Tankless Water Heaters – The Ultimate Instantaneous Hot Water System Solution

The growing demand for cost savings in households has many homeowners drawn to tankless water heater solutions. These water heaters are an innovative system that gives homeowners the freedom of energy efficiency and eliminates the large space requirements of storage tank water heaters.

Tankless water heaters can save households between 27% to 50 % in energy costs and are certainly a great option for those trying to minimise their environmental footprint.

Tankless heaters have evolved into more sophisticated units, with features such as wireless connectivity that alerts you on your smartphone when the unit requires maintenance. If kept well maintained, these units can last more than 20 years, which surpasses the average lifespan of 12 years on storage tank water heaters.

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

Tankless water heaters do not store water, unlike storage tank water heaters. So how do they work? With a tankless water heater, the hot water starts to kick in when you turn the tap. Cold water will then flow through a pipe and into the tankless water heater unit. The water is then heated by an electric element or gas burner. This ensures that you have a steady supply of hot water.

Due to these water heaters not needing a large storage tank, they take up less space. They only use electricity when you turn on the taps making them more energy efficient than other water heaters.

Generally, tankless water heaters are a quick hot water source as they produce 7-15 litres of hot water per minute. Gas-fired tankless water heaters have generally higher flow rates than electric ones.

Tankless Water Heater Installation

Installation of tankless water heaters should be left to the professionals. Many factors influence proper installation. These factors include fuel type, local building code requirements, climate and safety concerns. If incorrectly installed, these units can be damaged or may not last as long as water heaters that are installed correctly.

As a result, it’s best to have your tankless water heater installed by a qualified plumbing and heating contractor.

Tankless Water Heater Benefits

Tankless water heaters offer many benefits:

  • They typically last longer and are cheaper to maintain.
  • Water is only heated when the faucet is turned on, making these units highly energy efficient and cheaper to operate.
  • You need less space for these water heaters than conventional storage tank water heaters.
  • You won’t experience the standby heat losses that are usually experienced with storage water heaters.
  • They can be run on electricity or gas.
  • These water heaters have easily replaceable parts.

Homeowners that have converted to tankless water heaters are undoubtedly enjoying the benefits of these units. To find out more about our tankless water heater solutions, contact our knowledgeable staff at Hilton Plumbing!


What You Need to Know About Blocked Drains (and How to Fix Them!)

While we all live in fear of a toilet backing up or a shower running cold, the reality is that these kinds of major plumbing issues don’t happen all that often. The truth is, when it comes to household plumbing problems, blocked drains are probably the most common issue that you’re likely to encounter.

How will I know if I have a blocked drain?

Blocked drains are usually pretty easy to identify, with the most common symptom being water that is slow to drain away. This is one of the earliest indicators that you might have a blockage forming. Left unfixed, this may progress to an unpleasant smell, a strange gurgling sound coming from inside the pipes and eventually, the water will stop going down the drain all together (when a total blockage occurs).

What can cause a blocked drain?

Occasionally a blocked drain may be caused by something totally beyond your control, such as a tree root growing into a pipe. But far more often, the blockage will be caused by something (other than water) going down the drain. The most common reasons why you’ll get a blocked drain are:

  • Oil and food scraps: If you’ve got a blockage in your kitchen sink then oil and food scraps are the likely culprits. While some food scraps will break down over time, others (like coffee grounds) will just sit in the pipes, clumping together with cooking oil and creating a blockage.
  • Calcium build-ups: If your mains water contains a high concentration of minerals then you may slowly develop a calcium build-up in your drain. On its own, this won’t usually cause a total obstruction, but it can make it easier for your pipes to get blocked up.
  • Hair: We all naturally shed strands of hair when we’re in the midst of a thorough shampoo, but when these hairs go down the drain, they’re a major culprit of blocked shower drains.
  • Foreign objects: This includes anything that hasn’t been specifically designed to go down a drain, such as random toys, sanitary products, natural debris (such as twigs or leaves) and cat litter.

I’ve got a blocked drain – how do I fix it?

There are a range of methods for clearing a blocked drain, and most of them don’t even require a trained professional. Here are 5 simple DIY ways to clear a blocked drain:

  1. Pour boiling water down: The easiest of tricks, boiling water is great for dissolving fats and loosening greasy build-ups. Just pour freshly boiled water straight down the drain, being careful not to splash any on yourself.
  2. Cook up a natural drain cleaner: You can make your own effective drain cleaner using a couple of pantry staples. While there are a few different recipes you can try, the most common involves pouring bicarb soda and white vinegar down the drain and then leaving it to stew for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Try a caustic commercial cleaner: If you think you need something stronger, then try a commercial drain cleaner. These are made of strong chemicals designed to dissolve grease and fat, so always follow the recommended safety guidelines.
  4. Get a plunger: Plungers are a great way of clearing stubborn blockages, as they create a vacuum effect that sucks the obstruction right out. You’ll need to make a strong seal with the plunger, so this method won’t work on shower strip drains.
  5. Build your own drain hook: In a pinch, get some thin wire, bend a hook in one end (a modified coat hanger will do the trick) and see if you can fish the blockage right out. This is particularly effective in showers where the culprit is hair, but you’ll need to remove the drain grill before you get started.

Can’t be bothered doing it yourself? Call your local Perth plumber Hilton Plumbing, your mate in the trade. We can fix any kind of plumbing issue, and we won’t even charge you a call-out fee.


Five Simple Solutions for Fixing a Blocked Bathroom Sink

Sinks have an unfortunate tendency to get blocked. This is particularly true with bathroom sinks, where hair, soap scum and personal products often end up going down the drain. The good news is, a blocked bathroom sink is usually an easy fix, something that you’ll be able to handle yourself (no matter how much of a plumbing novice you might be!).

  1. Just add water: Yes, sometimes all a blocked bathroom sink needs is a bit of boiling water to soften up the obstruction. Being careful not to burn yourself, slowly pour a steady stream of freshly boiled water down the plughole. If you notice an improvement, but not a complete fix, then try repeating this step multiple times.
  2. Experiment with home-made solvents: This tried-and-true method has been around since at least your grandma’s heyday, helping to unclog bathroom sinks long before we had commercial solvents. Using a funnel (to minimise mess), pour in ¼-cup of baking soda, followed by 1 and ¼-cups of white household vinegar. Then put in the plug and wait 20 minutes while the ingredients work their magic.
  3. Try something a little more heavy-duty: If your home-made solvents haven’t quite done the trick then you can try using a chemical solvent instead. These commercially made products often have quite a strong smell and can be corrosive to skin, so open a window, put on the bathroom fan and follow all the manufacturer safety guidelines.
  4. Invest in a plunger: Plungers are more commonly associated with toilets, but they can be useful for clearing a range of different blockages, including those found in your bathroom sink. Place your plunger over the plughole (remove the plug first), then add a little water to the sink (no need to fill it right up, you just want to help create a seal around the plunger). Rapidly pump the plunger for 15-30 seconds. This will hopefully create enough suction to push the blockage right through. If the problem is only partly fixed then you may need to repeat the process a few times.
  5. Send in a snake: Don’t worry, we’re not talking about the reptilian kind. A drain snake (also known as a plumber’s snake) is an elongated auger that is thin and flexible enough to travel right down pipes to clear blockages at the source. Rather than inserting the snake down the plughole, you’ll need to locate and remove the P-trap under your sink (a piece of pipe in the shape of a ‘P’ which connects your sink to the plumbing beneath). Remember to place a bucket underneath the P-trap before you start to loosen the connections (some water may drain out once the pipe is disconnected). Check the P-trap for any visible and easy to clear blockages. If there’s no obvious sign of a blockage, then send in the snake, following the manufacturers’ instructions for use. Once you feel resistance, you’ll know you’re at the blockage. When this happens, secure the snake and then slowly start to twist. The auger will bite into the blockage and push it clear. You’ll know this has happened once you no longer feel any resistance. You can then remove the drain snake and reattach the P-trap.

Can’t be bothered doing it yourself? Call your local Perth plumber Hilton Plumbing, your mate in the trade. We can fix any kind of plumbing issue, and we won’t even charge you a call-out fee.


How to Fix Your Leaking Showerhead in Five Easy Steps

Your showerhead is leaking. No matter how tightly you turn off the tap, it’s still just dripping…dripping…dripping.

This is a pretty common occurrence with showerheads, but that doesn’t mean you should just put up with the problem. A dripping showerhead can slowly but substantially add to your water bill, not to mention creating a ripe environment for mould and mildew to sprout. It’s also a gigantic waste of water and the dripping noise will eventually drive you around the bend (why does it always seem louder at night?!). To save your sanity and your wallet, you’ll need to fix the leak. Don’t panic. It may be easier than you think.

What causes a showerhead to leak?

Most showerhead issues are caused by either a problem in the showerhead itself, a degraded ‘O’ ring or a problem with the cartridge valve. If your showerhead leak seems to stem from a problem with the flow (water doesn’t come out evenly or dribbles from the base) then your showerhead might just need a clean to get rid of calcium build-up inside.

How do I fix a leaking showerhead?

  1. Start by turning off the water at the mains (this is always the first and most important step!). Then, use an adjustable wrench to loosen the showerhead and remove the cover plate. If you want to clean the showerhead, try soaking it in white vinegar for at least 8 hours, then rinsing it with clean water to remove loosened build-up. You can also just buy a replacement showerhead if you’d prefer.
  2. To reattach the showerhead, start by removing any loose materials from the end of the pipe, then wrap the thread of the pipe with Teflon tape (to help prevent leaks). Attach the showerhead and then use an adjustable wrench to tighten.
  3. Test the showerhead for leaks, and if necessary, add an additional layer of Teflon tape or try tightening the showerhead further. If this hasn’t fixed the problem, it could be that a degraded rubber washer is the culprit.
  4. Rubber washers are located behind the taps in your shower. These rubber washers help to prevent leaks by creating a watertight seal when you turn off the tap. However, over time (and particularly when taps are turned off very tightly) these washers will start to degrade, allowing the showerhead to leak. After making sure the mains water is off, unscrew the taps and remove the cover plate, the sleeve (the part that covers the stem sticking out of the wall) and any nuts.
  5. Remove the degraded rubber washer and replace with a new one. These are available to buy at most hardware or plumbing supply stores, just make sure you’ve got the same size as the existing to avoid problems. Once you’ve replaced the washer, reassemble the tap, turn on the water and test for leaks.

Can’t be bothered doing it yourself? Call Hilton Plumbing, your mate in the trade. We can fix any kind of plumbing issue, and we won’t even charge you a call-out fee.