Minimising call backs

No tradesperson likes a call-back. They make you question your work and your sanity. If you called me out to fix a leak on your toilet then I will usually give you a few options.

1. replace the faulty part.

2. replace the component that houses the faulty part.

3. replace the toilet.

The price for these services increases accordingly. The reason plumbers suggest options two or three over simply replacing the part is not because we want to make money. Money is great but we want customers that are happy with our work, call us for other jobs and refer us on. If we replace the faulty part then we are not able to guarantee the rest of the toilet. Its remaining parts are the same age as the one that was causing the leak and with time or a bit of movement they can lose their integrity too and then the leak “comes back”. Often we replace the problem bit and a few weeks later another part in the toilet fails. This doesn’t work for the customer or the plumber. The customer has to call someone to fix what looks like the same problem which can cost them more money and it can make us look incompetent.

It’s a hard call to make replace just one part and hope that you get a few more years out of the toilet or coughing up a bit more money for a completely new product that will last years. They both have pros and cons.  I always give customers these options and let them decide what’s best for them and their situation.

Digging deep

One of the more physical jobs for a plumber is laying down drainage. At times we can be in a hole that is deeper than we are tall shoveling dirt and rocks onto a pile that gets just as big.  Sometimes its made worse by tree roots, clay soil or rubble. At other times we dig through things that are not so desirable.

This is the kind of job that is made easier with help but yesterday I was on my own. I had spent a few hours digging and laying an absorption pit. With this friendly fellow watching intently.

As the day was finishing I began to back fill the trenches and my furry friend got up and started to help. He wasn't very useful but his enthusiasm made me laugh.

My enthusiastic helper

Rising Damp

Rising damp is a common problem in the inner west. Some buildings do not have a damp course to prevent moisture rising from the ground up through the walls. It does not help that many yards have only a few centimeters of good draining topsoil before you hit clay. The walls at the back of this house were wet to touch and beginning to develop a stubborn colony of mold despite regular cleaning. The ground had been built up against the wall of the house and the previous owners had laid thick pavers that were flush with the floor of the house.

When it rained the water had nowhere to go except into the wall of the house.

We lifted the pavers and started digging. The ground was wet and a mixture of clay and rocks.

This is what we found what we found when he started digging. The blue-grey markings on the clay are a sign of old clay pipes leaking. A we dug deeper pools of water settled in the holes. This was wet ground. We filled two 4 metre skip bins with sodden clay soil. Allowing the walls to breath and dry.

We ran new PVC pipes from the house, renewed the sewer pipes and the storm water pipes. By adding a drain to area adjacent to the house and so that all rainwater would be directed away from the house.

We then laid a deck for two reasons. To create a clean and aesthetic look and to allow free air movement around the base of the house.

This solution has fixed over ninety percent of the damp problem. Unfortunately there are lots of causes of damp walls and they need to be addressed separately.

If you have a problem with rising damp check out this document