Common Winter Plumbing Problems

Cold weather can wreak havoc on your home's plumbing system. The cold temperatures threaten many parts of your home's water system leaving you fearing freezing and flooding. We've compiled some common winter plumbing problems and what you can do to combat these issues.

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can cause pipes to burst in your home leading to leaks. You can easily make sure your pipes can handle this cold weather a few ways. It's easy to seal drafts in your pipes. You can also let your faucets drip. Wrapping your pipes in the heating tape will help the pipes stay warm. It's important to insulate any exposed pipes in insulated areas such as the garage or basement. Disconnect your garden hoses and turn off any exterior lines of water. Open cabinet doors with plumbing so the heat can circulate through the area. If your pipes freeze, it is important to turn off the main water line as soon as possible. If not, the pipes could burst to flood your home.

Clogged Drains

Clogged drains aren't your friend in the cold weather. Many people forget the drains at this time. With more guests around during the holiday season, more food is likely to get thrown down the drain. You might not think much of it as you pour some pasta than some old oil down the drain. The problem is that if oil gets washed down the drain, it will congeal in freezing temperatures clogging the drain. Always rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher so they don't congeal in the drain. Toilets can get easily clogged. Avoid flushing anything but toilet paper down the toilet.

Clogged Gutters

Gutters easily get clogged with snow, leaves, and other debris in the winter. It's easy to let this issue sneak up on you. One day you're hanging out in the cooler air of the yard, the next day you're hit with a snowstorm. All of the debris of the season starts to back up in your gutter system if you don't clean it. This can not only cause many issues with leaking, but it can also breed all sorts of bacteria and mold attracting varmints and insects. You can prevent water damage and ice dams from all of this debris by regularly cleaning and/or installing gutter guards. Ice dams will hold water in one place until it starts leaking into your roof causing damage inside your walls.

Basement Issues

Snow and ice don't stay that way all winter. It will eventually melt seeping into the ground around your home. This water can actually leak into your home's foundation. This will cause the water table to rise. A sump pump will need to be used in this water table rises above the foundation in your home. Broken pipes under your home can lead to flooding. Maintaining your home's sump pump is essential to preventing flooding.

Septic Tank Bursts

Freezing temperatures can cause the line from your home to the septic tank to freeze. This might also cause the septic tank to burst. If this happens, you have a big problem. A heavy snow cover can help protect your septic tank by keeping it warm. If the tank bursts, a professional plumber needs to help you get your system back up and operating. It's best to ensure your tank is cleaned before the cold weather hits.

Water Line Leaks

A leak in the water line is never welcome. Freezing temperatures can mean disaster in the winter. If the pipes in your home are older, they might be more prone to splitting or developing holes as well. The biggest culprit to a water line leak in the winter is a frozen water line. It's important to take steps to ensure your line is in working shape so you won't face a leak. If the water line is leaking, call a plumbing company to address the problem before it becomes a catastrophe. If the leak gets larger, the damage to your home and/or your foundation can be expensive and tough to repair.

Water Heater Failure

The water heater is what keeps your water flowing warm all winter long. It's not a good feeling when you turn on your shower to find only cool water or lukewarm water. This could mean your water heater is failing. It's important to get it maintenance before it blows causing a flood. Keep an eye on the last maintenance date so you can stay on top of any issues.

Regular maintenance of the plumbing of your home will help alleviate future issues. Winter is a time full of cold temperatures leaving you staying inside and using more hot water. Stay on top of regular maintenance so you're not left in the cold. If an emergency arises, call your local plumbing company.

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