Doing the rain dance
I recently bought myself a LP gas geyser. In an attempt to become the DIY’er I would like to be, I read the manual and discovered that I needed a regulator with a capacity of at least 3kg per hour to fit onto a 9kg or larger LP gas bottle.
Back to the stores I went, but finding the right regulator wasn’t easy. None of the sales personnel knew about the capacity rating on gas regulators sold in their stores. Eventually, I found one, which, according to the salesperson, had been on the shelf for a while.
After conversions on the existing plumbing were completed and the geyser installed according to regulations, it is operational, but not very successful for our showers. We have mixers that increase or decrease water flow by moving the mixer handle outward or inward, and regulate the water temperature by moving the mixer handle left (warm) and right (cold).
This creates quite a hysterical song and dance in the shower as we try to regulate the water temp to the desired level. It seems that we always start out too hot, and we gradually decrease the water temp until suddenly the warm water disappears completely and the cold water hits you. The only way to continue showering at this stage is to shut the water off and start the routine all over again.
Tjaart van der Walt, by email
Patrick Gordon, the National Training Manager at Cobra Watertech, replies: Based on the information supplied, there are only two things that would cause this problem. Firstly, if the hot and cold water supply are not balanced, the cold water (being the stronger pressure) will overpower the hot water pressure at some stage during the blending process. To solve this, supply the geyser and the cold water to the shower with the same pressure reducing valve.
If the water is balanced and the problem persists, it may be that the gas geyser is not receiving enough flow to keep the flame activated. If the hot water flow pressure drops too low during the blending process the geyser will switch off. If your geyser has a winter/ summer setting, try putting the geyser on the summer setting. This will result in a lower hot water temperature and the geyser will draw more hot water – increasing the hot water flow pressure.
For more information call Patrick on 011-951-5157 or email:
Ryder Rollinson, chairman of Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) and PIRB registered plumber, says: I don’t use lever, or focus, mixers on gas installations due to difficulty regulating the hot water pressure. I prefer to use normal under-tile stopcocks on a shower installation.
Kevin Robertson, chief executive officer of the LPGas Association of SA (NPC), says: Section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 states in general terms that it is illegal for an unauthorised person to install or remove any gas or gas reticulation system. In the event of an incident resulting from the installation, or failure of any components of the system, it is unlikely you will be covered by your insurance. This is not to say you are an incompetent DIY’er; the insurer has the right to refute the claim whether the instillation was done correctly or not.
Even if the system is operating correctly, it is recommended that an ‘accredited’ installer – a Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) registered plumber with specialist skills in LPGas recognised by the South African Qualification and Certification Committee – is called in to inspect and make changes, if required. Thereafter, you will receive the applicable Certificate of Compliance (COC). This will safeguard you as the consumer and ensure the wellbeing of not only the hot water system, but also the family members who may be endangered.
For more information call Kevin on 011-886-9702 or email
Can someone please help me find out where I can buy this type of a plunger for a toilet cistern or where I can at least get the bottom rubber seals? The house where it is installed is about 9-10 years old. I have tried numerous outlets, but no one seems to recognise it. Please help. I live in Rosebank, Johannesburg.Navin Sooka, by email
Patrick Gordon from Cobra Watertech replies
I am not sure who made the toilet plunger in question, but a universal type seal is available from Plumblink, which has branches across Gauteng. The other option is to replace the whole unit. Similar models are available from most plumbing outlets, but Plumblink and Builders Warehouse will definitely be able to assist.
The vent pipe on the outflow of the toilet is made from old fashioned cast iron. When repairs and maintenance had to be done, the inspection hole had to be opened. The screws were rusted and had to be broken off to remove the cover. Is there any product or plan someone can suggest to enable me to keep the cover on the hole in such a way that the cover can be removed at regular intervals, so that I can clear the roots etc, from the sewage pipes? I don't like the idea of using putty or silicon every time this cover has to be replaced.
Sharl Bennie replies
The one way is to drill out the old screws and to tap new threads in the hole to accommodate new screws. The shortcut that I normally use is to seal with 'pan seal ring wax' and then tie the cover in place with a large cable tie. I hope this method works for you. If you need to gain access again, you simply cut the cable tie and replace it with a new one.
Bathroom extractor fan
Can a bathroom extractor fan (in Port Elizabeth) vent into the roof space or must it vent to the outside?
Verna Olivier, by email
Jenny Pretorius from Actom advises
If you have a normal pitched roof, it can be vented into the roof space. If you have a flat roof with less than 300mm of space between the ceiling and the roof, you will need to vent it to the outside. You are also advised to vent outside if you have insulation in the roof, especially in more humid areas.
Call Jenny on 011-871-6789 for more advice and/or visit .
I still have one of those old baths in my bathroom that you don't want to get rid of. The problem is that it is stained and discoloured, especially where the tap is dripping. I stay in Secunda, Mpumalanga and it would be much appreciated if you could advise who I could contact to redo the bath, or perhaps you could refer me to an article in The Home Handyman magazine.
Johan Lloyed, Secunda
The product featured was Rust-Oleum Speciality Tub & Tile paint. First prepare your space by opening windows and covering nearby items with a drop cloth. Clean the bath using bleach, abrasive cleaners and Lime-A-Way. Allow to dry. Stir the activator you received with the product (part A). Stir base from the product (part B). Mix A with B and stir. Always refer to the instructions.
Apply Rust-Oleum Speciality Tub & Tile paint. Follow directions and drying times indicated on the kit. It dries to the touch in less than one hour, but allow three days before exposing it to water.
This product is available in most hardware stores nationally. Contact Tile and Floor Care, the distributors of Rust-Oleum, toll free on 0800-006-173 for more information.
To have your bath re-enamelled contact Mend-A-Bath International on for your local branch for a quote?
Annatjie de Kock
I am a 62-year-young granny and want to colour my bath, since I like the size of my bath and prefer enamel baths to the new models on the market that tend to be small and made of fibreglass. Is this possible and what do I need? Is it possible to do it so that it looks like a professional job and what will be the lifespan of such a bath?
There is no reason why you cannot tackle this project yourself. There is a product manufactured by Rust-Oleum and available from Tile and Floor Care. The product comes in kit form, is available in white, amber and biscuit and is simply painted on to porcelain or ceramic surfaces. For more information and to find your nearest supplier contact, 011 822 6901 or visit www.tilecare.co.za.