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5 Common Winter Plumbing Problems You Should Prepare For

Is your home plumbing ready for the winter season? Winter can be tough on homes from the ceiling to the basement, and when water is involved, everything is vulnerable. Get ready to tackle the five most common plumbing issues caused by winter weather.

#1 Leaks

Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause your pipes to crack or break, leading to leaks that will quickly cause water damage in your home. If you’re dealing with leaking pipes, call a plumber to fix or replace them immediately. Even a little bit of water damage can make your home hospitable for bugs like carpenter ants that will quickly cause more.

frozen pipes

#2 Frozen Water Pipes

It can be tempting to save on heat when you go away for the holidays, but that can quickly lead to your pipes freezing. When your pipes freeze, it stops water from coming through and they can burst, causing lasting damage to your home plumbing system.

#3 Drain Blockages

With all the holiday cooking happening in the fall and winter, you may encounter drain blockages that can be blamed on grease. Grease accumulation inside pipes will block the passage of water and cause your pipes to back up. Grease is not water soluble, so it doesn’t just wash away. Add food scraps, coffee grinds, dairy products, and even fat-based soaps, and grease will accumulate in your drains. Unfortunately, you don’t notice the problem until it’s too late. Removing grease is no easy task and one for an experienced plumber. They can use caustic cleaners or compressed air to help clear the drain.

Avoid drain blockages due to grease and stop emptying grease and food scraps down the drain in your kitchen sink.

#4 Water Heater Breakdowns

A broken water heater is always a problem, but in the winter, it can make your life downright miserable. Usually problems with your water heater can be traced back to sediment build up. Regularly flushing your water heater is the only way to avoid these types of problems, but it’s an easy thing to forget.

You may also want to hire a local plumber with experience to periodically inspect the tank and equipment. An experienced local plumber can also help you with a tankless water heater, which needs to be flushed at least annually, and requires some attention with the hookup if you have hard water. Installing a scale inhibitor will help prevent limescale build up that can cause the hot water to run out and worsen wear and tear on your water heater, tankless or with tank storage.

water heater breakdown

#5 Exterior Plumbing

Exterior plumbing problems caused by winter conditions often go unnoticed until spring when it’s time to clean the winter scum off the deck or water the lawn. You may experience issues with water valves, hose bibs, or sprinklers, especially if they weren’t prepared for winter. Hose bibs should be drained completely before the freezing weather strikes, and you should bring in any detachable components before they’re buried under the snow. You also want to wrap up exposed pipes and plumbing to insulate them against the freezing weather. Pipe wrap or burlap sheets will often do the trick.

If you face any of these problems this winter, call a local plumber with experience right away.

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