Around 17.3 inches of snow has been reported around the Village of Wind Point in Racine County over the past few days. This deluge of cold weather does not seem to be letting up soon, so it would not be surprising if the low temperatures have started to affect household plumbing. What are some of the more common plumbing issues that need to be addressed in the midst of cold weather?
Single-digit temperatures can result in frozen pipes. This situation is particularly bad in the South, as plumbing and pipes there are not suitably insulated, with cold weather being rare. A good way to tell if pipes are frozen is by running the water and checking the water flow. So what should a consumer do once they find their pipes are frozen? The answer is surprisingly easy: Remington Brown of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety recommends using a hairdryer to warm up frozen pipes.
Ill-Performing Water Heater
With temperatures low, it is not surprising for homeowners to make water heater installation a priority if they do not have it already. The trouble is that water heaters may not perform as well during winter if the demand is too high – for example, in households with large families. A good solution is by replacing the present water heater with one that has a larger capacity to meet demand. Once the cold weather has passed, it is best to have the inlet and outlet pipes of the water heater insulated to avoid any performance problems in the future.
Outdoor Pipe Damage
Cold temperatures can cause damage to PVC and plastic pipes, so the recent weather may have started causing damage to outdoor pipes. A good way to address this moving forward is by upgrading to metal pipes. At present, if there is any ice building up, it can be addressed by pouring hot water, ice melt, or even liquid de-icer down drains.
As weather patterns are no longer as predictable as they once were, it is prudent that homeowners are more vigilant about the state of their plumbing. While there are quick fixes that exist to address plumbing issues, for now, it is still more cost-effective in the long run to be proactive about protecting plumbing for different seasons. It is best for consumers to further educate themselves on how different weather can affect their pipes and plumbing so they will no longer be caught by surprise.