Summer and Your Plumbing: The Complete Guide

Summer Plumbing Prevention and Maintenance 

Summer is just around the corner! Though you might be planning your daily activities and getaways, one important part of your to-do list should be to ensure your plumbing is ready for the season ahead. From maintenance to prevention, here’s your complete guide to keeping your plumbing functioning all summer long: 

Common Summer Plumbing Problems

First, to prevent a plumbing problem, you must understand the ones that are most common, and the reasons they occur. Here are the top issues we get called for when it comes to your home’s plumbing: 

Clogged Toilets

With the extra time spent at home, your toilets may be getting more action than they’re used to. For this reason, it’s not uncommon for clogs to happen more frequently. Our suggestion? Stock up on single-ply toilet paper, and remind your family members not to flush anything additional down the drain. It couldn’t hurt to purchase a sparkly new plunger as well!

Sewer Line Backups

Besides the increase in clogs, the increase in precipitation can also cause sewers to malfunction. Sunshowers can be beneficial in relieving you and your family from a hot, humid summer day, but in excess they can saturate the ground and funnel extra water into your yard drains. Likewise, tree roots tend to spread out during the warmer months in search of water, and can often make their way into your sewer pipes. Your best bet? Schedule a sewer camera inspection to keep tabs on the unseen!

Outdoor Plumbing Issues

From malfunctioning sprinkler systems to leaky hose bibs, the warm weather can create a whole slew of new issues for your home’s plumbing from an outdoor perspective. When it comes to sprinklers, it’s important to be careful to get them cleaned and inspected each year. Also, make sure you know where each sprinkler head is located so you can avoid them with the lawnmower! Examine your outdoor plumbing — faucets, bibs, etc. — for leaks as soon as possible, and replace anything that seems to leak or drip when not in use.

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for overworked washing machines and clogged garbage disposals as well!

From Prevention on to Maintenance

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance – we’re sure you’ve heard all about the importance of keeping up with things like your car and air conditioner to keep them thriving for years. But what about your plumbing? As a highly complex system that your home depends on, it’s just as, if not more, important to keep a close eye on it too.

So how should you get started?

Don’t put off repairs: When minor plumbing problems (such as a leaky faucet) begin to present themselves, it can be easy to leave it for later. However, while it may not be too disruptive at the moment, down the line your small leak could take a huge toll on your wallet. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye out for any potential problems regularly and have them addressed as soon as possible. Are you having trouble with plumbing leaks? We can help!

Know how to stop the flow: If you’ve ever found yourself dealing with an overflowing toilet, then you know just how important it is to know how to turn the water off. This summer, we encourage you to take a look around your home and locate where your main shut off valves are so that you are fully prepared to cut off the water supply to various fixtures should you need to.

Learn the warning signs: One of the best things you can do for your plumbing is to learn what signs suggest trouble is coming. If you can determine that a leak is about to form ahead of time, for example, you can prevent major mishaps from happening.

You’ll also want to consider these home maintenance tasks throughout your home: 

  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re still working. If not, change the batteries or have them professionally inspected if needed.
  • Dust off your ceiling fans and adjust all settings to provide maximum comfort. Did you know that by having your ceiling fans on while your A/C is running, you can lower the A/C’s temperature and ultimately save some money on your energy bills?
  • Thoroughly clean or change the air filters in all of your air conditioning units. Since dirty filters can prevent an air conditioner from working properly, have this done ASAP before temperatures really rise!
  • Clean your dryer vent to remove lint and dust. Although it’s important to do this regularly to prevent a fire, if you forget, use the start of a new season as a reminder to do so.

Tips for Your Plumbing:

Now let’s talk about plumbing focus maintenance. The first summer task all homeowners should complete when it comes to their plumbing, is to schedule your drains cleaned, it’s time to take care of the following: 

Lower the temperature on your water heater. With summer temperatures upon us, there’s not too much of a need for extra hot water – chances are you’re going to prefer cold water for your showers (for example) anyway!

If your home has a sump pump (which it definitely should here in Orange County!), test it to make sure it’s working properly in case of an unexpected summer storm.

When watering your lawn or garden by hand, check your hose for signs of leaks and, if any are evident, have them repaired right away.

If you’re using an in-ground sprinkler system, set up a timer to properly monitor how long it should be on for so that you don’t get into the habit of wasting water.

Before Planning a Vacation 

Although your plumbing might not be the first thing you think to prepare before traveling, you’d be surprised at how many people come home to a leak, damaged pipes, or other plumbing-related problems simply because they didn’t take the time to look things over before leaving. 

Since you’ve found our vacation plumbing guide, though, your plumbing system is something you won’t have to worry about while you’re relaxing in paradise – so long as you do the following, that is:

  1. Run the garbage disposal. You want to come home to a fresh-smelling home, right? Then take a few minutes to run some ice cubes and cold water down your garbage disposal prior to taking off. By doing so, you’re helping to push any leftover food down the drain so that it can be properly washed away instead of left sitting in your disposal for an extended period of time.
  2. Inspect your gutters. Your gutters will work at their best when they aren’t clogged with dirt and debris, so do a thorough inspection to make sure nothing has gotten stuck since the last time you cleaned them. If your gutters are full and it should rain while you’re gone, they won’t be able to divert water away from your home the way they should.
  3. Turn off the water supply. One of the most effective ways to prevent water damage while you’re gone is to turn off the water supply completely. However, if you’re having neighbors coming over to check on the house that may need to use your water, at least turn off the water supply valves for appliances such as your washing machine or dishwasher that won’t be in use.

Yes, it may add some more time to your pre-vacation prep routine, but preparing your plumbing for your absence can make all the difference in whether you come home to a happy home or a potentially sad home if something should go wrong.

End of Summer Checklist

Though it might start in the summer, maintenance should continue all season long. Especially since some of your plumbing is going to see a lot of extra wear and tear. Here are some things to consider: 

Check Your Washer: Check your washing machine and its hoses for signs of wear and tear. With children out of school and more things to wash (especially towels and bathing suits), your washing machine may be being used more than usual during this time of year.

Take a look at your shower drains:  and see if you notice the water moving slower than usual. With summer temperatures upon us, you and your family members may be taking more cold showers, which means more of an opportunity for hair to get caught in your drain. When this happens, contact us for help!

Your Trusted Orange County Plumbers

Should you happen to encounter any plumbing problems in your home this summer, don’t hesitate to give Barker and Sons Plumbing & Rooter a call. Serving all of Orange County, CA, there’s no plumbing problem we can’t handle!

To learn more about our emergency plumbing services, contact us online or call 714-6308766. We’re available 24/7/365 to help assist in your hour of need — whenever that might be!