Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if I have a burst pipe?
The first thing to do is turn the water off. This is generally done at the toby (usually on the pavement outside your boundary). If you have a tank with a pump, turn off the power supply to the pump. Turn off the power to the hot water cylinder
If the leak is only on the hot water – you can isolate at the hot water cylinder by turning off the inlet valve to the bottom of the hot water cylinder tank. Turn on a hot water tap to release any pressure. Isolate the power supply to the cylinder.
Can leaks get bigger over time?
Yes. Water leaking out of your pipes or fixtures will eventually cause enough corrosion that even a pinhole-sized leak can eventually grow and potentially cause damage to your home.
How much water is wasted from a dripping tap?
A single drop from once tap may not seem like a lot. In fact, it takes 20,000 drops to equal a single litre. But think about it this way:
- If you have one tap that leaks 10 times a minute, that’s 14,400 drips per day – 300 litres per year from a single tap!
- Multiply that by three taps and it’s almost 1,000 litres!
If you want to figure out how much your tap is leaking, count how many times it drips in a minute. Once you figure that out, you can figure out how many times it drips per hour – number of drips x 60 – or per day – drips x 1440. From there, you can divide the total number of drips into 20,000 to get the number of litres you could save by calling us for tap repair!
Should I repair or replace leaky taps?
If you can repair the tap and restore the shine on its finish, tap repair is a perfect option. However, if your tap is too badly corroded or too old to find replacement parts, tap replacement may be easier (and possibly cheaper!).
What causes a tap to leak?
The most common thing we find is corroded O-rings, gaskets or valve seats that cause taps to leak. Together, these components are what hold back the water until the tap is opened, so if one of them is corroded, you’ll get a leaky, dripping tap! To stop a tap leak, shut off the water to the sink and open the tap to let the water drain out. Next, use an Allen key or screw driver to remove the tap handle. If it has a nut holding the internal parts in place, check to see if that’s loose – tightening it with pliers may be enough to stop the leak! If not, remove the nut and disassemble the tap (just make sure you can put it back together again!). If the tap contains a cartridge, don’t take that apart – just replace it with a new one.
Inspect all the components of your tap – you should see washers, O-rings or seals and possibly springs – and figure out exactly what you need to replace. Find the precise parts at a hardware store and put the tap back together. If all goes well, your tap should be back to normal. If not, call us for tap repair!
Why is my water heater’s relief valve leaking?
High pressure coming from your water heater can cause your relief valve to leak. There are a few reasons for this:
- Incoming water pressure from the main water line is too high.
- Thermal expansion (water expanding in volume as it is heated) is causing the pressure to build up.
The easiest way to deal with a leaky relief valve is to call us to replace it!
What do I do if my toilet overflows?
An overflowing toilet is usually caused by a leak in your tank’s fill valve or deterioration of the shaft or wire that sets the fill level. Whatever the cause, call us for the solution!
Is there anything I shouldn’t put down my toilet?
You really shouldn’t put ANYTHING down your toilet, except what’s supposed to go down there. Avoid putting in things like:
- Baby wipes, napkins, facial tissue or paper towels. While these will flush fine, they don’t break down the way toilet tissue does and will cause clogs or damage your septic system.
- Sanitary products or diapers
- Q-tips, cotton balls or dental floss
- Food scrap
- Small toys
- Cat litter
My toilet constantly sounds like it’s running. Is there anything I can do to fix it?
Yes – it just depends on what’s going on.
- If you’ve ever opened your toilet tank, you’ve probably seen a metal or plastic ball resting on the top of the water. This is called the float, and it governs how high the toilet fills. If the float is cracked, water will seep inside and the ball won’t be able to sit above the water. As a result, the toilet can overfill and water can leak into the overflow tube, creating an endless cycle of filling and draining that will wreak havoc on your water bill. Sometimes, fixing the float just involves bending the metal arm it is attached to so the float sits on top of the water – just be careful not to snap it! In newer toilets, the float rides up and down in a plastic tube. While these are generally more durable than float arms, occasionally the ball will get stuck on grit or debris and may need to be moved manually a few times to remove the obstacle.
- If you have a cistern with a button flush, it may also be the case that the washer at the bottom of the flushing valve is not sealing properly, allowing water to flow through into the toilet. Call us for a replacement!
- If that’s still not the case, you probably have a leaky flushing valve. The flushing valve is located at the bottom of the tank and is generally pretty easy to replace – just pop it off and put a new one in.
Why does water back up into the sink when I run the dishwasher?
This usually means your dishwasher has been installed incorrectly – call us for a solution!
Is there anything I should NOT put down my garbage disposal?
Yes – in fact, there are a lot of things that should never go down a garbage disposal. Fibrous foods, including celery, asparagus and artichokes can wrap around the blades and choke them. In addition, you should avoid putting down:
- Potato skins
- Bone fragments and eggshells
- Banana peels
- Fats / grease
- Unpopped popcorn kernels
- Onion skins
- Fruit pits and seeds
- Stringy vegetables like asparagus and celery
My Wastemaster broke down – what do I do?
Don’t run out and buy a new Wastemaster yet! There are a couple things that can cause an interruption in your Wastemaster that doesn’t mean it’s completely destroyed. First, turn the Wastemaster off, disconnect it from the power and check to see if something is jamming it – a spoon or any other hard object. If you don’t find anything, insert the key supplied with your unit into spindle on bottom of unit and turn anti-clockwise. This should free any obstruction without burning out the motor. Plug it back in and try to press the RESET button and reconnect the power to fix it. Finally, check the breaker switch in your fuse box. If all else fails, call us!
Why has my water pressure dropped to low?
Low water pressure can indicate a couple of things. Your pump may be starting to lose pressure or it may be that your filters need a change. Call us to investigate and resolve your low water pressure problems.
My pump has stopped working.
It pays to check that there is power supply to the pump and also your tank water level. There might also be a leak in the water suction pump which can cause air cavitation.
My pump is running and not turning
If your pump is humming and not turning the pump could be either:
– seized and a replacement pump will be required, or
– the capacitor has gone and a replacement capacitor may be required.
My pump keeps running.
If the pump keeps turning on regularly and you are not using any water, check the following:
Check that you do not have any appliance using water, washing machine, dishwasher, icemaker in fridge etc. and check toilets not continually running (see above).
If the pump keeps running, this may indicate a leak somewhere in your pipework. Any leaks can cause more damage with blown kitchen cabinets or rotten floors, so call us to come and investigate the cause and we can recommend a plan to fix the leak.
I don’t use the spare bathroom but there is a bad smell in the bathroom.
If a shower unit is not being used, the water seal dries out and this can then let septic smells enter the room. If you do use the shower and have a smell, may be the plumbing has not originally included a trap. That would also allow septic smells to enter the room.
My water from the water tank smells and is discoloured.
There are two most common causes of smelly tank water:
It could be from your water level being very low and perhaps has not been cleaned so that the sludge that builds up at the bottom of the tank can be affecting the water supply. This can be worse if the tank is low and then a sudden downpour can stir up the sludge.
Otherwise, if your have trees overhanging or near your roof, the leaves and flowers could be going into the water supply. We can find a solution that best suits your property to reduce the leaves and flowers that go into your tank. If you have a Pohutukawa tree over or near your roof, we recommend disconnecting the roof water runoff whilst the tree is flowering as the flowers can taint the water to cause a poisonous tea that you should not drink.
Continuous Hot Water
What are some of the biggest benefits continuous hot water systems offer over conventional heaters?
One benefit of continuous hot water systems is that unlike conventional water heaters, they never run out of hot water. While storage tank water heaters have a limited capacity (usually between 135 – 180 litres), continuous hot water systems heat water as it passes through the system, meaning you’ll never run out of hot water – especially important when the whole family is in town!
Another benefit is that since there’s no stored water, there’s no risk of an untimely leak (flooding from water heaters is one of the most common homeowner insurance claims!). And, since you’re only heating the water you’re using, you’ll see major reductions on your energy bills.
What size continuous hot water system do I need?
Everyone’s needs are different so it’s hard to say without knowing exactly what’s going on in your home. To get a rough idea of the size (litres per minute capacity) you’ll need, think about how much water you use on a daily basis – how long are your family’s showers? How often do you run the dishwasher or washing machine? Do you ever use them at the same time? Try to get a rough estimate of how much water you use, then call us to install a continuous hot water system that meets your family’s needs.
I’ve heard continuous hot water systems are unreliable. Is this true?
When they were first introduced decades ago, continuous hot water systems broke down somewhat frequently. These days, thanks to numerous technological advancements, continuous hot water systems can last up to 20 years or more – longer than conventional storage tank water heaters!
Can I use a continuous hot water system if I have hard water?
While continuous hot water systems are less susceptible to the negative effects of hard water, they are still affected by it. If you have hard water, it’s best to have water softening treatment whether you use a conventional or continuous hot water system.
Why do my pipes rattle and make noise all the time?
Most likely your water lines are not properly secured, meaning there are some spots where they rub up against your floor joists. If you call us we can make sure your pipes are properly secured and install pipe hangers between your pipes and the joists to eliminate the noises.
How do I clean my new taps?
Most taps can be cleaned with a damp, soft cloth. If you just installed new taps, you may want to find out if the manufacturer has any recommended cleaning solutions for more stubborn stains. Make sure to avoid any abrasive cleaners or pads – these may scratch the surface and finish of your tap.
My water bills are going up, but I don’t think we have a leak. What’s going on?
Your toilet may be leaking silently. Here’s how to tell:
Put a few drops of food colouring into the toilet tank and make sure no one uses that toilet for about half an hour. Once the half hour is up, come back and check if any of the food colouring has leaked into the bowl. If it has, call us for toilet repair as soon as you can!