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.

Blunders, Heroes and Plumbers

We have all felt it, that sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs when we have said or done something that we realize we probably cannot fix or restore. It is at these times that we desperately wish that life had a rewind or at the very least a pause button or that Twix’s “need a moment?” moments actually existed. If the mistake was verbal and we are able to break the awkward silence with humor or by quickly thinking-on-our-feet, we can sometimes get out of it and breathe a sigh of relief. But if the gaffe was an action, those are harder to remedy.

Examples of actions that are hard to remedy:

  1. Realizing that the reason why your friend’s van died is because you filled it up with regular gas when it needed diesel.
  2. Watching your sister’s necklace (a gift from a friend that died) slip down into the darkness of a musty drain.
  3. Backing your parent’s car in to a very nice Mercedes, on the day you got your permit.

These are all examples where quick, fancy talking isn’t going to help you out at all. It is at these points in our lives where our only hope is a miracle or a heroic bailout.

For many of us stuck in those moments, no hero appears on the horizon. We just have to fess up, deal with the consequences and remember that the sun will always rise tomorrow and that everyone slips-up. That making mistakes are an aspect of humanity that connects all of us, like love and loss, we all have those moments when we feel as small as a beetle and just as insignificant. If philosophical thought isn’t helping though, it does always help to find someone whose faux pas are worse or more pickled than ours. The following story slips nicely into that category.

No matter what we have done, not many of us are acquainted with what it feels like to flush $70,000 down a restaurant’s toilet. Well, one person who knows what that feels like is a lady by the name of Allison Berry. A story reported in the Associated Press in ’09 explained how Mrs. Berry managed to lose her expensive and sentimental piece of jewelry while using the restroom at an Arizona Black Bear Diner. As she went to flush the toilet, her 7-carat diamond ring slipped from her hand and disappeared in the small torrent of water. It was in this moment that Mrs. Berry needed one of those miracles or bailouts. Her hero arrived not in a bat-mobile or dressed in a cap and costume, but it was a heroic plumber who bailed her out. The Associate press reported that the ring was discovered, “just 3 feet down and 5 feet over from where it was flushed.” and was rescued eight hours after it had been lost and after 90 minutes of jack-hammering and aftera bill of 6,200 dollars had been paid.

Whatever blunder is in your past or your present, remember that it could be worse and that life and its mistakes are always relative and about perspective. Whether it is a misspoken word in front of your boss or a precious rock being rescued from a watery grave, you will survive. And take heart because you never know when a hero (or a plumber) is going to be around to bail or fish you out.