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Common Fall/Winter Plumbing Problems

Between changes in the temperature, falling leaves and snow, and increased seasonal usage, fall and winter can be a hard time for your plumbing system. Different strains and stresses related to the seasons can have major impacts on how your plumbing system functions, and those impacts can necessitate costly repairs if they aren’t adjusted promptly and properly. Recognizing these issues right away and taking the right preventative steps will keep your plumbing running smoothly. Here are five common issues that responsible homeowners will want to keep an eye out for:

Frozen Pipes

This issue is easy to understand and even easier to prevent. If water remains in your pipes when they are exposed to frigid air, that water can expand and burst the pipes in which it sits. Repairing a burst pipe is not an easy job, and it will likely be very expensive. Thankfully, frozen pipes are reasonably easy to prevent if you act quickly and call for expert plumbing services in your local area to head off the problem before it gets serious.

If you have outdoor taps or outdoor plumbing systems, make sure that you drain them once the weather starts to get colder. Ensure that the water supply to those taps or systems is shut off and that there’s no water left in them. If you have pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures that can’t be drained, make sure that they are insulated in some way—even something as simple as wrapping them in a towel can help prevent freezing.

If you’re going somewhere hot to avoid the cold, also keep in mind that your pipes can’t come with you. If you live in a colder climate, while it may be tempting to save money by turning the heat off while you aren’t at home, remember that a bad cold snap could freeze your plumbing, leaving an ugly and costly surprise for you when you arrive home. State Farm Insurance recommends keeping the temperature at or above 55 degrees fahrenheit while you’re away in order to prevent this issue. 

No Hot Water

Your water heater is your best friend in the winter. Having to endure a cold shower in the middle of December is not the kind of Christmas surprise anyone wants, after all. Ensuring that your water heater is optimized and running well will prevent an emergency situation in which you find yourself with only icy cold water coming out of your taps. First, ensure that your temperature gauge is properly adjusted. Direct Energy recommends that it not be set above 125 degrees fahrenheit. This will prevent scalding while also minimizing energy waste.

A yearly fall/winter water heater checkup is also a prudent habit to get into. Replacing a hot water heater can be extremely expensive, especially if you haven’t planned for it. Calling in a professional to check for corrosion or unusual wear and tear before any small issue becomes a big problem will bring you the peace of mind that you need over the holiday season.

Above all else, remember that your home’s plumbing system is complex and requires attention. Clogged drains, blocked vent stacks, or frozen pipes are easily avoidable. Take steps to prevent these common issues, and don’t hesitate to get a professional opinion on your plumbing system before issues arise.