Updated January 18, 2024

Winters can be beautiful, with holidays approaching and the snow falling. When your HVAC system is up and running and keeping you cozy, you don’t want to imagine that the wet and cold weather can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing system.

The combination of holiday celebrations, un-serviced boilers, and freezing temperatures can cause problems for your plumbing system that can quickly become an emergency. Luckily, understanding basic proactive maintenance can help you avoid some common issues during the winter and improve the life of your appliances.

As we approach winter, you need to be prepared. The temperature dip comes with frozen pipes and worn-out parts, and your water could stop flowing properly. It could turn the next few months into a disaster. We have compiled a list of the top five common plumbing issues you must watch out for to ensure you are prepared.

1. Damaged Water Pumps or Sump Pumps

Water pumps for irrigation and tanks are prone to freezing during the winter if left uncovered. A sump pump is installed in a sump pit to reduce susceptibility to flooding. This can be a significant issue in areas such as Grimes and the Des Moines Metro area, which experience large amounts of stormwater.

Your water pumps and sump pumps require regular annual maintenance. This is because freezing temperatures can damage these pumps, resulting in cracks and failure. Watch out for pooling water, as this will indicate that your pumps are not working properly.

Schedule an appointment with our professional plumbers. Our team can catch these issues before major flooding and repairs are needed. It is also essential to keep the heating cables installed around pumps to ensure they are safe from freezing all winter.

2. Frozen Pipes and Burst Pipes

Frozen pipes that eventually burst are a prevalent plumbing concern in the winter. With time, the insulation on the pipes wears off or falls away. This means they are exposed in areas where the pipes were protected from freezing.

You should regularly maintain your pipes to identify and insulate exposed pipes. Also, seal any cracks that may be visible on the pipes. Ensure you maintain consistent indoor temperatures to avoid fluctuations that may destroy the pipes. In highly vulnerable areas, use heat tape to add an extra layer of protection. This effective precaution can protect your pipes from high vulnerability during the winter so that they don’t burst.

Burst pipes are a serious winter plumbing emergency that can be a major inconvenience. When the water inside the pipes freezes, they exert a lot of pressure, resulting in ruptures. Watch out for the failure of faucets to drip, insufficient heating, and poor insulation, as these could contribute to your pipes bursting.

3. Low Water Pressure

Nothing is as frustrating as experiencing low water pressure when running the water heater or washing your clothes. The reduction in water pressure can be caused by damage to water pipes, pump failures, closed valves, and stuck faucets. These issues could manifest as poor flow or reduced water pressure.

If you notice low water pressure in your home, contact our plumbers to troubleshoot the cause of the issue. They can diagnose the problem from when the lines enter your home and work backward toward fixtures to identify restrictions.

You can also consider thawing exterior hose bibs. This can help restore pressure caused by ice blockages. You might want to consider removing the trapped air bubbles from lines. If the problem persists, it could be that the water heater needs repairs or replacement. Moreover, ensure that you have our plumbers look into the issue. They can identify the problem and provide repair options.

4. Hot Water Heater Malfunction

A cold shower during the summer can be a refreshing experience. However, during the winter, it is a miserable and dreaded experience. Most homeowners are unaware that water heaters have a lifespan of about 10 to 12 years. Moreover, their functionality reduces significantly as the years go by due to tear and wear.

Inspect all your water heater components that may wear out or fail during the winter. These include heating coils, gas control valves, and thermostats. At Golden Rule, our plumbers can help you diagnose the issue and recommend the parts that need replacement, so you won’t have to replace the entire system and incur a considerable cost if the failure is caused by one faulty part.

Look for rust leaks that could signal that a failing tank needs to be replaced. Watch out for popping sounds, yellow pilot flames, odd noises, and abnormal heating durations that could also indicate the need for maintenance service. Schedule regular inspections and maintenance before winter to prevent the escalation of issues mid-winter.

5. Blocked Drains

As winter approaches and festivities take over, drains are often neglected and misused around the house. This can cause them to clog and block. When blockages build up, you could experience a plumbing emergency characterized by clogged sinks, bad smells, and overflowing toilets. This emergency can be costly.

You can use preventive measures to keep your drains from clogging. Avoid putting grease or fat-filled materials down your sink drains. You should not flush anything else from your toilet drain except for tissue paper and human waste. Always install drain traps in all drains in your house to trap solids and prevent them from flowing accidentally into your pipes.

It is important to be mindful of your disposal during the winter. This means avoiding disposing of starchy and fibrous foods in the drain as they can clog it. Boiling water is also effective in maintaining functional drains. Pour hot water regularly down the drains to help dissolve any grease buildup.

Keep your outdoor drains and gutters clear of debris. It is essential to check for slow-draining sinks and tubs and then use enzyme cleaners to treat them monthly. This will help prevent grime from stinking. Clearing winter and fall gunk will reduce your susceptibility to drain blocks by clearing the drains and ensuring that things flow freely again.

Consider scheduling a professional inspection with our plumbers. They can address potential problems before you experience a major emergency.

Do You Have a Winter Plumbing Emergency?

These and many more plumbing emergencies can cause significant structural damage and even cause you to incur hefty bills if left unchecked. Don’t let plumbing problems in the winter destroy your comfort and your bank account. Talk to us today to prevent these issues before they occur.

Trust Golden Rule to be available 24/7 for your emergency plumbing issues. We are available anytime to cater to your needs in Grimes and the Des Moines Metro area. Our professional technicians and plumbers will give you expert plumbing solutions and advice based on your emergency. Besides plumbing, we also offer heating, air conditioning, and electrical services to address all your home comfort needs.

Contact Golden Rule today to schedule your plumbing service!

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