Avoid Common Winter Plumbing Repair Calls Near Sicklerville, NJ
In this article, we’re helping you look ahead and save yourself some time and money this winter.
By the time the holidays in the late fall and early winter are over, the last thing you want to spend money on is plumbing repairs.
Dealing with broken pipes, clogged drains, leaks, and not enough hot water is a headache. And, it’s especially uncomfortable when it’s cold out.
Plus, it’s the time of year when people are trying to save money after spending on meals, trips, gifts, and other end-of-the-year expenses.
So, we’re pointing out the four most common plumbing calls we get this season — and what steps you can take from having to pick up the phone yourself.
Four Common Winter Plumbing Repair Calls in South Jersey
Here at Bovio, the four most common plumbing repair calls we get in the cold weather are:
- Frozen or Burst Pipes
- Kitchen Drain Clogs
- Leaks in the Water Line
- Water Heater Problems
Here’s what the are, and how to prevent them.
Frozen or Burst Pipes
We’ve gone over these much more in-depth here and here. But, frozen and burst pipes are absolutely worth mentioning again in this article.
First off, it’s one of the most frequent calls we get in the winter. Second, they can cause thousands of dollars in damage — but are also very easy to avoid.
The problem itself is pretty simple: Once the temperature gets low enough, the water in the pipes leading into your house freeze.
Usually, the heat in your home radiates far enough out that the water never gets as cold as the outside temperature. But, even that has its limits.
Then, once you have an ice block, more water — and pressure — builds up behind the obstruction. Eventually, it causes the pipe to split and burst.
Then, you have gallons and gallons of water pouring into your home every minute.
How to Avoid Frozen Pipes
Preparation is key to avoiding frozen pipes. If you know the temperature is dropping down to the teens or lower, leave your faucets open just enough for a small, steady stream.
This small yet constant flow prevents water from sitting still and freezing over in the pipes.
You can also invest in insulation or heating tape if you’ve noticed this problem in the past.
Finally, turn off the water entirely if the pipes do freeze over. And, use a hair dryer or space heater to warm the pipes. Just don’t use an open flame, ever.
Kitchen Drain Clogs
Another common plumbing repair call in the winter is drain clogs, specifically in the kitchen. It happens for two reasons: First, people tend to do a lot more cooking around the holidays.
Second, stuff that shouldn’t go down the drain causes more of a problem in the cold weather.
Specifically, we’re talking about grease and fats. Most people by now do a good job of keeping it from going down the drain. But, the more you cook, the more will end up down there.
The problem is that these substances congeal. Then, they won’t flow through the plumbing system as they should. Instead, they’ll start building up.
And, the cold weather makes it worse.
Add to that the fact that those globs will then start to freeze further down the line. That makes it even tougher for water building up behind them to push them out of the way eventually.
We start getting these calls in January, once the buildup from all that cooking has really settled in.
Avoid Winter Kitchen Clogs
The best way to avoid these clogs from your kitchen drain is to be as careful as you can when you’re preparing meals and cleaning up after them.
Drain grease from pans, skillets, and the like into a separate container and then throw them out.
The same goes for fats. Scrape as much of the food scraps as you can into the trash. Even with a garbage disposal, that’s better than down the drain.
Finally, give your pipes a little TLC: run hot water for a little while after cleaning those dishes. And, pour a cup of vinegar down the drain every so often. That will help break up those blockages.
Leaks in the Water Line
You may not notice a leak in your water line right way. But, even if it takes some time to become noticeable, there’s a good chance it occurred during the winter.
The water line is what comes off the main line in your town to provide water to your home. As such, it’s usually in front of your house.
Over time, however, the pipe can wear out. Small holes form and water leaks out from them. Once that process starts, they just get worse as more water causes rust and breakdowns that make the holes bigger.
The situation tends to get worse in the winter. That’s when the cold weather, or sudden changes in temperature, and more strain on the pipe. That causes them to wear out and break down faster and more easily.
Eventually, you’ll notice water building up outside, or possibly low pressure coming through your faucets and showerheads.
Preventing Water Line Leaks
PReventing water line leaks isn’t always easy. Since the line is often underground, it’s virtually inaccessible without doing a lot of digging — which we don’t advise.
Fortunately, however, you can take some basic steps to avoid a problem or detect it quickly.
First, keep your house warm all winter. Even when you’re not there, don’t let the temperature drop far below 50 degrees.
The heat from your home will radiate out to the pipes. This process helps keep a consistent, warm temperature even underground.
And, keep an eye on your water bill and water pressure. IF you notice a spike in usage, it could be a leak somewhere.
Granted, most times, the water line leak is before the main in your house. So, you may be losing water before it gets accounted for.
But changes in your usage or pressure are warning signs all the same.
Water Heater Problems
Some people consider this more of an HVAC problem than a plumbing call. Technically, it’s plumbing. But, Bovio handles both, so no matter how you look at it, you’re in the right place.
At any rate, we notice an uptick in water heater problems during the winter. The problem mostly stems from the system having to work harder in the cold weather.
After all, it’s making sure you have hot water. And, in the winter, it’s fighting an uphill battle.
Remember, heat is attracted to the cold. So, when you’ve got a warm source like the water heater, that thermal energy will move away from the appliance toward drafts, cold spots, and the like.
Next. there’s the added stress of the heating system working extra hard when it’s cold out. If your unit is older or in bad shape, these conditions can put it over the edge.
Avoiding Water Heater Problems in the Winter
Avoiding these problems start well before the cold weather hits.
First, if you’ve noticed this problem before, invest in some insulation. Keep the room warm. And, consider insulation or a special blanket for the water heater.
That will keep the thermal energy from escaping.
Next, make sure your appliances are in great shape. The best way to do this is with a tune-up before the heavy cold season kicks in.
If you’ve noticed any of these problems in your South Jersey home, or if you want to get ahead of them, call Bovio today. We’ve served Sicklerville, Washington Township, Medford, and many other New Jersey towns for decades.
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