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Common Winter Plumbing Problems

Winters can get a bit nippy in Northern Virginia. It might not be Antarctic cold, but it’s cold enough that most of us are going to be bundling up for the holidays. And while the winter months bring a season that’s great for family, get-togethers, and, for some of us, 10-hour-long road trips, the low temperatures and holiday festivities can also bring along a few plumbing issues.

The Most Common Plumbing Problems

These issues can range from annoying to catastrophic, but in most cases a bit of planning, prevention, and knowledge can go a long way in keeping them from cropping up at all.

The Problem: Frozen/Burst Pipes

For many a burst or frozen pipe is the posterboy of winter plumbing problems. Not only is this one stressful, it can be very, very expensive to deal with and repair. Luckily in many to most cases it’s pretty preventable overall.

How to Handle it: The most common cause of a frozen (and soon later burst) pipe is from the pressure that builds in your pipe system naturally. In normal weather the pressure is no big deal and mitigates itself, but come winter the pressure meets cold air and boom, the water freezes. To mitigate the issue it’s best to insulate all exposed indoor and outdoor pipes, and even styrofoam rolls can do the job okay. As an additional measure on nights below freezing (or with freezing winds) run the tap at the highest point in your home at a drip to reduce pressure in the system. Whether that’s the second floor sink or the first floor bath on your single, it’s up to your structure.

The Problem: Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are a hazard all year long, but there’s one thing (or set of things) that makes it more common come the winter months: the Holidays. Cooking and a large number of house guests means the plumbing often gets very used, and occasionally abused.

How to avoid it: The issue most commonly happens because of grease and fatty foods being disposed of in drains and disposals. To keep this from happening you should follow a 2-step process. One, before the season starts to really swing you should schedule drain line cleaning to clear away any mess that may be lingering for the rest of the year. And two, have a plan to rid yourself of grease. Instead of placing it in drains consider putting it in an old coffee tin or in a plastic gallon container to be taken out with the trash.

The Problem: Hot Water Heater Failure

The colder weather often means your hot water heater is going to be working a fair bit harder in order to keep up with your demand of heated water. This tends to cause not exactly overuse, but it can trigger a sudden or premature breakdown of your system.

How to avoid it: Hot water heater maintenance is important all year long, but it’s particularly important during the late fall and all throughout winter. Especially if your unit is five years old or older, or is a traditional tank hot water heater, be sure to schedule maintenance and tank flushing before the cold weather hits.

Plumbing Repair & Emergency Plumbing Service in Northern Virginia

Have you fallen prey to one of the most common plumbing problems in your Fairfax home? If so don’t stress! Our emergency plumbing experts in Virginia can help you get the fast service and sure solutions you need. Just call (703) 493-1200 to reach a service expert near you!

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