Six Common Plumbing Issues During Summer

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 10:36

Summer means a lot of activities. Kids are home, it's time to pull out the barbecue, you have neighbors over. You're using your plumbing a lot more often. There are also storms that soak the ground. You're more active and it's hotter out. That means you're doing more laundry. And you've got to water your lawn and plants? No wonder water bills jump so much during the summer. You don't want to have to spend more on plumbing issues either. What should you watch out for and how can you avoid these issues?

1. Septic Line Issues

These can be awful. Storms soak the ground and may saturate the septic tank lines. If they get backed up, you don't want to see what squeezes back up through the drain. Look for obvious signs of drainfield issues when you are mowing the yard such as wet spots, especially smelly wet spots.  If you notice that the plumbing drains in your home always get slow immediately after a heavy rain, you may need to refrain from using a lot of water until the ground dries. If the problem persists, call for our assistance.

2. Toilet Clogs

Kids are home for the summer, and they're probably inviting other children over. Family and neighbors might be stopping by. There are cookouts and barbecues and many chances to enjoy slow summer days. All of this means a few areas of your house get a lot more useful than at other times of the year.

Chief among these is the bathroom. This means your toilets are getting flushed a lot more often and there are a lot more opportunities for clogs. Lovely, and it's not exactly the kind of conversation you want to have over and over again with the company.

Remind your kids what doesn't get flushed down the toilet – this includes mentioning that products like tampons should not be flushed. (Especially if you are on a sewer pump system or septic tank!) It doesn't have to be a big conversation; don't embarrass your kids. Just remind them.

Of course, the best way to help anyone remember not to clog the toilet is to keep a plunger nearby. If they cause a problem, they can fix it. The simple visual of a plunger reminds everyone to flush that extra time and to be kind to your toilet – no one wants to be the one who has to pick the plunger up.

3. Sprinkler Heads

If your home has the nice luxury of having a lawn sprinkling system, it can make your yard the envy of the neighborhood. In hot dry weather, your yard is nice and green and meantime the neighbor’s lawn looks like the Mojave desert.

However, if you have a pop-up sprinkler head that does not retract due to grit or dirt and you saw it off with the mower, what now? Please be aware that sprinkler heads are unique to its location and design. Some rotate 360 and others 180 and others are adjustable. Some heads operate at 1.5 gallons per minute, others 3 gpm and still others 5 or 10 or more. What kind do you need? In NC you should contact a licensed irrigation contractor for the correct repair.

4. Surprise Washing Machine Floods

There are few things more disheartening than walking into a room ready to throw your laundry in the dryer and discovering that your laundry room has become a swamp. Check your washing machine hose regularly to ensure it's not forming any leaks. Remember, leaks may hopefully start small so if you notice any, you can simply replace the hose before there's a household disaster.

 A braided stainless-steel fill hose is a very good investment. It may last much longer than a rubber hose.

5. Garbage Disposal Issues

Ah, the garbage disposal. See enough horror movies, and you'll never want to touch it. The idea of fixing a clog in the garbage disposal probably frightens a lot of people for just that reason. Rest assured; most clogs are relatively easy to fix.

Before we get to that, remember that you can avoid clogs altogether by being careful about what you put into your garbage disposal. Rinds are more suitable for the compost or garbage; they can cause problems in the disposal. Similarly, coffee grounds can gum up the works and cause major issues. Chances are if you're dumping coffee grounds here, you're doing it every day. That only makes the problem worse.

Obviously, don't put anything plastic, cloth, cardboard, or metal into the unit, no matter how many industrial shredder videos you see on the internet. Make sure your kids know this (you'd be surprised how often this comes up). Disposals are made to clean out extra bits of food, not household goods. Whatever you do, don't pour grease or oil down the disposal.

Phew, now that that's over with, on to what you do if you do get a clog. Do NOT reach your hand into the disposal – did those horror movies we talked about teach you nothing? Instead, mix vinegar with hot water and use this to flush the disposal. You might have to heat more than one pot for this, but it may be effective.

Does the disposal not come on when you throw the switch? If it does not, check these items:

  1. Is the breaker in the electrical panel marked “disposal” in the “on” position? 2. If the breaker is on, has the reset button on the bottom of the disposal kicked out and now needs to be reset? (See owner’s manual). 3. Does the disposal “hum” but not run? If so, do you have the wrench from the manufacturer to clear the jam? (See owner’s manual). 

If the clog still isn't fixed, you may have a mechanical issue. For that, it's time to call an efficient plumbing company with good reviews.

6. Vacation Travel and Your Home Plumbing System: 

Suppose you and the family are going away for a few days or longer. What may happen while you are away? Insurance companies will tell you that water leaks cause a huge amount of damage to homes and businesses each year in the USA. More than one homeowner has arrived home from a great vacation to the horror of a totally flooded house due to a water leak that went undetected for an extended period of time. What can you do to help assuage the risk?

  • Have a trusted friend or family member check your home each day?
  • Turn the water supply off, the water heater off while you are gone? (If you have pets that rely on the water for a drink or other such factors that may not be an option).
  • Install video cameras in the home so you can see via the internet if your home is ok?
  • Install a leak detection system that can alert you via the internet if a leak develops?

The option you choose must be one to fit your situation and needs. However, sudden, catastrophic water leaks are a possibility that we encourage you to consider protecting your home while you are away.

If you need help with routine maintenance or fixing a plumbing issue, don’t hesitate to call the Action Service Company LLC team. We’re here for you!  NC License #9140 PH 1&3