Ask Pete: What are the most common plumbing issues during seasonal changes and how can I prepare for them?

Seasonal changes can bring about a variety of plumbing issues in your home. As a homeowner, it’s essential to be aware of these common problems and take proactive steps to prepare for them. In this blog, we will discuss the most frequent plumbing issues that arise during seasonal transitions and provide tips on how to prevent and address them.

Seasonal Plumbing Issues and How to Prepare

1. Frozen and Burst Pipes

During the winter months — even in Arizona — freezing temperatures can cause water inside your pipes to freeze and expand, leading to burst pipes and potential water damage. To prevent this issue:

  • Insulate exposed pipes: Use foam pipe insulation or heat tape to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures.
  • Maintain a consistent indoor temperature: Keep your home heated to at least 55°F (13°C) during the winter months, even when you’re away.
  • Allow faucets to drip: Letting a small trickle of water flow through your faucets can help prevent pipes from freezing.

2. Water Heater Issues

As the temperature drops, your water heater has to work harder to provide hot water, which can lead to increased energy consumption and potential breakdowns. To prepare for this:

  • Insulate your water heater: Adding insulation to your water heater can help it maintain a consistent temperature, reducing energy costs and extending its lifespan.
  • Schedule regular maintenance: Have a professional plumber inspect and service your water heater at least once a year to ensure it’s running efficiently.
  • Adjust the thermostat: Lower your water heater’s temperature to 120°F (49°C) to save energy and prevent scalding.

3. Clogged Drains and Gutters

The fall season often brings an abundance of leaves and debris, which can clog your gutters and downspouts, leading to water damage and potential foundation issues. Additionally, heavy rainfall can cause debris to clog your drains. To tackle these problems:

  • Clean your gutters and downspouts: Regularly remove leaves and debris from your gutters and downspouts to ensure proper water drainage.
  • Install gutter guards: Adding gutter guards can help prevent leaves and debris from entering your gutters in the first place.
  • Use a drain strainer: Placing a strainer in your drains can prevent hair, soap scum, and other debris from causing blockages.

4. Sewer Line Backups

During the spring thaw, melting snow and increased rainfall can put extra pressure on your sewer system, leading to potential backups and flooding. To prevent this issue:

  • Install a backwater valve: A backwater valve can help prevent sewer backups by allowing water to flow out of your home while preventing it from flowing back in.
  • Schedule a sewer line inspection: Have a professional plumber inspect your sewer lines for any cracks, blockages, or other issues that could lead to backups.
  • Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items: Dispose of items such as grease, paper towels, and sanitary products in the trash rather than flushing them down the toilet.

Preparing Your Plumbing for Seasonal Changes: Key Takeaways

By being aware of the most common plumbing issues that arise during seasonal transitions, you can take proactive measures to prepare for and prevent them. Key steps to follow include:

  • Insulating pipes and water heaters
  • Scheduling regular plumbing maintenance and inspections
  • Cleaning gutters and drains
  • Installing backwater valves and gutter guards

By taking these precautions, you can safeguard your home’s plumbing system and avoid costly repairs during seasonal changes. If you encounter any plumbing issues or require professional assistance, don’t hesitate to contact our team for expert advice and service. Call 480-388-6093.