Summer is the ideal time to give your plumbing system a thorough inspection. The weather is warm and you have plenty of daylight hours to look over any parts of the system that are outside the house. It's important to keep plumbing systems maintained year-round, but even more so during summer months when kids are on summer vacation. Using lots of water and flushing your toilet too often increases your risk for plumbing issues. Here are five tips to make sure your home plumbing system is prepared for summer.
Prepare for Clogs
Every home needs a plunger to take care of routine clogs. Plungers are inexpensive and can be stored in a linen closet or basement. The worst time to need a plunger is when you don't have one and have to run to the hardware store to get one. Plungers can handle most normal clogs. If not, it's time to call the plumber. Aside from keeping a plunger handy, there are several other proactive things homeowners can do to be prepared for clogs.
Take Care of Your Drains
Be cautious of what goes down the drain. Even the best kitchen garbage disposal can't process every type of food waste. Purchase mesh or plastic drain filters for each kitchen sink. Hair build-up in the sinks and bathtubs eventually results in clogged bathroom pipes. A pair of tweezers may help pull hair build-up out, but you can also buy drain filters for the tub and sink. If you have kids, help them understand how much toilet paper to use, and what things don't go in the toilet.
Inspect for Leaks
Summer is the best time to check for leaks. Even temperate climates can experience cold temperatures in winter, which may affect plumbing. It's best to detect and take care of any leaks that may have occurred over the winter. Start outside of your house and inspect water spigots. Inside, look carefully at faucets, shower heads, and pipes under sinks. Pay attention to rust on pipes and evidence of moisture inside cabinets. Check toilets for leaks. Some issues with toilets can be easily fixed but if you're not confident in your plumbing skills, call a professional.
Check the Hot Water Heater
The hot water heater is sometimes forgotten unless you wake up to no hot water. In many homes, it's installed in the basement, out of sight and often out of mind. Take a few minutes when you're inspecting the basement pipes to look at the hot water heater. Watch for rust and corrosion. Feel underneath for signs of water leaking. The average lifespan of hot water heaters today is 10-15 years. Maximize the life of yours by making sure it gets regular maintenance.
Check Your Sump Pump
Summer not only brings warm weather fun, it also brings summer storms. You should test your sump pump at the beginning of summer, or prior to the rainy season. It's easy to run a test of the sump pump. Make sure it's turned on and has power, then pour a bucket of water in it. If it's working properly, the pump should begin working and pumping the water. Most new homes, especially in flood-prone areas, have a sump pump installed during the building process. If you don't have one, and any part of your home is below ground level, consider installing one. Your plumber can install one in a short amount of time and the cost is usually around $300-500. It's a good and necessary investment to protect your home from flood damage.
These are just a few important tasks to help prepare your plumbing system for summer. Summer is also an excellent time to schedule a routine plumbing inspection. You can prevent many plumbing problems yourself during your inspection, but a professional should look at certain parts of your plumbing system. Don't forget to call your plumber today!