How Can Extreme Heat Impact Your Plumbing?

Whether hot or cold, extreme temperatures can seriously affect your plumbing. We know that homeowners in colder climates deal with frozen pipes in the winter, but what can extreme heat do to pipes? When the temperature rises above 100 degrees, like it does every summer, pipes can expand due to an abundance of heat. This can cause your pipes to burst, much like it can in extreme cold.
Since most of your plumbing is behind walls or underground, you may think it is unaffected by weather changes, but the opposite is actually true. Just like extreme cold, extreme heat can also damage your pipes. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that extreme heat can impact your plumbing

Clogged Toilets
During the summer, most Southern Californians enjoy getting outdoors and hosting barbecues and backyard cookouts with family and friends. Unfortunately, one of the most common reasons homeowners need to call for a plumber during the summer is due to a clogged drain or toilet after a party. With more people frequenting the bathroom in your home, it only makes sense that clogs are more likely to occur. This is especially true in older homes with antiquated plumbing that is not used to such frequent action.

Leaky Pipes
When your pipes freeze during the winter, leaks are common. However, leaks also occur during the summertime for a variety of reasons, such as high-water pressure or invasive tree roots. Tree roots are constantly needing water, so when all the moisture in the ground is sucked out by the triple digit temperatures, those roots find their way to your pipes. If a pipe already has the slightest leak, roots can find their way to the pipe and create more serious damage by wrapping around the pipe, cracking or damaging it more.
In addition, your swimming pool, garden hose and sprinkler system also put a lot of pressure on the plumbing. This increased demand means more water flowing through the system.

Burst Pipes
Thought only freezing weather could burst pipes? Extreme heat, like the kind we often experience in Southern California, can cause pipes to burst too. Hot weather can cause metal pipes to expand and if there is a clog, pressure can build up, the pipe can expand and crack or even burst in the extreme heat. The best way to prevent this is keep your pipes clog free with regular inspections and drain cleanings.

Expanding Pipes
Cold causes pipes to expand, but heat is also an insidious beast. Pressure can build up in clogged pipes which can then expand and crack or burst in extreme heat. Most pipes nowadays can go through this routine of expanding and contracting year after year without any damage. However, if you hear noises like rattling or banging coming from your walls while running your faucets or showers, you may want to call a plumber to look for any signs of damage.
What are some signs that your pipes might already be in trouble?
Musty odors or foul smells
Water marks on drywall or ceilings
Dripping or other unusual noises in your walls
Water that does not smell right or is a weird color
Water pressure that goes up and down

UV & Sun Damage
The harsh UV rays that can cause a nasty sunburn can also damage outdoor pipes, fixtures and fittings. Maintain your exterior faucets by replacing washers and fittings when they start showing signs of wear and cover any exposed plumbing with insulation to shield it from UV rays in the summer. That same insulation can be used to protect your pipes from freezing in the winter. While this problem usually takes years to happen, there are some things you can do to prevent this. Depending on the exposed pipes, you can add insulation or special water-based paint to protect them from damaging UV rays from the sun.

Shifting Foundations
Hot and dry conditions can both cause the soil around your home to shift. The heat will cause the soil to expand and move around your home, shifting your home’s foundation. Dry soil, because it lacks water, can crack causing your pipes to contract and expand frequently as the soil moves. Both conditions can not only cause damage to your foundation, but to your plumbing system as well and there is not a lot you can do to prevent it.

Low Water Pressure
When all of the above potential summer plumbing problems reach their climax, the chances are that your water pressure is going to drastically decrease. As pipes beneath your home leak due to cracks, the efficiency of your water delivery becomes dismal, creating a red flag that no homeowner should ever ignore.

Cracked Pipes Below Ground
During the hottest months of the year, the underground pipes in your yard are at a high risk of cracks and bursts. Extreme heat dries out the soil beneath your home and can lead to shifts in your property’s foundation. When this happens, pipes can easily burst and become a dire plumbing emergency.
Another way that your pipes below-ground can be affected by the heat is through excessively high water pressure while using your hose or through the stress that your sprinkler system could have on older plumbing. As the water quickly moves through your pipes over the summer, your plumbing increasingly becomes more vulnerable to underground cracks and leaks.

Prepare for Guests
Before you host a big summer gathering:
Replace exterior hoses and repair worn fixtures
Snake your main line to prevent backups when lots of guests use your bathrooms
Ensure your garbage disposal and dishwasher are working well to avoid backups after festive dinners.
Have your septic tank pumped if it is near time to do so

When to Contact a Plumbing Professional
Every reasonable buyer inspects at least several things before making a down payment on a house. Superficial things are something that everyone checks in detail. However, if you really wish to know what state your potential future house really is, you have to scratch the surface. Electric and heating installations and insulation need to be at the top of the list, but your number one priority should be the plumbing since problems in plumbing areas are usually the hardest to fix. Hence, the need to do a plumbing inspection.

Call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for help with plumbing inspections during the home buying process. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.