27 Jan. 21

Most Common Plumbing Problems When It’s Cold Outside

When it is cold outside, most people retreat indoors. This is where it is safe and warm. However, there may be some lurking dangers that homeowners are not aware of.

If the local area is impacted by snow, ice, and freezing rain, it can cause serious plumbing problems that are expensive to repair. However, if a homeowner takes steps to winterize their home’s plumbing—alone or with the help of a local plumber—they can avoid serious and expensive damage to the system.

The key to avoiding the most common issues is to know what they are there. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common, plumbing issues that occur during the winter.

Gutters Full of Garbage

It is essential for a homeowner to hire someone (or handle the job on their own) to clean out the gutters before frigid weather moves in. In some cases, winter surprises everyone. It can be cool in the morning and freezing in the evening. This is why taking preventative steps is so important.

If there is junk and gunk left behind in the home’s gutter system, it can cause serious problems. When ice and snowfall are added to all this debris, it can cause plumbing issues no one expects. In fact, serious water leaks and plumbing system damage can occur, which is why it is essential to take action and clean out the gutters long before freezing weather makes it into the area.

Potential Issues with the Hose

If a homeowner has any outside hoses, it is best to roll them up and put them away for the winter months. 

When a homeowner leaves hoses connected to their outside water supply and freezing weather moves in, it can lead to serious issues. Water may begin to build up and even freeze round the spigots. This can cause the water to expand, which is going to result in the pipes leaking and bursting. Now is the time to put away the hoses before more serious issues occur. If non-winterized hoses are left outdoors, chances are a homeowner is going to be dealing with many more issues and problems than they expected.

Water Considerations

When the weather turns cold, turn off the water valve to outside faucets and water sources. In October, the grass will usually stop growing. At this point, homeowners can stop investing in lawn care services or doing this on their own. Most people have stopped watering their lawns regularly at this time of the year, too.

If the homeowner has not yet called a professional to flush out their irrigation system, don’t put this off any longer. Be sure to have the system flushed and all water removed at the end of the season. If water is left in the pipes and other components, it may freeze. When water freezes, it expands, which can cause serious damage to pipes and other irrigation system components. Unfortunately, most of these issues will not be seen until spring when the irrigation system is used again. By then, the damage will likely be so severe that an entirely new irrigation system may have to be installed.

To close the water valve, it will have to be turned to a vertical position. This will ensure that the outside water fixtures will not keep water “ready to go” during the colder months of the year. If a homeowner forgets about this, and they leave their home on, serious issues may occur and result in the need for expensive repairs.

While wintertime offers many pretty things, like the icicles around the roof, they may also be a sign that the home is not ready for cold weather. If there are icicles hanging from the eaves, it may also be an indication that an ice dam is likely to form, which can also lead to plumbing problems. As the moisture dams start to melt, the water is going to seap over the eaves of the roof and create the icicles that are seen. As more and more snow and ice melt, the water that flows to the gutters and on the roof will start to back up behind the dams. When this happens, the water has nowhere to go but inside the home, which is seen as leaks in the ceilings and walls.

Break in the Water Line

If pipes freeze (as mentioned above), it is likely that a water line break is not too far away. This is because the water inside the pipes will expand as it freezes. If the pipe that is freezing is full of water, the water has nowhere to go, which means that the pipe will likely be damaged. It can crack or break, and both these issues are referred to as a burst pipe. The professionals can fix the pipe and install pressure release valves in the main water lines. With these in place, there is a much lower chance that the pipe will burst.

Clogged Drains

Many homeowners have to deal with clogged drains during the winter months. This is because people are cooking more and because they are inviting more people over to their house, which results in more use of the plumbing system. If someone notices a clog, they should call a plumber. This is going to help ensure that it does not become a more serious problem or disrupt day-to-day activities. The professionals can handle any potential clog issues that occur and help ensure that the underlying issue is found and eliminated.

Don’t Wait to Call a Plumber

When it comes to plumbing issues, there are more than a few that may occur during the winter months. Be sure to keep the information here in mind to know about some of the most common problems and why calling a plumber as soon as an issue is seen is such a good idea. Being informed and knowing what may happen during the winter months will help to prevent serious plumbing issues. Don’t underestimate the importance of winterizing a home’s plumbing system. This is an investment that is going to be more than worth it in the long run.