Frozen Pipes and Other Common Plumbing Problems Homeowners Face Each Winter

Frozen Pipes and Other Common Plumbing Problems Homeowners Face Each Winter
  • Opening Intro -

    The frigid winter temperatures and snowy, icy weather pose several challenges for homeowners.

    Preventing these problems ahead of time with some routine maintenance and proper care can help you avoid costly plumbing emergencies.

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Take the time before temperatures drop so that you can enjoy your home this winter.

Frozen Pipes

Water left inside of pipes when freezing temperatures hit can cause blockages that could result in burst pipes. Burst pipes can leave your family without water and in need of emergency assistance. Luckily, there are several things you can do this winter to prevent frozen pipes in your home.

First, disconnect all the outside garden hoses as you likely won’t be using them during freezing weather. Make sure that you keep the thermostat in your home set to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, even if you are going out of town. If you are heading out on vacation, stop the water flow in your home by utilizing cut-off valves outdoors.

Finally, though it may seem counter intuitive, for sinks and other faucets with exposed piping, let the faucet drip all winter long. While this may increase your water bill to a degree, the running water helps prevent freezing pipes.

Clogged Kitchen Drains

Clogged drains in the kitchen are one of the most frequent reasons homeowners call the plumber. After all, not having a functioning kitchen sink and drain makes cooking and cleaning extremely difficult.

Grease buildup, leftover food, and restricted airflow can cause kitchen pipes to become clogged during the winter, and over-using the garbage disposal can speed up clogging.

To prevent further issues, when there are large blockages like these, you’ll need the help of a plumber. Most DIY solutions are only temporary fixes.

Clogged drains often happen as a result of the rooftop vent or kitchen pipes freezing. Keeping these pipes clear of buildup and ice can help prevent clogs.

You may need a roofing contractor to address the rooftop vent though, because you do not want to slip on the snow and ice that may have accumulated around your roof.

Failed Water Heaters

Winter is a busy time for water heaters as families use an increased amount of hot water for bathing, cleaning, and washing dishes. This increase in use can put additional pressure on an old water heater and cause the internal components to fail. Look for signs that your water heater isn’t working properly before it fails to prevent an emergency.

More obvious signs include things like visible external leaks. However, you may also notice that the water heater takes too long to heat water between uses or that you often need to increase the temperature on the water heater to get water to the heat you want.

You may also have noticed higher-than-usual electric or gas bills. Watch for these signs, and get your water heater repaired or replaced before cold weather strikes.

other valuable tips:

Outdoor Drain Damage

Outdoor drains are often made of plastic that can’t withstand cold temperatures. The freezing temperatures may cause the drains to crack, chip, and break. This can affect the entire drainage system of your yard.

If the damage is allowed to persist it can allow groundwater to seep into the home and cause thousands of dollars in damage. Get plastic drains inspected and replaced before winter weather hits to prevent outdoor drain damage from occurring.

Don’t be stuck without warm water when your family needs it most this winter. Get your home prepared for the winter by taking steps now to keep your pipes running well all year long.

Image Credit: frozen pipes by twenty20.com

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