Winter Plumbing Precautions
Meteorologists have declared a La Niña pattern has developed this winter, which is affecting weather conditions across the continent. While December was fairly mild, forecasters have warned that Seattle could be in for some colder weather in the coming months. Keep reading for tips on how to prevent three common plumbing issues you might face if things get chilly!
When temperatures drop, exposed pipes, such as in crawl spaces or basements, can lead to trouble. A common issue is that water partially freezes in the pipe, restricting flow. In severe cases the pipe can become frozen solid. This can result in cracks as water pressure builds, and if the pipe breaks, water will start flooding your space. An easy way to prevent this is to insulate exposed pipes with a foam pipe cover. If Seattle should experience an arctic blast, let cold water drip from the faucets of any expose pipes — including kitchen and bathroom sinks. The water circulation will help maintain water pressure and prevent freezing.
Cold weather often results in more kitchen activity as people cook their favorite hearty dishes in order toward off the chill. This also means there’s more opportunity for grease and food scrapes to be washed down your kitchen drain and form a clog. Prevention is a fairly straightforward — simply make sure you compost food scraps and properly dispose of grease in the garbage. If your drain does clog, avoid reaching for liquid drain cleaner. Instead, check out our article covering tried and true methods for getting things unclogged.
Septic Tank Troubles
If your home uses a septic tank system, you’ll need to keep an eye out for prolonged periods of below freezing temperatures, especially with no snow. Under these conditions the ground can start freezing. While it’s unlikely that the tank itself will be threatened (at least in the Seattle area) depending on how deep the frost extends, parts of your septic system could still be at risk of freezing. In particular, check the point where the septic line leaves the house and make sure to cover it with a layer of insulation, such as hay, leaves, or mulch. Regular household activity will generally provide enough warm water circulation to prevent the line from freezing, but watch out if you go away for a long weekend or vacation.
If you experience any plumbing problems this winter, give the experts at Best Plumbing a call. We are available for emergency plumbing services 24/7 throughout the greater Seattle and Bellevue areas! You can also schedule an appointment for routine plumbing maintenance. Contact us today and learn why we’ve been trusted local plumbers for 50 years!
Photo Credit: 61015, available under Creative Commons CCO.