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Preventing Winter Flooding from Plumbing Problems

Preventing Winter Flooding from Plumbing Problems


The temperature in Canada is fickle, and freezing temperatures can hit before you’ve even had a chance to enjoy fall. Unfortunately, freezing temperatures that sneak up on you can cause serious issues with your plumbing system. Cold temperatures can freeze water pipes, adding to the pressure inside them and causing them to burst and flood your home. If you plan to be away during the fall or winter, there won’t be anyone around to turn off your water if you do experience a burst pipe. The best way to prevent the cold temperatures from bursting your pipes is to keep them warm enough so that they don’t freeze. Here are some common winter plumbing issues to avoid and how a few simple precautions can make all the difference.

Winter Plumbing Problems

Frozen Pipes

Any part of your plumbing system can freeze when the temperature gets cold if they are unprotected. As soon as the weather starts to hit freezing temperatures, you should get your plumbing system checked to make sure that all your pipes are protected. An at-home step you can take to keep your system flowing and prevent freezing is to allow water to slowly drip continuously from your pipes so that there is always movement within the system. If, however, you notice that your plumbing system is already frozen, you should ensure that the water flow is turned off and call a professional. If you try to use these pipes, they can burst and damage your home or foundation.

Water Heater Not Working

There are very few things as relaxing as enjoying a hot bath or shower, so if you notice that your water heater is failing during the winter you may be desperate for a solution. Most water heating systems last for about 10 years, but when they need replacing, you should be prepared. The water in the tank needs to be kept at a certain temperature and it will work a lot harder during the cold winter months. If you have an older system, now may be the time to replace it. It is a good idea to have your system inspected and replaced before the temperature begins to freeze.

Clogged Drains

Colder months put a greater strain on your home’s drain system, especially when hosting extending family or guests. With more people in your home, not only does it mean more cooking (which requires more water), but it also means you’ll need to use more hydro and hot water for everyone to wash and shower. If you have a clogged drain—whether it’s in the bathroom or kitchen—it’s a recipe for disaster! It’s a good idea to have your drains cleaned out before the winter season to avoid this terrible issue.

Leakage of Water Lines

A water line leak is never good, but in the winter, this can spell disaster. If you have older pipes in your home, they are more likely to split or develop holes. The biggest contributor during the winter that leads to a water line leak is a frozen line that splits the pipe. Take some steps to ensure that your water line is in good shape before the icy winter months so that you can protect yourself from this situation. If you notice that your waterline is already leaking, contact the professionals to fix the problem before it worsens.

Septic Tank Burst

Another plumbing issue to look out for when winter comes is a burst septic tank. When the weather reaches below freezing, the line from your home to the septic tank can freeze, or the tank can burst. This is a serious issue that will require immediate resolution. To prevent this from happening, make sure your septic tank is cleaned out and unclogged before the winter begins.

How to Avoid Flooding from Winter Plumbing Problems

Insulate the Pipes

One of the first steps you can take to winterize your home is to purchase a thick layer of insulation to wrap around your pipes. Insulating your pipes with tubes made of fibreglass or polyethylene provide extra protection to prevent burst pipes. You can also wrap them in heat tape before adding the insulation for extra protection.

Let the Faucets Drip

If you expect the temperature to get extremely cold, a surprising tip is to allow your faucets to continuously drip a bit of water. Keeping this flow open eliminates some of the pressure that would normally build up in your home’s pipes. Allowing a little water to drip may sound irritating, but it means that your pipes are less likely to burst even if they do freeze.

Keep the Heat On

Even if you plan to go away and escape the winter, you should still keep the heat on in your home. This is especially the case if the weather is expected to hit the freezing temperatures. Keeping the heat on can prevent pipes from freezing and is far less expensive than dealing with a burst pipe and water damage. You don’t have to keep the heat on high either, just keep it set above 10 degrees Celsius to keep the pipes warm and prevent any water inside from freezing.

Fix Leaks

If you notice any leaks you should have them repaired as soon as possible. Inspect all the areas where there are water pipes. Check the cabinets below any sinks in your home and tighten the pipes or get a professional to repair them so that they stop leaking. You should also keep these cabinets open overnight or when the weather gets too cold, so that more heat from your home can get to the pipes. This extra step can prevent them from freezing during the winter.

Contact Flood Services Canada for Flooding from Winter Plumbing Problems

If these handy tips have given you some peace of mind and practical ways to prevent your pipes from bursting, there’s a lot more where that came from. At Flood Services Canada, our professionals can confidently help you prepare your pipes and home to prevent flooding from winter plumbing problems. In addition, we provide emergency response solutions and water damage restoration in the Greater Toronto Area if there are any leaks, mould, or water damage in your home. We will take care of the problem, so that you can safely enjoy the holidays with your loved ones without worrying about a flood in your home. Contact us 24/7 at (416) 999-3930 for our rapid-response team.

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Chad Vanvari

Chad Vanvari has over 20 years of experience as a cleaning & restoration professional. He started out in Montreal, establishing a commercial carpet cleaning company in the early 1990’s. By 2001, Chad had relocated to Toronto and now had extensive knowledge and experience in responding to fire/water related emergencies. He has been instrumental in the cleanup of several catastrophic floods. Currently, Chad is the president and owner of Flood Services Canada, a 24/7 emergency service restoration company.