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Summer Plumbing System Prep: How to Beat the Heat

image of the plumbing system with pipes


Summer conjures visions of barbecues, pool parties, and carefree days. But what happens when your plumbing system throws a wrench into those plans? Don't let clogged drains, low water pressure, or worse, disrupt your summer fun. By understanding how your home's plumbing system works and taking proactive steps, you can avoid common summer plumbing problems and keep the good times flowing and enjoy  carefree days. 


But what happens when your plumbing system throws a wrench into those plans? Don't let clogged drains, low water pressure, or worse, disrupt your summer fun. By understanding how your home's plumbing system works and taking proactive steps, you can avoid common summer plumbing problems and keep the good times flowing.


Understanding Your Home's Plumbing System: A Network of Pipes and Invisible Heroes


Your home's plumbing system is a complex network of pipes, fixtures, and vents that work together like a well-oiled machine to bring fresh water in and remove wastewater. Let's delve deeper into some key components:


  • Sewer Pipes: These pipes, typically made of durable materials like cast iron or PVC, carry wastewater away from your home. They connect to a network of underground sanitary sewers that eventually lead to a municipal wastewater treatment plant. Here, wastewater undergoes a multi-stage treatment process to remove contaminants before being safely released back into the environment. Wastewater treatment plants play a crucial role in protecting public health and the environment.

  • Drain Pipes (Drainage Pipes):  Branching off from individual fixtures like your kitchen sink, bathtub, and washing machine, these pipes carry wastewater to the main drain line. Drain pipes are typically smaller in diameter than sewer pipes and made of materials like PVC or ABS plastic. The proper installation and maintenance of drain pipes are essential for ensuring efficient wastewater removal from your property.

  • Main Drain Line (or Stack):  This is the main highway for wastewater in your home. The main drain line collects wastewater from all branch drain lines and carries it out to the sewer pipe that connects to the municipal sanitary sewer system.  A blockage in the main drain line can cause a serious backup of sewage throughout your home, highlighting the importance of keeping this vital pipe clear.

  • Sewer Drain:  This term is often used interchangeably with "sewer pipe" and refers to the pipe that carries wastewater away from your home to the municipal sanitary sewer system.  Understanding the proper terminology can be helpful when communicating with a plumber about potential issues with your sewer line.

  • Storm Drains:  It's important to distinguish between sanitary sewers and storm drains.  Storm drains collect rainwater and runoff from streets, parking lots, and rooftops. This water is typically channeled into nearby streams, rivers, or lakes without treatment.  Property owners should never dispose of wastewater, such as grease or hazardous materials, down storm drains, as this can pollute waterways.

  • Sewage System:  The sewage system refers to the entire network of pipes, pumps, and treatment plants that collect, transport, and treat wastewater. This complex system ensures the safe and sanitary removal of human waste and other wastewater from our homes and businesses.  A properly functioning sewage system is essential for public health and environmental protection.

  • Sewer Gases:  Sewer pipes can contain harmful gases like methane and hydrogen sulfide. These gases can have a foul odor and, in high concentrations, can be dangerous.  Proper venting within the drainage system helps prevent sewer gases from entering your home.  If you detect a sewage odor emanating from your drains, it's important to call a licensed plumber to identify and address the source of the problem.


someone holding onto a leaking drain

Summer's Impact on Your Plumbing System: Increased Usage and Potential Problems


Summer brings with it a surge in water usage. Think about all those refreshing showers, extra laundry loads to keep up with swimsuits and pool towels, and the constant whirring of your sprinkler system keeping your lawn green. This increased demand can put a strain on your plumbing system, especially older systems. Here are some common problems that can arise during the hot summer months:


  • Clogged Drains: Summer barbecues and pool parties can quickly lead to clogged drains from food scraps, grease, hair, and sunscreen. Grease, in particular, can solidify and cling to the insides of drain pipes, causing blockages that can worsen over time. Soap scum and hair can also contribute to slow drainage or complete clogs.

  • Sewage Backups: A blockage in the main drain line or sewer pipe can cause a serious plumbing emergency. Sewage backups can occur due to a variety of factors, including grease buildup, tree root intrusion in the sewer line, or a problem with the municipal sewer system itself. Sewage backups are a health hazard and require immediate attention from a licensed plumber.

  • Low Water Flow: This could indicate a clog in the pipes, a problem with the plumbing fixtures themselves (like a faulty faucet cartridge), or low water pressure from the municipal supply. Low water pressure can make everyday tasks like washing dishes or taking a shower frustrating and time-consuming.

Preventing Summer Plumbing Headaches: Proactive Maintenance is Key


The good news is that most summer plumbing problems are preventable with a little proactive maintenance. Here's how to keep your plumbing system functioning smoothly throughout the summer:


  • Schedule a Professional Inspection:  Before summer arrives, have a licensed plumber inspect your entire plumbing system. This inspection should include checking for leaks, identifying potential clogs, and ensuring proper venting of your building drain system (the network of pipes within the building that collects wastewater before it exits to the sewer system).  A professional plumber can also assess the condition of your sewer line and recommend any necessary cleaning or repairs.

  • Preventative Drain Cleaning:  Regular drain cleaning services by a professional can remove built-up debris and prevent clogs before they become a major issue. There are two main methods for drain cleaning: mechanical augering, which uses a rotating cable to break up clogs, and hydrojetting, which utilizes a high-pressure water jet to scour the pipes clean.

  • Be Mindful of What Goes Down the Drain:  Not everything belongs in your drains!  Avoid pouring grease, oil, coffee grounds, or other problematic materials down the drain. These can solidify and contribute to clogs. Grease, in particular, is a common culprit for summer drain problems. Unlike water, grease cools and hardens as it travels through the pipes, forming a sticky layer that attracts other debris and creates blockages. Instead of pouring grease down the drain, let it cool and solidify in a container, then discard it in the trash.

  • Maintain Your Garbage Disposal:  Garbage disposals are convenient for grinding up food scraps, but they're not designed to handle everything. Avoid putting bones, fruit pits, coffee grounds, or grease down the disposal. These items can dull the blades, contribute to clogs, and even damage the disposal unit. Regularly grind up citrus peels or ice cubes to help sharpen the blades and keep the disposal functioning optimally.

  • Address Minor Clogs Early On:  If you notice a slow drain, don't wait until it becomes a complete blockage.  For minor clogs, you can try natural remedies like a baking soda and vinegar mixture. This creates a fizzing reaction that can help loosen and break down light clogs. However, for stubborn clogs that refuse to budge, professional drain cleaning services are recommended.  A licensed plumber can utilize specialized tools and techniques to clear even the toughest clogs without damaging your pipes.

  • Protect Your Outdoor Spigots:  During the summer, outdoor hose bibs (faucets) are used frequently for watering lawns, washing cars, and filling pools. Ensure your outdoor spigots are properly insulated or weatherized to prevent freezing and potential bursts in colder climates.  Also, consider turning off the water supply to the outdoor faucets when not in use, especially if you're away from home for an extended period.

  • Beware of Tree Root Intrusion:  Tree roots are attracted to moisture and can infiltrate sewer lines, causing cracks and blockages.  Regular inspections by a licensed plumber can identify potential root problems early on.  Proper tree placement, considering the root growth patterns of different species, can also help prevent this issue before it disrupts your summer fun.

  • Maintain Your Septic System (if applicable):  For properties with septic systems, regular maintenance is crucial to ensure proper wastewater treatment and prevent backups. This typically involves pumping the septic tank every few years to remove accumulated solids.  A licensed septic system professional can perform a comprehensive inspection and recommend any necessary maintenance or repairs.

When to Call a Professional Plumber: Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

While some minor plumbing issues can be addressed with DIY solutions, it's always best to call a licensed plumber for more complex problems or anything that you're not comfortable tackling yourself. Here are some signs that indicate it's time to call in a professional:


  • Frequent Clogs: If you experience frequent clogs in multiple drains throughout your house, it could indicate a deeper problem in the main drain line or sewer pipe. A plumber can diagnose the cause and recommend the best course of action, which might involve drain cleaning, sewer line repair, or even sewer line replacement.

  • Sewage Backups: As mentioned earlier, sewage backups are a serious health hazard and require immediate attention from a licensed plumber. Do not attempt to fix a sewage backup yourself. Sewage contains harmful bacteria and viruses that can pose a health risk.

  • No Hot Water: If you have no hot water, it could be a problem with your hot water heater. A plumber can diagnose the issue and recommend a repair or replacement. Hot water heater problems are more likely to occur during peak usage times, such as summer mornings when everyone is showering.

  • Low Water Pressure Throughout the House: Persistently low water pressure throughout your home could indicate a leak, a problem with the pressure regulator, or another issue within the plumbing system. A plumber can diagnose the cause and ensure proper water flow is restored.


Admiral Plumbing Heating and Cooling logo in red, yellow, and blue, with an image of a admiral with a wrench in the middle.

Admiral Plumbing: Your Trusted Partner for a Worry-Free Summer

At Admiral Plumbing Heating and Cooling, we understand the importance of a properly functioning plumbing system, especially during the busy summer months. Our team of highly skilled and licensed plumbers is here to help you with all your plumbing, sewer, and drain system needs. We offer a wide range of services to keep your home running smoothly all summer long, including:


  • Comprehensive Plumbing Inspections: Schedule a pre-summer inspection to identify any potential problems before they escalate. Our thorough inspection covers all aspects of your plumbing system, from faucets and fixtures to the main sewer line.

  • Expert Drain Cleaning Services: From stubborn kitchen sink clogs to slow-draining toilets, our plumbers have the expertise and equipment to clear even the toughest clogs. We utilize various methods, including mechanical augering and hydrojetting, to ensure a clean and efficient drainage system.

  • Sewer Line Services: We offer a full range of sewer line services, including trenchless sewer line repair and replacement. Trenchless technology minimizes disruption to your yard and landscaping, making it a preferred option for many homeowners.

  • Video Sewer Line Inspection: Using a special camera, we can visually inspect the condition of your sewer line to identify cracks, blockages, or root intrusion. This allows for a more accurate diagnosis and targeted repairs.

  • Septic System Maintenance (if applicable): Our technicians can perform routine maintenance on your septic tank and drainfield to ensure optimal performance and prevent backups. This may include pumping the septic tank, inspecting the drainfield, and recommending any necessary repairs.

  • 24/7 Emergency Service: We understand that plumbing emergencies can happen anytime, even outside of regular business hours. That's why we offer 24/7 emergency service to address any urgent plumbing issues you might face during the summer months. Don't hesitate to call us for a prompt and professional response, no matter the time of day.

Investing in Peace of Mind: Preventative Maintenance Packages

We offer preventative maintenance packages designed to keep your plumbing system in top condition and avoid costly repairs down the road.  These packages may include:


  • Annual plumbing inspections

  • Drain cleaning services (frequency depending on usage)

  • Hot water heater maintenance

  • Septic system maintenance (if applicable)


By investing in preventative maintenance, you can save money in the long run and enjoy peace of mind knowing your plumbing system is ready to handle the demands of summer.


Beyond the Basics:  Summer Plumbing Tips for a Smooth-Sailing Season

Here are some additional tips to keep your plumbing system functioning smoothly throughout the summer:


  • Know the Location of Your Shutoff Valve: In case of a plumbing emergency, such as a burst pipe, knowing the location of your main water shutoff valve is crucial. Familiarize yourself with its location and how to turn it off before summer arrives. This can help minimize water damage while you wait for a plumber.

  • Consider Installing a Water Leak Detector: Water leaks can occur behind walls or underground, going unnoticed for extended periods and causing significant damage. Consider installing a water leak detector in your home, especially in areas prone to leaks like under sinks and near washing machines. Many water leak detectors can connect to your smartphone, sending you an alert if a leak is detected, even when you're away from home.

  • Conserve Water During Peak Usage Times: Summer is a time for outdoor activities and increased water consumption. Be mindful of your water usage during peak times, such as mornings and evenings. Take shorter showers, fix leaky faucets promptly, and consider using water-efficient appliances.

  • Educate Your Family About What Goes Down the Drain: Teach your family members about what can and cannot be disposed of down the drains. This can help prevent clogs caused by grease, food scraps, hair, and other problematic materials.

Beat the Summer Heat and Keep the Good Times Flowing - Contact Us Today!


By following these tips and partnering with Admiral Plumbing, you can avoid common summer plumbing problems and enjoy a worry-free season. Remember, early detection and preventative maintenance are key.  A little proactive planning can go a long way in ensuring your plumbing system functions smoothly all summer long, allowing you to focus on creating lasting summer memories with your loved ones.


For more information on how Admiral Plumbing can help you keep your plumbing system flowing freely this summer, contact us today!



Don't let plumbing woes disrupt your summer fun. Admiral Plumbing is here to help!





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