Winter comes with its problems. The chilling temperatures affect how the systems around your home operate. One area that is hit hard is plumbing. Pipes react to the freezing temperatures, interfering with how water, gas, and sewer move inside them.
The main plumbing problem during winter involves freezing pipes. If you do not take the necessary steps to try and protect your pipes and drainage systems, you will end up having problems with water and gas delivery to your home or water and sewer draining out of your home. Therefore, you need to understand issues that affect plumbing during winter and how to safeguard yourself from them. Here are a few of the top winter plumbing problems in Canton, MA.
1. Outdoor Pipes Freezing
If you fail to safeguard your outdoor water or drainage pipes from the chilly temperatures, they might end up freezing. Typically, this happens because the pipes are neglected during the cold season since there is no need to water outdoor plants. Therefore, any damages to them can go unnoticed for a long time. When the pipes freeze, you may not notice until after winter is over. Missed frozen pipes could lead to many damages to your outdoor piping systems, such as bursting, cracks, and leakages.
What Can You Do?
If you want to protect your outdoor piping system from freezing during the snowy season, you can winterize them. Before winter, you can start by disconnecting all movable pipes and hoses to prevent water from freezing inside them. Then, you will remove all clogged water to dry the pipes before storage.
For fixed pipes, you can protect them by ensuring that the water flow inside them is stopped. You can do this by closing the valves at the reservoir before opening the valves at the watering points to drain off any water inside the pipes. It is advisable to leave the valve open after draining the pipes to equalize air pressure during the cold season. Finally, you ought to winterize the remaining pipes through the insulation to prevent snow from destroying them.
Alternatively, you may opt to change the entire piping system and replace it with a frost-free one. Such pipes can withstand the chilling temperatures without freezing. This is due to the slanting angle at which they are installed that allows water drainage and prevents frost from forming inside the pipes.
2. Indoor Pipes Freezing
If you fail to insulate your internal home water supply pipes properly, you may soon run out of water during winter. This is because the pipes in the exterior parts of your house or near the walls may freeze, preventing water flow inside them.
You should also know that such frozen pipes are vulnerable to cracking or bursting. If any of this happens, then you could be faced with leakage. Therefore, if you notice that taps or showers in your home are losing water pressure or do not have water at all, this is a sign that they are freezing. Seek the services of a plumber, and have your pipes checked.
What Can You Do?
You can protect your home water supply by insulating all exposed pipes to bring water to your home. By doing so, you are protecting these pipes from frost. Insulation also protects your pipes from cracking, bursting, or leaking, especially when cold water is trapped and frozen inside them.
If you notice that your piping system is already frozen, you can try heating it using a space heater or a hair dryer. Doing so opens up the pipe, allowing normal water flow. After unclogging all pipes, you should then proceed to protect them from frost through insulation.
You can protect pipes inside the house from frost by opening up all areas where they are located in order to allow warm air from your home heater to hit them. It would be best to do this during the night or on the coldest days to ensure that water is still flowing as required. Alternately, you can insulate the entire internal piping system, thereby protecting it from freezing.
Additionally, you can prevent the uneven temperatures in your piping from causing leakages or bursts by allowing the tap to drip. The action helps balance pressure inside the pipes to the outside, protecting the whole system from frost.
3. Busted Water Heating Systems
There is nothing more rewarding than a hot shower during winter. When the temperatures become unbearable, a long soothing soak in your bathtub always lifts your spirits. The thought alone is enough to get you rushing home from work after a long day in the office.
But what happens when you get home and your water heating system is not working? You will feel unmotivated and angry. Busted water heating systems are a common occurrence during winter. Typically, the whole system barely works since the freezing temperatures affect how water moves in the pipes.
What Can You Do?
If your water heating system is not working effectively, you can start by confirming that your thermostat is calibrated accordingly. If someone turned the water supply down, then that could be the source of the problem.
If the thermostat is correctly set but there is little or no water, you can inspect the water and power supply lines to ensure that everything runs smoothly. During winter, supply lines systems often fail due to electrical faults or frozen water pipes. By inspecting both areas, you are likely to find the root cause of the problem and address it accordingly. You should contact an expert to assist you in restoring your heating system, especially if there is a mechanical error.
4. Damaged Outdoor Drainage Systems
Drainage systems keep your home and the surrounding areas dry and free from dirty water. However, during the cold season, the system may be faulty due to temperature changes. Normally, sealed drainage systems freeze or burst, depending on the type of material. But there are some basic things that you can do to help alleviate damage to your outdoor drainage systems during winter. Some of these things include:
- Using metal or concrete drainage systems – Plastic drainages systems are subject to freezing during winter. This could affect the flow of material carried by your drainage system. By using a metal or concrete drainage system, you are placing yourself in a better position to avoid cases of frost or clogging because these materials handle the freezing winter temperatures better.
- Clear clogged pipes – It is important to ensure that you clear any frozen or clogged drainage pipes before the pipe leaks or bursts. This is more important in plastic-based drainage pipes than metal or concrete drainage pipes because frost affects plastic differently. The contraction of plastic in cold temperatures may affect waste drainage, leading to blockages.
- Pour defrosting chemicals or hot water – Drainage systems can be cleared by using hot water or defrosting chemicals to melt the frosting way. By pouring either at the start of the drainage system, your home drainage will unclog in no time, allowing normal waste flow. However, it is important to contact a plumber to help you unclog the drainage system.
As you have seen, winter comes with its problems, especially here in Canton, MA. Therefore, it is vital to stay equipped with information about how to troubleshoot your piping system in the event of clogging, freezing, or other problems that come with the cold season.
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