3 most common winter plumbing problems

Winter temperatures create certain plumbing problems, most of which you don’t see in other times of the year. Taking steps to winterize your home before frigid temperatures hit will help prevent the need for repairs. We’ll walk through the three most common winter plumbing problems, how to prevent them and repair options you can do yourself.

Frozen Pipes

More than half of frozen pipe issues occur between December and February, which means now is the time to prepare.

How To Insulate Pipes:

  • Run heat cables along exposed pipes, especially those in your basement, garage or attic.
  • Cover heat cables with pipe insulation.
  • For areas with extreme winters, electric heat tape is an additional way to prevent frozen pipes. Wrap the tape around the pipes and plug the chord into the wall when temperatures take a drastic dip.

Frozen pipes can block or completely stop your water supply. If not fixed immediately, frozen pipes can burst, damaging your plumbing and potentially flooding areas of your home.

No Hot Water

Winter is not the time for no hot water. Prevent cold showers by checking your water heater and performing needed maintenance. The typical water heater lasts 10-12 years, but performing regular maintenance can extend the life of the unit.

  • Ensure there are no leaks. The tank drain valve is the main area of concern.
  • Check the temperature setting on your unit. It should be between 120 and 140 degrees.
  • Drain the water heater once yearly to remove the buildup that causes the unit to work overtime to heat water.

If you have a gas water heater and the hot water supply stops, check the pilot light to ensure it’s lit. Follow the directions on your unit to reignite the light. If that doesn’t work, a bad thermocouple may be the problem.

Leaky Faucet

Continuous use can lead to wear and tear of the toilet, shower and sink faucets. If your toilet is leaking from the base, you may just need to tighten the bolts or change out the wax rings. Faucet styles vary depending on the age of your home. Use our leaky faucet guide to determine what will work best.

Don’t let these common plumbing problems affect your home this winter. Take preventative steps to avoid these issues and look for warning signs to avoid costly repairs.

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