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Common winter plumbing problems to prepare for now

While there is much to celebrate during the winter months, it is also a time to be wary, with the weather fluctuating, and unexpected instances of snow, ice, and brutally cold temperatures rolling in with little to no warning. For homeowners, these sudden changes to the weather should bring a heightened sense of caution, as the temperature fluctuations and cold weather events can create especially troubling issues for a home’s plumbing. Luckily, the truly dramatic temperature swings haven’t set in yet, but as January and February draw near, and the chances of those changes increases, it is best for homeowners to keep on the lookout for these common winter problems, and be ready in the event that any should come up.

Hot Water Heater Failure

Competing with the cold weather outside, hot water heaters see an increase in use throughout winter, creating extra strain on the entire system. While most hot water heaters have an average life span of ten years, this is not a guarantee, especially when the heater is working extra hard to heat the colder water from the outside pipes. If it seems like the hot water isn’t lasting as long, if it isn’t present at all, or if the unit is making odd noises, it’s a strong sign that the unit could use a maintenance visit from a licensed professional to diagnose any issues before it leads to total unit failure.

Frozen Pipes and Bursts

bursted pipe with water pouring out of the crack

Burst Pipe? Call Duane Blanton Family Home Services.

Pipes bear the brunt of the cold and ice, moving the super-chilled water both inside and outside the home, occasionally directly exposed to the elements while doing so. As the temperatures drop, it’s a good idea to keep water dripping from faucets to maintain a slight flow in the pipes, as standing water easily becomes frozen in sub-zero temps. Additionally, if the pipes are within a cabinet, open the doors to allow the warmth from within the home to more easily reach the interior pipes. Should the water flow completely cut-off, or a noticeable drop in water pressure occur, it’s likely that the pipes have officially frozen over. Cut the water flow directly from the main valve, and contact a plumber immediately to come to evaluate and remedy the issue, to avoid incurring major damage from a frozen pipe bursting or rupturing.

Sump Pump Problems

Tucked away in the basement, out of sight and mind, the sump pump is easily overlooked every season. While snow and ice pile up outside, though, the sump pump has to be ready to play an important role in redirecting all of that potential moisture. If a sump pump is older or already having issues, it can easily be overwhelmed by the sudden influx of water created by melting snow and ice collecting around the foundation of a home, potentially causing a sump pump to back up or partially flood a basement. This is a major headache to have to deal with, so it’s best to make sure the sump pump is well maintained and has been looked at by a professional to ensure it’s ready for the winter and spring thaw long before it’s time to be called to action.

Worsened Water Leaks

Winter is the season where minor issues are blown into major catastrophes. Small leaks and minuscule cracks in pipes and lines easily expand due to colder temps creating a greater strain on these areas. What might start off as a tiny drip could easily become a major burst pipe behind a wall, so any small issue is better taken care of sooner rather than later — before the weather turns, and before it can balloon into something nasty.

Winter weather can be calm, serene, and picturesque, but the problems it brings easily become hassles and ordeals at the worst possible times. Rather than being caught off guard, it’s always better to be proactive, alert, and prepared to deal with whatever might arise from the freezing temperatures. Before the winter season fully takes hold, and if it hasn’t been done already, one of the best proactive activities is to schedule an annual plumbing maintenance inspection. Letting the licensed pros at Duane Blanton Family Home Services take a look at the pipes and plumbing fixtures can end up saving major time and money by catching potential issues before they become problems. Reach out to the technicians at Duane Blanton today by calling (815) 781-2567, or schedule online through their online scheduling portal.

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