Plumbing in the Summer Heat

The Arizona summer will be here before we know it. Kids will be out of school, boats will fill Lake Pleasant, paddle-boaters will speckle Tempe Town Lake and Arizonians will be looking for new ways to stay cool and to ride out the heat until probably October. Most of us know what we are in for as we watch March and April tick off the calendar. We know our cars will turn into ovens and our sidewalks into hot plates, but at least we never have to shovel snow, right? That is what we keep telling ourselves in a vain effort to produce some form of comfort from the Phoenician sun.

Water is a good and pleasant way to ward off and combat the sun. Since we will be putting more pressure on and demanding extra of our plumbing and pipes as the summer approaches and consumes us, it is a good time to look at some summer plumbing tips that can help us save some water. An article in the Arizona Republic by Rosie Romero on water conservation provides us with the following tips:

  • Check faucets and showerheads. A steadily dripping faucet can waste 350 gallons a month -enough to fill a hot tub. So fix leaks on faucets and showerheads. Also, look for puddles or fresh mold growth in cabinets under sinks.
  • Install better water-supply lines. Our plumbers also recommend that you install high-quality, braided stainless-steel flex lines under the kitchen sink, in bathroom vanities, on toilet supply lines and even for your washing machine. They’re more durable and less prone to leaks. While you are at it, put in angle stops to make it easier to turn off water in emergencies.
  • Check your irrigation. About 70 percent of water use is outside, so check sprinklers and your underground drip-irrigation system. At least once a month, turn on your irrigation and walk through the yard to check for geysers and missing emitters.
  • If some plants look dry and others are luxuriant, look for leaks in lines. Mysterious puddles on sidewalks may mean that pipes under walkways have broken. Hunt for leaks on hose bibs, too.
  • Check your shut-off valve. Know where the outside shut-off valve is for your water system. That way you can turn off water quickly in an emergency. You can also shut off water when you leave on a long vacation. We recommend the 90-degree ball valve in place of older gate valves.

Summer puts extra pressure on our pipes and water supply. Plants, yards and golf courses need more water. Pets need to be hosed off and require additional water. Kids are home all day playing with the hose, making slip-and-slides in the yard. Pools need to be filled and cool decks sprayed off. Appreciating and saving water when we live in a desert doesn’t need a lot of coercion or explanation, but the summer season is a good time to put a little more thought and effort into it and perhaps even call a plumber to fix a leak or two.

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