Summer Plumbing Problems

Image courtesy of pupunkkop at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of pupunkkop at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With the news media reminding us each of every year, it is fairly well known that significant problems, such as frozen and bursting pipes, can be brought on by winter weather.  However, what you may not know is that there are several plumbing problems that happen more commonly in the summer months than any other time of year.

The first plumbing issue that arises more often in the summer is a clogged garbage disposal.  First, the disposal tends to get a tougher workout in the summer months, when you are more likely to be entertaining at home.  Second, summer fruit and vegetable remains such as watermelon rinds and corn husks can wreak havoc on the blades of the disposal.  Finally, you may be making the mistake of dumping dirty grease down the sink after grilling out, which will coat the blades and cause buildup on them.  Be sure to run cold water before and after using the disposal to help clear out the food.  Grinding some ice cubes can help to remove any buildup on the blades.

Another thing you may find breaks down more frequently in the summer is your washing machine.  Between the kids being home from school, trips to the beach and the pool, and summer vacations, you may find yourself doing twice as much laundry as usual.  It’s advisable to only run the washing machine when you are home, so you can stop the cycle immediately if you notice any problems.

Finally, a third plumbing issue that often arises in the summer is sewer line backups.  If you live in an area with excessive rainfall, it can cause damage to the pipes in two ways.  First, any shifting soil around the pipes can cause them to crack.  Next, once the cracks occur, excess rainwater can seep in through them, thereby causing the sewer line to back up.  If you discover water backing up into any drain in your home, you should call a licensed plumber immediately.

Signs You Might Need a New Sewer Line

sewer cover PixabyWhen thinking about household plumbing, your sewer line is likely not on the top of your list, and that is because it is largely invisible to you.  Your sewer line, which is buried completely underground, is the part of your plumbing system that carries the waste water out of your home.

Because of the location and function of your sewer line, there are a number of ways that it can malfunction.  For example, tree roots in your yard can break through the pipes, and shifting soil can cause a sewer line to completely collapse.  Both of the aforementioned reasons can also cause leaking and cracking in the pipes, if not total destruction.  Finally, with all of the drains in your home feeding into one main sewer line, it is subject to becoming severely clogged.  If a complete clog occurs, the resulting building water pressure will cause the pipe to burst.

You may wonder how you can possibly know if your sewer line is having issues since you can’t see it with your own eyes.  However, there are three distinct above-ground indicators that you might need to replace your sewer line.  The first, and most obvious, is an odor of sewage coming from your drains or your yard.  The second is patches in your yard that are unexplainably raised and soggy, which could represent the location of a leak in the sewer line.  The third would be if you notice your sinks, bathtubs, and showers are all draining more slowly than usual, as that could indicate a clog in the sewer line.

If you suspect your sewer line may need to be replaced, you should call a licensed plumber right away to request a camera inspection of your pipes.  They will run a waterproof camera through your pipes to accurately pinpoint any issues in your underground lines and let you know what needs to be corrected.

Why You Should Call a Plumber for a Smelly Garbage Disposal

photo courtesy of homemd.com
photo courtesy of homemd.com

If you have a smell coming from your garbage disposal that no amount of baking soda can diminish, it is highly recommended that you call a licensed plumber.  Unfortunately, a stinky garbage disposal can be a sign of a serious sewer gas leak in your home. A plumbing professional will have the necessary equipment to see if the source of the stench is your sewer.  If it is not, he or she can move on to finding the origin of the smell and correcting the problem.

Once your garbage disposal has returned to an odorless state, there are many steps you can take to ensure it stays that way. [Read more…]

Water Pressure

photo courtesy of improvenet.com
photo courtesy of improvenet.com

If you are like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to the water pressure in your home.  However, this is one aspect of your home’s plumbing you should always be aware of in the back of your mind.  Water pressure is defined as the number of pounds per square inch (PSI) pushing through a water system.  In order for your home appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, showers, and sinks to work properly, your water pressure needs to be between 40 and 60 PSI. [Read more…]

Hydro Jetting

plumbers hydro jetting pipesHydro jetting is a process used by professional plumbers to clean your pipes and drains using extreme water pressure of between 1500 and 4000 pounds per minute.  This method is useful for extreme clogs that cannot be tackled by traditional means.

For example, if you are experiencing a clogged sink, your first instinct may be to go to the hardware store and purchase a plumbing snake.  This is a long, flexible metal tube with a hand crank at one end and a corkscrew auger on the other.  The idea is that you will turn the crank to extend the cable down the drain until you reach the point of the blockage.  You must then push through the blockage and then remove the snake from the drain, hopefully bringing up some of the goop causing the clog along with the auger.  A snake can be a wonderful tool if you have a minor clog or a single item stuck in your drain.  However, if you have a longer-term problem building up, it is only a temporary fix. [Read more…]