How To Avoid The 9 Most Common Winter Plumbing Problems

03 Mar. 22

How To Avoid The 9 Most Common Winter Plumbing Problems

Plumbing problems often accompany cold weather. When an issue arises, homeowners might attempt to fix the issue without calling on the pros. However, sometimes they need professional help. 

What steps can a homeowner take to avoid these issues in the first place? Who should they call if a problem arises they can’t handle? LaVergne’s Plumbing provides answers to these questions and more. 

Frozen Outdoor Pipes

Frozen pipes are a concern when the temperatures drop. Unfortunately, these pipes often burst outdoors where they supply spigots. As a result, homeowners don’t notice the problem right away. 

If the pipe freezes, contact us. We’ll thaw the pipe and check it for any hidden leaks or other damage. Our team can handle plumbing installation or repairs.

Frozen Indoor Pipes

Interior pipes may also freeze, especially in uninsulated areas and along exterior walls. If the water flow to a fixture decreases, a frozen pipe is probably the issue. 

Leave the faucet dripping. This reduces pressure on the lines while keeping the water flowing. Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow air to flow around the pipes and install insulation on pipes in uninsulated areas and along exterior walls.

Contact a plumber for help in thawing the pipe. If the pipe bursts, the home could sustain significant water damage. For this reason, it’s always best to leave this task to the professionals. The plumber will also make any necessary plumbing repairs

Clogged Drains and Toilets

Holidays often mean an abundance of food and guests. The excess food and invited guests can lead to a clogged drain, as the plumbing system has to work harder. 

Prevent these issues by putting minimal items down the garbage disposal. Run cold water when using the garbage disposal and allow the water to continue running for 30 seconds after turning the disposal off. This clears any remnants from the drain. 

Only flush appropriate items down a toilet. Ensure every bathroom has a trashcan to prevent guests from flushing items other than toilet paper. Keep a plunger in each bathroom to address clogs quickly. 

To remove a clog in a toilet or drain, use a plunger. Take care when doing so, as dirty water and other debris may come out of the drain. If the garbage disposal clogs, use kitchen tongs to remove any obstacles. Allow the unit to sit for 15 minutes to cool before restoring power. The reset button on the bottom of the unit may need to be pressed before the garbage disposal will work again. 

Malfunctioning Water Heater

Water heaters undergo more stress during the winter months, thanks to visitors to the home. Drain the unit annually to remove any sediment buildup and test the pressure relief valve to ensure it works properly. Insulate the inlet and outlet pipes so they don’t freeze. An added benefit is they will produce hot water faster, as the insulation allows them to retain heat. Finally, install a water heater blanket to reduce energy loss in a tank heater. 

If the unit stops working, check the power supply. When that isn’t the issue, it may be the thermostat’s limit switch has tripped. Reset the switch to see if that helps. If not, call us. We’ll diagnose the problem and make recommendations for repairing or replacing it. Outdoor Drains

Outdoor drains often freeze during the winter, as the plastic expands and contracts when the temperature changes. Replace the plastic drains with metal ones to avoid this problem. In addition to tolerating temperature changes better, the metal drains won’t break when ice builds up. Keep debris away from these drains so they work as intended and water won’t accumulate. If ice does form on a drain, use hot salt water or water mixed with a deicer to melt it.

Sump Pump Failure

Sump pumps see increased use during the winter months, as snow and ice melt resulting in water. A sump pump system might back up due to a clog or freezing. 

Maintain the pump to prevent these issues. Remove debris and grime from the sump pit and carry out regular tests to ensure the pump functions properly. Keep the heat on where the sump pump is located to ensure the pit and pipes don’t freeze. In addition, direct water away from the home by installing outdoor drains and properly route drainage from gutters.

Contact us for a sump pump service. We can remove blockages from the intake and discharge lines. In addition, our team can insulate and bury the discharge hose to add a layer of protection. Finally, it may be beneficial to install a larger discharge hose, as this can minimize the risk of freezing.

If the sump pump does freeze, turn off the power supply and check the discharge line outlet for blockages. Melt any clogs using heat and empty water sitting in the sump pit. Disconnect the drain line and run boiling water through it to remove this clog. Repeat this step until the water flows freely. Reconnect the line before restoring the power. 

Frozen Septic System

Septic lines and tanks remain vulnerable to freezing if they lack soil coverage. The home drainage system cannot function if the mainline freezes, while the contents of a full septic tank may freeze and lead to a system backup. Furthermore, sewage leaks become a concern. 

Contact a plumber for assistance in resolving a frozen septic line or tank. Failing to carry out the proper steps could lead to sewage backing up into the home. The plumber ensures this does not happen and makes recommendations to prevent future freezing of the tank or line. 

Frozen Well Pump

Well pumps often freeze during cold weather if they aren’t situated deep in the ground. The homeowner must address this issue immediately to restore water to the residence. Contact a plumber right away to prevent the body of the pump from cracking, as the plumber will need to replace the pump if that happens. Prompt action may prevent damage. 

Basement Flood

When the snow melts, a homeowner might find their basement floods. Keep gutters and outdoor drains free of debris to reduce the risk of this happening. Test the sump pump and inspect the foundation and basement walls during the fall to find and fix any leaks. Work with professionals to address the water damage and take steps to prevent flooding from occurring in the future. 

Always take prompt action if there is a plumbing problem. Our team remains available 24 hours a day to provide plumbing services. Don’t hesitate to reach out, as water can do significant damage in little time. Our team fixes any plumbing issue quickly and correctly. 

About LaVergne’s Plumbing:

LaVergne’s Plumbing is a family-owned and operated company offering personalized service around the clock. Our impeccable service and attention to detail ensure clients will feel confident about all work done by our team.