Winter leak issues can happen at any time in the cold season. Freezing pipes can cause flooding, leading to water damage and potential mold contamination. Added traffic during the holiday season can also put stress on your pipes. Whether your faucet is leaky, or a pipe appears to be clogged, further damage can occur if the situation isn’t addressed as soon as possible. Repairs can be costly and time-consuming, forcing extra strain upon you during a time that can be stressful enough as it is!
To keep your holiday season flowing smoothly, you should do what you can to help prevent leaks from happening. Accidents can happen spontaneously, but there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of that happening. Here are a few ways to avoid leak issues in your home this winter:
Protect your Pipes
You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting the pipes in your home. When the temperature drops, pipes have the potential to freeze. When this happens, the likelihood of a burst occurring increases drastically. A burst pipe could cause flooding both indoors and out, so protection is important.
The first step to protecting your home’s pipes is proper pipe insulation. If your pipes are uninsulated, you can wrap them with foam and duct tape.
You also may want to prioritize certain uninsulated areas of your home, such as your attic or basement. It’s crucial to ensure the pipes there are well-protected against freezing temperatures. Learn more about preventing frozen pipes.
Disconnect Outdoor Appliances
Since you aren’t using your hose or sprinkler this winter, disconnect them until spring. Water left inside a pipe from these tools can freeze and expand. When a pipe expands, it can lead to a burst—one of the worst winter plumbing issues. After disconnecting your hoses, be sure to shut off the valves to these appliances as well.
Fix Noticeable Leaks ASAP
Even the smallest plumbing leaks can turn into a gush down the road. Before guests visit your home during the winter months, you’ll want to fix these leaks to prevent a catastrophic plumbing disaster.
If you have a leaky faucet or you notice any drips or puddles, it’s best to fix them before they get worse. You want things to be working in top shape for winter. Remember to check for leaks beneath your kitchen sink and in the bathroom.
Drain Your Water Heater
Hard water that’s left to sit in a tank can cause buildup and rust. This could lead to a leak or potentially contaminate your water supply. Draining your water heater can help you avoid winter plumbing issues, including costly water damage. However, if you notice rust in your hot water or the water heater isn’t working like it once used to, consider a water heater repair or replacement.
Check your Sump Pump
Cold weather can freeze your pump. Before winter, you should inspect and clean your pump and its pit.
Know the Signs of Winter Leak Issues
Your home may be giving you warning signals if you have leaks in your drain or sewer system. It’s important that you recognize the signs, and do what you can to fix the situation before it escalates. Here’s a list of things that could signal winter leak issues in your home:
- Spikes in Your Utility Bill
This is typically the first sign of a problem with your plumbing. If there is a leak, it will reflect on your water bill. Unless your home has noticeably using more water, like when you have visitors staying for a while or you are using water for an extensive gardening project, there’s no reason your bill should spike. If your water consumption has remained consistent, the degree of the spike can indicate the severity of the leak.
- Low Water Pressure
If your water pressure has been noticeably lower lately, you may have a leak. If you can’t find another source that could be causing the problem, a professional should assess your pipes. Experienced plumbers are familiar with winter plumbing issues and can help fix them in a timely manner.
- Water Damage
Walls, floors, flooding; any sign of water damage is an indication of a leak in your system. Areas that stay moist for an extended amount of time are also at risk for mold or mildew problems. Not only can this damage be expensive to repair, but it could also be a potential health risk. If you see wet material, mold, or smell mildew anywhere in your house, it should be taken care of before it escalates.
- Structural Damage
Water damage, when left untreated, often causes structural damage. Critters and pests are often drawn to water that has accumulated, causing even further damage. Termites tend to nest in these areas and can quickly reproduce. If you see any, you should contact a local professional.
If your pipes are making loud banging or flushing sounds, your pipe may be leaky or even collapsed. Remember to stay mindful of strange sounds, as they could indicate significant winter plumbing issues.
The most obvious sign of a leak is flooding in or around your home. Whether it’s in your basement or in your yard, excess water is a telltale sign of a leak in your pipe.
Additional Winter Plumbing Tips
There are more winter plumbing issues beyond leaks. Keep these tips in mind to further protect your plumbing system:
- Watch What You Put Down Drains: Food items such as grease, celery, bones, eggshells, and coffee grounds can cause clogged drains. Dispose of these items properly in a trash can.
- Unclog Drains With DIY Homemade Cleaners: If you already have a clogged drain, there are DIY cleaning methods to try. Consider a combination of hot water and dish-washing detergent or a mixture of vinegar and baking soda.
Protect Your Garbage Disposal: Run cold water when using garbage disposals and never overwhelm the system with items like bones, grease, or potato skins.
Call Your Local Plumbing Experts
Now you are familiar with signs of a leak in your home and how you can work to prevent them from happening. However, if you encounter an unexpected winter leak, it’s crucial to call a professional plumber as soon as possible.
At Radiant Plumbing, our highly-experienced Austin plumbers are familiar with a wide range of plumbing system problems, including pesky winter leaks. We’re here to tackle common winter plumbing problems with our reliable services whenever you need us.
Call Radiant Plumbing today or fill out our contact form for more information on winter leak issues!