Winter has come, and it's time to batten down the hatches. But while we're busy making sure our heating system is working properly, we might need to remember that our plumbing can also be affected by cold weather. Here's what you need to know about how cold weather affects your plumbing.
How To Prevent Clogs
Winter clogs are a little trickier than in the summer or spring because of how cold weather can make some clogs harden. Grease clogs are incredibly stubborn in cold weather, as hardened grease can be like a rock in your pipes. The best thing you can do for your pipes is to keep them free of debris and grease in the first place. How? With proper durian care!
Flush dental floss and cat litter down the toilet. These materials can easily clog your drain, so it's best to dispose of them properly.
Use garbage disposal if you have one. Food waste should always be put in the trash rather than down the drain, but disposals make this easier by breaking up food into smaller particles that are easier for your pipes to process instead of letting them sit there until they become clogged.
Don't use your toilets or drains like a trash can! Anything that doesn’t belong in a sink or toilet should not go there: no toys, pens or pencils, hairbrushes, or combs—nothing other than biodegradable waste!
If you have frozen pipes, there's a chance they could burst. This can cause leaks and water damage that can be costly to repair. It's essential to check your pipes periodically throughout the winter, especially if you live in an area prone to long-term cold snaps like Northern New England or Upstate New York.
If your pipes are located in an unheated area, you may want to consider insulating them. This will help keep the water from freezing and causing a blockage.
For more drastic measures to prevent pipes from freezing:
Put a thermometer in the basement or crawlspace of your home to check the temperature regularly. If it drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, turn on the faucet nearest your water heater for about 30 seconds every few hours as a precautionary measure; this will keep some water moving through those pipes and prevent them from freezing up entirely.
Shut off all outdoor faucets connected to interior plumbing lines if they frequently freeze during winter (i.e., outdoor spigots). You can open them again when temperatures rise above freezing at nightfall each day until spring arrives permanently—just remember not to leave them running while they're closed!
Outdoor Drain Damage
Funnily enough, we can easily overlook our outdoor drains in the colder months and be surprised by poor drainage in these fixtures. Typically outdoor fixtures made of PVC piping can suffer in the cold weather and lead to clogs that quickly damage the already brittle fixture.
So you can save some trouble by upgrading to metal fixtures that are better suited for the cold. However, to avoid sinking extra cash into a pipe upgrade, you can keep debris away from outside drains and insulate the pipes to avoid cold weather damage.
Sump Pump Clogs
You may have yet to consider checking in on your sump pump this winter, which may seem odd. I mean, it’s winter; when will it flood in winter? Well, you may be surprised that certain weather conditions in the winter can contribute to flooding if you’re not careful. Still, cold weather can exacerbate existing clogs in your system.
Test your sump pump regularly to spot any potential malfunctions, especially during winter. If you catch a clog early today, you can ensure your sump pump is ready for the spring when rainfall picks up. The best thing you can do for your sump pump is to keep your basement warm to avoid potentially having your sump pump freeze.
The best line of defense is preventive care regardless of the plumbing issue your home faces. Wit ha quick tune-up today, you can save yourself the headache of dealing with emergency repairs in the future. Since nobody wants to pay that emergency repair fee.
Mark Carpenter Plumbing has got you covered on all your plumbing needs this winter when you call us today at (575) 222-2551