When you think of plumbing problems you probably think of wintertime, when pipes may freeze due to frigid temperatures. However, many issues also come up during the summer. There is nothing worse than coming home from vacation to soaked floors and walls due to some sort of plumbing disaster. Here are some ways to make sure your plumbing system is ready for a long, hot summer.
Once the kids are home from school for the summer, your toilets will probably get more of a workout. A clog is one of the most common toilet plumbing problems, but it is also one of the most preventable. Show your kids how much toilet paper is appropriate to use, and make sure you tell them never to flush anything down the toilet that does not belong there, such as a toy.
You should also have your sewer line inspected by a professional to make sure there are no clogs or cracks that could lead to bigger issues. Many plumbers use video cameras and other sophisticated equipment to inspect pipes without damaging your home. Professionals insert a cable with a camera at the end that sends a picture to a monitor, on which you can watch the process and see any potential plumbing issues.
Sprinkler System Damage
As the summer heat bears down, you want to keep your yard as cool as possible. Regular maintenance is key to keeping sprinkler systems working properly. Make sure your sprinkler heads are clear of debris before you use them, and never mow the lawn without making sure all of those heads are down.
Sump Pump Failure
If you live in a house with a basement in an area prone to heavy summer thunderstorms, it is critical that you make sure your sump pump is in working order. Test your pump before it rains to make sure it will function in an emergency. If your pump is old, makes strange noises, or does not turn on, consider having it replaced.
You can also prevent flooding during summer rains is by ensuring that your downspouts are clear of debris, and will transport water as far away from your home as possible. If you have any doubts that your downspouts are in good shape, have a professional check them to see if you need replacements.
Water Heater Wear and Tear
Higher temperatures mean you can probably turn down your water heater a bit during the summer. By turning it down just a few degrees, you’ll prevent wear and tear, and you may save substantial money on your monthly water bill.
Washing Machine Issues
Summertime tends to place a bigger burden on your washing machine because there’s likely to be more laundry as the kids are playing outside, in the park, or at the beach. Call a professional to have your washing machine thoroughly checked to accommodate the increased demand, and never run the washing machine while you are away from home.
Garbage Disposal Obstructions
With more people at home during the day, the garbage disposal will also get more use. Popular summertime foods such as watermelon, barbecue, and corn on the cob can cause serious damage if put down the disposal. Cooking oil can also create technical problems. Tell your children what they can and cannot put down the disposal, and call a plumber if you have a problem. While you may be able to unclog a disposal yourself, it can be an extremely messy–and potentially dangerous–job.
Prevent Problems – Schedule Overall System Maintenance
This is a great time to have a plumber do a once-over of your fixtures and appliances to make sure there are no small leaks that could spill over into bigger problems. An extensive inspection will uncover issues that you can have repaired for a reasonable price, instead of waiting for a breakdown that will cost a lot more money to fix.
If you have any questions about how to help your plumbing survive another summer, your local plumber will be happy to answer them and provide additional help.
Patricia Bonacorda is the President of Spartan Plumbing (http://spartanman.com/), a commercial and residential plumbing and HVAC Company. For 51 years, Spartan Plumbing is a licensed, bonded and insured business that has provided professional plumbing, heating and air conditioning services throughout Washington, DC and Maryland.