The Pacific Northwest isn’t usually known for sun and heat, but that’s what summers here are now bringing with them. As summers get hotter, your home that was built for a cooler climate could start to experience some maintenance issues. For example, plumbing could become temperamental.
The extra heat that the area now experiences can affect water pressure, fixture operation, and pipe integrity in adverse ways. With the hotter weather comes both an opportunity and a requirement: You’ve got to shore up the plumbing in the home, and the best way to do that is to replace older pipes and fixtures. Calling a plumbing company is a very good idea.
Drought and Low Water Pressure
As summers get hotter and rain eludes the region during these heat waves, the water supply could be in trouble. Drought that reduces water supplies, and pipe damage that further diverts water in the form of leaks, both increase the chances of low water pressure in your home.
Low water pressure sounds like it should be merely annoying, but it can be deadly to plumbing. Without enough water pressure, according to The Spruce, some fixtures might not work. For example, an appliance might not get enough water to run correctly, or the low pressure may cause the appliance to shut off unexpectedly. According to Bloomberg, older pipes won’t handle low water pressure well at all.
Older pipes may have corrosion inside, and they can be more fragile due to their age. Replacing older pipes helps to an extent as those are less likely to open up and let water leak out if, say, the metal expands in the heat and breaks open at one point. New fixtures may be better at using smaller amounts of water to run correctly.
An important note if you like to do this type of work yourself: In this case, don’t. Not only do you have to go through replacing a fixture itself, for example, but you need to choose the right type to ensure it’ll handle lower water pressure.
If there appears to be a problem after the plumbing is replaced, a professional plumber can hunt down the source of the trouble.
Buckled Ground and Broken Pipes
Hot weather causes damage through drought, of course, but the heat itself can be troublesome. Think of how a front door might expand on a hot day; the same phenomenon happens with soil. The Willow Point Municipal Utility District says that heated soil can expand and force pipes to shift. If the shift is too great, the pipe can break.
Sometimes the ground doesn’t really have to move to damage a water pipe. When it’s extra hot and soil moisture evaporates, the drying soil can begin to contract. In a prolonged drought, the soil can become very compact.
According to the Willow Point Municipal Utility District, this compaction and contraction also makes the soil sink. If one of your water pipes runs through that soil, it could dislodge itself from its usual position and suffer damage.
You can work with these issues in a couple of ways. One is to replace older pipes with new ones that are stronger and less likely to burst open if moved. The second way is to install the pipes deep enough so that the heat doesn’t penetrate that far. Both cases require the services of a skilled professional plumber; they’re not DIY processes.
If your home has older plumbing, and you’re worried about how it will fare during the next summer heat wave, contact a plumbing company like Spartan Plumbing. Have the plumbing thoroughly inspected and replaced where necessary. Added strength and protection in the pipes should give you more peace of mind.