Common Sewer & Drain Issues During The Winter

Most homeowners know how the winter season can wreak havoc on their plumbing system. This is a primary reason why it is essential to keep up with plumbing maintenance throughout the year because if you neglect doing so or shrug off any minor issues as “no big deal,” you will find that those same issues intensify during the winter months. With that said, let’s take a look at some of these common winter plumbing problems that should be met with immediate action.

Frozen Pipes

Anytime the weather drops to below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, poorly insulated or exposed pipes become vulnerable to freezing, meaning they are now in danger of bursting. If this goes unaddressed, a burst pipe can cause costly water damage to your home, while also creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew. So, when the weather starts to dip, you will want to check any pipes that could be at risk of freezing. Look out for layers of frost on the pipes as it may indicate there is a frozen block of water inside. Another potential sign of a frozen pipe includes faucets producing a weak stream of water or no water at all.

Clogged Drains

We all know better than to wash oil and grease down our drains, however, things happen. Pipes collect all kinds of debris such as hair, soap scum, or sludgy cooking substances and these things build up over time. So, when the cold weather hits, anything stuck in your pipes will solidify or combine with the frozen water leaving you with a fully stopped-up sink or shower. If you encounter any winter clogs, you may want to try pouring boiling water down the drain to thaw the obstruction. 

Water Heater Problems

Your water heater is hard at work throughout the year, but more so during the winter due to the increased demand for hot showers, and heavy loads of laundry and dishes. This increased wear and tear can cause a water heater to break down, especially if you have neglected to have regular maintenance on it for the past year. Lukewarm or chilly water could be a sign of an overworked or failing water heater. Additional signs to look out for are strange sounds coming from the water heater, or signs of leakage around the base of the appliance. If you notice any of these, then you will need to act fast because a busted water heater, like a burst pipe, can be very costly to deal with if left unaddressed.

The winter season can be brutal to your plumbing system and if you have not kept up with regular maintenance, now would be a great time to get started before some of these issues become even more costly down the line. Get in touch with All County Sewer and Drain today at 1 (800) 834-3102 to schedule an appointment with one of their professionals to come and take a look into your system.

Unfreezing The Drains In The Winter

As we are deep into the winter season, it is important to understand that your household drains are susceptible to freezing and thus making it difficult to unclog them while using traditional drain cleaning methods. You might be asking, which drains are at risk of freezing? The answer to this question would be drains that are more exposed to the elements, or ones that are along the outside walls of exposed basement walls. A few examples of these drains would be downspout discharge drains, shallow sewer lines, and shallow drains.

How To Prevent Freezing Drains

Now, it is important to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that the freezing temperatures will not affect your drains. However, the following solutions can help to prevent a drain block:

  1. First, you should cover your pipes with insulation sleeves
  2. Insulate any unfinished basements or other areas where the pipes and drains are exposed to colder temperatures
  3. Turn up the heat in any area where your pipes and drains are exposed
  4. Be sure to carefully pour hot water down any used household drains that are used infrequently
  5. Make sure you remove any debris from the outdoor drains and keep them clear throughout the winter months.

What Happens If Your Drain Becomes Frozen

When it comes to clearing frozen drains and pipes, here are a few DIY approaches you might want to consider. First, if it is an outdoor drain, using hot saltwater or just hot water along with a deicing agent can help to clear a line, however, be prepared for some water to back up towards you until you have cleared the block. For indoor pipes, they may respond by exposing them to the heat from a hair dryer. You will want to be cautious not to expose the pipes to heat for too long as it can cause more damage. Now, while using the DIY approach might work, you might want to contact a drain cleaning professional like All County Sewer & Drain for safety reasons. All County Sewer & Drain uses their drain cleaning cameras to get deep into the drain and see exactly where an issue is. Doing so allows them to know exactly where they need to work and save you time and money.

So, if you happen to notice that your drain is freezing up or it already has become frozen and you are in need of professional assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to All County Sewer & Drain today at (800) 834-3102!

Drain Maintenance Tasks To Prepare For Winter

Winter has arrived, but it is never too late to prepare your home’s plumbing system for the cold winter months that are here. Keep in mind that you will want to get a lot of this work done before you reach the peak of the season. Your drain is one of the highest maintenance parts within your house’s plumbing as it always requires cleaning, draining, and/or fixing. So, with all that said, let’s take a look at a few tasks that will help keep your drain in tip-top shape during the winter season.

Unclog The Drains In The House

One of the first things you will want to do is to go around to every drain in the house and make sure that none of them are clogged. Once you have checked each drain, you should look to remove any hair or dirt currently in there at the moment. The reason for this is because, once the winter really kicks in, they will have a greater chance of becoming clogged as well. Now, you might not get everything, but you should try to remove what you can so that you won’t have to deal with it during the thick of the winter. Also, if you do find any clogged drains, do not wait when it comes to fixing them as the longer you wait, the worse it will be.

Clean Your Drains

Another task to implement is to go around to all the drains and clean them to prevent them from becoming clogged during the winter. You can use baking soda and vinegar to effectively clear your drains. Doing so once a month will significantly reduce the frequency of clogs.

Make Sure The Sinks And Showers Drain Properly

It will always be a smart idea to ensure that all of your showers, sinks, and even toilets are draining properly. Keep in mind that just because a drain is cleaned or unclogged, that does not mean that it drains properly. What some people may not be aware of is that many drainage issues come from the pipes themselves and not the drain. So, if you start to notice that water is building up and not draining properly, even after you’ve cleaned it out, be sure to contact a local professional.

Perform Hot Water Flushing

If you are someone who does not have time to clean your drains with some kind of cleaner, or maybe you already have and want to make sure that they are in working condition, you can simply pour boiling hot water over every drain. This should be repeated weekly.

Use Cold Water

Finally, you should look to use cold water in the kitchen sink as it will keep oils and grease in a solid state allowing the garbage disposal to break it up.

These are a few tasks that you will want to implement to ensure that your drain is in working condition for the winter season. If you have any further questions or would like professional assistance, reach out to All County Sewer & Drain at (800) 834-3102!