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Full House: Common Summer Plumbing Problems & How To Prevent Them

Updated on May 31, 2017

Summer is fast approaching and with the kids out of school, the whole home takes on a greater workload. More bodies in the house and a greater range of outings put additional strain on the plumbing system in a variety of ways. From clogs and backed up drains to overused washing machines, maintaining and preventing damages to plumbing systems help prevent additional stress and cost which help create a more enjoyable summer season for everyone.

Shower Troubles

After a long day at the beach, it's nice to hop in the shower and get rid of the grainy feeling of sand between your clothes and in your hair. When the small rocks, shells and sand hit the drain, however, it can cause a blockage in the drain and cause it to slow. As oily sunscreen and sunburn treatments wash away, the water moving through the drain may nearly halt to a trickle.

One way to prevent these clogs is to utilize public showers at the beach or water park. This will rinse off a good portion of the sand and oils even before arriving at home. For those uncomfortable with public showers, baby wipes can also be used to clean the skin. Once at home, removing a bathing suit before entering the shower will keep any trapped sand from escaping down the drains. If the potential mess from sand gives you pause, stand over a towel or plastic bag when removing swimwear then shake it out outside.

Clogged Toilets

While the school bathrooms are on holiday, the toilets at home are working overtime and with more use comes more potential for clogging. Especially with young children, one of the easiest ways to prevent headaches of any sort - from proper usage to misplaced toys - is to teach them its proper use. Teach the proper amount of toilet paper that should be used and children understand what can and cannot be flushed. Even then, mind any strange objects heading towards the bathroom and perhaps even stow away bath toys to avoid any temptation.

For any inescapable messes or accidents, make sure that you have a flange plunger available rather than a cup plunger. These plungers are designed to fit snugly into the opening at the bottom of the toilet bowl which helps create the suction needed to loosen a clog. For more serious clogs, a plumber may be required to use a snake or other tools to remove the obstruction.

Washing Machine Maintenance

Between swimsuits and grass-stained clothing, the amount of clothing running through the wash can potentially double throughout the summer holiday. Be sure to check the hose in the back for signs of damage, like cracks and bulges, and any potential leaks. Make sure that there is enough space between the washing machine and the wall to prevent kinks from occurring in the hose that can cause damage over time.

As a precaution, try to make sure that the machine runs while someone is home and alert. In case of an emergency, this prevents larger damages like potential flooding by having someone available to stop problems early.

Garbage Disposal Overload

Besides the extra meals at home during the day, the additional food from barbecues and cook outs can wear out even the toughest garbage disposals. Be aware of how much food is going down the drain and avoid putting any of the following popular summer foods down the disposal:

» Corn cobs
» Animal bones
» Watermelons rinds and other hard fruits
» Celery and other fibrous vegetables
» Potatoes and other starchy foods
» Grease

When using a garbage disposal unit, be sure to run cold water for around fifteen seconds after to rinse away any food. This will prevent any lingering smell from rotting food.

Sprinkler Damage & Failure

Sprinklers are an excellent way to ensure the yard stays green and healthy all year round, especially during the hottest days of the summer. However, the sprinkler heads embedded in the yard and hidden from sight can become not only out of sight but out of mind as well. This puts them at risk for unseen damages or damage from going unseen.

The best way to prevent damage to the yard and any costly water bills is to check and clean the sprinkler heads frequently. Additionally, ensure that whoever mows the lawn is aware of where the sprinkler heads are found so they can be avoided while maintaining the yard.

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