5 Common Winter Plumbing Problems

During the coldest times of the year, plumbing problems are more likely to happen in homes, especially if the pipes are old or run through the outside walls. But you can avoid many seasonal problems if you fix problems quickly and do regular maintenance. Read on to find out what the most common plumbing problems are so you know what to do to prevent them or fix them. 

Photo by Eva Bronzini

Frozen And Burst Pipes 

Lower temperatures increase the likelihood of pipes freezing. Pipes can freeze if the temperature goes below freezing for an extended period of time. Plumbing on lower levels and attics is especially vulnerable. These areas are often less well-insulated than the rest of your home, making them more susceptible to freezing temperatures. Plus, you might not immediately notice a frozen pipe in these areas because they are out of sight.

If you ignore the problem of a frozen pipe, it will likely burst. Some areas of your home may lose water supply and experience floods if that happens, and the cost to fix this can be extremely high. Insulating your pipes well is a good solution. 

Broken Water Heater

Water heaters have to work harder in the winter because they have to heat water that is already naturally cooler in order to maintain the temperature set on the gauge (the EPA recommends setting your water heater to 120°F to save energy usage and avoid bacteria growth). 

The problem is that if it’s old and being overworked, your water heater might break down due to the excess work it’s being asked to do. The normal lifespan of a water heater is between eight and ten years. When a water heater fails to heat water to the desired temperature, it’s usually time to get a new one.

Water Line Leaks

Having little water leaks in the past and letting them worsen during the winter might lead to serious problems. Pipes are more likely to rupture in freezing weather, turning a slow drip into an instant flood. It’s important to check for leaks in your home’s pipes and faucets before winter arrives.

Clogged Drains

We celebrate with family and friends and eat a lot of delicious food over the holidays, and that’s great, but it’s best to refrain from washing large amounts of grease, coffee grounds, and other food scraps down the drain, as these items have a tendency to cling to the inside of pipes and build up over time. Put all leftovers and rubbish from cooking in the trash.

Issues With Your Sump Pump

Be sure your sump pump is working properly before the cold weather sets in. No matter how certain you are that everything is fine, you should nevertheless check in on it regularly during winter. If the sump pump is located in the basement, it is important to keep the temperature above freezing at all times to stop it from freezing. One way to make this easier is to remove the snow from around your home’s foundation; this will also help to prevent a flood in the basement.

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