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Your Guide to Common Winter Plumbing Problems & Tips

With Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, and other holidays, winter is starting to get in full swing, and the large parties and vast amounts of cooking that homeowners are looking forward to are sure to come. With all the guests using your faucets, toilets, hot water, and practically every part of your plumbing system, along with the high volume of holiday food being churned out of the kitchen, this could turn into blockages/clogged drains/plumbing issues that shut down the festivities and leave homeowners looking for A-1’s phone number.

While you can find the plumbing emergency services help you need at any time with our team of expert plumbing technicians, the best thing would be to avoid these plumbing situations in the first place with some winter months plumbing tips. So here are some winter weather tips on how to enjoy the holidays and the cold winter season without the stress of plumbing issues and cold weather disasters.

Tips For the Kitchen

First of all, it may be more important than ever for homeowners to watch what goes down their kitchen drains and into their plumbing system. For example, you never want liquid fats or cooking oils to go down; they will thicken and cause buildup inside of your pipes. Before rinsing out a pan, you should wipe out any grease or oils inside to keep it out of your plumbing system and septic tank (if your home is equipped with a septic system)

When it comes to garbage disposal, you never want to dump things like carrots, celery, banana peels, pumpkin pulp, or poultry skins. Anything fibrous or stringy cannot be ground down. Before you do send anything down the disposal, you want to turn the cold water on for 15 seconds, and you want to keep the water on until 15 seconds after you are done with the disposal. You also want the disposal turned on before you drop food in.

As for the dishwasher and the washing machine, it is best to run these at night or at other times when the appliances’ use of hot water would not interfere with water pressure and hot water in other areas of the house. This is especially true if you have guests staying over.

Bathroom Plumbing Tips

When you have guests at the house, showers will have to be spaced out from one another by at least 10 minutes. This will give the water a chance to drain fully. You may also want to crank up the water heater so that the water doesn’t turn cold on anyone; just make sure that the temperature does not go above 125° Fahrenheit.

If the shower’s water pressure decreases, you can take a plastic bag and fill it with vinegar. This bag can go over the shower head, secured by a twist tie, and the shower head can soak overnight. You can gently scrub the shower head with a toothbrush in the morning, hopefully getting rid of the minerals clogging up the shower head.

Keep Your Pipes From Freezing

Frozen pipes are among the most common plumbing service calls we get after the first extreme winter cold snap happens. Ensuring warm air can get to the most vulnerable pipes can greatly decrease the chance of frozen pipes.

Once the water inside of the water lines gets cold enough that water flow stops and the lines freeze, the expansion will cause the pipe to crack. As the water expands, it can increase the water pressure drastically, creating enough pressure to make other pipes fail. 

The pipes you need to keep an eye on, in particular, would be in the attic, garage, crawl spaces, and exterior walls, places where the pipes are exposed to freezing temperatures. Of course, any exposed pipes, such as outdoor spigots, should have the correct pipe insulation installed once freezing temperatures are a possibility.

This is why, if you can, you should install pipes in insulated or heated areas, or underground under the frost line. Right now, you can wrap your pipes with insulation or put sleeves over them. You also want to keep faucets on at a drip when things get really cold, which can be enough to keep from a burst pipe.

If the pipe cracks or bursts, you need to take quick steps to locate the shutoff valve and turn off the water supply to patch up any leaks before you call a plumber to solve the problem and avoid further water damage. If you come across a frozen pipe, you will want to call a plumbing expert as soon as possible before the problem gets worse.

Knowing where your water valve/shutoff valve is located is key to addressing the plumbing emergency as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Call A-1 Sewer & Septic For All Of Your Winter Plumbing Services

You can find the quick and excellent emergency plumbing services and drain cleaning you need at A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc. Schedule service with an experienced Kansas City plumber today!