Tips & Advice

Are Bushfire Sprinkler Systems worth it in the Shoalhaven?

Nestled within the picturesque expanse between Berry and Durras Lake, the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales, Australia, is an undeniably attractive place to call home. In fact, the Shoalhaven is where the Curran brand first got its start over 30 years ago.

However, with an average of 600 bushfires per year, including a significant number deemed ‘major,’ Shoalhaven residents face a critical need for strong fire protection measures. 

When it comes to bushfire defence, ember protection sprinkler systems are a proactive step that homeowners serious about safeguarding their properties against bushfires should consider.

As local suppliers to the Shoalhaven region, Curran is in a unique position to offer tailored advice regarding if these systems are worth the investment. In the following sections, we delve into the essential aspects of bushfire sprinkler systems, addressing your burning questions and empowering you to make an informed decision.

shoalhaven fire risk

The Shoalhaven region covers an area of approximately 4660 km² between the towns of Berry and Durras Lake. The Shoalhaven experiences an average of 600 bushfires a year, with an average of 20 ‘major’ fires.

According to research from PointData, Shoalhaven has the second highest number of buildings and structures that are classified as high to very high bushfire risk in NSW, as shown in the heat map below:

Map of NSW showing bushfire risk.

Source: PointData via Insurance Business Australia

If you want to check the bushfire risk of your exact address, Shoalhaven City Council has a handy map that you can use. Click the button below to view the Bushfire Prone Land Map. Make sure to follow the instructions and select the ‘Hazard’ layer.

What are bushfire sprinkler systems?

Bushfire sprinkler systems are mounted around the perimeter of the roof and consist of a series of strategically placed robust sprinkler heads connected by copper pipe.

 

The sprinkler heads are designed to provide targeted and localised protection by spraying water on and around structures, creating a moisture barrier that helps prevent ignition from flying embers, which are a significant cause of bushfires spreading.

How do bushfire sprinkler systems work?

Detection

Modern ember protection sprinkler systems are often equipped with sensors that can detect increased heat or smoke in the vicinity. Some systems are linked to weather stations and fire detection networks, allowing them to activate pre-emptively when a bushfire is approaching.

Activation

When the system detects a threat, it activates the sprinklers. The sprinkler system can also be manually switched on by the homeowner, either using the control panel or remotely via their phone.

Sprinkler operation

The sprinklers release water in a high-pressure spray, wetting the surrounding area, including the house and its immediate surroundings. This creates a curtain of water that helps repel embers and suppresses flames.

Still have questions? Click the headings below to get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

It is highly likely that power will be cut off during a bushfire. That’s why ember protection sprinkler systems installed by Curran are all backed up by a battery power source. The smart system we install will send an alert should that battery have any issues, so that the sprinkler system will be ready to defend the home when the time comes.

Ember protection sprinklers can be connected to the home’s existing water supply. During a bushfire, however, the local water supply will likely be affected. Instead, Curran recommends that homeowners install a dedicated water supply.

The water source should be clean and sediment-free; a large water tank provides the best solution. A dam or pool can also provide water to feed the sprinklers, but this water is more likely to be contaminated.

This is why at Curran we are such advocates for bushfire sprinkler systems. We don’t want anyone to risk their lives protecting their home in an extreme weather event. Modern bushfire sprinklers are equipped with smart features so that they automatically switch on when a bushfire emergency is detected. There are also options for remote operation of the system via a mobile phone. With these options in place, homeowners can evacuate to safety, knowing that their homes have the best possible chance of survival.

Note: Not all bushfire sprinklers systems offer automatic or remote operations. Check with your supplier about your options. At Curran we recommend an automated system as standard.

During a bushfire the air temperature will spike. It is important that when sourcing a supplier for a bushfire sprinkler system, the homeowner ensures that they are getting high quality materials. Curran installs the Platypus Sprinkler.

 

The Platypus Sprinkler is engineered to the highest quality. The sprinkler head is constructed from glass reinforced nylon with flame retardant and UV stabiliser with a 316 stainless steel insert. The inlet shaft and nozzle are stainless steel, and the bearing is graphite and carbon fibre. We use copper pipes to connect the network of sprinkler heads as copper is a fire-resistant material.

No, systems can be retro-fitted to older homes or installed with new-builds.

Are bushfire sprinkler systems worth the investment?

Let’s get into the facts. The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) states, “A well prepared home is more likely to survive a bush fire”. One of their key bushfire preparation strategies is to attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters. The RFS encourages the use of sprinkler systems as an active measure to support other bushfire protection strategies.

According to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), external sprinklers offer the following benefits:

Reduce the likelihood of property damage.

Assist firefighters in their defence efforts.

Protect the structural integrity of the building.

Minimise the environmental impact of fires.

The QFES also states that the damage caused by a fire, along with the water used by firefighters to extinguish it, is significantly higher compared to the damage sustained when a building is protected by an effective sprinkler system.

Want more evidence? Read the success stories below to see how sprinklers systems hold up when under serious bushfire conditions.

Case studies

We have compiled several accounts below to illustrate how sprinkler systems have proven their effectiveness in protecting properties and saving lives during real-world bushfire emergencies, including some nearby cases. Note: the majority of the cases referenced in the following section were passed to us directly from a representative at the NSW RFS.

Image Source: Siobhan Threlfall via ABC News

nerringdah, NSW, 2019

On New Years Eve of 2019, a devastating firestorm swept through the far South Coast town of Nerrigundah, destroying 80% of the town’s homes. Residents took shelter in the fire station, which was armed with sprinklers. One of those residents was local fire captain, Ron Threlfall, who credits the fire sprinklers with saving the lives of everyone who took refuge in the fire station. In regards to the sprinklers, he stated, “They should be mandatory and they should be remote controlled.”

Image Source: Marysville

Black Saturday, Vic, 2009

The Black Saturday Bushfires that devastated Victoria in February of 2009 are considered one of the worst natural disaster events in Australian history. In these fires, 173 people lost their lives and 2,029 homes were destroyed. The International Copper Association published this account from a survivor of the Black Saturday fires. In the account, the survivor emphasises the critical role of sprinkler systems in their survival.

It gave them the valuable asset of time, allowing them to seek shelter. They state, “Without the sprinkler system we would have been incinerated in our home in minutes and would not have had the opportunity to retreat to the bunker.” They strongly advocate for the installation of external sprinkler systems as the only reliable defence against bushfires, “Without a sprinkler system you’re relying on the grace of god and luck.”

Black Saturday, Vic, 2009

In this video, watch a bushfire sprinkler system in action during the Black Saturday bushfires. The video, posted by the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA), shows the system being tested less than a week before the fires hit in Clonbinane, Victoria. The sprinklers were installed on the home of CFA volunteer, Trevor Vienet, and they saved his home from destruction, as you can witness in the footage.

Image Source: Sheena Boughen via ABC

Coolagolite, NSW, 2023

More recently, in the Coolagolite bushfire of October 2023, music destination, Four Winds, escaped damage thanks to their bushfire preparedness. Their sprinkler system was activated without human intervention and pulsed for four hours, providing much-needed protection.

Image Source: Simon Maddocks CCTV via ABC

Hamley Bridge, SA, 2015

When fires reached the Hamley Bridge farm property of Professor Simon Maddocks, he was a four-and-a-half-hour flight away in Darwin and couldn’t be there to defend his property. Helpless, he watched over CCTV as his crops went up in flames. His house survived the blaze however, thanks to Professor Maddocks’ remotely controlled sprinkler systems, as well as the help of his neighbours. He says, “The fire came up all around the house, but my ability to turn on irrigation systems from my phone in Darwin and the fact that I had neighbours patrolling with fire units, we’re lucky we got away with a house.”

Getting the right bushfire sprinkler system

At Curran, we want to offer any help we can to assist the members of the Shoalhaven community in protecting their home and all the memories it holds. For anyone seeking an extra layer of defence against bushfires, our trained team of professionals, with their understanding of local conditions, can install a complete system to give your home the best chance of survival. As a multi-trade business we can install a comprehensive bushfire defence system, including:

  • Bushfire sprinkler systems that cover the entire roof with water, catching flying embers before they can reach the roof
  • Connecting the sprinkler system to a dedicated water supply, such as a water tank
  • Setting up a pump to supply power to the sprinkler system
  • Gutter guards that repel leaf litter, which quickly becomes fuel to fires

We install the Australian designed and made Platypus bushfire sprinkler system. Platypus’ control unit can sense temperature to automatically activate the sprinklers day or night, without the need to be home.

 

What sets Platypus sprinklers apart from competitors’ products is the unique sprinkler head design, optimised to withstand high winds – a crucial factor in mitigating ember attacks. By producing larger droplets directed outward and downward, Platypus sprinklers create a shield that is less likely to be swept away by the wind.

We empathise with the financial strain that such systems may impose, but when it comes to saving a home or a life, it is an investment that is more than worth it. Curran offers a number of interest-free payment plans to allow homeowners to defend their home now and pay in the future.

Bushfires have devastated the Shoalhaven region in the past. With limited time to prepare once a bushfire is imminent, is important to be prepared in advance. Curran is committed to equipping Shoalhaven residents with reliable defence systems. If you’re interested in better protecting you home against fires, start the conversation today and get in touch with our team.

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1st-party reviews

Viktoria Staunton
March 25, 2024
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Excellent customer service- Josh went to great lengths to assist my mum who is vision impaired. Great job Josh!!
Helen Anderson
March 21, 2024
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Very impressed with the fast service! Josh and Nathan highly efficient and are both fantastic ambassadors for Curran! Thanks again, great job!
Zvoni Hodak
March 21, 2024
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What a great company! Our plumbing problem was fixed in less than 24 hours by a super friendly plumber, backed up by an extraordinarily professional team of managers and admins. Based on this first experience with Curran, we didn't hesitate to sign up to their partnership plan, confident in the knowledge that we now have a reliable team of plumbers, electricians and other service technicians when we need them. Highly recommended!
Francesca Pami
March 20, 2024
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Very professional service. Jake came to quote me for the job and was the plumber who eventually did my plumbing. A beautiful person who was both extremely polite and respectful as well as being very skilled and so helpful. He cleaned up after the job and made sure I was happy with everything he did. I will definitely use Curran’s for my future plumbing needs.
Tim Lukacevic
March 19, 2024
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From time placed call last night to the time technician arrived was good service and kept informed. Early morning phone call to get more info and see how was the tap going under the sink . Will who attended our place very nice guy . As have had Currans plumbing in the past for jobs. Now they have more different things do in the business which is great Renewed our membership We were happy and didn't realise our tap was still covered when was installed in just over a year ago. Always hold upfront what job will cost
Elizabeth Carr
March 18, 2024
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Josh was very informative and took the time to ensure I understood exactly what he was doing and what the options were. Lovely fella. Even offered to take the bins out
Julie Street-Smith
March 11, 2024
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A very efficient service. Knowing what you pay upfront was great, it certainly eased my anxiety about receiving a blown out bill. The service was fantastic. Very polite, courteous and respectful of my time. No hesitation In using Curran again. Grist job. Julie S
Kevin Foreman
March 3, 2024
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Super responsive, prompt and professional. Very impressed.
Caitlin Williams
February 29, 2024
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Ryan was very friendly & helpful. Provided great customer service during the appointment for my quote.
B H
February 29, 2024
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Excellent service! Super helpful & informative! Allowing extra time to teach and explain each step of the works carried out. :)
Julia Blom
February 26, 2024
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Very good service. The plumber was polite and gave a good explanation of what the problem was with the blocked drain. I was very suprised with the low price. He got us out of a problem so we can continue to use our sink and dishwasher.
Jennifer Fraser
February 20, 2024
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Jake checked out my drainage problem and was extremely helpful in providing some solutions. He was very knowledgeable and very informative. A lovely young man who was a pleasure to talk too . Highly recommend this local family owned business
Tor W-wise
February 5, 2024
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Great service. Same day. Good advice. Explains everything really well
Shaun Bradley
February 4, 2024
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Billy and Sam were both friendly and supportive of the project. They managed to mitigate the problem with the drainage and completed the maintenance issue professionally. Billy installed the hot water system to my satisfaction and I was very impressed with the quality of the work and the cleanup work done. I would recommend Curran plumbing to my friends, neighbours and family. Thanks Billy and Sam for your services.
Stephanie Robinson
February 1, 2024
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Really helpful, guys explained everything clearly and were very thorough.
Garry Paterson
January 31, 2024
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Dylan and Jake provided great service. They were professional and respectful. Communications of the job at quote time and during the job cannot be faulted.
Sandi Sattlecker
January 29, 2024
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Great, friendly, professional service. I was kept informed at every point, even receiving updated info on the Sunday of a long weekend, about my upcoming appointment. Thank you Andrew, Jake and Josh!
ForTunes Well
January 24, 2024
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Great service and the young guy Isaac was very friendly and super informative.
Susan Russell
January 20, 2024
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Prompt reply to initial enquiry. Date and time to suit. Wonderful customer service from trades and helpful polite and skilled. Love the service partner plan
Cherie Rien
January 17, 2024
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Lovely people to talk to and so helpful. A very professional service and the tradies are all very friendly I would highly recommend Curran Plumbing to anyone who is looking for a fairly priced plumbing solution 😊
Tracey Xuereb
January 12, 2024
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Great service. On time, explained everything thoroughly, very friendly and job done professionally. Highly recommend.
Richard
January 12, 2024
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Prompt efficient service to our house in Jamberoo, happy to recommend.
Tertius de Vries
January 10, 2024
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Professional prompt and good workmanship!
Roger Summerill
January 10, 2024
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I found staff excellent and helpful they explained everything clearly
Saheel Singh
January 10, 2024
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Reliable and efficient - great service 😊
Jessica Kennedy
January 9, 2024
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Curran plumbing were on time every time we were booked in, the young men that came to our house were efficient and very friendly. I would recommend them to anyone.
Tony Crawford
January 8, 2024
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Arrived on time, fully explained what needed to be done then quoted up front. Completed the job and cleaned up afterwards. I will be using them again for future plumbing jobs.
Tessa Jane Ryland-Parsons
December 19, 2023
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Thank you Curran Plumbing. Once again excellent customer service. Prompt notification of when the technicians would arrive and honest opinion on our options.
Arvin Villano
December 10, 2023
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Excellent customer service and the quality of the work done is perfect. Very professional.
Kathy Mckenzie
December 6, 2023
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I have nothing but praise for the guys (Josh, Hunter & Bailey) that visited my house recently to undertake several electrical jobs and an air conditioner service. They were all very polite, professional & answered all of my questions. Also you can’t beat an interest free payment plan to help with the expense at this time of the year. Thank you
Steve Taylor
December 4, 2023
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The team were on time, very professional and I was informed of all that was to be done before and during and then a summary at the end of the job. We were very impressed. Thank you also for replacing our old gas hot water system so quickly
Dan
December 4, 2023
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Excellent professional service and work completed quickly and without any incidence. All work was carried out in a timely and expedient manner and workmen were very courteous
Helen Barlow
November 30, 2023
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Good service by courteous efficient and helpful tradesmen!
Lee Jourdain
November 29, 2023
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Curran were out within an hour of my call. I was fully advised by the person on the end of the phone of their procedures and they communicated with me by text and email during my wait. The technician gave me 25 mins notice of his arrival. He advised me what he would be doing, the price, and when he was about to turn the power off. Fixed the problem in 20 mins. I was very impressed with their customer service.
Kathryn Hughes
November 22, 2023
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Same day service a bonus. On time and presented well. Explained everything well. Very happy with the service. I have used them in the past and will continue to use and recommend.
Ann Cameron
November 22, 2023
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I was very pleased & impressed with the quick service & politeness of this young men & also the way they cleaned up & put everything back the way it was ,I would definitely recommend Currans Plumbing to anyone.
pwreid25
November 20, 2023
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I have no hesitation in recommending Curran's to anyone needing repairs or installations in their homes. Top service and attention to detail; tradesmen are all polite, courteous and respectful. At every stage of the job they checked before going ahead if problems were discovered. Great work Currans!
Max Zalakos
November 18, 2023
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Excellent and friendly service by experienced personnel who knew exactly what to do, and do it well, and expeditiously. Very happy!
Brendan Nolan
November 16, 2023
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Shout out to the team at Curran's for the quick response and top-quality service!
Radu Bliuc
November 15, 2023
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Great service from Jake and CJ. Professional, punctual, efficient, great in communications the technical aspect of the job. Well done!
Brett T
November 14, 2023
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Explained the job. Professional and friendly. Great after sales service.
Onge Onge
November 9, 2023
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Guys did a great job in not so easy circumstances and short notice, very polite and professional. Answered any questions I had and kept us updated all the way. No problem recommending Curran for any plumbing work.
Belinda Dakin
November 7, 2023
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Levi was informative, did the job in a timely fashion and was a pleasure to have here.
HelloBeauty Home Salon
November 2, 2023
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These guys never disappoint.professional, courteous and transparent.I wish more tradies used this business model.
David Smith
November 2, 2023
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We had a blocked sewer. Communication with the organisation wad easy. I was kept informed about the job. Nathan was polite, well presented and had a great attitude. He explained what he would do and why. The job was done well, he explained what he did and what the result of his work was. He did a great job. Thanks
Narelle Lovell
November 2, 2023
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Very professional service would recommend highly
Dianne Hosa
October 31, 2023
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They were on time. They rung before coming as they said they would. They explained what they were doing before they started doing the work. They show me what they did and made sure everything was working efficiently before leaving.
Cheryl Harris
October 27, 2023
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I found the guys at Curran Electrical and Plumbing to be great, they were open really friendly and helpful. They did the job on time with no mess. I also found them to be honest. I thought I had to replace two lights in the bathroom however while installing the new ones we found another switch so I did not need them replaced after all and the quote was adjusted to reflect this.
Bryan Rugg
October 25, 2023
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I found the work that was completed was to an excellent quality. The workers were professional in their responses to questions and they were always on time.
Paul Blanden
October 25, 2023
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Excellent work from Josh & Hunter. Very professional, polite & great work. Greatly appreciated. Thank you
Jimmy's Burger Truck
October 23, 2023
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very professional service and friendly, knowledgeable staff. tidy workers that kept the business clean as they were working throughout the job. highly recommend !
Ishy
October 18, 2023
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Very efficient and friendly service. I highly recommend these guys.
Jennifer Bean
October 16, 2023
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The contractors (both electrical and plumbing tradespeople) were personable and professional. It was great service, they arrived on time, checked each decision with me and worked hard. They were clean and tidy and treated my place respectfully.
Kevin Ryan
October 15, 2023
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Quick service and helpful staff both on the phone speaking to office staff and the young plumber who came to do the job
Michael C
October 10, 2023
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They assessed the job clearly, told us what was needed, and explained how they would work. They turned up on time, were polite, and did the work with a minimum of fuss.
Charlie Bell
October 6, 2023
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Curran were able to come to me at short notice after a sewer disaster. They kept me informed of timing and Jake the plumber was clearly knowledgeable and passionate about his trade. He was efficient, thorough and happy to answer questions and tell me why and what he was doing offering a practical solution to our ageing property’s plumbing needs. Thank you. I’ll be in touch
Tracy Webb
October 5, 2023
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Fast and efficient service with everything explained before the job was commenced. Professional and friendly which was very nice.
Jono Q
October 3, 2023
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Very helpful people, happy to talk through what they were doing and why.
Katrina Toland
September 25, 2023
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We use Curran's for any plumbing requirement we have. They communicate well and are conscious of the importance of everyone's time. I totally recommend their services.
Mitch Ashford
September 12, 2023
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My mother who's in her 80's needed her toilet fixed. Curran Plumbing and Electrical did everything perfectly. Service was fast, plumber did a great job after informing me of the several options I had. He was also polite, well mannered and friendly, taking the time to ensure I understood everything he did. Service was perfect and I highly recommend Curran Plumbing and Electrical
Merryn Wright
September 12, 2023
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Curran Plumbing & Electrical recently installed a new pump on my rainwater tank. I am very pleased with their work and also that they were able to do it within a few days of getting their quote. I also appreciated that when the quote was done that a video was taken of what needed to be done, so that whoever did the work knew what needed to be done.
Folilia
August 26, 2023
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Had a new toilet installed and 6 taps replaced with ‘quarter turn’ taps to aid my arthritic fingers. Perfectly happy with the work and the very professional and friendly tradesmen. Gold stars to Luke, Josh and Jake
Jeff B
July 01, 2023
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Jake arrived on time, we talked thru our issue and he checked out our storm water problem. He was easily able to pinpoint our blockage and put together 2 quote options to rectify the fault. Jake is a good representative for the business👍
John Q
June 29, 2023
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Well done team. Great to finally meet a professional company. You guys responded quickly, found the problem, gave a respectable quote (unheard-of nowadays) and got the job done. This is the place to go if you have any electrical or plumbing needs. Thanks again Curran
Kelly S
June 28, 2023
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Sam was excellent. He was on time, polite, and did a fantastic and thorough job. He gave us detailed options for the job and we appreciated his honest and professional opinion. We will 100% use Curran plumbing again.
Dave P
June 04, 2023
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Sam was bang on time and fixed our septic issue very quickly. He also sent a camera up the pipes to ensure everything else was fine before leaving. We've enjoyed our ongoing relationship with Curran after they did some major works for us last year and our membership is well worth it.
John D
May 26, 2023
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The people doing the work were friendly, professional and informative and the work was carried out in a timely manner. You should be proud of the plumbing and electrical people who completed this work
Gordon M
July 18, 2022
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Currans supplied us with constant updating of the project and when completed arranged for an inspection of the completed works.
Mitchell F
July 16, 2022
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From the first phone call Curran plumbing services were professional, showed up on time for scheduled quote , then me updated when the job was going to be completed . On the day of install all of the staff were well trained , well spoken and installed my new instantaneous gas hot water system like they were installing it in their own home . The quality in detail to make sure I was satisfied didn’t go unnoticed. At the end of the day I feel like I have gained a plumber for life . 100% recommend.
InJect A Joint V
July 13, 2022
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Luke was a Complete Gentleman and he explained every detail to my wife and i!! On this basis we excepted his Quote on the Spot and told him to go ahead and install our Brand New Australian made Hot Water System!! It was all Done that afternoon with Expert Precision d we had Hot water by 4pm!! Absolutely Marvellous Well Done! Sid you should be Very Proud of the Workmanship that Luke Performed!!
Brian D
July 13, 2022
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From my first contact with your company to completion of the job was only a few days tree roots in the sewer pipes gone, big thanks to your team.
David Collins
July 11, 2022
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Hi it's Dave from Dapto for Block drain problem, Part of Sewer drain renewal and ground was leveled nice & looks good, kitchen drain came apart and was reconnected all services where friendly and good communication excellent work. Thank you
Kingfisher Maritime
July 10, 2022
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I found Josh from Curren Plumbing to be very honest and trustworthy in the work he carried out at my home. Josh communicated everything he was going to do and the results of these actions in a manner I was able to understand. I was happy with the work Josh did at my home.
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