Our Blog & Resources

Common Winter Plumbing Problems and How To Avoid Them

Bursting blue pipe with water coming out of it

Your home’s plumbing faces some particular difficulties throughout the winter. The impact of the freezing temperatures on the water in your pipes can result in a variety of pricey issues. Fortunately, by taking a few simple precautions, you can avoid needing an emergency plumber.

How do you ensure you won’t have expensive problems to fix after an extended period of freezing temperatures?  We’ve outlined common winter plumbing problems in the winter in this article and how to prevent them.  Common problems include:

  • Frozen Pipes
  • Clogged Kitchen Drains
  • Water Heater Failure
  • Damage Around Outdoor Drains

Avoid Frozen Pipes

Pipes freezing a common plumbing problem. If a pipe bursts after water has been backed up for too long, it can quickly result in damage that costs thousands of dollars. This often occurs when the main water pipe’s strong water pressure and freezing temperatures combine.

To avoid Frozen and burst pipes, take the following precautions.

  • Keep the garage doors closed, especially if the garage contains water supply lines.
  • Open the cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathroom to let warmer air flow around the piping, especially if your sinks are located on a wall exposed to the outside.
  • Allow the faucet serving exposed pipes to drip cold water. Even a trickle of water flowing through the pipe helps keep pipes from freezing.
  • Maintain the same setting for the thermostat throughout the day and night. Lowering the thermostat at night to reduce your heating costs during a cold spell is not a good idea.
  • Keep the heat on in your house if you intend to be away during cold weather. The expense of ruptured pipes and water damage is far greater than saved heating bills.

Avoid Clogged Kitchen Drains

You should know better than to wash grease and oil down your drains. However, we recognise that accidents sometimes happen. And as you are now aware, cold weather can cause drains to block. Pipes gather dirt, including hair, soap scum, and sticky cooking residue that accumulates over time. If there is anything stuck in your pipes during cold weather, it may stiffen, freeze, or combine with frozen water to completely block your sink or shower.

To avoid drain clogs, take the following precautions.

  • Keep grease, fat, oil, bones, coffee grounds, and other clog-forming items out of the garbage disposal. Throw these items in the trash instead.
  • Run water while using the garbage disposal and after.

Avoid Water Heater Failure

Your appliances are most likely to break down when they’re working their hardest. And, for water heaters and furnaces and boilers, that’s the winter. All year long, your water heater puts forth a lot of effort. It works overtime in the winter to keep up with the demand for hot showers, large loads of laundry, and dishes. When seasonal maintenance has been neglected for a year or more, that additional wear and tear can cause a water heater breakdown.

Make sure your hot water heater receives its regular maintenance, preferably well before winter arrives, to completely eliminate this problem.

Avoid Damage Around Outdoor Drains

Leaves from fall season may gather up near a drain after rainfall or snowfall. This can block water from draining correctly. At that point, the pipe can end up damaged, or cause flooding in your basement when water builds up right outside it and seeps in.

If you haven’t already, devote an hour or two to cleaning up after autumn. The grass waste and leaves close to drains might harm the pipes that run beneath your home. Even your basement may suffer as a result. By keeping the waterways open, you can prevent water from collecting and leaking into your house.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

You will likely go the winter without any of the above problems if you Take these precautions. However, mistakes do happen, and other things can go wrong too.

If you see water accumulating before draining, have a professional inspect your system. Similarly, if your pipes keep freezing over, it’s a good idea to have a professional check things out and see if you should take some extra steps to prevent that from happening.

Aqua Drain has the expertise and experience to resolve all winter plumbing problems in the Ottawa area. Contact us today.