Gutter Maintenance For The First Time Homeowner

Though most homes have gutters and down-pipes to collect rainwater and route it away from the building, in extremely heavy rainfall areas it is often not enough, having difficulty carrying the large volumes of rainwater deposited in short periods of time.

For homes with guttering and downpipes an annual inspection should be performed as a minimum, to ensure the guttering and downpipes are free of obstructions and in serviceable order.

Obstructions during periods of heavy rainfall can see household guttering retaining water rather than channeling it away, resulting in rain water running inside the house, damaging plaster walls, or become a fire hazard in summer time in bush fire prone areas.

Once comprising individual galvanized iron profiles manufactured to set lengths, today’s gutter and down-pipes are made from either continuous length Zincalume steel, Colorbond aluminium, or plastic, with the latter more prone to attack by UV rays than the first two.

Drainage Calculations

For guttering to be effective and prevent “ponding” a minimum gutter fall of 1 in 500 is recommended, with the depth and width of the channeling and profile suitable dictated by local rainfall conditions.

For standard family homeowners most building supply centers carry stock of pre-cut aluminium guttering lengths in a range of standard profiles for replacing small sections of a houses guttering, or for small extension projects, while for entire house replacement of guttering in Brisbane the entire process is generally performed onsite.

Many gutter repair companies are able to remove and replace a home’s gutters and down-pipes in less than a day, a truck onsite rolling out continuous guttering lengths of your desired profile, with one piece generally only required for each continuous, vertical surface.

Excessive Water Run Off

In areas of heavy rainfall, or where groundwater running towards the footings of a house result in excessive amounts of water, the construction of either a gutter channel or an agricultural (agi) drain, often called a soakage drain, will help prevent excessive water from damaging your foundations, and possibly leaching through to interior walls.

Ideally a drain will be about 200mm wide and 600mm to 900mm deep, with a layer of 20mm screened gravel covering to about 100mm below the ground surface. A layer of shade cloth or similar on top of the stone will help prevent soil seeping through the stone, with dirt being used to complete the backfill.

If you attempt to fix a gutter by yourself be sure to work safely. It can be very dangerous working on a ladder without using proper scaffolding or safety harness. If in doubt, it’s probably best too hire a local gutter specialist to take care any job you need done beyond your typical cleaning / maintenance work.

Best And Safest Way To Unclog Drains

Clearing Drains With Boiling Water: Bad Idea

You’ve probably been told by some people that they pour boiling water, sometimes with baking soda added, down a slow drain.

In fact, it’s easy to find plumbing advice on the Internet that recommends this procedure. Well, that’s a bad idea for several reasons. If you’re a do-it-yourself plumber and you think  boiling water is okay for your home’s plumbing system, you need to read the rest of this article.

The Universal Plumbing Code

The UPC advises against the introduction of water hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit/60 degrees Celsius into a waste or vent system of any kind without some kind of cooling-off station.

Using enough boiling water sufficient to unclog a drain could damage your pipes. Unless you use a LOT of boiling water, it’s going to cool off  – to the point of being ineffective – as it flows down your plumbing system. Too much boiling water will distort drains and seals, leading to expensive problems.

Also, pouring boiling water down a porcelain fixture (toilet or sink) can fracture the fixture. You don’t want to have to deal with that now, do you?

Should You Use Baking Soda?

No! Baking soda is actually a kind of salt and it can be very bad for cast iron pipes and even plastic pipes.

Particularly dangerous is the practice of pouring a mixture of baking soda and boiling water down a drain after having uses a chemical drain cleaner. This can cause an explosive chemical reaction that would throw the boiling water and drain chemical back in your face, a most unpleasant experience sure to mean a trip to the hospital. So don’t run the needless risk of a severe scald or burn from steam or chemicals.

Hot Water Is The Answer

Hot tap water, that is – not boiling. As long as it’s below 140 degrees, you can use as much water as you want! If a couple of sinks full of hot water don’t unclog the drain, then it needs to be snaked. And, when you (or a plumber) put a cable in the drain, you won’t risk getting dangerous chemicals on you.

An Ounce Of Prevention

Running hot water down a drain once a week – or even monthly – can help to prevent drains from clogging in the first place. It softens up fats that build up on the pipe walls and will help keep the pipes clear. Even water at a lower temperature will help keep your drain clear – it just takes more of it. If this seems wasteful, consider how much more time and money you could waste or how using boiling water could result in a trip to the hospital.

So play it safe: no boiling water or soda goes down your drains! If lots of hot water doesn’t work, then try a plumber’s snake. If that doesn’t work, you’re probably better off to call a plumber at that point.