Summer Plumbing Problems & Solutions: A Guide

Writen by
Guy's Team
April 30, 2024
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Summer is here, and now is the perfect time for backyard barbecues, lake outings, and relaxing by the pool, but it can also be a season when you face unexpected plumbing issues. Many households face specific plumbing problems during summer due to increased water usage and other seasonal factors.

This guide outlines and addresses some of the most common plumbing issues that homeowners face during the summer months. From blocked drains to leaky outdoor faucets, this guide will provide solutions and preventive measures to help you navigate these problems and enjoy a hassle-free summer.

1. Blocked Drains

In the summer, more outdoor activities usually mean more dirt and debris, which can get into your drains and cause blockages. When you notice water draining slower than usual, this might indicate a blocked drain.

Solution: Start by using a plunger to clear the blockage. You can use a plumber's snake or a hand auger if that doesn't work. If the problem persists, consider using a drain-cleaning like a baking soda and vinegar solution. Always remember to avoid chemical cleaners, as they can corrode your pipes. If you can't clear the blockage, it's time to call a professional plumber.

2. Sewer Line Backups

Summer rainstorms can lead to an excess of water seeping into the sewer pipes through cracks, causing sewer line backups. This problem can cause severe health risks and should be addressed immediately.

Solution: A sewer line backup needs professional attention. Ensure your sewer line is regularly inspected and, if necessary, replaced to avoid this issue. Installing a backwater prevention valve in the residential sewer line could also prevent sewer water from flowing back into the house.

3. Sprinkler Issues

After lying dormant throughout the winter, your sprinkler system might run into some issues when you use it in the summer. These issues include broken sprinkler heads, leaks, and inadequate water coverage.

Solution: Conduct a thorough inspection of your sprinkler system at the beginning of the summer. Replace broken sprinkler heads, look for and fix leaks, and adjust sprinkler patterns for proper lawn coverage. It's also a good practice to trim the grass around the sprinkler heads to avoid blockages.

4. Water Pressure Drops

Summer can bring about increased water consumption, especially during peak times. This high demand can cause a drop in water pressure. While this isn't necessarily a problem with your plumbing, it can be inconvenient.

Solution: Limit water use during peak times, typically early morning and evening. If you notice a significant drop in water pressure that persists, you might have a leak in your system. In such a case, a professional plumber should be contacted.

5. Garbage Disposal Problems

With more cookouts and gatherings, your garbage disposal can take quite a beating during the summer. Problems can occur when the wrong items, such as corn cobs, bones, or fruit pits, are put into the disposal.

Solution: Educate your family and guests about what can and cannot go into the garbage disposal. Run cold water through your garbage disposal for a few seconds before and after using it to clear any remaining waste. If your disposal gets jammed, you might need to manually turn the blades with an Allen wrench or call a professional.

6. Washing Machine Overflows

Summer fun means more laundry. Extra use can lead to unexpected issues with your washing machine, such as overflows or leaks, which can cause significant water damage.

Solution: Regularly check the hoses on your washing machine for leaks or bulges. Also, don't overload the machine; doing so can lead to unbalanced loads that cause overflows. If your machine is older and giving you trouble, it might be time to consider a replacement.

7. Clogged Toilets

With more people at home during the summer, clogged toilets can become a common issue. This can be caused by excessive toilet paper usage or flushing items that should not be flushed.

Solution: Remind everyone in your household to only flush toilet paper and waste down the toilet. Avoid flushing items like wipes, feminine hygiene products, or cotton balls. If you encounter a clogged toilet, use a plunger to clear the blockage. If that doesn't work, consider using a toilet auger. If the problem persists, it's best to call a professional plumber to avoid further damage.

8. Hot Water Heater Problems

During the summer, hot water heaters can experience issues due to increased demand for hot water from showers, laundry, and dishwashing. Common problems include insufficient hot water or no hot water at all.

Solution: Check the temperature setting on your hot water heater to ensure it is set correctly. If you're experiencing insufficient hot water, you may need to adjust the thermostat or consider upgrading to a larger capacity hot water heater. If you have no hot water, check the pilot light on gas heaters or reset the circuit breaker on electric heaters. If these troubleshooting steps don't resolve the issue, it's best to contact a professional plumber to diagnose and repair the problem.

8. Sump Pump Failures

In regions prone to summer storms, sump pumps work overtime to keep basements dry. If your sump pump fails, it can result in basement flooding and water damage.

Solution: Regularly test your sump pump by pouring a bucket of water into the sump pit; the pump should start automatically and drain the water quickly. Additionally, keep the pump clean and free of debris. Consider installing a backup pump or a pump with a battery backup in case of power outages during storms.

9. Leaky Outdoor Faucets

Leaky outdoor faucets can be a common problem during the summer months. The constant use and exposure to the elements can cause wear and tear on the faucet, leading to leaks and wasted water.

Solution: Inspect your outdoor faucets for any signs of leaks or dripping. If you notice a leak, try tightening the connections or replacing the washer. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to replace the entire faucet. Remember to turn off the water supply to the faucet before making any repairs. Regular maintenance and checking for leaks can help prevent further damage and conserve water throughout the summer.

10. Septic System Issues

Summer activities can strain your septic system, leading to potential issues such as backups or foul odors. Increased water usage and the disposal of non-biodegradable items can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the tank.

Solution: Be mindful of what goes down your drains and toilets. Avoid flushing items like wipes, diapers, or grease, as they can clog the system. Schedule regular septic tank inspections and pumpings to maintain its functionality. If you notice any signs of a problem, such as slow drains or foul odors, contact a professional septic service provider for assistance. Taking proactive measures can help prevent costly repairs and ensure the proper functioning of your septic system throughout the summer.

Conclusion and Prevention Tips

Summer should be a time of relaxation and fun. By being aware of these common plumbing problems, you can take preventative steps to avoid them. Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial. Don't ignore small problems; they can quickly become big ones. And always remember, when in doubt, it's best to call a plumber or contact us online to schedule an estimate or plumbing repairs today. Stay vigilant, and enjoy your summer!