common winter plumbing problems

The Most Common Winter Plumbing Problems

November 18 2021

Winter is known for beautiful snowy landscapes and less pleasant things like frozen pipes. The plumbing in your house can have particular difficulties throughout the winter. When it’s below freezing outside, the water in your pipes might freeze and burst, resulting in costly complications.

Forewarned is forearmed, so you’ll want to become familiar with the common winter plumbing problems. Also, contacting an emergency plumber isn’t necessary if you take a few simple precautions. Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the most common winter plumbing issues that might pop up and ruin your day. Besides, we’ll walk you through some of the solutions for the simple problems as well. 

The Foundation of Common Winter Plumbing Problems: Frozen Pipes

Let’s start with the basics. When it comes to plumbing emergencies, frozen pipes aren’t the most prevalent, but they may be the most disastrous.

If a pipe breaks because water has been backed up for a long time, the damage might be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Drains in the Kitchen Getting Clogged

Due to the mix of cold weather and vacations, we see a lot of this. When it’s party season in the early winter, people cook a lot more. As a consequence, more grease, fat, and food particles are being flushed down the toilet. The clumping, congealing and freezing in the cold eventually form a blockage. There’s a whole list of items that you’ll want to safely keep away from your pipes. 

A Frozen-Over Well Pump

Water well pumps provide low-cost, pure water to residents all across many states. But in the winter, because of the freezing temperatures, private wells might develop issues. Jet well pumps, on the other hand, may freeze since they have to keep water in them all the time. Learn how to winterize your pump and how to troubleshoot issues.

Flooding in the Basement Due to Snowmelt

Water might flow into your basement if the snow melts too rapidly due to high temperatures or rain. Poor water drainage, foundation flaws, and overworked sump pumps may all contribute to flooding.

Malfunctioning Heater

It’s easier to deal with the cold when you know you can conclude the day with a hot shower or a bubble bath. Water heaters, on the other hand, are put to the test throughout the winter, and some systems need repairs or replacement. Make sure you follow these guidelines to keep your system running efficiently.

External Drainage Issues

Drains on your patio, deck, or driveway can keep them dry and usable all year long if you install them. But in the wintertime when temperatures are fluctuating greatly, plastic surface drains may become more brittle and other components expand, shrink, and break. In order to avoid issues this year, pay attention to your drains and clean them regularly.

Sump Pump Not Evacuating Water 

Basements, crawlspaces, and garages are common places to find sump pumps, which are used to remove water that has gathered. Mechanical drains may freeze or back up in the winter because of the low temperatures and obstructions that occur in them. Follow these actions to avoid them in the future.

How to Prepare for Winter (And All Year Long)

Of course, there are cases where you should have your plumbing professional on speed-dial. However, when it comes to the smaller problems, there are some steps you can take to keep your pipes pampered and well-maintained.  After all, the happier your pipes, the happier your wallet and plumbing system will be, regardless of the season. 

Water Heater Should Be Drained and Tested

Drain the sediment from your water heater tank once a year if you haven’t done so in the past. Also, verify sure your pressure release valve is functioning properly by testing it.

Insulate any pipes that are on display. In order to protect your water heater’s pipes from the elements, wrap them in pipe insulation. Heat loss and freezing are prevented, resulting in less damage to the home. Then, you’ll want to make use of a heated blanket to keep yourself warm. Prevent heat loss from your system by installing a water heater blanket.

Maintain the Cleanliness of the Drain Area

Rake leaves, sweep surfaces, and put away children’s toys to keep the area surrounding outdoor drains clean. In the winter, this prevents drain blockages from developing. Also, you’ll want to eliminate a buildup as fast as possible. As soon as you observe accumulations of ice or snow, clear the drains. Replace the plastic drains with metal ones. And, if your drains are made of plastic, contact a plumber to replace them with metal ones. Metal can handle freezing temperatures and snow and ice loads better than plastic.

Clear Out Any Blockages in Your Sump Pump

Maintain your sump pump in the autumn by clearing away any debris that may have collected around the pit. Clear the pit of any debris, scale, and foreign items that may have gotten in there during the excavation process.

Make sure to run regular tests on your system. You can test whether your sump pump works by filling the pit with water and watching to see if it drains it. During the winter, do a pump check-up once every two weeks or so. Maintain the temperature in your basement by keeping the furnace on.

And, to avoid the risk of sump pumps freezing, keep the space surrounding them as warm as possible. Keep the heat on if your unit is in the basement. You’d be surprised how much preventative maintenance can save your budget and sanity from avoidable problems. 

Reduce the Workload on the Sump Pump

Reduce the quantity of drainage around your property to make the task of your sump pump simpler. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are working properly, and keep an eye out for land grading problems that might cause water to collect near your home’s foundation.

Then, you can remove any obstructions that may have developed in the sump pump. Make that the pump’s intake and output lines are clear of obstructions. Above-ground pipelines may be shielded using pipe insulation. A bigger discharge hose, installed by a plumber, may assist keep pipes from freezing.

Problems With Your Plumbing: Solved and Simplified

Whether you’re a hardened homeowner or a fresh one who has never faced a single plumbing issue in your life, there will come a time when your plumbing gives you trouble. Hopefully, our guide has shed some light on the common winter plumbing problems that might occur, and saved you some anxiety and worry in the process. And, if you’d rather have a professional come in for an inspection, you can always contact us, and we’ll take care of all of your plumbing needs. 

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