As winter settles in, the drop in temperature brings not only chilly winds and snowflakes but also potential plumbing problems that can disrupt the comfort of your home. From frozen pipes to water heater malfunctions, the colder months can be harsh on your plumbing system. In this blog, we’ll explore common plumbing issues that tend to arise during winter, offer preventative measures to keep them at bay, and provide guidance on what to do if you find yourself facing these chilly challenges.
One of the most frequent plumbing issues during winter is frozen pipes. When water inside pipes freezes, it expands and can lead to cracks or bursts, causing water damage when it thaws. To prevent frozen pipes, consider insulating them with pipe sleeves or heat tape. Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to reach pipes under sinks, and let faucets drip to relieve pressure.
Water Heater Issues
Cold weather can put extra strain on your water heater, potentially causing it to work harder and be less efficient. To avoid a sudden lack of hot water, flush your water heater to remove sediment buildup, insulate the heater and pipes, and set the temperature to a moderate level. If you notice any issues, such as strange noises or lukewarm water, consult a professional plumber to address the problem promptly.
Winter brings its fair share of festivities, but the aftermath of holiday cooking and gatherings can lead to clogged drains. Fats, oils, and food debris can solidify in the pipes, causing blockages. Dispose of kitchen grease in a separate container, use drain strainers, and be mindful of what goes down the disposal. If clogs persist, a plumber can perform a thorough drain cleaning.
Burst Hose Bibs
Outdoor hose bibs are vulnerable to freezing temperatures and can burst if not properly winterized. Disconnect hoses, drain any remaining water, and install insulated covers on outdoor faucets. This simple step can save you from a potential flooding disaster come spring when you start using the garden hose again.
Leaky Roofs and Gutters
While not directly related to plumbing, leaky roofs and clogged gutters can contribute to water damage inside your home. Ensure your roof is in good condition, repair any leaks promptly, and clean out gutters before winter arrives. Proper drainage prevents water from seeping into your home and causing structural damage.
What to Do If Issues Arise
Despite your best efforts, plumbing issues may still arise during winter. If you encounter a problem:
- Frozen Pipes: Thaw them gently with a hairdryer or heat lamp. If a pipe has burst, turn off the water supply immediately and call a plumber.
- Water Heater Malfunctions: If your water heater isn’t working correctly, consult a professional plumber to diagnose and fix the issue.
- Clogged Drains: Try using a plunger or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to break down minor clogs. For persistent issues, seek professional help.
- Burst Hose Bibs: Shut off the water supply to the outdoor faucet and replace the burst bib. Consider installing frost-free hose bibs for added protection.
Call Mahon Plumbing Today
If you still have more questions regarding your plumbing, we here at Mahon Plumbing are here to help. We have been serving the wider Baltimore area since 1994, so we have 25 years of experience to back up our fantastic service! Call us at our Baltimore location at 410-766-8566 or our Pasadena location at 410-636-7944. Be sure to keep up with us on social media by following us on Facebook or Twitter.