plumbing tools to help fix or prevent common summer plumbing issues

10 Most Common Summer Plumbing Problems (and How to Fix Them)

The summer is fast approaching, and we'll soon (hopefully!) be having barbecues with our loved ones and enjoying the fresh air. There's nothing better than relaxing in a lounge chair while the summer sun hangs in the sky. 

Nothing could ruin a perfect summer's day, right?

Well, a bad plumbing problem could, and during the summer, there are plenty of plumbing catastrophes that could happen in your home.

You don't just have to get your pipes prepared for winter. You also have to make sure everything is ready for the great summer that's about to hit Northern Virginia.

Today we're going to go through 10 of the most common summer plumbing problems and show you how to prevent (or fix) them.

1. Clogged shower drains

Summer is full of all kinds of fun trips to sandy beaches or muddy mountains. Because of this, debris like dirt, sand, and even some pebbles can get dragged into your home and into the shower. This can cause awful blockages in your drains.

To help prevent this, we recommend that you rinse off thoroughly with your hose or public showers before using your own bathroom. This will help you avoid nasty blockages, and a flooded bathroom later on.

It would help if you also remove any hair stuck on the drain cover before that clogs the shower/tub up, too.

2. Overloaded washing machine

Summer fun is great, but with the kids home from school, you're going to be going through a lot more washing than you usually would. Your washing machine will be working overtime. The more washing that piles up, the harder your washing machine has to work, and the more wear and tear that occurs.

Try to stick to doing small loads, we know it's a pain to have to clean multiple loads of laundry, but it'll save your washing machine down the line.

You should also check your machine's hoses for any leaks. Consider getting it serviced by a professional, so it can keep going throughout the summer. You could also bring your washing machine out from the wall to stop it from overheating from all that extra use.

3. Blocked toilets

Toilets are used much more during the summer because your children are at home, which means it's more likely that they can get clogged.

The best way to avoid blocked toilets is to show your kids how to flush toilet paper properly and not flush anything else down it. However, because kids will be kids, you're almost guaranteed to get a clogged toilet.

Ensure you have all the essential plumbing supplies in your home to deal with any minor blockage. Clogged toilets are a common problem in the summer, but they're easy to deal with.

If you've got yourself a bad clog, it is a good idea to call in a professional to help you out.

4. Sprinkler issues

Sprinklers are incredibly vulnerable during the summer months because your kids are outdoors playing, dogs are running everywhere, and you're mowing the lawn more often. All of these factors can threaten your sprinklers and cause issues.

It's a good idea to double-check your sprinklers to see if they're in good working condition before using them to avoid severe damage. Bonus if you find something, you can quickly get minor issues fixed now.

Be on the lookout for leaking sprinklers too. They're hard to detect because they're obviously designed to spray water, but a leak will become known once you get your water bill. Even a small leak like this can waste 10,000 gallons of water per year!

Get your sprinkler heads inspected and cleaned at the beginning of the season so you can rest assured that they'll be working perfectly.

5. Leaking faucets

Your outdoor faucets might not have been used much during the winter, but as soon as the summer hits, they'll be turned back on for washing cars and filling up water guns.

However, your faucet might have a leak that will waste a lot of money when it comes to your water bill. A leaky faucet, even the ones outdoors, can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year.

Make sure your faucet is sealed tightly to the wall and the rubber washer is in good condition. If it's looking a bit worse for wear, you might have to call in a professional to come to fix it.

6. Sewer line backups

The summer months are hot and dry, but there can be, on occasion, a heavy shower which could be bad news for your sewer line and septic tank.

When rain soaks into the dry ground, it can bring tiny bits of dirt and debris through the small cracks in your pipes which could cause blockages that will have to be sorted out by a professional plumber.

On occasion, tree roots can also get tangled into your sewage system and force those small cracks to get bigger.

Call your plumber straight away if you notice any wastewater backing up in your toilet, bath, or shower.

7. Garbage disposal breakdowns

Everybody loves a good barbecue, a bit of outdoor dining, and some fun with family or friends. These barbecues and cookouts leave a whole load of food scraps that can be tempting to toss down your garbage disposal.

No matter how tempting it might be, don't throw these items down your garbage disposal unit, or you could cause a clog:

  • Bones
  • Corn
  • Melon rinds
  • Fruit stones
  • Oil or grease from cooking

To help prevent clogs in your unit, leave the cold tap run for about ten seconds before and after using the garbage disposal.

8. Flooded basement

If you've got a sump pump, then your basement can be prone to flooding. Just because it's the summertime doesn't mean that flooding doesn't happen.

It can rain, and sometimes summer rain can be a heavy unstoppable force of nature. These unexpected downpours can quickly turn into basement flooding issues.

To help prevent this, make sure your sump pump is still working perfectly after the winter to avoid any summer floods.

9. Low water pressure

Low water pressure can be an incredibly annoying issue to deal with, especially when you're just trying to enjoy the summer heat.

Low water pressure usually occurs because of calcium deposits in the ​faucet aerator. These calcium deposits slowly build up over time and reduce the water pressure.

A blocked aerator is easy to fix, though. All you have to do is remove the aerator and clean it before putting it back on.

If this doesn't stop your low water pressure, then you could be dealing with a more severe issue like:

  • Hidden water leaks
  • Blocked sewer lines
  • Pipe corrosion

If cleaning your aerator doesn't work, then it might be time to call in a professional to check out your plumbing for you.

10. Water heater breakdowns

Your water heater is going to be pulling double duty thanks to the heat and outdoor fun, which means an increase in showers and baths.

If you notice that your water is becoming cold quickly, you may have a faulty water heater.

Your water heater can fail for several reasons, including:

  • The pilot light is out
  • Broken thermostat
  • Sediment build-up in your tank

Whatever the cause of your water heater breakdown, now is the time to call in a professional to inspect the problem. The pros will be able to fix any failures and get you back to enjoying your summer in no time.

Here at Nichols & Phipps, we want to make sure that you can continue to have summer fun without having to worry about plumbing issues. If you'd like to get your plumbing serviced by one of our professionals, call us today at (703) 670-8519.
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