As children get out of school and the smell of barbeques fills the air, all your fun in the sun means your water-based appliances are bound to be seeing more use than normal. The warmer summer weather means more water use than the rest of the year, especially when it comes to swimming pools or maintaining your lawn! With all this extra strain on your plumbing system, our Ocala plumbers at Sunshine Plumbing and Gas are here to give you some summer plumbing tips to help you overcome any plumbing issues you can encounter during these scorching summers.
Check For Leaks
A long and difficult winter could have an unseen effect on your underground plumbing, which makes summer the perfect time to check for any leaks. This will allow you to repair any leaks or any issues in your plumbing before the weather gets colder. Inspect your house and look for any signs of rust, corrosion, leaks, or broken parts on all of the elements that use water both inside and outside your home. Don't forget to check underneath any cabinets or dark corners using a flashlight, or you can use a towel and a few tissues to help locate any sources of moisture.
Start A Compost Pile
With all the fresh fruits and vegetables that the summer brings comes the danger of a clog or damage to your garbage disposal. While fruits and vegetables are good for you, not all of them are good for your garbage disposal. A side-sink container can be helpful to start a compost pile instead of giving your garbage disposal a run for its money. Anything bulky, starchy, or tough can form clogs or get wound around the blade. Grease and oil are also not good as they can solidify in your pipes and leave a gunk that can attract cockroaches. If you do develop a clog that you cannot remove yourself or if you need garbage disposal maintenance, we recommend calling in a qualified plumber to do it for you.
Check The Sprinkler System
At the beginning of the summer season, we recommend thoroughly checking your sprinkler systems for leaks and cleaning your sprinkler heads. If any are broken, whether from mowing the lawn or from children playing in the yard, you can remove the head and replace it. We recommend taking it to the store with you when replacing it to make sure you are purchasing the right one. Sprinklers are well known for wasting water due to underground, unseen leaks. Make sure that your sprinkler system is working properly to avoid any risks of flooding.
Clean The Gutters
While this may not seem like a typical summer plumbing problem, gutters make sure that water is kept away from the foundation of your home. To make sure your gutters are working properly, they need to be free of any debris such as leaves, twigs, and other material. You can also keep your foundation dry by making sure to use a water hose several feet away from your house and that your sprinklers are pointed away from your foundation.
Know The Main Water Valve
One of your main responsibilities as a homeowner is to know where the main water shutoff to your home is located and how to use it. This can be located either inside, usually in a basement, garage, or utility closet, or outside. In the case of an emergency with a water-based appliance or area of your home, you will want to know where this valve is to stop the emergency. If you will be leaving your home for a long period of time, such as summer vacation, it may be best to turn off the water main before you leave. If a pipe bursts or breaks while you are gone, it could be a very expensive repair and a ruined trip.
Check Your Pump
If you have a sump pump, which is a submersible device installed in a sump pit that is dug out at the lowest point of your house, it should be tested before the start of summer storms. To test it, make sure that it has power and that it is turned on, then pour a bucket of water into it. If it is working, the pump should turn on and begin to process the water. Make sure to conduct any sump pump maintenance before the summer storms. This will make sure that the pump is ready for any summer thunderstorms and any extra water that could be coming your way.
Adjust Your Water Pressure
The average water pressure for a household should range between 40-60 psi and shouldn't go above 80 psi because it is considered excessive and can violate residential housing codes. It is especially important to maintain a good water pressure with all the increased traffic that your water-based appliances will be seeing. Your pressure regulator, which is normally located between your home and the main water line, will keep the high-water supply from bursting into your home. If you are planning on adjusting your water pressure yourself, we recommend having a partner at the spigot to test the pressure as you adjust it, otherwise, you can risk damage to your water utilities and appliances.
Watch Your Washing Machine
Contrary to the popular belief that winter generates more laundry due to more layers being used, summer actually comes with more laundry. As people get sweaty and kids play outside in the dirt, it creates more work for the washer. Before summer starts you should inspect your washer and all of its parts. Make sure to pull it away from the wall and check its connections and the appearances of its hoses. Consider replacing any hoses that are cracked or distressed with a stainless steel hose that lasts longer and is stronger than a typical rubber hose.
Turn Down Your Water Heater
No one likes taking a cold shower or getting burned from boiling water coming from your shower head. Though many homeowners are unaware that they can turn down the temperature of their water heater. Turning your water heater's temperature down will give your heater a little breather and save it from possible water heater repairs. This also means less energy is spent and your house consumes less electricity, saving you both money and possible burns.
Assess Any Condensation On Pipes
A bit of condensation on pipes is normal and occurs when cold water is running. If this problem is constant, there could be cold water running somewhere else like a leaky faucet, running toilet, or an improper main valve. If the normal amount of condensation starts to worry you, there are insulated wrapping products that will be able to prevent moisture from forming on the outside of your pipes.
Schedule Annual Maintenance
To make sure that your plumbing is working properly and at its highest efficiency, it is best to perform maintenance regularly. Many homeowners schedule their sewer and plumbing maintenance based on the change of seasons, which makes the summer the perfect time to perform a complete maintenance program on all the plumbing systems in the home.