Common Winter Plumbing Problems


When the temperatures drop, most homeowners dread things going wrong around the house. Though many issues can occur in summer just as well as winter, there’s something about dealing with a home repair situation when it’s below zero that worries most people. Winter can present some unique problems as well, especially when it comes to plumbing. Plumbing, as we all know, is closely tied to water and when the temperature drops, frozen water can mean disaster. Though it’s too late to prevent a lot of common winter plumbing problems from happening now, you can learn what to watch out for and put preventative measures in place once the spring arrives.

Here are the most common plumbing problems we see during the winter months and some ideas on how you can avoid them.

Water Heater Failure

We all know how nice it is to take a long, hot shower when it’s frigid outside. But if multiple people in your home have the same idea, it can put a real strain on your water heater. The extra work and low temps can sometimes lead to water heater failure, which you’ll usually notice as leaking underneath the appliance. It’s always a good idea to have your water heater inspected before the temps drop, but you can also help take care of it during the winter by wrapping it in a warm blanket and covering the pipes in foam insulation. This prevents heat loss and prolongs the water heater’s life.

Clogged Drains

Of course, clogged drains can happen at any time of year, but they’re more common during the winter months for a couple of reasons. First, many of us have family in town over the holidays and some of them may put food or other substances down the drain or into toilets that shouldn’t go there. Second, cold temperatures can make any clog situation worse. It’s always smart to have your drains cleared before temps drop and the holidays hit. But you can always call a professional plumber like those at ASAP if you have a back-up issue no matter what time of year.

Frozen Pipes

If there are two words that homeowners dread during the winter months, it’s frozen pipes! If your pipes are located outdoors or in part of your home that isn’t fully heated or insulated, they are susceptible to freezing. Taking some precautions in late fall such as insulating the pipes in the basement. If you’ve missed the boat on that, though, simply keep your heat on throughout the winter, even if you’ll be leaving for long or short periods of time. You don’t have to keep it at 70, though. Simply ensuring the temp never gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in your home will prevent pipes from freezing.

Broken Water Line

If your pipes do freeze this winter, the water in them will expand and this can cause cracks in the pipe or the pipe to burst. A broken water line is one of the worst winter scenarios when it comes to plumbing and can result in thousands of dollars in damage. To prevent water line breaks, disconnect your garden hose from the outside faucet and store it through the winter months. You should also drain the pipes to make sure they are completely clear of water and shut off the valves.

Burst Septic Tank

Water lines aren’t the only concern during the cold months. The line from your home to your septic tank can also freeze and the tank itself can burst. This is a serious issue and, if it happens to you, you should call a professional plumber immediately. If snow is compacted on top of your septic tank, there is more chance of failure, so try to clear it off if you see this issue. And, if you suspect a septic tank freeze or burst, call a plumber.

Everyone wants to stay warm and safe during the winter months. By knowing what to watch out for when it comes to your plumbing, you can resolve issues quickly and prevent further damage. You can also put items on your checklist to make sure you’re prepared when next fall rolls around! Have questions about your plumbing or need plumbing help in the Omaha area? Call the professional plumbers at ASAP Appliance & Plumbing today!