The colder months of the year bring holidays, gatherings, and festive events. During this time of the year, you’ll likely spend more time indoors staying warm and entertaining company. The colder weather and having company over for the holidays can increase strain on your home’s holiday plumbing, resulting in various problems that may need addressing. Careful planning and attention can help with preventing holiday plumbing problems but some problems will require professional assistance.
By knowing what to look out for (and how to avoid it if possible) you’ll know when to call a professional before things get too out of hand.
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Five Common Holiday Plumbing Issues
1. Clogged Kitchen Sink Drains
One of the best parts of the holiday season is the food and the guests. But this increased activity can lead to clogging. Often, kitchen drain clogs are caused due to misuse of your garbage disposal. Not everything should be sent down to your disposal, and you should avoid putting items such as bones, grease, and heavier solids down the drain.
If your sink does become clogged, and you cannot fix it a professional can help by removing any blockages and performing any needed maintenance on your disposal.
2. A Lack of Hot Water
Issues with your water heater during the winter can occur due to increased use. The root causes can vary depending on the condition and age of your water heater. The average water heater will typically last between 8 and 12 years with some exceeding this timeframe and some water heaters falling below it. If you have an older failing water heater, often the best solution is replacing it before it fails.
However, not all water heater issues require it to be replaced. In some situations, the issue could be a leaking pipe or build-up within the water heater itself (which can reduce storage capacity). Repairs or having your water heater tank flushed to remove mineral deposits can fix these problems.
3. Shower Clogs
Your shower often sees increased use during the holiday season due to friends and family visiting. Shower clogs are very inconvenient and can make your shower unusable. In cases of extreme clogs, having your shower drain professionally snaked can remove any obstructions. In addition, once your shower drain is cleared, adding a drain screen can prevent common shower debris such as hair from causing clogging in the future.
4. A Running Toilet
With increased visitors comes increased bathroom use. A running toilet is commonly caused by issues with the flapper preventing a full seal. This can lead to increased clogs, blockages, and water usage, causing a much higher utility bill. If your toilet is having issues with its flapper, the best solution is to call a professional. Once a new flapper is installed, your toilet will be back to a predictable working order.
5. Frozen Pipes
During the colder parts of the year frozen pipes are a common concern. Frozen pipes can be quite damaging to your home. However, careful prevention can keep your pipes safe. To prevent pipe freezing, keep your home temperature warm, open cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom to increase circulation, let the water drip during nights where it is below freezing, and do not turn off your thermostat if you go on vacation. Also, you can hire a professional to improve insulation in your home to help prevent heat loss.
The holidays are a joyous and festive time of the year. Often, it allows families who rarely see each other an opportunity to reconnect and have a memorable time. You don’t want your holiday gatherings to be interrupted by plumbing issues. By being aware of common problems, you’ll know what to do, what to avoid, and when to call a professional.