3 Plumbing Problems in the Winter: Here’s What you Need to Know

Ahhh winter. There’s so much to love about this time of year! It’s a time for family gatherings, celebrations, and staying warm. But your plumbing may not be as fond of this time of year as you are. Colder months also call for more plumbing problems. That’s because your home’s plumbing is working overtime.

So, since it’s January we thought it’d be a good idea to go over 3 common plumbing problems in the winter. We explain the problem, tell you the signs to look-out for, and give you our winter plumbing tips.

Keep in mind that February is usually the coldest month in Texas, so you’re just in time to follow our suggestions. If at any point you’re unsure of what to do, or want clarification on an issue, give our professional Round Rock plumbers a call.

Here we go...

 

1) Frozen Pipes

We’re all aware, it rarely gets cold here in Texas. But that’s exactly why your pipes are more susceptible to freezing.

Most of the time, pipes are located in areas of homes where heat has a hard time reaching. For example, pipes in exterior walls, attics, basements, and under cabinets, don't have as much insulation which means, the cooler temperatures will affect them.

Making sure your pipes, attics, and basements have proper insulation is key to protecting them from external temperatures. This is important because frozen pipes can lead to much more serious and costly problems.

Here’s what happens:  

When water freezes it expands, and the same goes for water inside a pipe. This puts extreme pressure on your plumbing which leads to pipes bursting and a possible outburst of water into your home.

4 Signs Your Pipes are Frozen

1. You see frost on the pipes

2. Little to no water comes out of the faucet

3. Strange smells come from the drain or faucet

4. Water that does come out is not at the right temperature

Winter Plumbing Preventions:

1. Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach uninsulated pipes under your sink. You can also face a space heater toward the pipes. Extra safety precautions should be taken when using space heaters, remember to turn off when you leave the room, and away from flammables

2. Drip warm water overnight. While this might rack up your water bill a little, it’s a lot cheaper than having to repair pipes that burst

3. Insulate pipes in your home's basement or attic, and crawl spaces with foam sleeves or fiberglass pipe covers

4. Seal any leaks you can find with caulk or insulation. Cold air that gets into even the smallest opening is enough to cause a pipe to freeze. Look in areas where there’s electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes

5. If possible, disconnect your garden hoses and use an indoor valve to turn off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets before cold fronts hit

2) Water Heater Failure

When water heaters fail in the winter it’s either because of poor insulation or from an existing leak. Like pipes, water heaters are usually located in areas of homes that get little to no heat. So, it’s just as important to protect your heater as it is your pipes. You’ll also want to be mindful of any leaks. Heaters with leaks cause serious issues because the moisture that escapes is very likely to freeze.

Here’s what happens:

When we said your plumbing works overtime in the winter, we were mostly talking about your water heater. Think of it this way, your heater is already located in a cooler place, so when winter comes your heater is even more strained to replace the lost heat.

It also works extra hard at warming up new water coming into the tank because the water is cold. And speaking of water we tend to use more of it in the winter for long hot showers and baths than we would in the summer or any other season.

 

If you think you’re having issues with your heater but aren’t too sure, check out our list below. Give our professional Round Rock plumbers a call today if our list confirms your suspicions.

6 Signs Your Water Heater is Broken or Failing

1. You only have cold water

2. Water never gets hot, it stays warm

3. Water is discolored, muddy, or rusty

4. Water heater makes a weird rumbling noise

5. A metallic smell or taste comes from your water

6. You see water leaking around your water heater

Winter Plumbing Preventions:

1. Insulate, insulate, insulate! You can insulate your actual water heater with a water heater blanket or insulating the pipes attached to your water heater. This will make it easier for your water heater to provide hot water a lot quicker.

2. Check for leaks in your water heater and call a professional if you need repairs

3. Consider replacing your heater with a tankless water heater.   Contact us for more details!

3) Clogged Drains

Winter is the time where most major holidays happen, which means more family and more mouths to feed. With more cooking going on, there’s a higher chance for oils, grease, and unwelcome food to find their way down your kitchen sink.

 

Here’s what happens:  

Cold weather, stiffens grease and oil more in the pipes, making it more likely that your pipes will clog. While you can pour hot or even boiling water down the drain to melt the ice blockage,   it’s important to contact a professional make sure there aren’t any long-lasting issues.

4 Signs Your Drains Are Clogged:

  1. Water drains slow
  2. You hear gurgling noises
  3. Foul/nasty odors coming from the drain
  4. Food Particles appear in your sink after running the dishwasher.

Winter Plumbing Preventions:

1. Never pour oil or grease down your kitchen sink

2. Be very careful of food like fruit peels, vegetable peels, and fibrous foods going in your garbage disposal.

Call Our Professional Round Rock Plumbers Today

Dealing with common plumbing problems in the winter is the last thing anyone wants to do. But you should NEVER ignore plumbing issues, especially when it’s cold out.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, give us a call today and let us help you before the problem gets bigger than it has to. Our professional round rock plumbers will give you a free consultation and then meet you for a same-day assessment.

We offer a combined 50+ years of knowledge and experience and consider it an honor to serve our surrounding Round Rock communities. JustUs Plumbing promises to deliver dependable, trustworthy, and affordable plumbing services.

We look forward to working with you!

Dwayne Justice,

Owner, JustUs Plumbing and JustUs Pumps

(512) 759-0080

Contact Us today!

We’re easy to talk to for all inquiries, questions, or comments. Don’t hesitate to reach out with the buttons below or call us

Round Rock, TX 78665

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