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Most Common Summer Plumbing Problems

With winter behind us and warmer weather moving in, you might feel like your plumbing issues are over.¬†Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Summer brings forth its own issues with plumbing, and it’s important to know what to look out for and what you can do to prevent any major problems from occurring. Here are some common summer plumbing problems to be aware of this year.

Basement Flooding

Image by State Farm licensed under CC BY 2.0

Depending on where you live, you might already be aware that summer rainstorms occur and can cause quite a bit of damage. Sometimes, unexpected downpours can turn into a flooding problem. Even if you don’t live in a flood-prone area, you’ll probably need a sump pump if your residence has any part of the home below the ground level.

The best course of action is to make sure that your sump pump is in working order to avoid any type of basement flooding situation. Test it before those summer storms arrive. To do this, make sure it has power and is turned on. Pour a bucket of water into it and watch to see if the pump turns on and off to process the water. You can always shut it off and remove the water after you’ve ensured it works properly.

Overloaded Washing Machines

Even though summer is a time to wear fewer pieces of clothing than you would during the colder winter months, your washing machine is likely working just as hard during the summer. Trips to the pool, vacations, and other outdoor activities increase the work it takes for your washer to give you clean clothing. Overuse and overloading can cause leaks in the washing machine’s hose. Not only will a leak in the hose increase your water bill but it can also cause a flood in your home.

Before summer is in full swing, take some time to inspect your machine. Check for clogs in the hoses and make sure the machine has a solid seal when you close the lid or door. The rubber surrounding the door needs to be soft and intact. Also, to ease the burden of your washer, do smaller loads of laundry. Heavy loads such as beach towels can damage your washing machine, so try to sparse out the items. 

Sprinkler Issues

Sprinkler systems are a common summer issue when it comes to leaks. Inspecting and cleaning your sprinkler heads regularly can help you spot any potential issues before leaks occur in your house. Sprinkler heads that don’t work properly could be clogged, but those that are rusted or damaged need replacement. Lawnmowers and additional foot traffic in the yard can contribute to broken sprinklers. To ensure you have the correct sprinkler head, remove it and bring it with you to the hardware store.

Also, if you don’t already have a rain sensor system installed, you should consider adding one. This feature will prevent your sprinkler system from turning on either during a storm or shortly thereafter. You don’t want the sprinkler to turn on after heavy rain and drench an already-saturated ground. 

Overworked Garbage Disposal

Summer is the best time to enjoy a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, but your garbage disposal doesn’t benefit from them as much as you. If you’re someone who loves hosting or preparing loads of food for others, you might end up using your garbage disposal more often than you normally do.

The fibrous parts found on corncobs, the peels from bananas, and the strings from celery can all cause issues with your disposal. Hard melon rinds, chicken skin, and steak bones are all larger items that can jam or damage the garbage disposal. Make sure you and your guests know what food items can go down your disposal. Grease and oily substances can stick to the inside of the pipes and form clogs.

To help your disposal, use cold water and run it for about 15 seconds before sending down the food waste. If you notice that the disposal begins to develop an odor, you can run some citrus peel through it along with cold water and a few drops of dish soap. Also, consider keeping a scrap bucket near the sink so you can place fruit and vegetable pits, skin, or other remanents in there instead of down the drain.

Slow-Draining Showers

While you might think that winter is a harder season for your shower because you’re trying to get clean and warm, summer is just as tough on it. Just as you might hop in the shower to get warm in the winter, you might also use the shower frequently to cool off on a hot summer day. Using the shower often can cause an increase in the buildup of hair down the drain, and clogs prevent water from freely flowing. To prevent your shower drain from clogging, follow these steps:

  • Brush your hair before you enter the shower.
  • Avoid pouring dirty water, such as mop water, down the drain.
  • Use a drain screen or strainer over the shower drain to help catch loose hairs, and empty it regularly.
  • Pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain at least once a week. This step can dislodge soap and debris before they form a clog, and it works best for metal pipes.

Also, if you visit the beach often, you might track in sand and dirt. When you wash these dirty bits off of you, they might clog your shower drain and cause issues for other people who want to shower after you. Before you head home from the beach or pool, use the outdoor shower to get off as much of the sand as you can. 

Don’t wait until summer hits to circumvent these potential plumbing issues. You don’t want to spend your summer making plumbing repairs to areas you simply needed to pay a little more attention to. If you need help in getting your home prepared or have questions about your home’s plumbing system, reach out to Dahme Mechanical Industries, Inc. In business since the 1960s, this family-owned business is proud to help those with residential, commercial, and industrial properties in the Chicagoland and surrounding area.