Temperatures dipping below freezing? Your home’s plumbing is susceptible to a variety of common problems brought on by winter weather. Awareness of these potential issues can help prevent potentially serious home damage.
Failing hot water systems are a common problem in the winter due to pervasive cold weather, and water heating issues in general are one of the most common reasons plumbers are called into action at any point of the year. You’ll want to ensure the temperature setting on your water heater is set high enough. Additionally, if you possess a gas water heater with a pilot light, this light needs to be lit. If adequate hot water is still not attainable, you’ll want to contact your plumber, although it is always best to have your water heater serviced ahead of the winter season when it is not being pushed to its limit.
Frozen pipes are a common household occurrence during cold weather months and are caused by high water pressure from the main combined with below freezing temperatures. The most obvious giveaway of a frozen pipe is restricted water flow, so keep an eye out for changes in flow during the winter months. If you suspect a pipe is frozen, consider leaving your tap open slightly in order to allow water to flow. This water movement can prevent freezing, although it will affect your water bill over extended periods of time. If leaving the tap open isn’t an option or freezing persists, you’ll want to cut the water main switch and contact professional assistance as soon as possible.
A water line leak or break will cause severe damage to your home. Perhaps surprisingly, frozen garden hoses can lead to this damaging occurrence. When a garden house is left connected following a freeze, the ice within the hose will gradually build up pressure in your home’s water lines, eventually leading to a leak or break if it is not attended to. Ensure that your garden hoses are drained and disconnected prior to a cold snap, and drain all outdoor pipes during this maintenance. Also, the installation of insulated faucet jackets on your outdoor faucets is recommended to shield against freezing winter temperatures. Finally, use shut-off valves within your home, if available, to drain water from your pipes. These valves are often located under sinks and alongside water heaters.
Restricted water drainage can be caused by snow on the ground in the area surrounding your sump pump discharge line. Snow blocking this drainage area can cause water back-up and freezing.