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4 Most Common Plumbing Issues in the Winter



With proper preparation, you can fare better during the winter and its harsh temperatures. People wear warmer clothing, more layers, and thicker coats to protect themselves from winter conditions. Without these measures to protect from the cold, you will likely fall ill.

Your home also needs to be prepared for the winter weather. While your property cannot become sick like people do in response to extreme cold, your home can experience several issues as a result. Plumbing issues, in particular, are common during the winter.

Continue reading to learn more about the most common plumbing issues in the winter and how you can prevent such problems.

1. Frozen Pipes

When temperatures drop low enough, they can cause the water within your home’s pipes to become frozen. This may not seem too serious, but it can be especially problematic if the ice within the pipes leads to a pipe burst.

As the water changes into a solid state, it expands in size, placing pressure on the pipe from within. The ice can act as a dam, preventing water from flowing, and also cause the pipe to burst open if it puts enough pressure on the pipe. In such a case, water will pour into your property, causing severe water damage in just a few minutes.

One way to prevent frozen pipes is to insulate them. Various kinds of pipe insulation are available at hardware stores, and they are easy to install. Simply wrap the insulation around the pipe to prevent it from getting too cold.

You can also let a slow drip of water run from the faucets in your home. This water flow, albeit minimal, will help prevent the pipe from freezing. This measure may seem like a waste, but the amount you spend on the water that trickles out will be much lower than what you would have to spend on pipe repairs and water damage restoration.

Additionally, keep your thermostat at a temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Chances are you will be warming your home to a higher temperature, but you might feel tempted to turn the heat off if you will be out. It is best to keep the heat on to prevent frozen pipes ― and, in turn, burst pipes.

2. Water Heater FailureConcerned man looking at a puddle of water, leaking from a water heater, EPS 8 vector illustration

The cold months of winter are likely the time when your home’s water heater will be working its hardest. Unfortunately, this is also when your water heater is most likely to fail because it is working so much harder to warm up your water supply. Avoid this failure by insulating the water heater. This allows the appliance to maintain more heat naturally, so it will not need to work as hard to heat the water.

3. Clogged Drains

The arrival of winter also means the arrival of the holiday season. Often, the holidays are a time where people are cooking more than usual. In such a case, drains are more likely to become clogged due to an increase in food, fat, and grease being dumped out in the sink. When combined with the cold temperatures, the waste clumps together and clogs the drain. Your garbage disposal is helpful, but it can only do so much.

Knowing this, avoid throwing out such waste in your kitchen sink and garbage disposal. Instead, place scraps in the trash.

Be wary of toilet drains as well. No one wants to deal with clogged toilets and potential sewage issues. Make sure your family does not try to use or flush too much toilet paper at once.

4. Gutter BlockagesMan cleaning the gutter

During the fall, leaves and other debris may have accumulated in your gutters or gathered near outdoor drains. If this debris is not cleared out before the snow and ice of winter comes, then the gutters may not be able to function properly.

The foliage can act as a blockage for any precipitation, preventing it from draining properly. As long as you clean your gutters and remove the leaves and other debris, this should not be a problem.

Water Damage RestorationFlood-Extraction-ServiceMaster

With the above mentioned preparations, the plumbing in your home should be in good condition to make it through another winter. However, accidents happen, and plumbing maintenance cannot prevent every potential issue. In the event your home experiences a plumbing problem that results in water damage, do not hesitate to seek professional help.

ServiceMaster offers professional water damage restoration services to homes and businesses in the Lincoln, Grand Island and Omaha, NE areas. Our technicians have the proper training and equipment to clean and restore properties in the aftermath of any water damage emergency. We will eliminate excess water and moisture, thoroughly dry affected areas, and restore the affected building structure and contents.

With help from ServiceMaster’s water damage restoration services, your property will be safe and clean to live in this winter.