Categories Blog

Seasonal safety: Hidden hazards around the home

COVID-19 has forced our winter hibernation to start earlier, with heating and home improvements on the mind of many Canberrans.

But, with the increase in electricity and gas use over the colder months, come the hazards associated with it. ACT Fire & Rescue attend an average of 250 house fires each year, with heaters a common cause. Home renovations also come with their own set of hidden dangers, especially if an unlicensed person tackles a job that’s out of their reach.

DIY dangers

Now may be the perfect time to spruce up the garden or give the living room a fresh coat of paint, but there are some jobs you shouldn’t attempt yourself. For safety, any electrical, plumbing or gas work needs to be done by a professional.

“A lot of products aren’t guaranteed unless they are installed by a licensed tradesman,” says Stephen Kennedy from Kennedy Plumbing and Gas in Kambah. “DIY is fine, but a licensed trade should be used for anything structural, and never touch electrical, gas or plumbing.”

Before attempting any excavation work, check for pipes or underground cables by contacting Dial Before You Dig on 1100.

“Any sort of demolition work and stripping out, as long as it’s not structural, people can do themselves. But obviously wear correct safety gear. You do have to have knowledge in what you’re doing as well,” says Kennedy.

Any electrical, plumbing or gas work needs to be done by a licensed professional. Photo: iStock

If you suspect a gas leak inside, call a licensed gas fitter. Any gas leaks outside the home need to be reported urgently to Evoenergy on 13 19 09.

“If it’s safe to do so, turn off the gas supply first,” says Evoenergy safety manager Brendan Commons.

Heating issues

After such a long hot summer, it’s likely the plug-in heater has accumulated dust while sitting in storage, which can be a fire hazard when turned on.

“Also, plugging in too many heaters overloads the circuit,” says Rocky Bombardiere from Vero Electrical Services in Canberra. “The little fan heaters draw a lot of electricity. People say their power keeps tripping and they have one of those in every bedroom.”

Gas heaters not only accumulate dust, but the flue can also become home to spiders and even bird nests.

“We recommend servicing your gas heater once a year so it’s performing up to the standard it’s meant to be. We clean and check the filters and make sure nothing is burning inside the unit. We also test for carbon monoxide build up,” says Kennedy.

Outdoor safety

Most older Canberra neighbourhoods have overhead low-voltage powerlines and poles in the backyard, including Kaleen, Giralang and Evatt in Belconnen and Lyneham, O’Connor and Ainslie in the inner north.

Beware of overhead powerlines in the backyard. Photo: iStock

“I know of one home extension where one of the workers on the ground was passing up a steel roof batten and hit the powerline. Luckily, he just got a nasty shock,” says Commons.

“Before you plan to build anything, from an extension, to a pergola, check what infrastructure is on and around your block by calling 1100.”

If you have a solar system on your roof, regular cleaning and maintenance of the panels will keep them working in top form. To ensure the safety of people working on or near the network, your system, including the PV inverter, needs to be tested every five years.

In the garden, keep trees a minimum of 1.5 metres from powerlines, with 2.5 metres being ideal. An accredited tree surgeon can cut them back safely if needed.

“If vegetation grows into the powerlines, it can cause power outages or fires, and trees can fall on powerlines increasing the risk of electrocution,” says Commons.

This article has been created in partnership with Evoenergy.

Categories Blog

Converting a kitchen breech to a mixer tap

Do you have a leaking breech and spout in your home? The team here at Kennedy plumbing and Gas can replace any accessible breeches with mixers for your kitchen, bathroom or laundry, with a style to suit your home decor.

There are many reasons as to why your breech and spout may be leaking and if left too long, this issue can become costly. Leaving a tap leaking over a short period of time can cause major damage to the internals of your walls as well as under your floor. Our plumbing experts will work as fast and
efficiently as possible, to resolve any leaking issues, whilst trying to ensure minimum cost.

Mixer taps are the most common tap that you will come across in the majority of Australian homes, particularly in kitchens. The mixer tap is a tap where both the hot and cold water exit out of the same spout, providing the required water temperature to perfectly suit your needs. They are popular for many reasons, with the main being their ease of use and low maintenance. Mixer taps come in a range of different brands and designs, allowing our plumbers to accommodate any style kitchen we may come across. Whether you have an older federation home, country home or modern home, the team will work with you to select a mixer that will not only suit your needs and budget but also suit the style of your home.

Last week, a customer contacted the team with a leaking breech and spout in the kitchen of their Kambah home. They were seeking a licensed Canberra plumber’s advice on options for repair. Not only were they looking for the most practical way forward, but also an option that would reduce the
amount of maintenance required in the future. Our plumber arranged a convenient time to access the property and inspected the leaking breech and spout in order to determine options with the customer.

After inspecting the job, we advised our customer that we could replace the breech and spout with a kitchen mixer tap. Our plumber provided a range of different mixer tap options which would suit the home décor, along with the customers budget. Our customer selected a Caroma mixer, a popular brand which is available at the majority of plumbing stores. We removed the leaking breech and spout and installed the new stainless steel mixer.

A mixer tap was a fantastic option for our customer in terms of reducing maintenance. Mixer taps do not require continual replacement of washers like a breech and spout, which is why they have become so popular. Mixer cartridges are quick and simple to replace and the majority of mixer taps
will offer a 5-year warranty, which is great peace of mind for our customers who choose this option of tapware.

We understand that determining the right type of tapware for your home can often be difficult, which is why our team of friendly, skilled professionals are here to help. If you have a leaky tap and are located in Canberra or surrounding areas, please do not hesitate to call us today on 0422751560.

Categories Blog

Blocked Drain Canberra Kaleen

Blocked Drain Canberra - Kennedy Plumbing and Gas

Kennedy Plumbing & Gas recently attended a customer’s residence in Kaleen, Canberra, who contacted the team and reported they had a blocked drain. Our team specialises in clearing blocked drains in Canberra, and with the use of our high-pressure water Jetter, our Plumber jetted and eeled the properties drain in order to successfully clear the blockage.

As Kaleen is one of the more established suburbs of Canberra, our plumber suspected that the issue could be tree roots which were blocking the drain. We used our Rigid camera system and monitor along with our Ridged locator, which enters the pipe and transmits a frequency. We discovered tree roots which had entered into the older Earthenware Pipe through the rubber joint. This joint works to seal on the collar where the pipes join together.

The Kaleen residence is situated on a large block which unfortunately experiences poor drainage access. In order to resolve this issue for our customer, our plumbing team brought in an excavator to dig up the problem area. We put an I.O (Inspection Opening) which is raised to the surface for easy access allowing for easier drain cleaning in the future.

Most of our plumber callouts here in Canberra and surrounding areas are to clear a blocked drain. More often than not, most blocked drains in Canberra are a result of tree root obstruction, resulting in a very unpleasant smell or overflow of waste or water at your premises.

If you or someone you know is having issues with a blocked drain, please contact the team here at Kennedy Plumbing and Gas where we have the knowledge, tools and experience to assist with all plumbing problems.