Vinegar and Batteries: Maintaining your Plumbing Throughout the Summer Months

Although many believe the winter season to be the bane of plumbing given that low temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst, summer can be equally harsh on the plumbing system of the average household. While your pipes may not burst from freezing temperatures in the summer months, there are a myriad of other mishaps and problems that may befall your plumbing which have the potential to dig a hole in your wallet. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to preserve your plumbing before it falls into disrepair.

Firstly, avoid creating obstructions in your plumbing. While foods such as corn, melons and steaks are particularly popular in the summer months, the rinds and bones of these items can lay waste to your plumbing by blocking pipes, which can lead to flooding and leaking. To prevent this, avoid throwing melon rinds, bones, and other solid wastes into your garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal becomes clogged, do not attempt to unclog it. Though you may be able to fix it yourself, doing so can be dangerous. Unless you are prepared to lose some blood and the use of a hand, have a certified plumber unclog it for you.

It goes without saying that toilets are also a frequent site of obstructions. This is particularly true during the summer months as children return from school given that your toilets will likely see increased usage. While most toilet-related obstructions can be rectified with the use of a plunger, it is possible to prevent many of these blockages before they begin by using a single ply toilet paper. Moreover, you should consider having your toilet and its plumbing examined if it is particularly old. As Anta Plumbing notes, small chinks and cracks in and around ceramic toilets can grow over time if left unchecked. Many plumbers will use special cameras and sophisticated equipment to search for faults in the interiors of pipes and fixtures.

Secondly, be aware of underground sewage lines that run beneath your property. Given that subterranean sewage systems are often extremely costly to repair or replace, you should take care to not damage the earth above or around them. While the summer is a great time to demonstrate your love and appreciation for the environment by planting trees, you can demonstrate your love and appreciation for your septic system by not planting any trees or plants near it. The roots of trees and plants are capable of slowly creating cracks in underground pipes, which may leak sewage into the earth and flood your yard. Moreover, replacing underground septic systems is a long process that can involve digging up most of your backyard. To avoid this occurrence, be aware of any underground plumbing that exists beyond the foundation of your household.

Thirdly, ensure that your sump pump is in working order. This is particularly relevant to those who live in areas with large amounts of rainfall. If you’re sump pump is not functioning properly, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to flooding and subsequent water damage. Depending on the contents of your basement, this may lead to the loss or damage of property. While Anta Plumbing states that most sump pumps can last anywhere between five and twenty years, It is not uncommon for pumps to fail before their tenth year due to a lack of proper maintenance. To increase your sump pumps life expectancy, replace its battery every two to three years and ensure that it is effectively discharging water into your ditch or storm drain. If it is discharging slowly or weakly, there may be a leak or crack in the plumbing that connects the pump to the drain, which may flood your yard over time.

Fourthly, take steps to keep your pipes free of mold and mildew, which have a tendency to thrive during the warmer months. While mold and mildew can threaten the integrity of your plumbing by causing it to rust or corrode prematurely, they may also threaten your health if present in a pipe that provides drinking water. Most pipes can be purged of light deposits of mold by being flushed with a vinegar solution, which will wash away most of the unsightly bacteria that flourishes in warm and damp environments. However, such solutions cannot remove larger deposits of mold, which will require either a specialized cleaning by a plumber or a replacement.

In short, though the summer months can wreak havoc on your plumbing, this havoc can be limited and prevented through a combination of preparation and proper maintenance. To ensure the longevity of your plumbing system, be sure to have it serviced on a regular basis.

Written by Tanya Klien

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