How Location and Climate Can Affect Your Plumbing
Where you live and the weather you’re exposed to greatly affects how your plumbing performs and how long it lasts. Here are a few factors that can affect your plumbing.
Australians, in general, are well acquainted with hot weather. This includes extreme heat. We’ve developed and evolved our infrastructure to suit the conditions for the most part, but plumbing materials can still suffer from the extreme heat.
Heat causes pipes to expand, which can cause cracking and leaking. On top of this, the dryness and lack of rain that can be associated with heat can cause cracking in plumbing materials as well. When it’s hot and dry, tree roots will try any way possible to find a water source and this can include underground pipes and drains. Tree roots are a top cause of blocked pipes around Australia. Invasive tree roots can also split your pipes open, meaning you need a complete drain replacement or reline.
There is a positive of hot weather climates like Australia though. We have an abundance of sun! So make use of it by installing a solar hot water system. They are far cheaper and more efficient to run and can be boosted by gas or electricity if there is no sun for a period. If however, you have a normal continuous flow or storage hot water heater, hot weather usually means quicker hot water delivery as the pipes are already hot.
Australia is blessed with a generally warmer climate, but that’s not to say some parts of Australia can’t get particularly frosty in the winter. Southern-based inland towns like Ballarat and Bendigo are notorious for frigid winters (by Australian standards) and capital cities like Canberra and Melbourne give their residents a tough winter slog. So what does this have to do with plumbing?
If it gets cold enough for water to freeze, which it can do overnight in some parts of Australia, this can potentially damage and crack your pipes. When water freezes, it expands, and this puts pressure on the closed faucet that the pipe leads to. Eventually, this can burst the pipe, as the ice water has nowhere else to go.
A lot of Australia has damper conditions through the winter, and rain can lead to your pipes and hot water system rusting. Rusty hot water systems and pipes can cause leaking and when rust seeps into water it can become contaminated, which is very dangerous for your health.
Lastly, cold weather makes hot water systems work even harder to heat the water you so desperately need to warm you up. This can elevate your gas or electricity bill, along with the fact you’ll want more hot water during the winter in the first place. As a side note; heat pump hot water systems can usually still produce hot water even down to temperatures of minus 10-degrees celsius.
Humidity is something you either love it or hate. It’s good for some things and bad for others. If you’re up north in Brisbane or the Gold Coast you know all too well the effect humidity can have on your life, including your home. As for plumbing, humidity can cause subtle problems, such as exposing your hot water system to too much moisture, thus creating rust. As discussed in the cold weather section, rust can cause leaks and contaminated water. A good idea is to look into a heat pump hot water system. These convert heat from the air outside into energy that heats your water, and since humid climates have plenty of heat to go around, it’s best to make use of it.
Do you live in an oceanside paradise such as Perth’s Scarborough or Cottesloe beaches, or maybe Adelaide’s Brighton or Henley beaches? As glorious as life may be on the beach, it goes without saying that beachside houses can suffer from the elements as time passes. The first thing you would notice is the presence of sand, absolutely everywhere. Sand in your drains, pipes, hot water system, the list goes on. We all know what happens when sand comes in contact with water; it forms clumpy, solid blocks that can clog up a drain faster than you can run into the ocean on a 40-degree day. You can try all you like to keep sand out of your home by washing off after attending the beach, but the wind will inevitably blow it all over the place eventually.
Another problem that beach dwellers face with their plumbing is corrosion. Most materials used in plumbing aren’t made to be constantly exposed to the salty sea air. Since salty air is not kind to most materials on this planet, it can cause rust and corrosion that can develop into a burst or leaking pipe over time.
If you live on top of a hill, such as Adelaide’s Holden Hill or Brisbane’s Red Hill, you may know the pain of having poor water pressure. While this may not affect everyone, if water has to climb a significant distance through the mains pipe up a hill, it can suffer from a lack of pressure as it reaches the top. There are other factors of course that lead to a drop in water pressure, but hilltop life is a strong contributor. Take solace in having nicer views than everyone down on flat ground though.
Professional Plumbing to the Rescue
Unfortunately, it seems that no matter where you live, your plumbing may never be safe from nature’s elements. The best thing you can do for you plumbing is to get it looked at by a professional at the first indication of anything being wrong. Metropolitan Plumbing is always around the corner, whether your beachside or up in the hills, hot or cold, we’ll be there.
Published: 20 Feb, 2020