Armadale-WA web site – Home maintenance web page

This web page relates to home maintenance, relating to Armadale, Western Australia.

Trees in yards and possible blocking of sewer pipes

After having spent alot of money in locating the sewerage inspection cover for the property, and in getting roots cleared, that were blocking the sewer pipe, I tried to find what plants could cause root blockages of sewer pipes. I found no published information about this, in Western Australia, but I found an informative document published by the Bundaberg Regional Council. The document has the title "Do you have a monster in your backyard?", and I have republished it here, with the permission of the Bundaberg Regional Council.
The required accreditation and disclaimer, are:
"Material sourced from Bundaberg Regional Council, Queensland.
Please be aware the information provided is advisory only in nature."

The document is published here, at Do_you_have_a_Monster_in_Your_Backyard.pdf .

I have also found the document published by SA Water, from whom I am yet to receive permission for republishing the document here (and, if required by them, I will take it down from being republished here), and the document gives further information about plants that may be risky in terms of creating root blockages of water and sewer pipes, and it is worth reading, and, considering. Note that the additional risky plants named, include rosemary. It should be noted that the document refers to having a clay based soil, whereas Western Australia has, for the most part, a sandy based soil, which may cause plant roots to travel further. I would tend to assume the greatest maximum distance, for plants to be planted away from water and sewer pipes, to be on the safe(r) side - "It is better to err on the side of caution".

That document is published here, at GuideTreePlantingPipeBlockages.pdf .

Please note the following.
1.Find where your sewer pipes lay, then find the name of any shrubs or trees existing, or, that you are considering planting, within about 20m of the sewer pipes, then find the families of plants, to which those trees and shrubs belong, and, find any different names for the trees and shrubs. 2. For example, in the document, is the name "pineapple guava". That is more commonly known as feijoa - see , which is a fruit tree popular in New Zealand, originally from South America, and, it is not of the guava family, but is instead of the myrtle family, the same plant family as the New Zealand Christmas Tree, known in New Zealand as the pohutukawa (which is why both tree types have similar, beautiful, flowers) - see .
3. Some tree family names, eg fig, and acacia/wattle, have many varities of plants within their families, so, it is important to get the right plant name and family name, to assess the possible risk to the sewer and water pipes.
4. The information is advisory only, and, is not absolute. The safety (of the water and sewerage pipes) depends on the local conditions, and, the document might no contain the names of all plants that pose a risk to sewer pipes. If unsure, remove, or, do not plant, the plants. It is better to be safe than sorry. A neighbour advised me that the cost of dealing with roots blocking sewers, on that property, was about $3,000.
5. So, be careful as to what plants you have in your yard.
6. If you have blocked sewers, and you have tried to clear them with chemicals, and the sewers are still blocked, you will probably need to get a plumber out to clear the blockage(s), and, it is best to make sure that you get a plumber out who has a drain cleaning machine that can clear root blockages.

Solar energy systems
- for both photovoltaic (generating electricity from the sun) systems
and solar water heating systems

From a "Solar Photovoltaic Power System Handbook" - I believe that the information equally applies to solar water heating panels, also:

The PV system is characterized as "low maintenance" mainly due to the absence of moving parts. Regular maintenance involves inspection for damage and simple cleaning if necessary.
The system can lose 4-8% of its production capacity from dirty modules (solar panels) if cleaning is not accomplished, depending on local conditions. Flushing down with a water hose should remove accumulated dust and dirt. Cleaning with a sponge and soapy water may be necessary if bird guano build up occurs. Incidental shading of the PV array (also applicable to panels for solar water heaters)by vegetation or other objects is to be avoided.

Mains pressure solar water heaters - pressure relief valves
Also, for solar water heaters, especially mains pressure solar water heaters, the pressure relief valves sould be tested (opened, to flush them, then closed again) from time to time, to check that they are working and not leaking. People should check the manuals for the solar water heaters, for the frequency of checking the pressure relief valves, and, if people can not find the information, the pressure relief valves should be checked at least once each year, as should the pressure relief valves on all mains pressure water systems. If you are unsure at all, check with your plumber.

Battery operated fire alarms

Remember to replace the battery in each battery operated fire alarm, at least once each year - the official date for this, is 01 April of each year.

I can be contacted by email by clicking on the link at Bret

This web page was last updated on 05 March, 2016