The winner of an essay writing competition has been honoured for recognising the important contribution that plumbing has made to global culture.
Arizona State University engineering student Jessica Piper wrote a piece that successfully argued that the advance of human society and culture would have been drastically hindered without the wonders of plumbing.
From the ancient Romans to the British Empire, great societies and cultures throughout history have been underpinned by their ability to manage water. The Romans developed lead plumbing, aqueducts, indoor toilets and underfloor heating. Ingenious Victorian engineers developed large-scale urban sewerage systems and flushing toilets.
Who knows whether Plutarch would have sought to become a Roman citizen and written his Lives if it hadn’t been for superior Roman plumbing, or whether the medical advances of the nineteenth century would have been possible without significant improvements in mass urban sanitation.
Plumbing systems require experts to manage them, keep the drains unblocked and the water flowing freely. That’s where Drain Doctor comes in. Modern society relies on functioning plumbing to manage water and it can rely on Drain Doctor to maintain it.
Drain Doctor Portugal technician Marcio Costa clears palm roots from a drain.
Sales by Drain Doctor Portugal (www.draindoctor.pt) have increased by 54 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010 despite challenging trading conditions.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were in Lisbon recently to support British trade and investment opportunities and highlight the work of the substantial resident British community in the country. Despite the economic difficulties facing the country we have been able to buck the trend and provide the royal visitors with an example of British overseas trade at its best.
Portugal has requested financial assistance from the European Union to help bail out its ailing economy. However, Drain Doctor Portugal continues to go from strength to strength. Against a national background of low economic growth and high unemployment we have continued to increase our sales.
In the first three months of 2010 our sales were up 178 per cent on the same period in 2009. Sales have increased by a further 54 percent in Q1 of 2011, demonstrating that Drain Doctor can be a virtually recession-proof business.
We have successfully promoted Drain Doctor as the only emergency drain repair company in Portugal that provides in-situ re-lining no-dig drain repairs. This is significant in the many areas that are paved in traditional intricately patterned cobblestone called calçada, which requires a lot of time and skill to replace once dug up.
Damage to drains by palm tree roots is very common on both domestic and commercial properties in the Algarve. Less abundant materials and dwindling numbers of craftsmen make digging up and replacing calçada expensive. That’s where Drain Doctor’s no-dig repair comes into its own.
We saw an opportunity for business growth in this area. To increase business we have ensured that Drain Doctor carefully promoted its unique position as the only emergency drain repair company inPortugal that uses up to date no-dig repair technology.
Drain Doctor in the Algarve region covers Loulé, Faro, Silves, Vilamoura, Portimão and Lagos. It is demonstrating the concept of Drain Doctor’s guaranteed 24 hours per day 365 days per year service with a fixed price ‘menu’ and no call-out or out-of-hours charges.
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We are already over half way through April and there has been no sign of those spring showers traditionally associated with the early spring weather. Weather men say that the dry spell is set to continue. Gardens are drying out, some newspapers are showing pictures of low reservoirs and there is already talk of hose pipe bans. As part of our occasional series on hints and tips we take a look at how you can save water and beat the ban:
- Ensure that you repair dripping taps and ball cocks.
- Don’t leave the tap running when you brush your teeth and make sure you wash fruit and veg in a bowl instead of under a running tap.
- Install water saving devices such as a ‘Hippo’ in the cistern of high flushing toilets to reduce the amount of water used in each flush. Some water companies supply Hippos free of charge to their customers.
- Don’t flush heavier items such as cotton wool, sanitary products and other waste – put it in the bin.
- Take showers instead of baths – and keep them short.
- Install rainwater harvesting – a collection tank in the garden can collect rainwater runoff from the roof which can be used to fill a water butt or supply a garden tap by use of a pump. Rainwater is harvested for non-drinking water applications and can also be pumped back into the house for use in flushing toilets and filling washing machines.
- Collecting grey water from sinks, washing machines and dishwashers and using it to flush the toilets means that household water is used twice which has an immediate payback on the water meter.
As spring is now getting under way it is time to get out the polish and give our homes a good old fashioned clean.
However, jobs such as ensuring the plumbing and drains have fully survived the winter are often overlooked and, according to Drain Doctor Plumbing, simple cleaning and maintenance should be done to prevent major and expensive repairs.
Blocked drains and corroded fittings can lead to a multitude of problems, such as water damage from burst pipes, and can prove costly to repair. Dripping taps, toilets that don’t flush properly and water coming out of overflow pipes are sure signs that your plumbing needs an overhaul and should be checked as part of the spring cleaning process.
Drain Doctor has produced a simple check list for homeowners to ensure problems are identified quickly and that major repair work can be avoided:
- Always know where your main stop valve is located and ensure it is labelled. It is on the incoming mains water supply and is often under the kitchen sink.
- Stop valves tend to corrode slightly with time, so check that it’s working by exercising the valve twice from fully open to fully closed and back again (and always close the valve ‘half a turn’ from fully open once you’re done).
- Inspect toilet cisterns both inside and out for operation and wear. If there are any signs of corrosion or leaking, contact a reputable plumber.
- Visually inspect any cold water storage tanks in the attic for leaks, water level, protective lids and thermal insulation. Also, if fitted, check the hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard for signs of damage or leaks, and exercise all available valves.
- Install a strainer in plug holes to catch hair and other objects that could block drains.
If you find a problem, or suspect there may be one, have an established plumber inspect pipes for leaks, damage and corrosion. By using a CCTV camera in the pipes, plumbers can inspect and pinpoint exactly where drains are cracked, damaged or misaligned.
Ask the plumber to give a diagnosis of the work needed and provide a written estimate up front. The ones who don’t probably have something to hide such as VAT costs or other ‘extras’.
Find a plumber that will allow you to pay for a job when it is complete and you are fully satisfied with the work.
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These plumbers from Russia have formed an unsual ‘combo.’
Plumber’s Jazz is a unique musical group which plays anything from Michael Jackson to Deep Purple on instruments they made themselves entirely from plumbing materials.
Are there are any talented Drain Doctors out there who play instruments or are in a band? Let us know and send in your photos. This could be the start of ‘Drain Doctor’s got Talent.’
Drain Doctor is launching a scratch card competition for both its domestic and commercial customers.
From 18 April Drain Doctor domestic and business customers who have drains unblocked or repair work carried out will receive a scratch card, giving them the chance to win some great prizes.
Up for grabs are two 42″ LCD televisions, 50 £10 high street vouchers, 96 bottles of MSC enzyme and 900 wins of either a single leg CCTV look-see drain survey, or a plumbing, drainage or septic tank home inspection.
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According to media reports, local government in Cape Town, South Africa, has passed a law to say that houses being sold need a certificate from a plumber.
The certificate will verify that the property has no plumbing problems. If there are problems - even as simple as dripping taps – they need to be fixed before the property can be sold.
The law is aimed at cutting water waste as there is a real shortage of water in the Western Cape area of South Africa. Other cities are expected to pass similar laws, according to the local media.
As the UK begins to feel the effect of climate change, could we see similar laws enacted here? It does not seem likely. Not yet.