All Topics / General Property / Plumbing Tips, Tricks and Stories
- Steve McKnightKeymaster@stevemcknightJoin Date: 2001Post Count: 1,763
Please use this post to contribute to the discussion as outlined in the September and October editions of Insider.
Posts about plumbing experiences, disasters and tips are most welcome.
Remember that success comes from doing things differently.
Steve McKnight | PropertyInvesting.com Pty Ltd | CEO
Success comes from doing things differentlyDazzlingMember@dazzlingJoin Date: 2005Post Count: 1,150
1. Get the plumber to go through and replace all of the washers in the prop. when they are called out. Our plumber charges $ 65 to arrive, and $ 3 per tap washer changeout – so get him to do the lot. One call out fee is worth 22 changeouts !!
2. If you are there and have some time available and are physically able, dig the trench for him (once you know where he wants it to go) so he can efficiently go about laying the lines and doing the actual plumbing. I don’t consider $ 60 / hr for a fully qualified plumber to be digging sand money well spent…hey I’m not that rich yet…plus it’s good exercise, gets you off your bum and out there sweating.
3. Get chummy with a plumber who does both normal plumbing and gas fitting, to keep consistency amongst your trusted tradesmen.
4. Pay their bill pronto. You never know when you are going to really need him. I reckon calling him at 3am to fix an emergency and save thousands of dollars worth of damage….as he sits up out of bed, your payment history will most likely cross his mind and determine whether he flops back down or gets out of bed.
5. Offer him a cup of tea when on the job site. They are all human and appreciate being treated nicely.
I’ve got one from the ol’ School of Mines student days up in Kalgoorlie when we were renting a house from a dodgy Indian Landlord. It involved a small sewerage breather pipe in both the bathroom and kitchen !!! It ain’t pleasant and probably not suitable for this forum, but suffice to say when you pull the plug on the bath and the septic system is full, somethings gotta give.
“No point having a cake if you can’t eat it.”diclemMember@diclemJoin Date: 2003Post Count: 537
It doesn’t hurt to treat your tradies as “human”.
It’s amazing the number of people who look down on their tradesmen.
Paying prompty, especially the same day, always scores points.
Contrary to popular opinion, plumbers do not like to dig. So offering to do it yourself will earn you brownie points.
One I’ll add is to tell the plumber everything you want done/looked at before he arrives.
“Be careful not to step on the flowers when you’re reaching for the stars”PursefattenerMember@pursefattenerJoin Date: 2004Post Count: 217
Near disaster Story
Had a case with a newly let property and the tenants got a couple of nasty electric shocks off the taps !!
It was a faulty earth as it turned out.
Keep an eye out for the earth peg and ajacent plumming.
ShawnSonjaMember@sonjaJoin Date: 2004Post Count: 338
Firstly Pursefattener in our local paper there was an article recently about a guy who was actually killed this way… coroner’s report is ongoing.
Secondly, a carpet layer recently commented that we were the first people ever to share our lunch with him – we just saw it as common decency, fancy eating in front of someone without offering for them to share the meal.
SonjaMisty1Member@misty1Join Date: 2004Post Count: 348
Here’s my contribution to plumbing stories:
1) Young plumber turns up.I question if he needs to be shown where the water mains are,he says “No need.Wont need to turn it off”. I thought this very odd,considering he was installing a new loo.But,stupidly figured he being the tradie,he would know best.Next I hear the horrible sound of gushing water, & swearing plumber….(& swearing me…).Only after much frantic fumbling in the bushes did plumber realise the house was so old,that there was NO MAINS TAP to turn off! Pipe ran straight into house.So,while my toilet & hallway flooded,plumber frantically dug up my front lawn to cut the pipe to seal it off…then installed a mains tap..for free.Needless to say i struck him off my list.Moral of the story? Insist on showing them mains before job.Make sure you check they are insured.Trust your instincts,dont just assume a tradie knows best/all.
2) Another house…bobcat digs up water line…
Lines are apparently fixed.Tradie goes home.Taps inside get turned on..nothing but spluttering & mud.Moral of the story? Plumber was angry at ME (go figure) for calling him to rectify problem.Begrudingly returned to clean filters & flush the lines.
Moral of the story? Make sure you check the job, in front of tradie BEFORE THEY LEAVE, whether they like it or not.
I would also recommend taking befor & after shots when work is to be done.It takes 10 seconds on a ph or digital camera, & could be the proof needed to save a lengthy dispute.
1) Lurke around when they are working (but dont get in ther way). You may learn how to do something that will save you having to call them another time.
2) Treat them accordingly.If they are nice, offer them cuppa,etc. But if they are rude….[angry2]
3) Limit your chit-chat. You will be suprised how many will charge you for time they just spent chatting![angry2]
4) Advice from plumbing storesman is offered freely, & will give you an idea of what you may need.This may help stop you being ripped off, or to be spoken to like you are a bimbo.[angry2]
As a final comment, I have now been waiting on a plumber to go & fix a problem he has willingly admitted is his fault (loose pipe) for aprox 4 months now.[angry2] After many,many calls & promises of “Tomorrow…sorry,i forgot…next Monday (Oh yeh, & pls be there to let me in…)etc I have given up on him.I bet if it was a job he would get paid well for he’s find the time!
Anyway,that’s my big bitch session.Hope it helps someone avoid the same.[biggrin]redwingParticipant@redwingJoin Date: 2003Post Count: 2,733
I agree with talking and treating the tradesmen on a friendly basis,they probably earn more than you anyway..
The more questions you ask the better informed you will be (just like the forum I guess)..you can pay for problems to be fixed but adding to your knowledge base is invaluable..
Sorry, no bad plumbing stories..
“Money is a currency, like electricity and it requires momentum to make it Effective”
Count The Currency With This Online Positive Cashflow CalculatorToolsParticipant@toolsJoin Date: 2003Post Count: 363
Misty,if you are in victoria,rin gthe PIC,and they will sort him out quick smart.
ToolsPursefattenerMember@pursefattenerJoin Date: 2004Post Count: 217
Here is another one that happened to me a few years back and with a happy ending.
Project was to build a nice picket fence out the front of my old PPOR in Warrnambool (now IP ) .
Had to have the site prepared and all that with a bobcat so called the dial before you dig folks and the guy turned up with his gadget and marked the ground with paint where the gas line would be.All very well.
That was fine. I could get on with my fence project and started putting the posts in ..oooops
nicked the gas pipe with my spade in the bottom of a post hole… There was gas coming out every where.( paint marks on ground 2 metres away..go figure ). Just as it happens there is a large flash motel next door and the day this happened it was race day, the grand annual steeplechase which is big time for the town. People everywhere and all dressed up ready to drink plonk and go and do their dough …
So what did I do? I went inside and made a cup of tea and got the phone book out. I was about to ring someone when my friendly bobcat man pulled up out the front on his way home for lunch to see how I was going. Obviously the pipe needed fixing and he knew the local TXU workers and they came around and put a joiner in and bobs your uncle.
I’d say gas would have been going out for over half an hour. Could smell it a block away. Not much wind at the time.
Didn’t cost us anything as the gas blokes could see for themselves the spray paint mark on the ground was way off. Motel people were not impressed!
So thats my story
ShawnbruhamParticipant@bruhamJoin Date: 2003Post Count: 189
You have to feel sorry for the plumber.They have one of the most dangerous trades of all household tradesmen.
The sparks(electrician)will wire up his work to the first copper pipe he sets his sights on.(He uses the plumbing as earthing).
If you poor plumber isn’t “awake”- zap!!!! He’s dead.
Just my thoughts.
bruham.jhopperMember@jhopperJoin Date: 2004Post Count: 278
Gotta agree Bruham, wouldn’t be a plumber for anything!!
Got a qote recently to connect my sewer to the mains. Asked if I could save some dosh by digging the trench for them. They said nah, won’t affect the price too much so just went ahead anyway.
They turned up on the morning as promised, I said seeya and headed for work. Got home that afternoon with the trench dug….8 feet deep and 50m long all in loose sand (tapered 45 degrees to stop it falling in!). Asked where the bobcat was and was told between gritted teeth that he did it all by hand. Glad I didn’t save some bucks and do it myself, some jobs are better being paid for!!safeashousesMember@safeashousesJoin Date: 2005Post Count: 41
Re the September newsletter, I looked at an old property yesterday. The land was very dry except for lovely green clover growing out the front!Luckily, the owner had left the “open house” (private sale) so I had the chance to talk to the tenant and find out the problems.(What an opportunity!)
Plumbing seemed to be a major issue. The tenant also pointed out the green grass (where the pipes ran!), the water in the toilet could be heard to be leaking,there was poor pressure in the taps and the tenant happily pointed out the water leak marks in the kitchen upper wall (the roof was badly leaking).This house also had the old galvanised pipes.(Its probably had no maintenance in 40 years!)
Another issue when looking at old weatherboard houses has been rotten weatherboards outside the kitchen or bathroom. For one house, the tenant confirmed that there had been a leak in the bathroom. This must have gone on for years, to rot the weatherboards.
1.See the Sept 05 newsletter!
2.Watch for rotting weatherboards and rotting window sills in bathroom/kitchen areas
3.Ask the tenant are there any water problems
4.Poor roofing will lead to leaks, as well as poor guttering leading to the water escaping, maybe hitting the exterior walls.
I have found in most cases so far the fact that there is old plunbing/electrical etc has usually indicated not that the old stuff has lasted, but that it has passed its due date but its needed replacement has been ignored.
TFRYANsales13994Member@sales13994Join Date: 2003Post Count: 1
I’m no plumber, but one thing I look out for when I’m looking for a property is the state of the grass (if there is any grass). If it has moss growing amongst the grass, this is usually a good indication that there is some kind of a drainage problem. Could be due to run off from the rest of the property, or from someone elses. Hopefully not a leak from underground. There are many possibilities some worse than others, but its something to be aware of.AdministratorKeymaster@piadminJoin Date: 2013Post Count: 3,225
Go down to your local and have a punt/drink/watch the footy and chat to the other locals there. Throw out the yellow pages as you’ll meet all the tradies you ever need, buy em a beer or a few and prices will drop again.
‘Stay Happy and you’ll be Perfectly Fine’ – JackdeniscMember@deniscJoin Date: 2004Post Count: 1
Another major risk from leaking plumbing &/or water pooling is that from Sydney north it creates ideal conditions for termite infestation. This can lead to repairs & control costs into the tens of thousands. I do not believe in turning the sub-floors of my house into toxic waste dumps. The permanant solution for termites is structural changes to create a dry, light & well ventilated environment which is unattractive to termites. Chemicals if required should be targetted baits, not area sprays & the new chemical Chloroflurazanon is dramatically safer than arsenic or organophosphates.
deniscmumMember@mumJoin Date: 2004Post Count: 104
I’ve seen the following in several properties recently.
Leaking pipes in bathroom walls may not show up on the bathroom side if the tiles have been applied properly or repaired recently. But can show up on the other side of the wall. Puffy rendering or plaster is where I saw it first. Like the early stages of salt damp on kitchen walls behind the shower is more common than I would like. Poor quality or old tiling is the usual reason but leaking pipes can also cause this.
Also, went to one open inspection a couple of months ago where leaking pipe behind the toilet cistern was so loud. Yet the agent had not noticed. Fairly easy to fix but this wasn’t the only reason I declined this property. I only remember the incident because of the attitude of the agent.
Does anyone else check for water hammer these days?Steve McKnightKeymaster@stevemcknightJoin Date: 2001Post Count: 1,763
A further tip…I read your newsletter with great interest, not only because I have an interest in real estate, but as a licenced Plumber for 46 years and also a licenced waterproofer, I thought I would advise you of a plumbing tip not mentioned in your reports 1&2.
Probably the most infuriating occurance for new home or unit buyers, is water hammer.
The cost sometimes is large to eradicate and when I do inspections for myself or for others,all it requires is sharp twist on and off quickly and it will announce itself.
Remember that success comes from doing things differently.
Steve McKnight | PropertyInvesting.com Pty Ltd | CEO
Success comes from doing things differentlydiclemMember@diclemJoin Date: 2003Post Count: 537
Yes water hammer is a problem. If you find it, first check if washing machine taps have been turned off.
This is a common cause. Turn the washing machine taps off, and try again.
This is why I have water hammer, but I am too lazy to remember to turn them off…one day I am going to flood the place.(Having a flick mixer tap doesn’t help matters either.
“Be careful not to step on the flowers when you’re reaching for the stars”fadridrockyMember@fadridrockyJoin Date: 2012Post Count: 2denisc wrote:LEAKING PLUMBING Another major risk from leaking plumbing &/or water pooling is that from Sydney north it creates ideal conditions for termite infestation. This can lead to repairs & control costs into the tens of thousands. I do not believe in turning the sub-floors of my house into toxic waste dumps. The permanant solution for termites is structural changes to create a dry, light & well ventilated environment which is bond cleaning gold coast unattractive to termites. Chemicals if required should be targetted baits, not area sprays & the new chemical Chloroflurazanon is dramatically safer than arsenic or organophosphates. denisc
Winters have been real cause of concern for me considering plumbing. I am suffering choking of water at numerous points and thinking of hiring plumbing services soonjmsrachelParticipant@jmsrachelJoin Date: 2012Post Count: 711fadridrocky wrote:denisc wrote:LEAKING PLUMBING Another major risk from leaking plumbing &/or water pooling is that from Sydney north it creates ideal conditions for termite infestation. This can lead to repairs & control costs into the tens of thousands. I do not believe in turning the sub-floors of my house into toxic waste dumps. The permanant solution for termites is structural changes to create a dry, light & well ventilated environment which is bond cleaning gold coast unattractive to termites. Chemicals if required should be targetted baits, not area sprays & the new chemical Chloroflurazanon is dramatically safer than arsenic or organophosphates. denisc
Winters have been real cause of concern for me considering plumbing. I am suffering choking of water at numerous points and thinking of hiring plumbing services soon
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