The sweltering heat of an Australian summer is just around the corner, and with it comes unique challenges for homeowners. We all anticipate those sun-filled days and balmy evenings, but a few simple preparations can prevent common plumbing and cooling hiccups.
In this guide, we’ll take you through key steps to ensure your home remains the oasis of cool and comfort you desire. We’ll tackle common summer-related issues related to plumbing and cooling.
1. Check Your Gutters and Downpipes
Summer in Australia isn’t just about the heat. The season can bring with it torrential rains. Your gutters and downpipes serve as the frontline defense against these sudden downpours, directing water away from your home’s foundation.
Over time, leaves, twigs, and other debris can accumulate in gutters. Such obstructions impede water flow, leading to overflows and potential water damage. At the onset of summer, make it a habit to clean out your gutters.
Inspect for Damage:
While cleaning, keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear, such as holes or loose brackets. If you find any sections sagging or not firmly attached, it’s time for a repair or replacement.
Water Flow Direction:
Always ensure that downpipes are directing water well away from your home. It’s advisable to attach extensions if the water isn’t draining at least 1.5 to 2 meters away from the foundation.
2. Preparing Your Outdoor Taps and Pipes
Summers mean more outdoor activities. Whether you’re filling up a kiddie pool, watering the garden, or just washing your car, your outdoor taps will see frequent use. Preparing them is crucial.
Check for Leaks:
Before the summer heat peaks, turn on each outdoor tap and check for any leaks. Even a minor drip can result in significant water wastage over the course of the season. If you spot a leak, replace worn-out washers or fixtures promptly.
Protect Exposed Pipes:
Pipes that are exposed to direct sunlight can deteriorate faster. Consider insulating them or providing some shade. This not only prevents damage but also ensures the water remains relatively cool, saving your plants from potential heat shock.
3. Get Your Pool Ready
For many Australians, summer is synonymous with pool time. But before you dive in, a few checks are in order.
Pool Plumbing Checks:
Ensure all pool plumbing, including skimmer boxes and return lines, is in top condition. Look for leaks or cracks that might have developed during the off-season.
Pool Pumps and Filters:
The heart of your pool’s circulation system is its pump and filter. Clean out any debris from the pump basket and ensure the filter is clean. If you hear unusual noises from the pump or observe inefficient filtering, it might be time for repairs or replacement.
With the summer heat, pool water can evaporate rapidly. Consider using a pool cover when it’s not in use. This not only conserves water but also keeps out debris and helps maintain the water’s temperature.
4. Water Conservation During Dry Spells
The scorching summer often brings periods of drought, making water conservation not just advisable but essential. Here’s how you can be water-smart:
Instead of frequent light watering, opt for deep watering in the early morning or late evening when the sun’s intensity is lower. This minimizes evaporation and ensures plants get the moisture they need.
Upgrade to Water-Saving Fixtures:
Consider installing water-saving showerheads, tap aerators, and dual-flush toilets. They can significantly reduce your household’s water consumption without compromising on comfort or functionality.
Prompt Leak Repairs:
Even a minor drip can waste a substantial amount of water over time. Regularly check your taps, toilets, and other fixtures for leaks and address them immediately.
5. Air Conditioning Check
Your air conditioning plays a pivotal role in this. However, just like any other system, it needs regular checks to function at its peak.
Begin by checking and replacing the filters. Dust and debris accumulate over time, forcing the system to work harder and consume more energy. Replacing or cleaning filters ensures cleaner air and better efficiency. A professional like gasworks.net.au can help you maintain your ac.
Inspect for Proper Drainage:
Your air conditioning unit produces condensation. It’s essential to ensure that this water drains away properly. A clogged drainage system can lead to water leaks and potential damage. Always check the drain pan and pipe for any blockages or algae growth, and clear them out.
Listen for Unusual Noises:
These are often the first signs of a problem. If your air conditioning system is making squeaking, grinding, or grating sounds, it’s a clear indicator that you need a professional inspection. Addressing issues early can save costly repairs in the future.
6. Preparing the Bathroom and Kitchen
Summer often means more guests and more activity in the home. Your bathroom and kitchen will see increased usage, and a bit of prep can prevent potential hiccups.
Check for Slow Leaks:
A constantly running toilet or a dripping faucet isn’t just a waste of water; it’s a sign of wear that needs addressing. Replace old or damaged parts as necessary.
Clear Drain Traps:
With more usage, there’s a higher chance of clogs. Periodically clean out hair, food particles, and other debris from your drains. Consider using strainers to minimize blockages.
Increased Load on Appliances:
Summer parties and gatherings might mean your dishwasher and washing machine are working overtime. Ensure they’re in good working condition and address any operational glitches immediately.
7. Ensure Good Ventilation in Wet Areas
Summer humidity can spell trouble for areas of your home that are frequently wet, like bathrooms and kitchens.
Combat Mold and Mildew:
These thrive in humid conditions. Ensure your bathroom and kitchen fans are working correctly. Regularly check for and clean any mold or mildew buildup.
Window and Door Aeration:
Whenever possible, open windows and doors to allow a cross-flow of air. This not only reduces humidity but also prevents the buildup of unwanted odors.
Check Exhaust Fans:
Over time, these can become clogged with dust and debris, reducing their efficiency. Cleaning them ensures they effectively draw out moisture and prevent mold growth.
8. Inspect and Flush Your Hot Water System
Even though summer means warmer days, we still rely on our hot water systems for various household tasks. Preparing them for the season ensures efficient operation.
Over time, sediment can accumulate at the bottom of your hot water tank. This not only reduces the efficiency of the system but can also cause premature wear and tear. Drain a few liters from the tank into a bucket. If the water is cloudy or has sediment, it may be time for a full flush.
With the ambient temperature rising, you might not need the water heater set as high as in cooler months. Consider lowering the thermostat setting to conserve energy and reduce costs.
An annual professional check of your hot water system can spot potential issues before they become significant problems. If your system is making unusual noises or if you notice any leaks, call in an expert.
9. Be Wary of Tree Root Growth
The search for water becomes a priority for trees during dry spells, which can lead to roots growing toward and into your home’s plumbing.
At the onset of summer, inspect noticeable tree roots near your home, especially if you’ve had plumbing issues before.
Consider installing root barriers if trees are close to your plumbing system. These barriers redirect roots, keeping them away from pipes.
Seek Professional Help:
If you suspect roots have infiltrated your pipes, it’s essential to get a professional inspection. They can use specialized cameras to check inside the pipes and recommend solutions.
10. Ensure Proper Ground Drainage
A summer storm can result in sudden downpours. Making sure the ground around your home drains properly can prevent potential flooding.
Check the slope of your yard. Ideally, it should move away from your home, directing water to the storm drains.
Clean Storm Drains:
Make sure storm drains and grates are free from debris, which can lead to blockages and potential flooding.