5 Summer Plumbing Problems

Summer 5.jpg

Summertime is here and that means temperatures are going to just keep rising. So, make sure you’re fully prepared for possible problems heat can cause to your plumbing. 

AIR CONDITIONING DRAINS

You may know that you should change your air conditioning filter every three months or so, but when was the last time your air conditioning drain was inspected or cleaned? Summer is the perfect time for mold to start growing, and the drain is the perfect spot. Since it is almost always damp throughout the summer months, mold, mildew, and fungus can take up residence in the pan.

Air conditioning issues can also be caused by deposits building up in the drain over time. This can lead to blockages, which are ideal for further mold growth. Leaving growth unchecked can cause mold spores and gasses to enter your home, greatly affecting your indoor air quality and your family’s health.

A blockage can also result in overflow and leakage. With nowhere to go, water will eventually overflow in the pan and can lead to damage to your home.

Having your air conditioning drain cleaned once a year can prevent blockages, leakage, and flooding. Ignoring the issue can result in damage to your home’s walls, air conditioning unit, and flooring, especially if it goes unnoticed for some time.

EXPANDING PIPES AND LOW WATER PRESSURE

It’s not only cold weather that can affect your pipes and cause them to expand. Hot summer weather can make your pipes burst just like winter can! One sign that your pipes might be on the edge is a change in water pressure.

Sometimes low water pressure is just an annoyance—like when there’s not enough flow to wash the sand off of you after a day at the beach—but it could also point to a larger problem. Pressure changes can be caused by leaks, corrosion build-up, and water supply malfunctions. If you’re experiencing lower-than-usual water pressure, it may be time to call a professional.

NO COLD WATER

With rising temperatures, it’s only normal that water temperatures rise as well. If it’s a blistering hot day, you may not get the cool water you desire. To combat this, let your water run for a bit longer than usual to get the cold results you’re looking for.

SHIFTING FOUNDATIONS

Did you know that hot weather can actually cause the ground to move? Shifting foundations and cracking ground can affect your home and your plumbing by putting a serious strain on your pipes. They may even expand or contract. Heat can also expand the soil that your pipes sit in, in turn shifting the pipes, often causing them to burst. Droughts can have the same effects. Lack of water causes the soil to contract and sink, taking your pipes along for the ride. If your home is experiencing major changes in its foundation, you’ll likely see cracks in the walls, especially in the corners.

You can help the soil by watering or placing plants around the perimeter of the foundation. Plants can help moderate the temperature of the soil while also holding the ground together more effectively with roots.”

CLOGGED TOILETS

June, July, and August mean the kids are home for the summer! It can also mean more friends and family visit for BBQs and the Fourth of July. This leads to an increase in bathroom use and, sadly, can tend to lead to clogged toilets.

Regularly check how your toilet flushes and have a good look at the base. This can reveal signs of water damage, stains, and rolled vinyl, which are all evidence of a leak. Make sure to have a trash can in your bathroom as well to make sure your guests don’t throw paper towels, sanitary items, and more into the toilet.

DISCOVERING LEAKS

It’s very important to report the leak to a professional plumber as soon as it is discovered.

Check your yard and home regularly for any signs of excess water. Soft floors, warped cabinets, and washing machine hose ruptures are all signs of a leak. Also, make sure to monitor your water bill for any inconsistencies.

If you’re unsure whether a leak has occurred, try turning off the water in your home, and record the water meter. After a few hours, check the meter again. If the usage has increased, that may be evidence of a leak.

For major leaks, turn off your water, and contact a professional as soon as possible. Allowing any leak to run free can result in extensive damage to your walls, appliances, flooring, yard, basement, and more.

15 SIMPLE PLUMBING TIPS TO HELP YOU SAVE MONEY

Plumbing Save Money.jpg

Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to do some “Spring Cleaning” for your home’s pipe and drainage systems. Here are 15 quick and simple Spring Plumbing Tips to protect your home against plumbing problems:

  1. Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  2. Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, the color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes
  3. Ensure that all drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap, and debris from clogging the drain lines.
  4. Inspect toilet tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
  5. Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking.
  6. Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They’re inexpensive and you’ll notice a lower water bill.
  7. Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  8. Carefully drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. A great Spring Plumbing Tip.
  9. Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient
  10. Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  11. Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  12. If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  13. Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into homes. This device will prevent future backups
  14. Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
  15. Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

This list of Spring Plumbing Tips is just a handful of the useful services and solutions that McCoy's Heating & Air can provide your home this spring. If you are interested in the full rundown of our plumbing services you can schedule a service maintenance of your plumbing and drain systems by calling us!

Spring Plumbing Tips

water-hose-1024x683.jpeg

Spring is a time when many homeowners engage in maintenance tasks like spring cleaning and home renovation. It’s also a good time for homeowners to check up on their plumbing system to protect their home from clogged drains, leaks and water damage. Keeping up with this basic maintenance on a yearly basis can help keep your home functional throughout the year.

Perform a Water Heater Check-Up

You may have turned up the temperature on your water heater when the weather got cold this last winter. As a general rule, professionals recommend keeping your home’s water heater set to 120 degrees. Turning your water heater higher than the recommended setting can result in scalding and may also cut back the service life of your water heater.

While you’re turning down the temp, check your water heater for signs of corrosion and leaks. Look for puddles, rust or soot around the control panel. If you see signs of distress, contact a plumber to get a second opinion.

Don’t forget that water heaters may only last around 10 years. If your water heater is an older unit, consider having your heater tuned up annually by a professional.

Watch for Water Leaks Associated with Sprinklers and Outdoor Faucets

Outdoor pipes attached to sprinklers and faucets can easily freeze and break over the winter. When temperatures outside have thawed, watch your outdoor pipes for signs of water leaks. If you notice a water leak in your home the first time you turn on your hose or other faucets, this could be a sign that one of your pipes froze and broke over the winter.

Turn the Water Valves

Water valves can get hard to turn over time. Once annually, turn off the water valves in your home, then turn them back on just to keep the parts from becoming sticky.

Check Under Sinks and Supply Hoses

Take a look at your sinks and check the supply hoses that run to your dishwasher, clothes washer and other water-using appliances. Look for moisture, puddles, rust, corrosion and other warning signs of a leak.

Drain the Sediment from Your Water Heater

Sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater, which reduces the efficiency of the unit. Draining your water heater every year can extend the life of the appliance. 

This chore make take an hour or two, depending on the water heater and whether or not you’ve done it in the past. If you’re not comfortable draining the water heater yourself, get a professional plumber.

Test the Toilets for Leaks

You can test your toilet for leaks by putting food coloring into the tank of your toilet. If the water in the bowl turns the color of the food dye within a half an hour, this is a sign that your toilet has a leak. Replacing the parts in the toilet tank will save you water and money this year.

Clean Gutters and Down Spouts

After a long fall and winter, your gutters and downspouts may be full of pine needles, leaves, twigs and other debris. Clean out your gutters and use a plumber’s auger to clear out your home’s downspouts. This will prevent leaks in your home and prevent water damage during spring showers.

Do Chemical Drain Cleaners Damage Pipes?

Do Chemical Drain Cleaners Damage Pipes?

If you use them as directed, chemical drain cleaners may help to clear a partially clogged drain. 

But because they’re so powerful, we suggest using them as a last resort

So, yes, chemical drain cleaners can cause damage to your pipes, especially when:

  • You have older, weak metal pipes
  • You use them incorrectly with plastic pipes
  • You use it on a completely blocked drain

You see, because they produce heat, chemical drain cleaners can warp or damage softer pipes like plastic and older metal piping.