With the colder months upon us, your plumbing may be more susceptible to winter plumbing problems. Colder weather can bring on a whole set of plumbing problems, and it you are unprepared it could be catastrophic. Here are some winter plumbing problems to be on the lookout for and what you can do to prevent them.
One of the most common winter plumbing problems are frozen pipes. Frozen pipes are just a big nuisance, and they can cause quite a bit of damage. When water freezes it expands, this can cause the water in your pipes to burst your pipes. To prevent your pipes from freezing make sure your pipes are properly insulated. This goes for pipes that are exposed to the elements, and pipes that are located in attics and crawl spaces. Unprotected spigots and garden hoses that are connected can also leave pipes vulnerable to freezing. Disconnect your hose and store it away for winter. You should also shut off the water supply to the spigot and drain it completely, then make sure it is properly insulated.
The winter months bring various forms of precipitation. Rain, ice, and snow can all cause problems. Heavy rains can easily cause flooding, so it is important to make sure your homes drainage system is prepared to divert excess water. Make sure gutters and downspouts are in good condition free from any damage and clogs so they can properly direct the flow of water. You should also clear storm drains of any built up debris. Your sump pump also plays an important role in flood prevention. During the winter months the melting snow and ice can cause the water table to rise, which can result in flooding. Make sure your sump pump is working by pouring water into the crock to make sure it engages.
In addition to flooding caused by mother nature, a leaking pipe can also cause flooding. Be on the lookout for signs of water leaks. Look under sinks and behind all plumbing fixtures and appliances. Look for unexplained puddles of water and visible signs of water damage. Listen for the sound of dripping or rushing water. And be able to recognize the smell of mold and mildew. Early detection is really important to prevent more damage.
Clogged drains are very common during the winter months. For starters you have all the added pressure the holidays put on your plumbing. Things that don’t belong in the drain accidentally get flushed or end up in the garbage disposal causing clogs. Things like grease, vegetable peels, egg shells, and hair are some of the worst things for drains. In addition, heavy rains can cause debris like leaves and sticks to get swept into your drains leading to blogs. To keep things flowing throughout the winter months have your drains professionally cleaned, and invest in some drain screens to keep unwanted items out.
Water Heater Failure
One of the last things you want to happen during the colder months is your water heater to give out. The colder months make your water heater have to work harder to keep up with demand. And since water heaters typically only last 10-12 years, the older your water heater is, the closer it is to retirement. If you are finding yourself running out of hot water it is a good idea to have your water heater serviced. It could be a simple fix like replacing the thermostat, or maybe it is time for replacement.
Regular maintenance can help your water heater last longer, this includes draining and flushing of the tank. This removes sediment buildup that can be contributing to your short supply of hot water. In addition to maintenance, you may want to invest in an insulating jacket. This helps maintain the temperature in your water heater so that your water heater doesn’t have to work as hard. Lastly it is important to note that your thermostat should be set between 120 and 140 degrees. If it is set to low, this could be the reason you are running out of hot water. Avoid setting it over 140 degrees as this is very dangerous.
Are you dealing with a winter plumbing problem? We are here to help! Contact the experts at Lesco Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling today!