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Emergency hot water system repairs in Canberra

During winter, the team at Kennedy Plumbing & Gas gets many callouts in relation to faulty hot water systems. Many of the problems are caused by thermal expansion and contraction – a consequence of Canberra’s chilly winters. In this blog post, we answer common questions about hot water problems and repairs in Canberra.

Why do hot water systems often break down in winter?

Canberra’s sub-zero winter mornings cause many pipes and tank liners to freeze, expand and split. Splitting also occurs when pipes and tank liners revert back to their original shape (once the day warms up). Not surprisingly, older pipes and tank liners (that have lost their strength) are more likely to split; in other words, the cold weather exacerbates existing weaknesses.

What are the signs of a faulty hot water system?

There are a number of signs that indicate your hot water system might need professional attention:-

  • Your water tank or piping leaks (probable signs of a split or rust).
  • There’s rust-coloured water around the base of your water tank.
  • There’s a distinct lack of water pressure when you turn on a hot water tap.
  • Cold water flows from your hot water taps.
  • Your hot water doesn’t last very long (or runs out very quickly).
  • The pilot light on your gas hot water system has stopped working.
  • Your hot water is discoloured (typically rust-coloured).
  • There’s a strong smell of gas coming from your gas hot water system.
  • Your water tank makes strange noises.

What should I do if my water tank starts to leak serious amounts of water?

You should turn off your water mains tap straight away, then call a Canberra plumber. The water mains tap is usually located at the front of your property (next to the water meter).

Why do so many outdoor hot water tanks rust at the base?

Many older outdoor hot water tanks are situated directly on concrete slabs – meaning that rainwater gets under them and sits there. Nowadays, hot water tanks are generally placed on a “pizza tray” to provide a 5mm drainage / air gap between the tank and concrete slab. A “pizza tray” is simply an elevated plastic tray with holes in it.

Does Kennedy Plumbing & Gas fix both gas and electric hot water systems?

Yes. We conduct both gas and electric hot water system repairs in Canberra. Our experienced plumbers repair the following system types: continuous flow gas hot water systems; gas storage hot water systems; electric storage hot water systems, and heat pump hot water systems.

As an experienced hot water plumber in Canberra, Kennedy Plumbing & Gas is certified to repair tempering valves (keeps maximum water temperature to 50°C) and replace DUO valves / pressure limiting valves. These are plumbing components that tend to fail over time.

If your hot water system requires an electrician, Kennedy Plumbing & Gas can take care of this too. We work with a number of quality electricians in Canberra and Queanbeyan. Common electrical problems include a faulty power supply, heating element, thermostat or electronic ignition (on gas systems).

For further information on hot water systems, or to organise emergency hot water system repairs in Canberra, please call Kennedy Plumbing & Gas on 0422 751 560.

Categories Blog

Blocked sewer lines and ties explained – Canberra

The team at Kennedy Plumbing & Gas spends a lot of time unblocking toilets, sewer drains and sewer lines / ties in Canberra. Not surprisingly, we get asked a lot of questions about how sewerage systems work and why problems occur. In this blog post, we explain the ins and outs of blocked sewer lines and ties in Canberra.

What is a sewer line?

A sewer line is the main underground pipe that carries sewage from your home to the edge of your property. All household fixtures that produce wastewater – such as toilets, sinks, hand basins, showers and laundry tubs – are connected to the sewer line. External overflow drains are also a feature of many sewer lines.

What is a sewer tie?

A sewer tie is the sewerage infrastructure (piping) that runs from the edge of a private property to the street sewerage connection. In other words, the sewer tie runs across public land (typically a nature strip). In Canberra, responsibility for repairing or unblocking a sewer tie lies with Icon Water.*

* Pending approval, Kennedy Plumbing & Gas is authorised to work on behalf of Icon Water to repair or unblock sewer ties.

What are the signs of a blocked sewer line or tie?

There are a number of signs that indicate your sewerage system could be blocked:-

  • Water banks up in your toilet bowl and drains slowly (after flushing).
  • The water in your toilet bubbles or makes a gurgling sound when hand basins and showers are used.
  • The water level in your toilet rises after using the washing machine.
  • Sewage starts coming up through some of your internal drains (typically bath or shower).
  • A sewage smell emanates from one or more of your other plumbing fixtures: baths, showers, sinks, hand basins and laundry tubs.
  • Pipes make loud or odd noises following the disposal of sewage or wastewater.
  • The Overflow Relief Gully (ORG) starts to overflow with sewage (an ORG is an external overflow drain that’s found close to your home).

A blocked sewer line / tie requires a plumber specialising in blocked drains (preferably with local  Canberra experience) to diagnose and pinpoint the problem. As a local plumber specialising in blocked drains, the team at Kennedy Plumbing & Gas can help you fix a blocked sewer line / tie in Canberra.

What are the causes of a blocked sewer line or tie?

The most common causes of a blocked sewer line / tie are listed below.

  • Physical deterioration of pipes (very common in older homes and suburbs).
  • Tree root damage to pipes (common in homes with established gardens).
  • Stray debris (mud, leaves, grass, dead rodents, etc) has entered the sewerage system.
  • The toilet has been used as a rubbish bin (only sewage and toilet paper should be flushed).
  • Accumulated cooking grease (you shouldn’t pour cooking grease or oils down the kitchen sink).

It’s fair to say that most residential and commercial properties in Canberra will experience a blocked sewer line / tie at some stage.

Who’s responsible for a blocked sewer line or tie?

A blocked sewer line on private land is the sole responsibility of the property owner in Canberra. On the other hand, a blocked or damaged tie is the responsibility of Icon Water. An experienced plumber is required to pinpoint the exact location of any blockage.

As a leading blocked drain specialist in Canberra, Kennedy Plumbing & Gas uses sophisticated pipe cameras and sonar equipment (sonde) to pinpoint blockages. If we discover that a blockage involves the tie, we’ll liaise with Icon Water to organise a solution.

How do I arrange for sewer line or tie repairs?

In the first instance, you’ll need to engage with a licensed plumber who understands how to diagnose and fix blocked drains in Canberra. It also helps if the plumber understands Icon Water’s processes in relation to sewer tie repairs. A good Canberra plumber will explain any large costs to you before commencing work.

What equipment is required to repair a blocked sewer line or tie?

To cover all scenarios, a plumber specialising in blocked drains in Canberra requires a pipe camera, sonde, electric eel, pipe bending / cutting tools, trench shields and a mini excavator. As a leading local plumber, Kennedy Plumbing & Gas is fully equipped to fix any blocked drain or sewer line / tie problem in Canberra.

For assistance with a blocked sewer line / tie or drain in Canberra, please call Kennedy Plumbing & Gas on 0422 751 560.

Categories Blog

Blocked stormwater drains, pipes and ties explained – Canberra

Blocked stormwater drains, pipes and ties are fairly common in Canberra. However, many property owners only call for help when flooding occurs or gutters overflow. In this blog post, we provide the rundown on blocked stormwater drains, pipes and ties in Canberra (and discuss how to recognise potential problems).

What is a stormwater system?

A stormwater system is an interconnected series of pipes, drains and gutters that’s designed to remove excess rainwater from your property. A good stormwater system captures the rain runoff from your roof, driveway, paths and paved areas.

What is a stormwater tie?

A stormwater tie is the connection that runs from the edge of your property to the stormwater main in the street. A stormwater tie runs across public land (usually a nature strip), and is the sole responsibility of Roads ACT – a local government body. If there’s a problem with the stormwater tie, you don’t have to pay to fix it.*

* Pending approval, Kennedy Plumbing & Gas is authorised to work on behalf of Roads ACT to repair or unblock stormwater ties.

What are the signs of a blocked stormwater drain, pipe or tie?

There are a number of signs that indicate your stormwater system requires unblocking:-

  • Water flows over your roof guttering during a rain event.
  • The immediate area surrounding your home floods after heavy rainfall.
  • An unpleasant smell emanates from your roof guttering (stagnant water often smells like rotten eggs).
  • The slot drains or stormwater pits on your property overflow.
  • Your internal ceilings have water damage (this could also indicate a roof problem).

Blocked stormwater drains, pipes and ties require a Canberra plumber that specialises in drainage issues. Kennedy Plumbing & Gas is highly experienced when it comes to blocked drainage systems in Canberra.

What are the causes of a blocked stormwater drain, pipe or tie?

The common causes of a blocked stormwater drain, pipe or tie are as follows:-

  • Roof gutters and downpipes are cluttered with debris (usually leaves and silt) – urgent clearing is required.
  • Slot drains and stormwater pits around your home (or in your garden) become clogged with grass, leaves, silt, bark and mulch.
  • Physical deterioration of stormwater pipes (common in older homes and suburbs).
  • Tree root damage to stormwater pipes (common in homes with mature gardens).

If you don’t clear your gutters and drains regularly, there’s a good chance your stormwater system will eventually become blocked.

Who’s responsible for a blocked stormwater drain, pipe or tie in Canberra?

All stormwater issues on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. Blocked or damaged stormwater ties are the responsibility of Roads ACT.

How do I arrange for stormwater drain, pipe or tie repairs?

You need to contact a local stormwater plumber who understands how to fix blocked stormwater drains, pipes and ties in Canberra. Ideally, the plumber you select should have experience dealing with Roads ACT, especially if your problem involves a stormwater tie.

What equipment is required to repair a blocked stormwater drain, pipe or tie?

A Canberra plumber specialising in stormwater issues should at least possess a pipe camera, sonde and electric eel. More established plumbers in Canberra, such as Kennedy Plumbing & Gas, are likely to possess a mini excavator as well.

To organise a local stormwater plumber in Canberra, please call Kennedy Plumbing & Gas on 0422 751 560.

Categories Blog

24 hour plumbing services – Canberra

Have a plumbing emergency? Looking for a Canberra emergency plumber you can rely on? Kennedy Plumbing & Gas provides a wide range of 24 hour plumbing services in Canberra and Queanbeyan. We attend to all plumbing emergencies, including burst water pipes, blocked drains, gas leaks and faulty electric / gas hot water systems.

If your plumbing emergency involves public water infrastructure, Kennedy Plumbing & Gas is authorised to deal directly with Icon Water in Canberra. In cases involving public water infrastructure, Icon Water may reimburse us for certain “network” repairs. As an ethical Canberra emergency plumber, we don’t double-charge our clients for such work.

Burst water pipes

Burst water pipes are fairly common in Canberra, particularly during winter. Burst water pipes are typically caused by physical deterioration (rust, tree roots), blockages, freezing water or physical impact (excavation). Symptoms of a burst water pipe include flooding, water discolouration and/or loss of water pressure.

If you suspect or encounter a burst water pipe, you should turn off your water main immediately and call a Canberra emergency plumber. As a general rule, a burst or leaking pipe on private land (downstream side) is the responsibility of the property owner – rather than Icon Water. As experienced Canberra emergency plumbers, we’ll ensure that your burst or leaking pipe is fixed ASAP.

Blocked drains

Unfortunately, blocked sewer and stormwater drains are inevitable. Over time, drains accumulate debris, including soil, grease, food scraps, plant matter, litter and dead animals. Blocked sewer and stormwater drains become a plumbing emergency when they overflow – potentially causing water damage to property.

At Kennedy Plumbing & Gas, we operate a 24 hour plumbing service in Canberra and Queanbeyan. If your sewer or stormwater drain is overflowing, our Canberra emergency plumbers will solve the problem in no time. What’s more, we’ll liaise on your behalf with Icon Water if your blocked drain problem involves public water infrastructure.

Faulty hot water systems

A faulty hot water system is a major inconvenience, especially in the middle of winter. Symptoms of a faulty hot water system (besides no hot water) include water leakage, loss of water pressure and/or water discolouration. A faulty gas hot water system may also exhibit other symptoms, such as a broken pilot light, gas smell and/or hissing sound.

At Kennedy Plumbing & Gas, we’re qualified to work on both electric and gas hot water systems. Our Canberra emergency plumber will either fix your system on the spot or mitigate any potential risks until replacement parts are available. If your hot water system is beyond repair, we have the ability to supply and install a new gas hot water system.

*** Kennedy Plumbing & Gas has a portable 50-litre electric hot water system available for short-term hire (subject to availability and technical suitability) ***

Gas Leaks

If you smell or suspect a gas leak (you might hear hissing), it’s imperative to call a Canberra emergency plumber straight away. Kennedy Plumbing & Gas provides a 24 hour gas plumbing service in Canberra and Queanbeyan. If we can’t attend immediately, we’ll advise you on the best course of action.

In the event of a gas leak (real or suspected), you should turn off your gas at the meter (gas isolation valve) straight away. In addition, you should ensure all gas appliances are turned off, extinguish any naked flames (candles, cigarettes, etc) and ventilate your home (open windows). Upon arrival, our Canberra emergency plumber will work to locate the gas leak and secure the site.

For assistance with any plumbing emergency in Canberra or Queanbeyan, please call Kennedy Plumbing & Gas on 0422 751 560.

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.