One of the biggest fears about the harsh Calgary winters is that the pipes will freeze up in the cold weather and burst. While that is a legitimate threat, most homeowners are educated enough to wrap all exposed pipes in insulation and let the faucet drip on extremely bitter nights. Just because the temperatures start to rise doesn't mean our pipes should be pushed to the back of our minds. These Summer pipe tips will both keep the plumbing ready to operate next winter and save some money on water bills in the process.
Keep Corncobs Out of the Garbage Disposal
A great thing about summer is the ability to cook our food outside almost anytime we want. One thing to remember though is that the warm weather treats such as corncobs or barbecue rib bones should not be send down the sink garbage disposal. It can be tempting but these objects can end up blocking the sewage flow which causes a stinky backup that may ruin your party early.
Turn Your Water Heater to Vacation Mode
One thing to remember is that unless you have a tankless water heater, the device is storing and keeping water hot 24 hours a day. It's nice to have hot water at 3:30 in the morning but it presents a gigantic waste of energy if you're not even home – like say on a summer vacation. Most water heaters have a 'vacation' setting that will lower your energy efficiency while you're away from home for extended periods of time.
Have Plumber Inspect for Root Growth and Other Backup
Summer is the growing season and it's great to see the grass achieve a bright spark of green while flowers bloom in living color. Unfortunately roots and other plant life are also spreading underground, soaking up the nutrients of a wet spring. The intersection of the roots and your sewer line could be a disaster. A plumber can come into your home and run a camera down your pipe and determine areas of damage. There may not be much to do once a root finds your sewage line but there are steps to minimize the damage.
Replace Washing Machine Hoses
The summer is the time for working and playing out in the dirt which leads to an increase in laundry loads. Make sure your washer is prepared to handle the work by inspecting washing machine hoses for leaks and replacing them at least every three years.
Clean Heads of Embedded Sprinklers
If you have an embedded sprinkler system in your lawn, make sure to clean out the heads before they kick into action for the year. An obstructed path could lead to flooding of backed up water and areas of the lawn drying out.
Look for Pooling Water
It's also a good idea to inspect the external plumbing of your home such as exposed pipes and spigots. Leaks or other damage in these areas can lead to the pooling of water which becomes a harvesting ground for summertime insects. The summertime is good for swimming pools, but not pools of mosquitoes.
Acquire a Water Reclaim Unit
A good tip to save money on your water bills in the summer is to acquire a water reclaim unit. By collecting rain and using it to water the lawn and plants around the home you can save wear and tear on your pipes and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.