Common Winter Plumbing Issues & How to Troubleshoot Them
Winter plumbing issues arise when people don’t take the time to perform holiday plumbing prep. Your plumbing system is especially vulnerable during winter due to extreme weather, which can wreak havoc on your pipes.
If you’re suffering from winter-related plumbing problems, how do you resolve them?
Keep reading for the ultimate guide to common winter plumbing issues and how to troubleshoot them to salvage your winter season and restore your home to normal!
What Are The Most Common Plumbing Issues In Winter?
Let’s talk about some of the issues you could encounter if you fail to do winter prep for your home:
● Frozen pipes – when it’s colder outside, your pipes may freeze. Water won’t be able to pass through them, and the water will expand once frozen, which increases the risk of a burst pipe.
● Burst pipes and leaks – if your pipes do burst due to expanding frozen water or contracted cold piping materials, this will lead to leaks that will seep into your walls, which will cause sagging and degradation of the structural integrity of your home.
● Frozen outdoor faucets – your outdoor faucets are particularly vulnerable to freezing, so you won’t be able to use them during the winter. And, if you try to use them, the water won’t be able to pass through, leading to water backup.
● Water heater issues – when you have more guests in your house, and your heating requirements increase, this puts more wear and tear and strain on your water heater. You could experience decreased performance as a result.
● Clogged drains – when more people are using your bathroom facilities, your drains will have more debris flowing through them, leading to clogs and wastewater backups.
● Thermostat malfunction – a thermostat malfunction during the winter will make your pipes cold, meaning they may freeze over.
● Septic tank issues – bacteria are needed to keep everything in your septic tank liquid. Bacteria need warmth to thrive, and the movement of the bacteria will slow if it’s too cold, leading to septic tank issues.
If you spot any of these issues in your home, address them as soon as possible to prevent the problem from causing extreme property damage, which will be extremely costly.
How To Troubleshoot Winter Plumbing Problems
Now that you know which issues to look out for in your plumbing system throughout the winter, here’s how to fix them.
Frozen Pipes And Outdoor Faucets
When you notice your pipes are frozen and not working, the first step you should take is to open the faucet. This will allow any thawed water to escape. Then, you should locate the frozen area, which will be exposed to the cold and cold to the touch. Apply heat to the area, either using a hair dryer or a flannel steeped in hot water (never use flames, as this is a fire hazard and will ruin your pipes). This will dissolve the water slowly, allowing water to flow freely. Once you’re done, insulate the pipes to prevent the issue from reoccurring.
Leaks And Burst Pipes
As soon as you notice a leak or burst pipe, you should turn off the water supply and allow the faucets to drain by switching them on. Then, you should locate the damage and cut out this section of pipe, ready to replace your piping and reseal it. If you’re unfamiliar with plumbing processes, you should outsource this to a professional who will execute it perfectly.
Water Heater Issues
If you plan on using your water heater a lot throughout the winter, you should make sure your water heater is set to the appropriate temperature (around 120 degrees Fahrenheit or 49 degrees Celsius). Then, to ensure optimal functioning for your water heater throughout the winter, you should insulate the heater, check for leaks, and flush the tank. To flush the tank, consult your water heater manual and follow the instructions to clear away any sediment lurking at the bottom of the tank.
It’s a good idea to unclog your drains once every season. In the mid-winter, after your festive guests have left, you should use a drain snake to unclog your drains. Simply insert the snake, twist it, and remove any debris that’s blocking your drains and preventing them from working correctly.
Septic Tank Issues
For any issues relating to your septic tank, call a professional immediately and seal off any areas with sewage backup. Evacuate your home if the sewage backup is significant. Raw sewage is a biohazard and extremely dangerous, so it must be handled by professionals with adequate protection.
Contact Caldwell Plumbing For Emergency Plumbing Intervention To Save Your Festive Season
Winter wreaks havoc on your plumbing system, so prepare your home for the colder weather. If it’s too late, keep a weather eye out for the issues listed above and take the necessary steps to troubleshoot and resolve them. If you can’t resolve them yourself, you can always rely on help from your trusted local plumber, Caldwell Plumbing. We are always available for your plumbing emergencies, and we serve the Durham region and surrounding areas – keep us in mind during the holidays so you’re never caught off guard!