Frequently asked questions

We may be able to assist you in fixing your plumbing problem before contacting us for professional assistance.

Q: Can I fix my leaking hot water cylinder?

A: Leaks in a hot water cylinder are usually caused by corrosion or from the action of hot water and pressure. If your cylinder is leaking this is usually a sign that the tank is wearing out and should be replaced. It doesn't make financial sense to repair a tank if it's reached the end of its life, which is generally 10-40 years for electric low-pressure tanks and five to 20 years for mains pressure steel tanks. (For the latter, the valve train may need upgrading to meet modern codes and installation instructions.)

In an emergency turn off the tap in the piping that leads to the cylinder or the tap that controls the water to the header tank in the ceiling. Also, turn off the power or gas supply to the cylinder and contact Laser Plumbing Te Puke

Q: How do I make my electric storage hot water cylinder more efficient?

A: If you put a wrap around it, you will reduce heat loss, which wastes valuable energy. Wraps are available from your local hardware store.

To increase efficiency, the pipes leading from your storage water heater should be lagged for the first 2 m of horizontal piping using pre-formed closed cell foam pipe insulation of 12 mm nominal thickness. This insulation material is available from hardware stores.

If the pipes run upwards first, then horizontally, the lagging will still need to extend to the first 2 m of horizontal piping, as well as the vertical section of pipe.

If the pipes run downwards before you get to the 2 m horizontal length, the downward pipe acts as a heat trap. You do not need to insulate beyond the first 150 mm of the downward pipe.

Q: How do I unblock my drain?

A: In the case of a blocked drain contact Laser Plumbing Te Puke for specific advice or service as it could either be a quick self fix or you may need a professional plumber.

Q: What do I do if my toilet, sink, bath or shower is blocked?

A: A rubber cup plunger can be effective when pumped up and down for a couple of minutes. If it's a blocked sink, keep a damp rag over the overflow while you do it. If that doesn't work, remove the trap under the sink to check for blockage (remember to keep a bucket underneath!)

Q: How do I retrieve valuables lost down the sink?

A: If you've just washed your hands and realise you're short of a ring or precious stone that was there before, there's a good chance the treasure can be recovered.

The item may still be trapped in the curve of the waste pipe, so the first step is to stop any flow of water right away and call us on (07) 573 8249, we may be able to find the object by dismantling the waste pipe.

Q: How can I adjust the water temperature coming out of my hot taps?

A: If your water's too hot, it can be downright dangerous! Each year, children are admitted to hospital with burns caused by water coming out of the tap too hot. Children are particularly at risk because they have relatively slow reaction times, their skin burns more quickly and deeply and at lower temperatures than adults, and they have a smaller body area.

An alarming number of NZ homes have hot water that's dangerously hot. At 60°, a child's skin can sustain a serious burn in one second. At 54°, it takes 10 seconds to burn. A safe bath temperature for young children is between 37° and 38°. When you're running the bath, always put the cold water in first and stay in the room to supervise. Test the bath temperature with the inside of your wrist before putting your child in.

If you think your tap water may be too hot or too cold, contact us on (07) 573 8249 so we can check the temperature and advise you on ways of adjusting it, if necessary.

This may include lowering or increasing the temperature in the cylinder, or installing tempering valves, temperature limiting taps and shower mixers.

Tempering valves control the temperature of the delivered water by mixing cold water with hot as it leaves your hot water cylinder.

The New Zealand Building Code requires that all new and modified existing hot water systems in people's homes have hot water delivered to bathroom fixtures at no more than 55°.

Q: Why is there poor water flow in my shower?

A: If you have poor shower pressure, it's probably because your water supply tank is mounted on your hot water cylinder or in the roof space. Or it may be that you have a pressure-reducing valve supplying water to the hot water cylinder.

There are several ways you can boost the hot water pressure at the shower:

  • change the shower mixer
  • change the shower rose - they get clogged up with deposits over time and restrict the flow of water
  • change the method of supplying water to the shower by using a pressure-reducing valve with open vent
  • replace the low pressure hot water cylinder with a medium-pressure or mains-pressure type gas or electric system

The chosen method will depend on how much water you want at the shower, how much it costs to do and what is possible. We are happy to come and assess the situation, and list the best options for your budget.

Q: My tap keeps dripping - what should I do?

A: You have two options:

1. Do nothing. The downside of this is that it is both annoying and expensive. The tap will be ruined due to the seat being worn away, requiring a costly replacement. And, if it's the hot water tap, you'll be wasting precious energy. If you have a water meter, you'll be paying for the water, too.

2. Repair or replace the tap

We can advise you of the best option

Q: Do you have any advice about choosing bathroom and kitchen fittings?

A: Many taps and mixers are designed for use specifically on mains pressure or low pressure systems only, and the wrong tap on the wrong system can lead to very disappointing performance and cause problems in other arrears of your system.

If you're choosing fittings, it's a good idea to consult with us to see what your hot water system is and what taps will work on it. A lot of imported products are designed for mains pressure and won't work effectively if you're on a low-pressure system.

Many a time, the plumber has had to come behind and fix up a job done with elegant but functionally disappointing fittings that are not suited to the piping/pressure system installed in your home.

Fittings and fixtures made in NZ generally have the advantage of being made to suit local conditions and are backed up by the product knowledge of the manufacturer.

Q: How do I locate my water toby?

A: A water toby is the valve that allows all the mains water to be closed off if you have a major leak or while plumbing work is carried out. For this reason, it's important to know where it is.

The toby is often under a lid close to the boundary of your property. A paint mark on the kerb may mark the point where your property's water pipe connects to the mains. But if you are unable to locate it, call your Council.

The Council looks after and owns all the pipes up to and including the toby (unless you are in a shared driveway, in which case local rules apply).

If the toby is located within your property, it is still owned and maintained by the Council, but they usually move it back outside your boundary when carrying out maintenance.

Totally Dependable Guarantee

When you hire a Laser Plumber , you'll receive our 'Totally Dependable' service, guaranteed!

  • Timely delivery
  • Promise of care and skill
  • Appropriate work for customers' needs
  • Well-presented, professional employees
  • Ensure responsibility of material supplied
  • Honour manufacturer's guarantees
  • Meet and frequently exceed our customers' expectations