When you think about summer, your thoughts probably do not drift to your plumbing problems. It’s probably not even on your radar.
Here’s the thing: the summer months bring their own set of unique plumbing problems in old homes and new. There are lots of potential plumbing issues that can crop up!
Let’s take a quick look at six of the most common summer plumbing issues and how to prevent them.
6 Plumbing Problems You Want to Avoid This Summer
1. Kitchen issues: Summer cooking
Warmer weather means fresh produce! Yum. The downside: hard fruit and vegetable scraps can be tough on your garbage disposal.
The solution: Sort judiciously. Just a few precautions should help you remain clog-free!
- Melon rinds, carrots and other firm produce should go into the garbage, not into your unit.
- Backyard barbecue and picnic foods can wreak havoc on the system, too. Make sure items like corncob husks and greasy bones are also tossed into the trash.
- Avoid pouring used cooking oils down the drain.
- Bonus tip: Run cold water through the disposal for 10 to 15 seconds before and after use. This quick rinse clears any remaining bits of food and solves drain problems before they start.
2. Summer vacation, bathroom staycations cause clogs
Here’s something you may never have thought about: when the kids are home from school all day every day, your toilets get used more heavily. This extra use can lead to backed up toilets and flooded bathrooms (not to mention some unpleasant situations).
The solution: To avoid toilet plumbing problems, encourage your family to use as little toilet paper as possible. Remind them what should and shouldn't be flushed.
For little ones, the should-nots are toys and any other non-waste items; for the ladies of the house, this means feminine protection.
3. Laundry loads that overload your plumbing
Summertime means lots of outdoor adventures and trips to the pool. The adventures lead, in turn, to lots of grass-stained, sweaty clothing and dirty towels to wash.
The solution: To prepare for running all those extra loads of laundry, you or a plumbing service expert should examine your washing machine's hoses for leaks, cracks, or bulges. The last thing you want is a surprise burst!
Whenever possible, stay at home while the machine is running. If a problem arises you can address it immediately (and call a professional if needed).
Bonus tip: move the machine off the wall to prevent the hose from kinking.
4. Summer showers tax your hot water heater
Between all the extra laundry (see above) and the extra bathing (sweaty), you'll also be overworking your water heater. That’s a serious plumbing problem – especially when you’re running late for work and are staring down an ice-cold shower.
The solution: If your hot water heater is roughly 10 years old, you'll want to have it inspected to make sure it's in good working order.
Bonus tip: Save money and energy! Turn the temperature on your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Mowing the lawn? Beware of sprinkler heads
The heat in the Washington, D.C./ DMV region can make it hard to maintain a beautiful green lawn and colorful garden beds. If you want to have a beautiful landscape, you’ll probably need an in-ground sprinkler systems. But when something goes wrong with them, it can be a major pain.
The solution: There are a couple major moves to make to ensure the safety of your sprinklers:
- Take a few minutes to thoroughly check and clean your sprinkler heads. Leaks aren’t always apparent until you receive an astronomical water bill, so that preventative inspection can save you a lot of stress and money.
- Warn whoever mows your lawn to avoid hitting the heads while trimming the grass, to avoid damaging them.
6. Trees working underground to clog sewer lines
Tree roots are always spreading underground. During the hot months, they are reaching out in search of water. Kind of amazing, when you think about it! Circle of life.
Unfortunately, those tree roots can create serious plumbing problems, including damage and blockages in your underground pipes.
Heavy summer rain showers, especially thunderstorms, are common as the air heats up in the afternoon. When the ground becomes oversaturated, water can seep into sewer pipes through cracks and cause the sewer line to back up.
The solution: Servicing your sewers before the summer comes can help you avoid the worst of the problems, but if you see or smell any signs of sewer line trouble—such as water from the toilet backing up into the bathtub drain—call a qualified service professional with your plumbing questions right away.
Trust your plumbing problems to a pro
When you’re looking forward to a summer full of fun in the sun, the last thing you want to think about is plumbing. There are some plumbing issues you can solve yourself, like unblocking traps, unclogging drains or fixing weak water pressure, but wouldn't it be better to avoid these problems in the first place? To help make the extra wear and tear easier on your home’s plumbing system, be proactive! Talk to a John C. Flood plumbing expert about common plumbing problems today.