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How to protect your property from water damage this Christmas

Experiencing water-damage at any time is stressful. But over the Christmas break - even more so. You might be closed for business or this could be a particularly busy time for trade or you might be away on holidays with family and friends.

But at the end of the day the last thing you need to be doing is arranging for emergency plumbing services for your home or business.

Leaks tend to spring up unexpectedly, but there are steps you can take to prevent water damage, and those unexpected call-outs this Christmas.

Have you checked for existing leaks?

What starts out small, could turn into a major incident when you’re not on site. Be sure to check:

  • Fittings and pipes for any water leaking or dripping
  • Wear and tear to flexi hoses which connect the water main to appliances, sinks and toilets (as these are a common cause of water damage)
  • Ceilings, walls and floors for the tell-tale signs of concealed leaks

According to a leading Australian Insurance company, 17% of all new claims from their customers are water-damage related.

Have your roof checked.

With our unpredictable summer storms brewing on the horizon, it’s vital to make sure roofs are in tip-top shape. After all, it’s what stands between a property and the elements. A professional roof inspection can pinpoint areas of concern and provide recommendations to ensure the roof is summer-ready.

Clean your gutters.

When the gutters are blocked, all it takes is one downpour to cause major flooding. While it’s good practice to have gutters cleaned before the start of any storm season, it’s particularly important to do so before the property is unattended.

Check for pooling water.

Are there any areas around the property’s exterior that seem to collect water? If you’ve noticed it takes a long time to drain away, this could be a sign of a blocked drain. A licensed plumber can inspect the pipework and make sure there aren’t any blockages which could cause overflow and flooding.

Turn off water valves.

If the property is still in use over the holidays, this may not be feasible. But if there is any period of time that it is closed for business or vacant, you could consider turning off individual water valves to appliances, sinks and toilets. This will help make it less likely that you’ll experience leaks or burst pipes.

Inspect chimneys for leaks.

It’s not just in the cooler weather that the condition of a chimney is important. If there are cracks or holes, this can result in water seepage through the brickwork.

All Toscano Plumbing team members are expertly trained and can assist you with all your plumbing and leak detection requirements. If you’d like your roof inspected, flexi hoses replaced or help with a suspected leak, all it takes is a quick phone call to 1300 867 226.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support in 2020 and look forward to working with you in the New Year.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

Best Wishes from the Toscano Plumbing Team.

How to keep a suspected slab leak from becoming a disaster

Sometimes the leaks we can’t see are more troubling than a clearly-visible burst pipe. A burst pipe is certainly a plumbing emergency, and very upsetting to see in your home or business. But the concealed nature of a slab leak and the damage it causes, makes it all the more insidious.

Are you seeing any of these signs of a concealed slab leak around your home or business?

  • Unexplained pooling water
  • Wet carpet
  • Wet spots on walls and skirting boards
  • Reduced water pressure from taps
  • The sound of running water with no visible signs of it

When there’s a concealed leak under concrete, it can:

  • Damage the structure of your home if not seen to quickly
  • Cause significant mould or mildew problems (both in terms of physical damage and health issues)
  • Warp floorboards, plasterboard and cabinets
  • Crack floor tiles, render and the slab itself
  • Cause lingering damp odours
  • Cause dangerous electrical issues
  • Increase your water bill

Slab leaks can be some of the most difficult to pinpoint when you engage a plumber who doesn’t have access to the latest plumbing technologies. Without using advanced leak detection technologies, you can expect:

  • Heavy site excavation
  • Significant disruption to your home
  • Removal of unnecessary floor tiles or floorboards
  • Increased costs just to locate the leak

But, it doesn’t have to be difficult to pinpoint your leak!

Follow these steps if you suspect you have a slab leak:

  1. Compare your recent water bills.
    If you’ve had a large increase in your bill, but no reason for your usage to increase, you probably have a leak.
  2. Check the water meter.
    First, turn off all appliances that use water, including the washing machine, dishwasher, taps and toilets. Take a reading from your water meter. Leave everything off for a couple of hours and take another meter reading. If there is a change in the reading, you can assume there is a leak.
  3. Engage a plumber equipped with the latest leak detection technologies to pinpoint your slab leak.

All Toscano Plumbing team members are expertly-trained in the use of advanced leak detection technologies including:

  • Acoustic leak detection
    A wireless system of headphones, a touch screen electronic monitor and advanced ground microphone, listen to and isolate the sound of water escaping the pipework.
  • CCTV, pipe and cable locator technology
    Drain inspection cameras are used to locate and inspect sewer pipes via a monitor at the surface.
  • Tracer gas technology
    When too much noise interferes with acoustic leak detection measures, we inject a safe gas into the pipeline to pinpoint the leak location.
  • Thermal imaging cameras
    An infrared device measures and detects changes in the surface temperature of the area under investigation to identify active leaks.

Using these precise technologies, you can expect:

  • Leaks to be pinpointed within one metre
  • No digging or excavation to locate the leak
  • Fast location of the leak, meaning repairs can be commenced quickly if you choose to proceed
  • To save money, as these technologies require fewer man hours than traditional methods

Why make life complicated when it can be simple like this?

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you with a suspected slab leak, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or email today.

How Does Acoustic Leak Detection Work?

There are several warning signs for plumbing leaks, ranging from sudden puddles in your backyard to a drop in your water pressure, or a build-up of water in your walls or ceilings, all with potentially disastrous consequences. One thing is for certain, it needs to be fixed fast, but how?

The process of leak detection can be lengthy, costly, and can even lead to plumbers tearing up your walls in search of the issue – but what if you could avoid all that? This is where the acoustic leak detection method comes in.

Home Leak Detection Methods

Before we get into that the technical aspects of acoustic leak detection, let us first review some simple ways you can detect leaks yourself. After all, if you can do so on your own, it can save you a call to your plumber, saving them time and your money.

As mentioned above, there are many signs of a plumbing leak, and while we will discuss the acoustic leak detection methods , there are still plenty of things for you to check first.

For one thing, you could take that same acoustic approach but in a more “low-tech” manner. While we breakdown on how acoustic leak detection machines work below, your ears have their own “acoustic” leak detection method in their own way. Knowing how and where to listen for plumbing leaks can drastically increase your chances of spotting them. For example, if you suddenly start hearing running water in places or at times you did not before.

One of the first signs of a plumbing problem can be damaged wallpaper and paint, specifically if they start to peel or suddenly appear contaminated with mould. Of course, there could be several different reasons why your wallpaper might become torn, and chipping and flaking is inevitable with the paint aging process. That said, if your wallpaper or paint are relatively new but are already displaying these flaws, or have only recently begun to do so, water damage causing the paint or sticky side of the wallpaper to lose their bonding with the wall may be the culprit.

Wall damage itself may be a clue that you have a plumbing problem. For example, if you have a plumbing leak, the water can start to eat away at the wall’s strength, causing cracks and discoloration. This can also breed mould, which can also eat away at your walls, leave a nasty odour and, left unchecked, can produce a toxic environment in your home. If you feel your wall’s plaster has become soft, especially at a spot where the plumbing pipes come into contact with or are adjacent to the wall, water damage is likely the main cause.

The same holds true for floors. Sudden puddles, discoloration, and grout build up can be a sign of leaks.

Mould and mildew are of particular concern. Both tend to flourish in dark, moist areas – all of which fit the bill for a plumbing leak. These black and brown odious spots are not only sure to leave your guests wrinkling their noses, but can severely damage your property value, not to mention the structural integrity of the walls and ceilings in which they take residence.

If you are able to detect a leak via any of these clues, or simply see or hear one, you will want to call a professional plumber straightaway to fix it as soon as possible, which is where acoustic leak detection comes in.

What Is it?

As the name would imply, this method focuses on detecting leaks by identifying waterflow through sound, but how does that work?

If you have ever heard the distinct gurgle of a plumbing problem in progress, you might have a guess. More often than not, when there is a plumbing problem, this may cause the “sound” of your plumbing to be different than normal.

While you may not be able to pick up on normal plumbing sounds, let alone aberrations in them, plumbing professionals and their acoustic leak detection equipment often can. This is what forms the core of the approach. It not only makes leak detection faster and more accurate, but it also avoids the problem of plumbers smashing into your walls to inspect pipes only to find the leak is elsewhere.

While traditional plumbing methods try to solve methods with a sledgehammer (literally), acoustic leak detection approaches and resolves the plumbing problem with surgical precision.

Toscano Plumbing can do this by using echo detection and imaging technology. Think of how bats find their way in the dark. They are blind, but they emit sounds which then bounce off objects and are picked up by their highly sensitive ears, allowing them to “see” where they are going via the acoustic information they receive.

That is part of how acoustic leak detection technology works as well. Audio components work in conjunction with imaging software to show plumbers where the leak is coming from.

Different Sounds

That is not the only way that this technology is able to pick up on where a leak may be coming from. There is also the fact that different water flows sound different. There are several factors that can impact how a water leak sounds, from how far it is from the wall to the water pressure to any soil or other materials present and so on. Plumbing experts can notice that difference and use it to help find the probable source of the leak, and then use their acoustic technology to confirm their suspicions before they proceed.

Pipe and Cable Technology

This method makes use of electromagnetic transmission to map out the location of a potential water leak amidst the other water lines in your home. Because your other water lines will naturally make noise and register on the electromagnetic sensors in their own way, these machines are quite sensitive and are calibrated to pick up even the slightest deviation. Likewise, the specialists operating the machine need to be able to recognise those deviations for the signs of the leak.

Plumbing specialists will then place a transmitter close to the ground, which will then induce a frequency which it can detect as it radiates off the pipes or cables nearby.

This also makes it easier for the acoustic leak detector itself to do its work.

Acoustic Leak Detection Technology

This can also be done with the acoustic leak detector itself. Once this transmitter and electromagnetic resonance work has given the plumbing team a more precise idea of the basic layout of the water pipes in your plumbing setup, or once experts have identified the plumbing issue with the acoustic leak detector, it’s time to get to work with the main issue.

Experts will connect a stopper to the line they believe to be the source of the leak. This stopper will open and close the valves in such a way as to create rhythmic pulsations. These pulsations are what is required to accurately track the location of a leak. This is done via a listening stick.

The closer the listening stick and other detection equipment are to the pipes, the stronger the feedback and the louder the sound will be. Plumbing experts are essentially able to play a game of “Hot and Cold” to find the location of the pipes and, ultimately, the leak. The fainter the sound and the weaker the feedback, the “Colder” they are, and as it starts to get louder and the feedback stronger, they get “Hotter” and hotter until they find the location of the leak.

That point is then marked, and the process is continued down the entire pipeline, allowing the imaging equipment to create a full map of the pipes as well as where the leaks are likely to be.

Now the true acoustic detection procedure can begin.

Headphones and a touchscreen are utilised to help pinpoint the exact location of the leak. (If you are worried about the wires of all these electronics being a hazard amidst potentially leaking water, do not worry – Toscano Plumbing use a wireless setup).

To identify leaks that are coming from beneath the surface, advanced ground microphones are utilised. There can be several potential issues with using these microphones for example the wind interfering with the resonance. However, the units feature a special fitting for protection against the wind to preserve the integrity of their imaging and are built to withstand the elements.

From there, things proceed as they would with an indoor leak, with the acoustic technology working to find and map loud sounds and using that information to find the likely location of the leaks.

Depending on whether your leak is indoors or outdoors as well as the nature of the leak itself, there are many specialised types of microphones that can be used for the acoustic detection and imaging task.

Tracer Gas Leak Detection Technology

Some locations can be in particularly noisy area, or there is a lot of noise clustered in a single spot. This can make it difficult to separate where the pipes and plumbing are located.

In this case, Toscano Plumbing’s leak detection specialists have another acoustic trick up their sleeve – tracer gas leak detection.

This method involves injecting a safe mixture of hydrogen and nitrogen into a pipeline where a leak is suspected to be taking place. Nitrogen works as a carrier gas to help deliver the mixture, while the hydrogen itself is used to help detect the leak due to how light it is.

As the light hydrogen atoms try to escape the enclosed area, they can permeate covered surfaces. At that point, specialised probes can be used to detect abnormal activity which can help determine where the leak is, how deep it is, and the way it is flowing.

This technique can be used for gas as well as water leaks.

Benefits of the Tracer Method

In addition to the benefits of the acoustic detection method, there is also plenty to be said for the tracer method as well.

It is highly accurate. This can be said for both methods, but the fact that this method can work for water as well as gas and is quite accurate with both is nothing short of impressive.

This method also works fast, allowing you to receive the results of your detection efforts far sooner than you would be able to with conventional methods. Given the importance of resolving leaks as quickly as possible, the importance of this cannot be overstated.

Finally, there is the fact that this method is completely safe. It is not toxic, combustible, corrosive, and when administered properly should not endanger your pipes or your home in any way.

Benefits of the Acoustic Leak Detection Method

There are many benefits to working with the acoustic leak detection method, not the least of which being that their imaging technology can work on big and small leaks alike. If the differences can be registered on the touchscreen tracking and mapping, there is a good chance that the plumbers will be able to find the leak.

That is because acoustic leak detection is, a resilient and adaptable system. While the sensors are quite sensitive, the equipment and methodology are very versatile and can be used in a variety of different settings. Whether you are looking to map a vast corporate plumbing system or your own backyard, have a large leak or a tiny one, this system can be of immense help in tracking down the problem and resolving it once and for all.

This, in turn, means that you can mitigate the amount of damage a leak can do to your property. Left unchecked, leaks can do massive amounts of damage, much of which can potentially be irreparable if left alone for long enough, including the damage that can result from a mould or mildew infestation, as mentioned above. You cannot afford plumbing fixes to drag on for weeks. With the help of Toscano Plumbing’s acoustic leak detection method, the plumbers can locate, isolate, and resolve your leak issues in a quick, timely, and effective fashion.

Experience on Your Side

When it comes to something as essential to the future of your home or place of business as detecting a leak and fixing your plumbing issues, you naturally want to turn to a team you can trust. That is especially true when such highly advanced leak detection methods as acoustic and tracer systems are being employed.

That’s why the professional and experienced team at Toscano Plumbing are proud to be able to point to more than six decades of dedicated service. With a blend of new technology and old hands on the job, the team will work to locate your leak as quickly as possible, strive to find the best solution for the problem, and put their expertise to work for you in solving it.

Contact the best plumbing experts in the Melbourne area for acoustic and tracer detection as well as general plumbing inspections and repairs today.

Everything You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide Testing

Did you know that even though a staggering amount of Victorian properties are fitted with gas heating, many people aren’t aware of the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning?

Being informed of the risks and the preventative measures you can take - and acting on those measures - is critical for keeping yourself and those around you safe.

As we write this, Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week approaches (29 April - 5 May 2019). Supported by Energy Safe Victoria, CO Awareness Week was launched by the Chase and Tyler Foundation because Vanessa Robinson, their mother, is doing everything she can to ensure other families don’t suffer the same fate as hers.

As a Victorian business and qualified gasfitters, Toscano Plumbing want to do everything we can to support CO Awareness Week and help our fellow Victorians understand how to stay safe.

This article will help you understand why carbon monoxide testing is compulsory, what else you should do to reduce the risk of CO poisoning and who you should engage for carbon monoxide testing at your property.

What is Carbon Monoxide and how do leaks occur?

Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is toxic to humans and animals. It is known as a silent killer because you can’t see it, hear it, taste it or even smell it - that’s what makes it such a threat in our homes and workspaces.

CO can come from any fuel-burning appliance when the fuel does not burn away completely. Leaks occur when those appliances are faulty, poorly-maintained or old.

But improper ventilation and misuse is also a problem. If there is nowhere for the gas to escape, or if extraction fans are drawing the air out of a space more quickly than it can be replenished, air (and the CO) enter the room, instead of venting to the outside. Similarly, if there are cracks or holes in the mortar or brickwork of a brick chimney, the chimney may not be able to effectively vent combustion products, creating back pressure and drawing CO inside.

Lack of awareness around carbon monoxide poisoning also shows up when people move outdoor heating appliances indoors or to enclosed areas. These products were not designed to be used in this manner, so without adequate ventilation, or a flue to disperse CO outside, the gas builds up to potentially deadly levels.

What is Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs by inhaling leaked CO. The severity of the effects suffered depend on the concentration of the gas, the length of exposure and the person who has inhaled it. Those at an increased risk are the elderly, children, pregnant women and their unborn babies, those suffering from heart disease, anemia or respiratory illnesses.

CO prevents the transport of oxygen and oxygen use in the body. Because the symptoms are nonspecific, if you don’t know what to look for, it’s easy to miss the cause until it’s too late.

Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Malaise
  • Reduction in cognitive and functional capacity
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ongoing chronic illness
  • Death

A May 2012 Report to the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism by the Allen Consulting Group stated: “the QRA estimated that one death and 21.3 injuries are caused by CO poisoning by gas appliances each year in Australia.”

But often, it’s not just one individual at a time that suffers fatal poisoning, but family groups. This is because they were home together when the leak occurred, or a relative has gone to assist, and find themselves also overcome by CO. In fact, Professor Anthony Brown from the School of Rural Health at the University of Sydney said, “in over 60 per cent of cases, not only did the victim die, but the first rescuer as well.” "Between four to six minutes turns a rescue into a recovery," he said.

You can take action today to ensure your property is safe

There are many ways to keep your family, friends, employees and tenants safe from CO poisoning:

1. Carbon monoxide testing

Ensure all types of gas heaters are serviced at least every two years by a registered gasfitter and tested for CO spillage. While every two years is the mandatory testing requirement, you can and often should have appliances tested more often.

If you notice any of these signs, stop using the appliance immediately and contact Toscano Plumbing for advice and to arrange for carbon monoxide testing:

  • Your appliance is showing yellow flames instead of a sharp blue (although yellow flames are sometimes deliberate for decorative effect in some gas log fires/fireplaces)
  • There is no apparent reason for your heater/fireplace to go out, yet it does
  • There is discolouration or soot around the gas heater/fireplace or peeling paint above the appliance
  • The cowl on top of the flue pipe is damaged
  • Debris has fallen down the chimney/flue pipe

2. Sweep and inspect chimneys and flues annually or more often

3. Never DIY the installation of ventilation.

Always contract the work to a licenced builder, gasfitter or electrician.

4. Ensure there is appropriate ventilation when using appliances

5. Have high-quality audible carbon monoxide alarms fitted to your residence by a qualified gasfitter.

Preferably outside the entry points to sleeping and living areas. These serve as an added point of protection to your regular servicing and upkeep.

As there is currently no Australian Standard for carbon monoxide alarms, it is recommended you choose ones certified to European or US standards (EN50291 or UL2034).

Note: alarms are not a replacement for carbon monoxide testing.

6. Never leave a car idling in an enclosed space

7. Never use external gas heaters indoors or in enclosed areas

8. Never tamper with vents on gas heaters

9. Learn how to recognise CO poisoning

How is carbon monoxide testing done?

Gasfitters follow guidelines set out by Energy Safe Victoria in their use of carbon monoxide detection equipment. Gasfitters test for CO in two main ways:

1. Testing for a negative pressure environment

Your gasfitter will test the environment created when exhaust fans are turned on throughout the property. They do this by creating a small source of smoke with a smoke pen and watching where the smoke travels. If the smoke moves towards the heater’s exhaust, this is a sign it is functioning correctly. However, if it moves towards extraction fans, there is negative pressure.

Your gasfitter will advise you of a recommended course of action to rectify a negative pressure environment.

2. Servicing and testing individual appliances for CO spillage

Your gasfitter will dismantle and clean the appliance as part of the service. They will also perform a flue integrity check and ventilation size and clearance check. They will note any damage to the appliance and whether remedial work is required, as well as checking connections between the furnace, venting systems and flue pipes.

After the service, your gasfitter will use a CO analyser to test for spillage. They will test both the appliance and the surrounding area to ensure no detection of CO in the air.

If spillage is detected and is unable to be immediately rectified, your gasfitter is legally required to disable the appliance for being unsafe. They will recommend the appropriate course of action to repair or replace the appliance.

Who can do carbon monoxide testing?

Carbon monoxide testing should only be performed by a licenced and registered gasfitter who has completed the Master Plumbers CO training course. Look for “Gas Servicing – Type A” on their plumbing licence. In Victoria, you will find this on a Victorian Building Authority Plumbing Licence.

All Toscano Plumbing plumbers & gasfitters are licenced and registered to perform carbon monoxide testing, so you can rest assured that your safety is in the right hands.

Don’t be complacent - take action today.

For advice or to book your CO test, contact our team of gasfitters on 1300 867 226.

Link

At Toscano Plumbing we understand that as a Facility Manager or Building Maintenance Manager your time is limited, and your list of responsibilities is long. After all, it’s no short order to keep the running of the entire physical infrastructure of a business in check. That’s why we’ve put together a brief guide to make your life that bit easier when it comes to facility management challenges, in particular, plumbing concerns. Plumbing may be just one aspect of building maintenance, but it isn’t a small one. Now, to those challenges:

1. Keeping all of your responsibilities under control

Facility management challenges come in many forms. From the day-to-day operations to emergency repairs (like burst pipes), the role often comes down to a neverending list of things to do. Not only do you have to keep everything under your domain operating correctly, but you also have to ensure it is done within safety and compliance regulations, issues are resolved in a timely manner and cost-effectively.

Having such a combination of short and long-term goals in one position can make it very difficult to prioritise and ensure something critical doesn’t fall by the wayside. Facility management software can provide you with a solution to keep you and all of the many hats you wear, organised. It can help you maintain a regular preventative maintenance schedule, track the issues that have arisen in each area of maintenance, for example, plumbing, and even be used to issue work orders.

There’ll be no more waking up in the middle of the night remembering something you had forgotten - facility management software can help you keep it all in check.

2. Implementing preventative and proactive maintenance

Plumbing operation tends to go unnoticed by most. Until operations are unexpectedly interrupted, that is. In the Facilities Management industry, you would experience this more than anyone. After all, it’s you they turn to when normal usage ceases! Preventative maintenance is much more important in a commercial or even multi-residential setting, than in a general residential situation. After all, the fallout is more significant, with the potential for many more occupants or businesses to be affected.

That’s why regular plumbing inspections are so vital and can save you many hours of difficulty down the track when an aspect of the plumbing system unexpectedly fails. A qualified, licenced plumbing partner should conduct a check by following a checklist that is tailored to the specifics of the facility you manage. They will report on anything of concern and provide options to remedy it now, before it worsens, giving you the chance to get ahead and minimise costs, not to mention the fallout to the business. It also assesses whether any aging inventory will need to be updated in the near future, keeping you apprised of any potential facility management challenges before they happen.

3. Achieving sustainable utility usage

A building or facility uses a considerable amount of utilities like energy, gas and water. In today’s climate, it’s more important than ever to lower the costs of these, while also becoming more sustainable. When you know your options, it makes it easier to move in the right direction.

Although there are standards in place for individual plumbing fixtures to be water efficient (known as the WELS rating), there are other aspects of plumbing maintenance to be considered too. For instance, even a small leak can have a surprisingly significant impact on water usage, and therefore cost and environment. Part of a preventative maintenance plan includes inspecting for leaks, but if you suspect a leak, it’s best to practice proactive maintenance and have acoustic leak detection services resolve your concerns.

You could also ask your plumbing expert whether a rainwater capture and use system would be an option for the building. Consider multiple solutions to make water efficiency work for you.

4. Meeting regulatory and compliance standards

Perhaps the most critical of facility management challenges is to stay on top of all regulatory and compliance standards. Failing to comply can mean hefty fines and won’t put you in favour with your employer. But, more importantly, it can cause safety concerns to arise.

The primary focus for Facility Managers and Building Maintenance Managers here is to be informed by staying ahead of changes to the building codes and regulations. You can do this in several ways:

  • Read high-quality industry blogs
  • Continue necessary training
  • Attend seminars or relevant workshops
  • Consider obtaining online certifications

But, aside from staying informed yourself, you also need to ensure you’re only using qualified and licenced trades to conduct work on the building. It also helps to use trades that are experienced in the commercial sector. For example, you could hire any fully licenced plumber to carry out work. However, to be confident you are receiving work that abides by the latest regulations, it’s advisable to use a licenced plumbing business with a history of commercial plumbing expertise.

5. Managing costs and improving efficiency

When it comes to controlling costs, this becomes a considerable facility management challenge. With so many moving parts, staying under budget requires no small effort.

Increasing the lifespan of existing equipment like water heaters and HVAC systems can be possible with the right attention invested in the equipment - like regular inspections and the necessary preventative maintenance to keep them functioning at optimum levels. This saves you money in two ways. Of course, the longer the lifespan, the longer you can avoid an entirely new installation. But also, older, poorly-maintained equipment tends to be very inefficient, which is costly when it comes to energy and water consumption.

According to Infraspeak, another way to ensure money is being spent where it should, it to hire “the best teams to carry out the projects”. Engaging those who have proven experience in the industry, can provide testimonials and referrals from other clients and importantly, do not subcontract out the work gives you confidence in receiving quality work. It also gives you the opportunity to establish a long-term partnership. When your contractors are intimately familiar with the facility you manage, it makes the job easier for them to get it right, which means fewer headaches for you.

Final thoughts on facility management challenges

Facility management challenges will always be in the nature of the job. But by being organised, having an excellent preventative maintenance program and perhaps most importantly, having licenced and trusted partners to carry out the work will significantly ease the burden.

Need a commercial plumbing partner you can rely on for preventative and proactive facility maintenance?  Call Toscano Plumbing for a no-obligation call on 1300 867 226 or visit www.toscanoplumbing.com.au

Why Is Leak Detection So Important For Your Home?

As a home owner, have you noticed that your water bill has gone up compared to previous months, or a water puddle has formed on your floor. Are you concerned that your premises may be in danger from a leak, but you’re not sure what is going on or where the water is coming from?

Toscano Plumbing can quickly determine whether you actually have a leak, pinpoint exactly where your leak is, and provide professional repairs as a licensed plumber. Toscano Plumbing will come out as quickly as possible to ensure that the damage to your property is minimised.

How to Detect a Water Leak in Your Home

Detecting the precise location of a water leak can be difficult, but there are several signs that you can look out for that can tell you that it is occurring:
● Unexplained high water bill
● Wet carpet
● Water puddle
● Wet spot on walls or ceiling
● The sound of water running, but without visible signs of water
● Reduced water pressure from taps

Prevent Damage to Your Home Before It’s Too Late!

Water leaks can cause serious and expensive damage to your home. Here are some of the ways a leak left unrepaired can cause major damage:

1. Damaged Paint/Wallpaper

Your walls can give you the first sign of a possible water leak problem in your home. Water and moisture can get trapped between the wall and the wallpaper/paint and cause the bond to undo, causing peeling and flaking.

2. Damaged Walls

A wall that is deformed or stained for no apparent reason may point to a plumbing leak. When a dry wall comes in contact with water or moisture, the plaster becomes soft, starts to bubble and can crumble. This can become an expensive problem to fix.

3. Damaged Floors

If you find a leak in the floor of your home, such as your bathroom, cracking or staining can occur. The bathroom tiles may also start to loosen due to the moisture underneath it breaking down the grouting between them.

4. Mold/Mildew

The appearance of mold or mildew on your wall or floors can keep reappearing in the case of a leak. Mold tends to flourish in moist areas, and a leaking pipe located behind a wall or underneath the floor provides the perfect atmosphere for it to spawn and cause damage.
Mold or mildew resulting from a leaking pipe can pose a serious health risk to you and your family, which is why it is important to get it detected and fixed as early as possible.

5. Bad Smell of Stale Water

When a pipe-leak goes unnoticed for a long period of time, water starts to accumulate. As it becomes stale it starts to smell very bad. If you clean your home regularly, but still notice a musty or damp smell, then you probably have a leak on your hands. Sometimes, the water may not dry up, which can only worsen the problem by causing mold or mildew that just won’t go away.

Ways to Check for Water Leaks

Detecting hidden water leaks in your plumbing system not only saves you money, but it can also prevent potential disaster down the road.

Check the water meter

One of the easiest way to tell if your home has a water leak is to check the water meter. First, turn off all the water using appliances, making sure the washing machine, dishwasher, and all taps are off. Check the water meter and take a reading. Then come back in a couple of hours, making sure all the water stays off. If the meter changed, you probably have a small water leak on your hands.

Monitor your water bill

It is easy to go on-line and check your water bill. Check previous months and if you notice a large increase without a change in your usage, you probably have a water leak.

Use some food coloring

Toilets make up a good percent of water used in a home so it’s a good idea to test it for leaks. Just add a few drops of food coloring to the tank of the toilet, wait a few minutes, if the color shows up in the toilet bowl, you have a water leak.

Don’t forget to check outside

Check your outdoor taps, hoses, and irrigation system. Just a pinhole leak can account for 5,000-10,000 litres of wasted water a month!

Have a Check Performed by a Licensed Plumbing Professional

Since most water pipes are located underground and behind walls, it can make detecting water leaks difficult. It is worth the investment to have a professional water leak detection service to inspect your home.

Our Advanced Leak Detection Technology

Acoustic Leak Detection: Our technicians are trained to utilise the most advanced acoustic leak detection system. Sensitive ultrasound devices can “listen” at a frequency beyond the human range of hearing. To our instruments, even the tiniest leak makes a traceable noise.

Thermography: We utilise state-of-the-art thermography, which is similar to a color infrared photograph. With it, we can identify tiny temperature differences that can lead us to leaks.

Why Is Leak Detection So Important For A Business?

As a business owner, water can be a silent danger to your business. Left undetected, water leaks can potentially damage your premises, destroy data and ruin your equipment. Potentially, if a leak is left unresolved, the cost to repair or replace equipment or data as well as interruption to your business operation can be disastrous.

Signs that You May Have a Water Leak

There are several common signs that your commercial building may have a water leak:

  • Unexplained high water bill
  • Wet carpet
  • Water puddle
  • Wet spot on walls or ceiling
  • The sound of water running, but without visible signs of water
  • Reduced water pressure from taps

As a business owner, you may have noticed that your water bill has gone up since last month, or you may have spotted a water puddle on your floor or marks on your ceiling. This may be a sign that your premises may have a hidden leak.

Best Get it Checked Out Sooner Rather Than Later

Detecting hidden water leaks in your plumbing system not only saves you money, but it can also prevent potential disaster to your business. Since most water pipes are located underground and behind walls, it can make detecting water leaks difficult. It is worth the investment to have a professional water leak detection service from a commercial plumbing company to inspect your business premises.

Using acoustic leak detection technology, Toscano Plumbing can quickly find leaks in your home, pinpointing exactly where your leak is, and provide appropriate repairs as a licensed plumber. Toscano Plumbing will come out as quickly as possible, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that the damage to your property is minimized.

The consequences of not dealing with a suspected water leak can really compound the problem, leading to the need for more expensive repairs from extensive water damage.

Here are some examples of how water leaks on your premises can quickly turn into a big problem:

1. Damaged Paint/Wallpaper

When water and moisture gets trapped between the wall and the wallpaper/paint, they eradicate the bond and they will start to peel and fall off. This kind of degradation rapidly and significantly reduces the lifespan of your wall surfaces.

2. Damaged Walls

A wall that is deformed or stained for no apparent reason may point to a plumbing leak. When a dry wall comes in contact with water or moisture, it becomes soft, starts to bubble and eventually crumbles. This can quickly create a major structural problem in a surprisingly short amount of time.

3. Damaged Floors

The floors in your building can start cracking or staining, requiring expensive repairs or replacement. The bathroom tiles may also start to loosen due to the moisture underneath it. The culprit could be a pipe that has burst underneath your floor. Digging up floors and replacing them will surely cause an expensive disruption to your business and should be prevented if possible.

4. Mold/Mildew

Hidden water leaks can cause the appearance of mold or mildew on your wall or floors. Mold tends to flourish in moist areas, and a leaking pipe located behind a wall or underneath the floor provides the perfect atmosphere for it to flourish and cause damage. Mold and mildew resulting from a leaking pipe can pose a serious health risk to your colleagues and customers, which is why it is important to get it detected and fixed as early as possible.

5. Bad Smell of Stale Water

When a pipe-leak goes unnoticed for a long period of time, water starts to accumulate. As it becomes stale it starts to stink. You may clean your premises regularly, but still notice a musty or damp smell, then you probably have a leak on your hands. Sometimes, the water may not dry up, which can only worsen the problem by causing mold or mildew. Unpleasant smells are a real sales killer!

How Do We Find Leaks So Fast?

Your leak will be located using a combination of several electronic leak detectors. Toscano Plumbing uses cutting edge technology that combines equipment and techniques developed in-house, as well as the best training available. Equally important is the experience of our technicians, who receive continuous hands-on training at our state-of-the-art training facility.

Our Acoustic Leak Detection Technology

Our technicians are trained to utilize the most advanced acoustic leak inspection system. These sensitive devices can “listen” at a frequency beyond the human range of hearing. To our instruments, even the tiniest leak makes a traceable noise. This allows us to detect leaks no matter how hidden or small, preventing damage before it’s too late.

If you suspect a water leak in your home, contact the team at Toscano Plumbing for quick and accurate detection.

CCTV Drain Camera Benefits:

CCTV Drain Camera offers real time results, eliminates the cost of unnecessary excavation and is cost effective.

 

Because drainage systems are located beneath the ground it's impossible for the human naked eye to detect where the blockage is located and it's cause.

While drain blockages and odours can be a major problem, they generally don't just happen overnight.  Instead, they develop over time when waste products start to accumulate or when tree roots grow in the pipes and cause blockages and breakages.

Rather than spending thousands of dollars and hours digging we now have the ability to accurately diagnose the problem using a CCTV drain camera.

Unlike the electric cabling procedure, a CCTV drain camera can be fed into plumbing systems and flexed around corners with ease.  Providing an inside view of your pipes in real time, showing the exact location and severity of blockages, leaks and other problems.

 

Why just clearing a blockage is not always the answer?

If you have a blockage that has become an issue and you decide to use a high-pressure hose or electric cabling to clear the blockage you may find that the problem reoccurs.  This is why using a CCTV drain camera is important in conjunction with clearing the drain as it helps you view the internal damage and it's cause.

Benefit of using a CCTV drain camera.

With a CCTV drain camera, you can ensure that the blockage is found without any guesswork or intensive digging that could cause further stress or damage to your pipes.  By using a CCTV drain camera, not only is the location of the blockage revealed, but also the depth under the ground where the blockage is based.  It also shows the degree of damage that's resulted from the blockage and if any of the pipes that were damaged need to be removed or replaced.

How is an inspection undertaken using a CCTV drain camera?

In order to undertake an inspection using a CCTV drain camera, a plumber first has to clear the blockage before being able to send the camera down the pipe.  This allows the plumber to see the inside of the drain and determine what is causing the blockage.

Once the inspection is complete the plumber can then decide on the most effective course of action.  This may involve removing and replacing a section of pipe because it's been blocked by tree roots and arranging for the tree to be cut back to avoid the same issue happening again.  Or it may be as straightforward as flushing loose debris out of the drain.

CCTV drain camera

Specialising in residential and commercial plumbing and drain clearing, the expert plumbers at Toscano Plumbing are here to assist you.  Could you use an inspection of your pipes?

Reach out to Toscano Plumbing on 1300 867 226.

Preventative plumbing maintenance is done while a system is still functioning to ensure that it's working to full capacity and that there are no issues that could cause an unexpected breakdown.

The cost savings of taking part in a preventative plumbing maintenance program significantly outweigh the costs you incur when the equipment fails.  In the short term, the expense of component replacement that is old or no longer working, as it should, is considerably lower than the charges you would see when emergency repairs are needed. A schedule based on your availability is also much more convenient than waiting for a repairman when an unexpected failure arises.

The long term savings are even more beneficial as the life of your entire plumbing system can be extended by making sure that the infrastructure is working at its full potential.  Heading off issues before problems occur also plays a big part in safety and risk management. As an example; regularly venting a hot water cylinder relief valve can prevent the unit from bursting which will not only result in flooding but also lead to potential water in and around electrical panels.

 

 

The benefits of scheduling preventative plumbing maintenance appointments include:

  • Reduction of unexpected breakdowns and service interruptions by finding where your potential risks lie and assessing possible risks to your system.
  • Discovering leaks, clogged pipes/drains and keeping sewer lines flowing as they should.
  • Reducing water consumption by identifying leaking faucets and toilets.
  • Avoiding un-expected costs of roof repair or replacement due to unresolved issues.
  • Developing a relationship with our service team which in turn allows them to become familiar with your site. This makes for much easier troubleshooting when problems do occur.
  • Assist facility managers in achieving budget stability.

By using the following checklist you can greatly increase the chances that your plumbing is in optimal working order:

Checked List Checklist Pen Pencil
Check Marker Checked List Checklist Pen Pencil
  • Annually inspect plumbing and look for leaks and investigate unusual noises. Water boosters and circulation pumps also require annual testing faulty couplings and leaks.
  • Replace as needed, sump and sewage ejection pumps as well as annually lubricate exposed pumps.
  • Public restroom fixtures withstand a higher level of heavy use and abuse. They should be checked on a regular basis for leaks, as well as to replace internal workings based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • One single dripping tap can waste 30-200 litres of water per day.  By performing regular inspections and replacing tap washers, o-rings and jumper valves can save you a considerable amount of money.
  • Toilets & Urinals require regular servicing to operate effectively. This assures a clean, odour free and hygienic facility. It is critical to service urinals regularly to avoid drainage and pooling issues.
  • Water quality can be greatly improved by regularly changing water filters. This improves not only taste but reduces sediment in your system.
  • One of the biggest culprits causing sewer line clogs is improperly flushed or dumped objects such as baby diapers, oil, grease and paint. Tree roots can also cause havoc on sewer lines as can ground movement and general old age. A yearly high pressure jet treatment and CCTV camera inspection can remove/identify blockages and keep the pipes flowing smoothly.
  • Hot water systems need routine inspections. This ensures longevity and efficiency from your system. An inspection involves a general checkup of the unit for leaks and damage, safety checks of valves, pipes and parts and temperature/thermostat adjustment if needed. A hot water system can many times be set at and unnecessarily high temperature which not only costs you more for the heating process but can also cause burns to skin.
  • Businesses can prevent plumbing disasters from obstructing their operations with regular maintenance from a commercial plumbing team.

See our vast range of plumbing services or give us a call to chat about your Preventative Plumbing Maintenance program on 1300 867 226.

As anyone who manages or owns a building knows roof maintenance is crucial.  

However, many owners neglect their roof maintenance believing they are saving time and money. But industry-standard roof maintenance requires more than just clearing the leaves out of the gutter. To ensure the continued safety and support your roof provides, your roof needs to be inspected and maintained regularly. Many roof problems, like gaps in the roof’s flashing, can slowly grow and appear over time – making it difficult to be detected by non-professional roofing inspectors. Undetected problems in your roof can cause substantial damage to property, and even people, if left undetected.

The warning signs

A roof might look simple from the outside, but it's more important to a building than many people realise. Your roof is integral to providing comfort and protection to your interior, which means it is most vulnerable when damaged. This means even problems that seem trivial, such as a rusting sheet or loose flashing, can be a sign of worse things to come.

That's why an experienced plumbing professional ensures your roof is checked regularly. A few of the warning signs to look out for are:

  • Ponding (the build-up of stagnant water on your rooftop): this causes leaks, mould, and can even weaken support beams.
  • Rust spots on your roof system: though most modern roofing materials prevent these, if untreated they can lead to leaks and wind damage.

           Rust on a box gutter                                                                                 Rust on roof sheets
  • Gaps in the flashing: weakens the protection and cover of your roof, especially during heavy rainfall and strong winds. Gaps can build up slowly and appear over time, so it’s important to have your roof inspected regularly by a professional.

Dangers of neglected roofs

Unlike other building fixtures, your roof is constantly exposed to weather conditions that can weaken the integrity of your roof’s protection, including rain, wind and even sunlight.

Roof maintenance - The importance of regular roof maintenance

Here are the most common problems caused by neglected roof maintenance:

Leaks - That little drip in your ceiling might seem fairly innocuous, though slightly annoying, but a leaking roof should be a serious concern for any business. Leaks do not plug themselves, if left untreated the size of the leak will grow and allow more water into your celling.

Mould - Wet insulation and clogged gutters will grow mould, which can be very expensive to remove once set. Certain types of mould can be hazardous to people, and pose an enormous health risk if left untreated.

Animals and pests - If your roofs are neglected and poorly maintained, insects can enter the building through holes in your roofing system. If the holes are large enough, you could even end up housing rodents such as possums, mice, and rats in your organisation’s ceiling.

Maintaining your roof to provide the safe and secure protection they were built for isn’t difficult. By hiring a reliable, professional plumber to inspect your roof yearly, problems can be detected and resolved early on, keeping you safe and your building protected.

See our vast range of plumbing services, or give us a call on 1300 867 226.