For most people, summer is a great time to take a break. Warm weather and long hours of daylight mean optimal time for taking a vacation, enjoying the sunshine, days at the beach, and so much more. For kids, summer means freedom from school, extra sleep, day camp, and general time to be a kid and just generally enjoy life. However, it doesn’t mean the living is any easier for your home, and in fact it can actually mean quite the opposite. Believe it or not, summer is actually one of the hardest seasons of the year for your plumbing, and it might be for reasons you don’t necessarily expect.
Here are four ways that summer can be incredibly hard on your plumbing and what you can do to prevent some fairly common plumbing problems from impacting you this summer.
Summer Vacation Means Increased Usage
Have you ever noticed that it seems like your hot water supply runs out faster on weekends than any other day? This isn’t your imagination—it’s because more people are home for a longer period of time, and that means a heavier demand on your water heater. During summer, this isn’t just a weekend thing, but can instead happen every day. When the kids are home and people are taking time off from work (or working from home), the demand on your plumbing typically jumps considerably during these months, and that means a much higher risk of something going wrong.
There are other reasons that contribute to increased wear and tear during summer months, but the simplest and most obvious reason for an increase in common plumbing problems simply comes from the fact that more people are home and using your plumbing, and that means a higher risk of a potential issue.
Wild Temperature Swings Are Hard on Metals
The water network in many homes is constructed with pipes made from copper, a fairly common metal. Copper is renowned for its corrosion resistance and remarkable durability, but it does share a common trait with other types of metals: it expands when heated and contracts when it cools. This actually happens with a ton of different materials—as they are heated, the increased amount of thermal energy in their atomic structure makes them expand and grow. And the more you heat metal, the more it will grow and warp.
This is particularly common here in Southern California, where triple-digit temperatures and long hours of sunlight can be particularly harsh on metal plumbing fixtures and water lines. As pipes heat up during the day, they expand (even when shaded inside your walls). As the cooler night temperatures set in, your pipes contract and shrink again. This size difference is minimal, but the strain of expanding metals can eventually lead to material fatigue that causes leaks that grow and spread.
Water Expands as it Heats
The overwhelming majority of homes around the Southland struggle with a plumbing problem they don’t even know about: their water pressure is far too high. As cities have grown and expanded, utilities have upped water pressure levels to keep up with demand, and that means water often enters homes well above recommended pressure levels. To make matters worse, water expands when it heats just like metals do in our previous point. This expansion means increased volume, and thus increased pressure inside your water lines.
If you are using your plumbing frequently, this isn’t as much of an issue. However, if you and your family are away from home for most of the day throughout summer months, this constant cycle of expansion could cause a lot of additional stress and strain on both your plumbing lines and your fixtures. This means that leaks in things like toilets, showers, and other faucets are actually more common during summer months.
Summer Means Hard Work for Drains
Finally, added use means further burdens on your drains and sewer line. Not only will your bathrooms see additional use from family and friends being home more often, but your kitchen will probably see extra demand on its drains as well. More time at home means more home-cooked meals, and that means added use of your garbage disposal. Furthermore, certain activities that are more common to summer might mean an increase in risk to your drain lines. Thinking of spending an afternoon at the beach? Make sure you rinse off before getting home—sand can rapidly contribute to clogs in your shower or bathtub.Got a problem with your plumbing this summer? Call the pros at Moe Plumbing at (818) 396-8002 today!