Look Out for These Common Winter Plumbing Issues
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is, if your pipes are prepared. Snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures can create the worst winter mix for your plumbing. Hopefully, you’ve read our blog on how to Prep Your Pipes for the Winter, but it can still be important to look for these common winter plumbing issues this season:
1. Frozen Pipes
Perhaps the most recognized of winter plumbing issues are frozen pipes. With temperatures dropping suddenly or resting below freezing, ensuring your pipes can handle the chill is critical. Pipes that run through auxiliary areas of your home are most vulnerable to freezing, so ensuring they have proper insulation and access to warm/hot air will help prevent and alleviate this issue.
You’ll know your pipes are frozen simply if your water stops flowing or rustling noises indicate pipes working in overtime. If freezing or below freezing temperatures are among weather predictions, letting a thin stream of water flow from your faucets keeps water circulating and helps prevent it from freezing.
If your pipes are frozen, your next best step is to call a professional and turn off the water system. Attempting to fix without professional insight could do more harm than good.
2. Leaking Pipes
Depending how old your pipes are, the freezing temperatures and winter wear-and-tear could create water line leaks in your system. With changing temperatures, pipes are more prone to freezing, as mentioned above, which creates damage and vulnerability in your system. Similar to preventing frozen pipes, keeping pipes clean and close to warm air can help support your overall system.
Often, you may not realize a water line is leaking – either because of the leak’s size or location in your home. A thorough, professional inspection could prevent those little leaks from becoming big problems this winter.
3. Water Heater Failure
Perhaps the worst time to realize your water heater isn’t up to speed is when you’re fending off the cold temperatures with a hot shower – and suddenly – it’s not so hot. Water heaters fail most often in the winter due to working overtime in colder temperatures. If they are not maintained prior to winter weather, they are more likely to face complications. It might be one of the last things you think about checking in on or maintaining but consider that almost 85% of water heater issues are avoidable with proper maintenance.
Proper upkeep and maintenance keeps your water heater lasting longer, and helps it withstand winter weather conditions when you need it most. With appropriate maintenance, a water heater should last at least a decade. Notice your shower cooling down? Contact us today.
4. Clogged Pipes & Drains
While this could happen any time of year, winter and holiday seasons tend to cause more clogs than ever. With added guests in your home, more meals prepared for holiday feasts, additional layers creating extra loads of laundry – and those colder temperatures – the same threats heading toward your pipes apply to your entire system. It’s important to continue precautionary steps throughout your home to avoid clogs, by assessing risk factors and continuing the proper upkeep of your system.
You’ll recognize a potential clog by water moving more slowly than usual or remaining water in your sink or tub by your drain. Some clogs can be addressed with a quick snake, but others, especially those that have accumulated over time can be serious. Over-the-counter drain cleaners and unclogging chemicals can cause more damage to your pipes than benefit, so it’s best to contact a professional.
5. Damage to Your Septic Tank
With your pipes and water lines under threat of freezing, your septic tank is no different. Just as prone to dropping temperatures, your septic tank can freeze and the extra work to out-perform the weather can cause it to over exert itself. Added risk from improper use by your guests, snow and soil build up, and the risk from damaged or frozen pipes all pay a toll that could permanently damage your septic tank or cause it to overflow – the last thing you want to deal with in the winter!
Signs of a septic tank not running at full efficiency include slow drainage, gurgling or odd plumbing noises, or odor. You should look at getting your septic tank emptied once every three to five years for continual use and a longer lifespan. Prepping your tank for winter is best done by a professional. Contact us today if you anticipate issues or want to ensure your tank is winter-ready!
Don’t Let Winter Weather Destroy Your Plumbing!
The holiday season should lend itself to added time with family and friends, and winter weather should give you a chance to cozy up and rest. Don’t let freezing temperatures and poor maintenance ruin your season! Mitigate your risk and get any plumbing issue fixed by contacting Allen Plumbing today.