3 Plumbing Problems That Can Occur After A Trip To The Beach

When summer arrives, many folks embrace the season by visiting a local beach. After slathering yourself with sunscreen and finding the perfect spot for your towel, it's time to relax and listen to the waves hit the sand. Protecting your skin from sun damage might be your biggest worry, but a blistering burn isn't the only unpleasant thing that you might experience after your trip. Whether you spend your day swimming at Crystal Crescent, Nova Scotia, or soak up some rays at Grand Beach, Manitoba, keep an eye out for the following plumbing problems when you arrive back at your home.

Slow-Draining Shower

Jumping into the shower to rinse off the sand that's stuck to your body might be the first thing you want to do when you get home, but be careful. Sand can cause your shower to drain very slowly, especially if multiple family members all decide to bathe after the beach. There are also a few other things that might clog your tub after a visit to the beach, including:

  • Heavy oils used to soften skin or heal sunburn, such as coconut oil
  • Thick, creamy lotion or cream, like sunblock
  • Pieces of hair that fall out after you remove your hair tie or unroll your bun, especially if you had your hair pulled back tightly
  • Other debris from the beach, including small pebbles, dirt, and shells

Sometimes a bottle of clog-fighting formula from the local hardware store is all you need to get your water flowing smoothly again through the drain. Use caution if you decide to pour chemicals down the drain yourself, as the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety warns that plumbers are sometimes exposed to hazardous substances. Plumbers are trained to handle these substances carefully, but you might not know how to. Contact a plumber for help if you are concerned about the risks associated with breathing in dangerous materials. 

Clogged Toilet

As you now know, sand can clog a bathtub drain. It can also clog your toilet, so be careful if you use the bathroom immediately after returning from the beach. Small particles of sand can fall into the toilet bowl when you sit down, then the tiny pieces can sink to the bottom and clog your drain. Even if you don't see any sand after you flush, there might still be sand stuck further down in your pipes.

A plunger may help fix a toilet clogged with sand, but it depends on how much sand is stuck in your toilet. Try using a plunger as soon as you notice a clog, but call a plumbing specialist if the toilet frequently continues getting clogged or does not come unclogged at all. 

Broken Washing Machine

After everybody gets done swimming at the beach, you probably have quite a bit of laundry to wash. Before you place sand-covered towels or clothing in the washer, shake off the debris in your yard. It may be difficult to shake off sand if the towels or swimsuits are wet, so place them on a porch or clothesline to dry first. 

If you forget to remove the sand prior to washing your family's items, your machine might fail to operate properly. Sand can clog the washing machine's drain hose or pump. Sand is also very sharp, so it might scratch the inside of your machine or damage delicate parts. It can be very difficult to diagnosis and fix appliance-related issues on your own, so call a plumbing company and explain that you feel sand is the culprit. They will know how to help. 

Some plumbing issues can be fixed quickly and easily by folks without any formal training. Keep a stash of plumbing supplies in your basement or bathroom in case any minor issues arise after your beach vacation. If you don't feel comfortable using the plumbing supplies yourself, hire a professional plumber to take a look at your washer, toilet, or tub.