Winter Plumbing Problems To Avoid

As the seasons change, so can your potential plumbing problems. Now that winter is nearing, you may face a variety of cold weather and holiday activity. Knowing the most common winter plumbing problems and how to avoid them can help you take care of your plumbing this winter.   

Grease in the Drain Pipes

Holiday feasts make grease a common problem in sink drains and garbage disposals. Grease that solidifies in drains can cause clogs and blockages. Luckily, there are a variety of things you can do to prevent this from being a problem.

  • Throw grease away. Cool grease in a container and then throw it away in a sandwich bag.
  • Save and re-use grease. Cool the grease in a container and then refrigerate it or freeze it until the next time you need it for cooking.
  • Clean your drains regularly with vinegar. Pour vinegar down your drains and then allow it to sit for several hours. Then,  flush the drains with hot water.

Frozen Pipes

Freezing water can cause pipes in your home to burst. When the water thaws, burst pipes will leak and cause damage. There are many ways that you can prevent the pipes in your home from freezing.

  • Insulate your pipes. Pipe insulation is easy to find at hardware stores and home improvement centers. Installation is easy too.  Cut the insulation to the proper size with a utility knife. Peel off the protective paper inside the insulation to reveal the adhesive, then wrap the insulation around the pipes.
  • Keep your home thermostat at 55 degrees or warmer. Setting your thermostat to 55 degrees or warmer can keep your home warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Leave a trickle of water flowing. On the coldest nights of the year, leave a trickle of water running in your home’s sinks.

Don’t forget that outdoor spigots can freeze just as easily as indoor pipes. To protect your outdoor hose spigots, remove all hoses and cover the spigots with foam insulation. To protect your hoses, drain the water inside and store them in your garage.

Reduced Water Heater Efficiency

Water heaters lose efficiency when the air around them gets colder. You can prevent this problem by insulating the room where your water heater is located. Some homeowners also choose to insulate their water heater at this time of year. If you’re thinking about insulating your water heater, contact an experienced plumber for assistance. Improperly installed water heater insulation can be a fire hazard.

Draining your water heater of sediment can also help improve your heater’s efficiency. To drain your water heater, do the following:

  • Cut the power to the heater.
  • Turn off the water heater’s cold water supply.
  • Turn on the hot water in a sink somewhere in the house.
  • Attach a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the hot water heater.
  • Open the spigot at the bottom of the heater and drain the water into a bucket or a drain. The water will be dirty at first, so drain it until the water runs clear.

When the water heater has been drained of sediment, close the spigot and turn on the cold water supply to the water heater. Restore power to the unit when the tank is full.  

Contact Your Plumber In Pittsburgh

At Terry’s Plumbing, we help homeowners take care of their plumbing in winter. To find out more about protecting your pipes this coming season, contact us today at 1-877-483-7797.