15 Common Summer Plumbing Issues to Prepare For

Apr 2, 2024 | Plumbing

Plumbing issues can happen when you least expect it. Homeownership comes with many joys and challenges, and summer is no exception. With the warmth and brightness of the season also come specific plumbing concerns that every homeowner should be aware of.

From outdoor equipment malfunctions to the impact of scorching temperatures on your home’s plumbing infrastructure, it’s a season of both delight and diligent maintenance.

You won’t have to water about frozen pipes, but there’s always something to worry about!

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This listicle is your guide to potential summer plumbing issues, advice on recognizing the signs, and tips on how to prevent them.

Ensure you’re prepared to tackle these 15 common plumbing problems, and your summer will be smooth sailing.

1. Clogged Garbage Disposals

The increased use of disposals in the summer, courtesy of backyard barbecues and home-cooked family meals, elevates the risk of clogged drains and plumbing problems.

Items such as fibrous vegetables, grease, and large food volumes can put a strain on your disposal, potentially leading to blockages.

Watch Out for:

  • Slow draining water
  • Unpleasant odors coming from the kitchen sink that can be health hazards

Prevention Tips:

  • Avoid putting fibrous or starchy foods down the disposal
  • Always run cold water when using the disposal
  • Regularly clean your disposal with ice cubes and citrus peels

2. Sprinkler System Leaks

The watering needs of gardens and lawns can place significant pressure on your sprinkler systems, causing leaky pipes that might go unnoticed until they lead to water damage.

Warning Signs:

  • Puddles or sogginess around your property
  • Sprinkler heads not popping up or functioning properly
  • Low water pressure

Maintenance Tips:

  • Inspect and clean your sprinkler heads before summer starts
  • Adjust the water pressure to avoid over-spraying

3. Sewer Line Backups

Heavy summer rains can overwhelm sewer systems, leading to backups, which can be unsanitary and hazardous to your health.

Look Out for:

  • Multiple drains are backing up simultaneously
  • Gurgling sounds from drains and toilets

Prevention Measures:

  • Avoid pouring grease down the drain
  • Only flush human waste and toilet paper
  • Consider a professional inspection if you notice signs of a backup in your sewer lines

4. Leaking Outdoor Faucets

Constant use and the elements can cause outdoor leaky faucets to develop. This not only wastes water but can also create a moist environment that encourages mold growth.

Indicators of Leaking Pipes:

  • Dripping or flowing water even when the faucet is turned off
  • Wet patches around the faucet or exterior walls

Summer-Specific Fixes:

  • Ensure all outdoor faucets are closed tightly when not in use
  • Consider installing freeze-proof faucets with a built-in shutoff valve

5. Overworked Sump Pumps

Summer storms can lead to flooding, and an overworked or malfunctioning sump pump can fail just when it’s needed most.

Early Warnings:

  • Musty odors coming from the sump pit
  • Increased presence of bugs or pests in the area

Regular Maintenance:

  • Test your sump pump before the start of the rainy season
  • Ensure the float switch is free of obstructions and moves freely

6. Washing Machine Hose Failures

Higher laundry loads and warmer water temperatures put additional strain on the washing machine’s hoses, making them more prone to leaks or ruptures.

Signs to Watch:

  • Dampness or puddles around the washing machine
  • An increase in your water bill

Protective Steps:

  • Check hoses for signs of wear or cracking
  • Consider replacing rubber hoses with stainless steel or braided varieties

7. Bathroom Overflows

Summer guests can mean increased use of bathrooms, leading to overflows—often due to excessive toilet paper, foreign objects, or sanitary products being flushed.

Preventative Measures:

  • Place a wastebasket in each bathroom
  • Educate guests on what can and cannot be flushed

8. AC Condensation Line Clogs

Your air conditioning unit creates a lot of condensation, and if the line gets clogged, it can result in water backups and damage to the system.

Warning Signals:

  • Puddles near the AC unit, especially when it’s running
  • The AC may struggle to cool your home effectively

Clearing the Line:

  • Locate the condensation line and clear any visible clogs
  • Consider using a wet/dry vacuum to suction out the blockage

9. Water Heater Strain

With warmer weather and an increase in outdoor activities, water heaters tend to be forgotten—until they falter under the pressure of summer showers.

Indications of Stress:

  • Longer time to heat water
  • Inconsistent water temperature

Seasonal Checks:

  • Inspect the anode rod for wear
  • Flush the tank to remove sediment build-up

10. Pool Equipment Malfunctions

Pool owners should be attentive to potential issues with pumps, filters, and heaters, which can arise from increased usage during the summer.

Red Flags:

  • Water not circulating properly
  • Air bubbles in the pool return lines

Essential Maintenance:

  • Follow a regular pool maintenance schedule
  • Keep pool chemicals balanced

11. Running Toilets

Running toilets are not only a nuisance but can also lead to a significant increase in water bills if left unchecked. This common issue is often caused by a faulty flapper or an improper float position, which prevents the toilet tank from filling properly and causes water to continuously run.

Signs of a Running Toilet:

  • The sound of water running in the toilet when not in use
  • An unexpectedly high water bill

DIY Fixes:

  • Adjust the float to ensure the water stops filling at the proper level
  • Replace the flapper if it appears worn or does not seal correctly

12. Slow Drains

Slow drains in sinks, tubs, and showers are often early indicators of a blockage forming in your plumbing system.

While slow drains can be frustrating, they offer a chance to address clogs before they lead to more serious backups.

Signs of a Slow Drain:

  • Water pools and drains more slowly than usual
  • Gurgling sounds as water finally goes down

DIY Solutions:

  • Use a plunger to try and dislodge any superficial blockages
  • Clear out any visible debris from the drain opening
  • Try a homemade mixture of vinegar and baking soda to break down clogs without harsh chemicals

13. Pressure Reducing Valve Issues

A pressure reducing valve (PRV) is crucial for controlling the water pressure entering your home. It’s designed to reduce the high pressure from the city water supply to a safer level.

However, when a PRV fails, it can lead to either unusually high or dangerously low water pressure in your plumbing fixtures.

Indications of a Faulty PRV:

  • Sudden Changes in Water Pressure: If you notice a significant drop or increase in water pressure without a clear reason, the PRV might be malfunctioning.
  • Noisy Pipes: Unusual noises coming from your pipes, especially a hammering or banging sound, can indicate that the water pressure is too high, potentially due to a PRV issue.
  • Leaks: A faulty PRV can cause excessive pressure build-up in your plumbing system, leading to leaks or even burst pipes.

Steps to Address PRV Problems:

  • Check the PRV Settings: Sometimes, adjusting the PRV settings can correct the water pressure. Ensure it hasn’t been inadvertently changed.
  • Inspect for Wear and Tear: Like all plumbing components, PRVs can wear out over time. Check for any visible signs of wear or damage.
  • Professional Assessment: Given the critical role of a PRV in maintaining safe water pressure, it’s advisable to have a professional plumber assess and, if necessary, replace a faulty valve.

14. Clogged Toilet

A clogged toilet is a common yet distressing plumbing issue encountered in households.

This problem generally arises when inappropriate materials are flushed down the toilet, leading to a blockage in the drainage pipe.

It can cause significant inconvenience and, if not addressed promptly, may result in overflow and water damage.

Signs of a Clogged Toilet:

  • Water rises to the brim of the toilet bowl when flushed and drains slowly or not at all.
  • Bubbling or gurgling noises from the toilet or nearby drains.
  • Repeated incidents of toilet clogs despite regular attempts to clear.

DIY Solutions:

  • Use a plunger with a flange designed specifically for toilets to create a strong seal and suction.
  • A toilet auger (closet auger) can reach deeper clogs that a plunger can’t, physically breaking up or retrieving obstructions.
  • Hot water mixed with dish soap can sometimes loosen minor blockages, but it should be used cautiously to avoid damaging the porcelain or causing burns.

15. Potential Health Hazards From Your Plumbing System In Summer

The summer season can put additional strain on your plumbing system, potentially leading to health hazards that homeowners should be aware of.

High temperatures and increased humidity create ideal conditions for certain plumbing problems to flourish, which could impact the health of your household.

Key Health Hazards:

  • Bacterial Growth: Warm conditions are perfect for bacteria to multiply, especially in stagnant water found in rarely used pipes. This can include harmful bacteria like Legionella, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.
  • Mold and Mildew: Increased humidity and moisture from leaks or condensation can lead to mold and mildew growth. These fungi can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues.
  • Sewer Gas Exposure: Cracks or loose fittings in sewer lines can allow sewer gas to seep into your home. Besides being unpleasant, long-term exposure to certain components of sewer gas can be harmful to your health.
  • Contaminated Water Supply: Breaks in the water line, or backflow from increased demand on the system, can lead to contamination of your drinking water, posing serious health risks.

Preventive Measures:

  • Regularly inspect and maintain your plumbing system to avoid stagnant water and leaks.
  • Ensure your home is well-ventilated to mitigate mold and mildew growth.
  • Install a backflow prevention device to protect your drinking water.
  • Consider professional inspections of your sewer lines and plumbing system to identify and repair potential issues promptly.

When to Consult a Professional:

Given the risks associated with these summer-related plumbing issues, consulting with a professional plumber can be crucial.

They can offer solutions to mitigate these health hazards and help maintain a safe and healthy home environment.

connect, faucet, garden

By staying abreast of these common summer plumbing problems and taking appropriate measures, you can minimize the risk of disruption to your seasonal fun and ensure your home’s plumbing system remains in top condition.

Remember, proper maintenance is the key to a trouble-free summer, so don’t hesitate to schedule a professional check-up if in doubt.’

person holding yellow and gray hand tool

When To Know You Can’t DIY Fix Your Plumbing Issues

While proactive maintenance can mitigate many common plumbing problems, recognizing when an issue is beyond your DIY capabilities is crucial in preventing further damage and costly repairs.

Here are clear indicators that it’s time to call in the professionals:

When to Call a Professional Plumber

Persistent Clogs

If repeated attempts with a plunger or chemical drain cleaner fails to clear a blockage, the issue may be deeper in your plumbing system than you can reach or resolve on your own.

Low Water Pressure Throughout the House

This issue could stem from a myriad of problems, such as pipe corrosion or a major leak somewhere within your system.

A professional can accurately diagnose and rectify the root cause.

Water Marks on Walls or Ceilings

These signs often indicate hidden leaks within your walls.

Locating and fixing these leaks requires skill and equipment that most homeowners lack.

No Hot Water

If your hot water heater is failing to provide hot water, the problem could be anything from simple electrical issues to a complete system failure.

Given the complexity of water heaters, a professional evaluation is best.

Sewer System Backup

Signs include bad odors emanating from drains, multiple drain backups, and unusual noises from plumbing systems.

Sewer problems can pose significant health risks and typically demand specialized equipment for a safe resolution.

man wearing black pullover hoodie holding tool

Attempting to tackle these issues without the necessary expertise can lead to further damage, potentially escalating the repair costs.

Plumbing professionals possess the tools, knowledge, and experience to diagnose and solve complex issues effectively, ensuring your plumbing system’s integrity and your home’s safety.

Remember, a timely call to a plumber can save you from the hassle and expense of a major plumbing disaster.

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Maryland Sewer and Plumbing

If you’re facing any kind of plumbing issues, ranging from a simple clogged drain to complex water flow problems or a malfunctioning fill valve, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Maryland Sewer and Plumbing.

Our team of experienced professionals is equipped to handle all sorts of plumbing challenges, ensuring that a minor inconvenience doesn’t escalate into a full-blown plumbing emergency, especially during the summer.

Remember, timely intervention can prevent significant damage and save you from the discomfort and expenses of emergency repairs. Contact us today and enjoy a worry-free summer with a fully functional plumbing system.

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