Summertime heat can spell trouble for all kinds of systems in your home, including your plumbing system. While air conditioners can be stretched to the max, plumbing can also develop issues, especially if you cook more or have house guests. Being on the lookout for issues can help you to address malfunctions early before simple plumbing problems turn into large-scale emergencies. Here are a few things to watch out for.
Whether you are coming home from a day at the pool or seeking refuge from the sweltering noonday sun, you might be tempted to climb into a nice bath or shower to rinse away dirt, sweat, and sunscreen. However, debris, even fine debris like dirt and dust, can collect in pipes and create problems for your drain lines. Over time, water may drain from baths or showers more slowly, or become blocked altogether, creating the need for emergency drain clearing.
It can be embarrassing for a guest to clog a toilet, but during the summertime, you may run into this problem more frequently than other times of the year. When toilets clog because of a guest using too much toilet paper or flushing foreign objects, it can be very inconvenient—especially during a party. Make sure to always keep your bathroom stocked with a plunger, a wastebasket, and septic and sewer-safe products to minimize clog formation.
Garbage disposals are designed to run ground food scraps into your home’s main sewer line for disposal. Unfortunately, if tough, fibrous objects like potato peels or foods that are prone to swell, like pasta, are put down the drain, you could end up with a clog. When kitchen sinks develop clogs, it can be difficult to wash dishes or mop your floors, since dirty, stagnant water may stick around until the clog is released.
Dishwashers can be a huge timesaver, especially if you like to cook. However, if you are in a hurry when you wash your dishes, you could make mistakes that could allow water to leak into your home. Anytime dishwashers are overfilled or loaded improperly, they can develop problems like a door that isn’t shut firmly or items that get in the way of your system’s float assembly. If you use too much dishwasher soap, or someone in your household adds the wrong soap altogether, you could also end up with problems. If you have a dishwasher with a filter, it may become dirty and incapable of draining water away, which can lead to water escaping the confines of the appliance.
Faucets are more likely to leak when they are used heavily since there are small moving parts like valves inside plumbing fixtures. When faucets are turned on and off repeatedly throughout the day as people are home more, you may be faced with a leaky faucet or two. When faucets leak, you could experience higher water bills and an annoying dripping sound around the clock.
It’s fun in the summertime to open up your windows and listen to the sounds of children playing outside, but for parents, summertime is plagued with an excess of dirty laundry. Swimsuits, soiled play clothes, and dirty tablecloths are just a few of the things that may end up your laundry room more frequently than you thought possible, and heavier laundry room usage can cause problems like leaking washing machine hoses or internal clogs.
Washing machines, especially front-loading washing machines, typically have a drain located on the bottom of the appliance where water is pumped out of the machine by an internal motor. These drains can become clogged by things like gum wrappers, hair ties, baby socks, or paper particles, making it difficult for your dishwasher to eradicate dirty water and rinse your clothes properly. Over time, rubber washing machine hoses can become brittle, develop cracks, and leak. Hoses typically last 3-5 years, so you should check them frequently for damage.
Many homeowners in Cincinnati rely on sump pumps to remove standing water from lower-lying rooms like basements or crawlspaces. However, when summer storms overwhelm or clog your sump pump, you could be left with a flood.
Your sewer is responsible for moving solid and liquid waste away from your home towards your local water plant, where the sewage will be screened, processed, and cleaned for consumption again. Unfortunately, sewer lines, even pipes buried deep underground, can become damaged by tree roots as they attempt to burrow into the nutrient-rich liquid leaking from small cracks or joinery gaps in the pipe. When tree roots find these entrances into pipes, they can actually start to grow within the pipe, creating large clogs that completely halt the flow of water.
Anytime underground pipes are driven over, they can shift and break, allowing nearby dirt and rocks to enter the line and cause additional clogs. Complete blockages can also cause pressure disturbances when water is flushed away from your home, which can cause sewage or wastewater to back up into your house.
Many homeowners leave garden hoses attached to hose bibbs around the clock to make summertime cleaning and watering easier. However, if homeowners forget to turn off the water and disconnect garden hoses from the bibbs in late fall, the water can freeze, expand, and damage metal bibbs quickly. You may notice drips around your hose bibb in the spring or summer.
It’s important to check sprinkler heads before the start of the summer since damaged areas could create problems like large amounts of wasted water. Anytime a sprinkler head is walked on, driven over, or trimmed around, it could develop damage that allows water to leak. Never park on your lawn or store heavy equipment around sprinkler heads. Mark sprinklers carefully before professional fertilization or aerating.
Your sprinkler system may make it possible to enjoy a soft, beautiful lawn and colorful landscape, but when those underground lines become damaged, you could be in for some significant surprises. Damaged sprinkler lines can cause issues like marshy landscaping or overgrown foliage, as well as indoor floods. Be on the lookout for any areas in your yard that are soggy or experience a great deal of soil erosion.
Hot water can soothe stiff, achy muscles and make it easier to relax at the end of the day. Many people find themselves showering and bathing more during the summertime, and water heaters can take a beating. Oftentimes, families put their water heaters to the test as they are continuously filled and emptied throughout the day. If you have a tank water heater and you find yourself without enough hot water, you may need a larger unit. While tankless water heaters are capable of providing a continuous flow of hot water, they are limited by how much power they can generate, which can limit hot water availability if multiple people in a home need hot water at the same time.
High water bills can put a cramp in your summer vacation budget, but you don’t have to be a victim of your daily water usage. Here are a few things that could drive up the amount of water you consume this summer.
While you may feel like there isn’t much you can do about steep water bills, you may be surprised to see just how much of an impact you can make on your water usage. Pay attention to changes on your water bill and be proactive about resolving any damage to your water supply lines. Talk with your family about conserving water, especially during drought years.
From clogged toilets to damaged main water lines, it’s never fun to be faced with a plumbing problem. Fortunately, our team here at Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is ready to take your call and help at the first sign of problems. With a focus on making your home a more comfortable, sanitary place, our licensed, certified Cincinnati plumbers can quickly resolve your biggest plumbing challenges. Contact us today for service you can count on.