19 Jul 5 Common Summer Plumbing Problems & Solutions(Last Updated On: July 19, 2018)
We enjoy the summer. In particular, homeowners enjoy spending time with their friends and families in their yards and showing off their homes during the summer. However, small problems still occur during the summer. Plus, between extra guests and standard summer food, plumbing systems endure some strain. As a result, some summer plumbing problems occur. Fortunately, many of these plumbing problems and solutions are achievable for any homeowner.
If your home experiences any summer plumbing issues, then we hope everyone feels empowered to complete a quick check. However, as BestPlumbers shares, it is important for anyone conducting any home-related work to understand the proper tools required for the job.
“Have a thorough understanding of your plumbing tools. Know how to use them before you begin any kind of plumbing repair. If necessary, do a little research online and read about the various plumbing tools before you use them. Plan accordingly beforehand, because repairing a mistake can cost you a lot of money.”
Ultimately, if any home issue becomes more complex than your skill set, call a professional because an experienced contractor helps prevent small issues turning into big problems. We hope this summer offers calm and relaxation, however, please find some common plumbing problems and solutions.
Clogged Garbage Disposal
Summer provides some great food and snacks. We love watermelon and corn on the cob, along with BBQ and other grilling options. Unfortunately, our garbage disposals don’t love these same summer foods.
For example, avoid putting the fibrous parts of summer fruits and vegetables, such as corn husks or melon rinds, down the drain. Also, avoid putting any bones down the drain that may result from grilling chicken wings or anything similar.
Ultimately, understanding what to avoid helps prevent clogged drains. However, clogs still occur, when means fixing the garbage disposal and drain.
Check the Garbage Disposal
First, turn on the garbage disposal (with the water running) and listen for a healthy motor. If you hear a low hum, then check the disposal! If the garbage disposal seems to be the problem, then there are a couple of steps to clean the disposal.
To start, unplug the unit and ensure that are no tripped breakers in the fuse box. Next, attempt to clear the clog by turning the blades manually with an Allen wrench (there should be a hole at the bottom of the disposal). If the blades were clogged, then when you plug the unit back in and turn it on (it might need a minute to cool off – if so, press the reset button on the bottom and try again) everything should work.
If the clog persists, but the garbage disposal is clear and working, then additional steps are needed.
Use A Plunger to Remove Debris
First, do not plunge the sink if you tried a commercial drain cleaner. Allow the drain cleaner to work through the sink because the chemicals are dangerous if they touch your skin while plunging the sink. (In general using chemicals can do more harm than good on the drain pipes.)
To use the plunger effectively:
- partially fill the sink with water.
- work the plunger to break up the clog.
- remove any waste that comes into the sink.
The plunger may break up some substances, but the clog may not be cleared. If the clog persists, then it is possible to uncover the blockage through snaking the pipes or cleaning the trap and even baking soda and vinegar.
Broken Washing Machine
We like to spend time outside. In particular, in the Northeast, we remain cooped up all winter and head outside during the summer months. However, all of this activity means more dirty clothes. During the summer between picnics, cookouts, swimming and running around or even sitting in hot cars translates into more loads of laundry. Therefore, during the summer, washing machine issues occur as the increased usages takes a toll. From keeping an eye (and ear) on the machine to allowing for some rest, there a few ways to help prevent issues.
“Be sure to stay around the house while doing laundry, so you can catch any problems fast and shut the machine off before they get worse (be sure to call a professional appliance repair technician with any needed repairs or concerns). Some older models may simply need a “break”, so washing your laundry one load at a time instead of doing several loads at once can also help. Finally, move your washing machine out from the wall a little, as this will help keep the water hose from kinking.”
As always, the best way to fix (or avoid) a clogged toilet is avoiding an issue. However, life and clogs happen. As a result, if a clog occurs:
- Scoop out excess water from the bowl (but leave a couple of inches at the bottom). Feel free to use a shop vac or lay down towels to avoid a bigger mess.
- Plunge. Use a toilet plunger, which are cone-shaped to fit in the drain-hole. The remaining water in the bowl acts as suction, which creates water pressure to remove blockage. Try this a few times.
- Snake or auger the toilet. Following the toilet plunger, use a snake or auger, which are long wires with a corkscrew tip. Feed the wire into the pipe while simultaneously turning the handle clockwise until it hits the block. Keep turning the snake or auger, which allows the tip to screw into the obstruction. This will either clear the block or the debris will stick to the tip of the auger. Be careful putting it into the toilet, this will prevent scratching the toilet in visible areas.
Unfortunately, if the clog remains, then a DIY approach will not work. A professional plumber contains the expertise and experience to unclog serious issues.
Sewer Line Backups
Summer storms saturate us with rain water. As a result of a large storm, drains become overrun or even clogged (or blocked). In fact, a blocked sewer might be the most unwelcome plumbing mishap and possibly a very costly repair. Therefore, if your home (or neighborhood) remains susceptible blocked sewers, then consider some preventative measures, such as routine service or installing a drain plug.
“Servicing your sewers before the summer comes can help you avoid the worst of the problems, while installing a drain plug in each drain can prevent water from backing up during storms. Actually, installing a drain plug is simple and cheap!”
Similar to sewer line backups, summer storms means lots of rain water. As a result, many homes experience basement flooding. If your basement floods during the winter (following melting snow), then it likely floods during a severe summer storm. Therefore, work with a professional to install a sump pump.
“While you may think of sump pumps as all being the same, they actually vary quite a bit, both in function and feature set. For example, the three most common types of sump pumps are primary sump pumps, battery back-up sump pumps, and combination sump pumps. Plus, some plumbing professionals also consider sewage pumps to be a type of sump pump, and they may be used as one. Typically, a sewage pump’s main function is to pump sewage waste from a home to a septic system. However, one main difference between a sewage pump and a sump pump is that sewage pumps can pass solids up to two inches. As a result, sewage pumps also tend to be installed in a septic tank or in a separate pump chamber.”
Generally, sump pumps remove water from the sump basin and discharge it away from a home’s foundation. Sump pumps typically range from 1/4 HP to 1 HP. Additionally, most sump pumps contain five main components:
- groundwater collection system.
- sump basin (or pit).
- primary sump pump.
- discharge pipe or hose.
- check valve.
As always, SolvIt is here to help. We provide 24/7 services (everyday, including summer and holidays), so feel free to contact us anytime and make sure the water runs smoothly all summer long.