gurgling noises that weren’t there before, or knocks and thuds after a lot of water is drained after washing dishes or when the dishwasher or washing machine is draining, are also early warnings to listen out for. An abnormally draining toilet where the water rises first (where it didn’t do this before) or any “washing back” of flushed material is also a warning sign.

Causes of Blocked Drains and Pipes

The two most common causes of blocked drains in Brisbane are tree roots and collapsed drains.

In many of the older areas of Brisbane a lot of the drain lines are old earthenware, or clay pipes. Some of these pipes can be up to 80 years old.

Foreign objects flushed down the toilet can also be the cause of blockages. While toilet paper is obviously dissolvable and fine to go down toilets, there is a far wider range of things being flushed than that.

The most common foreign object to cause blockages is the wet wipes, that are growing in popularity as an alternative or as a supplement to toilet paper in residential and office bathrooms.

blocked drains

Because of their high durability and materials used in them, wet wipes do not dissolve or disintegrate over time, even when wet. That means that when flushed, they clump together at bends and joints in the drain and slowly build up into a dam-like blockage. Other things like sanitary items can also cause problems if they are used and flushed in conjunction with wet-wipes.

In Queensland, an estimated 120 tonnes of wet wipes and debris are removed from sewage systems each year. In Sydney, local councils have been forced to spend over $8 million fixing blockages of this nature.

In the kitchen, food scraps and other solids mixed with grease and oil (which solidify at lower temperatures or when mixed with other substances) are a main culprits of blockages. Kitchen pipes are often much smaller in diameter than other pipes, which means that much smaller amounts of material are needed to cause problems.

Preventing Rather than Fixing A Blockage

If you have seen a slow draining sink or toilet, or have been hearing noises in the pipes, like gurgling or knocking, then you would be well served by calling a plumber to check things out and take a look before a minor cost becomes a major bill. Our friendly, experienced team of professionals at Salmon Plumbing in Brisbane are on hand to inspect your pipes to ensure that they have a clean bill of health!