How to prevent common summer plumbing problems
Plumbing problems are pretty common in the summer. That’s because, in general, people are much more active.
From more running around and needing hydration, to washing dirty clothes more frequently and, of course, increased use for gardening and landscaping purposes, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a home’s plumbing gets used more heavily this time of year.
The numbers also show that water use spikes by quite a bit in the summer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Throughout the year, average daily household use of water across the U.S. totals 29 billion gallons, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Of that, 9 billion gallons per day are used for residential outdoor water use, mostly for landscape irrigation.
No matter the reason for needing increased amounts of water, more frequent and heavier consumption puts plumbing systems through a serious workout.
Unfortunately, this is what creates summer plumbing problems. Home and building owners should know not only how to prevent these problems, but also how to solve them should they occur, too.
Sewer line backups
Sewer line backups and other issues are very common in summer.
One cause of sewer backups is heavy or consistent periods of rainfall. This could be even more common if a community uses a combined sewer system.
Most communities separate stormwater and sewage into different channels. Storm water could flow into nearby water bodies, while the sewage goes to waste treatment plants and is filtered before entering into the water system. A combined sewer system does not separate the two. Both go to the treatment plants.
To minimize headache over potential sewer problems, whether your community uses a combined sewer system, there are ways to help sewers stay on top of extra water. For example, try not to bathe, shower, flush toilets or do laundry too much during a storm or when rain has been falling consistently for a long period of time. You can also install a drain plug in the drains throughout the home to prevent water from backing up out of the drains during storms or long periods of rain.
Other helpful tips include not littering in order to keep storm drains clear of debris and allow water to enter the system and not backup if the system becomes clogged. It is also important to know how to dispose of hazardous waste in a responsible manner. Household cleaners, beauty products, medicine, paint, etc. should never be poured down drains.
Use garbage disposals correctly
For your next family get together or barbeque with friends, you may be tempted to use the garbage disposal more often.
While garbage disposals work great for smaller food particles, they are not meant to clear up larger chunks of food waste or items like seeds, coffee grounds, corn on the cob, thick food particles, etic. Things like grease and oil can also cause damage to garbage disposals.
Should you encounter a clogged disposal that isn’t easily unclogged, it may be time to call a professional to diagnose and resolve the issue. Some things you can try before making the call include using a plunger to try and remove items that are clogging the unit or pour a combo of baking soda and vinegar down the drain.
Many times, a clogged disposal will work fine once the obstruction is removed. Still, it’s important to trust someone with plumbing and electrical knowledge to handle the job.
If your garbage disposal has a leak, or has been damaged, then it is likely best to replace the unit. Again, that’s a job for someone with plumbing experience.
Clogged toilets are more common in summer
More people, more, well… you know. With increased foot traffic in and around the home for get-togethers with friends and family, toilets are going to be used by more people throughout the summer months.
To avoid clogged toilets, try not to flush excessively. You should also make sure everyone, including children, is aware of what items are not to be flushed down a toilet. This can include baby wipes, dental floss, cotton balls, pills, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, etc.
However, clogs are sometimes unavoidable with so much more use. Always have a plunger handy for a DIY approach to unclogging toilets.
If that does not work, then it may be time to bring in a plumber who can clear up more complicated clogs with a snake or auger and other methods.
Leaks should always be fixed, especially in summer
Homeowners can reduce the stress they put on their plumbing systems and the community’s water and sewer systems by making sure they fix any leaks in their home.
According to the EPA, 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted every year by household plumbing leaks throughout the country. Just one average-sized leak in a home can waste about 10,000 gallons of water per year. Plus, it’s estimated that 10% of homes have leaks in their plumbing that waste 90 gallons per day.
Not only is this waste hard on infrastructure in the summer - see sewer problems - but it is also hard on wallets. The EPA points out that fixing some of the most common, easily corrected leaks in a home can save 10% on water bills.
Save money in the long-run by making sure to have a qualified plumber assess and repair any leaks in your home.
Summer flooding can affect basements
The dreaded flooded basement is unfortunately very common in some neighborhoods in summer, specifically in communities that don’t typically drain well.
This problem is similar to sewer line backups except instead of sewage, water is leaking into the home or backing up through plumbing.
The most common solution is installing a sump pump. These units help take water from a basin and discharge it away from your home’s foundation.
Find a trusted professional to prevent and solve summer plumbing problems
Many of these issues have a few do-it-yourself solutions. However, should those approaches prove ineffective, it’s time to bring in a trained and licensed professional.
Should you encounter plumbing problems this summer, give Comfortec Heating, Cooling and Plumbing a call toll free at 888-362-2106.
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