Summer Plumbing Problems

July 16, 2018

Owning and maintaining a house can be a full-time job. We hope that our summer plumbing tips will help you have less hassle in the future. 
You probably anticipated these “chores” when you started the journey of owning a house, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

Summer Plumbing Prep
Never leave your house unattended for long periods of time. If you will be gone for more than a weekend, we suggest having a neighbor or family member check in on the house, especially your pipes in the winter.
Before leaving:

  • Check for leaks in appliances
  • Turn the water heater down to low, pilot or vacation mode
  • Depending on how long you’ll be gone, turn off the water main
  • Leave the dishwasher and washing machine open to avoid mold
  • Set your irrigation system to run on a schedule so your grass and plants don’t die

Check your Outdoor Hookups

    • Install a Sump Pump: With the heavy rainfall of the spring and summer, you need a sump pump to keep your basement dry. To make sure that the sump pump is working its best, clean out the filter regularly.

  • Clear gutters: Another way to ensure a dry basement is to maintain clean gutters and downspouts to encourage correct draining
  • Implement draining: Keep foundation clear of water by installing more drainage around your property

Check The Pipes
It’s easy to forget some of the places that water travels. During the long, cold Kansas City winter, your pipes can be under a lot of pressure. Sometimes, you won’t even see the effects of the winter until your pipes warm up in the spring and summer. Now is the perfect time to check them and catch any problems that may have come up.
What to inspect

  • Faucets
  • Pipes under the sink
  • Showerheads
  • Bathtub spigots
  • Drinking water line
  • Water softener
  • Hot water heater
  • Outdoor spigots
  • Sprinklers
  • Pool – Here is a tutorial on how to do so yourself.
  • Toilets – put drops of food coloring in the tank. If the coloring leaks to the bowl without flushing the toilet, there’s a leak somewhere.

What to look for

  • Rust
  • Corrosion
  • Leaks
  • Broken or bent parts

Check Your Water Pressure
It’s important to routinely check the PSI in your home. If it’s too high for too long, your pipes have the potential to burst from all the pressure coursing through them. This potential increases even more if you leave the house for an extended period of time with nobody to flush the toilets or turn the faucets on.
Where’s the Water Main?
You must know where the water main is in case of a burst or leak. To avoid the burst causing too much damage, the ability to shut off the water main is extremely important.
Avoid Clogs
Clogs can be avoided by routine maintenance on your pipes. For helpful tips, refer to our last post to catch a clog before it happens. 

Pump to stay dry
In order for your sump pump to keep up with its job, you need to routinely clean the screen.
Defend the disposal
In the summer, it’s common to eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and meat, especially on the grill. It can be tempting to toss the remains down the drain. This can be extremely harmful to the plumbing and your garbage disposal blades.
To avoid this, make sure to keep a compost bin handy or make the trash can obvious. This way, your guests will know where to put their plate scraps, if you’re not around to answer their questions. Read our post on drain cleaning for more tips.
Watch the washer
Your washer will be worked twice as hard during the summer than the winter. It’s proven that we wear twice as many clothes in the summer than the winter. To check up on your washer, simply pull it away from the wall and check the hoses for any cracks or misshapenness.

Sweaty pipes
This may seem like a small issue and, while it cannot cause immediate damage to your home, it can eventually cause mold and mildew.
Groom your pets
Most pets shed layers of fur in the summer. This is a natural reaction for animals – their bodies do this automatically. As a pet owner, it’s your duty to groom the pet on a regular basis. It can be tempting to just put your pet in the shower and hose him or her down. This is a smart option but it can be terrible for your drain. If you must bathe the pet in the tub, just make sure you’re trapping the hair. If you have a yard with a hose hook-up, we suggest washing your pets out there.

Inspect the hot water heater

Summer is the perfect time to check your hot water heater since you won’t be using it as much. The warm months are ideal to solve any summer plumbing issues before you’re freezing in the winter with our month-long wait! As a rule of thumb, a typical water heater lasts 10-15 years. If you know how old yours is, be conscious of this! Checking your water heater includes:

  • Draining the heater
  • Check the anode rod
  • Inspect the gas burner

We know this seems like a lot to handle, but the time and effort it takes to check these elements will save you hours and dollars in the future. By routinely checking your pipes and connections, you’re able to prevent any large plumbing issue before it blows up in your face.
If you want the pros to help solve your summer plumbing issues, let us know.

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