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End of Winter Plumbing Problems

& How to Prevent Them

outdoor debris

We may still be on the heels of two nasty winter storms, but believe it or not, spring is right around the corner, and with it tends to come plumbing challenges that can range from annoying to alarming.

As winter melts away and spring begins to...well, spring up, it’s easy to get excited about the rising temperatures, but it’s important not to forget about the issues that can result from rapidly-melting snow.

End-of-winter plumbing problems are often the cause of major headaches and costly damage, from clogged drains to broken sump pumps and everything in between, but they can be mitigated or avoided altogether by following our advice below.

Clogged Drains

This past year has been an anomaly, with folks forced to stay indoors all year as we protect each other and ourselves from...well, you know. Typically, however, we find ourselves huddling inside mostly when the weather is inhospitable to outdoor activities, creating much more work for our plumbing systems.

The holidays also encourage extra usage as we gather together for dinners, gift exchanges and special family time. With debris washing into the storm drains during the freeze-thaw cycle, the drain systems can become overworked and thus, problem-causing clogs are born.

Drain clogs can wreak havoc on your entire home. With capabilities that include sewage backups in your sinks and showers - a major health hazard, a clogged drain can put a major...uh, damper on your winter-spring transition plans.

So, what’s a homeowner to do? Aside from moving to a milder climate, you can avoid end-of-season drain problems by making sure that a professional plumber inspects and cleans your drains before winter begins. Take matters into your own hands by giving your gutters a preseason cleaning and clearing leaves, twigs and other debris from your yard to ensure they don’t end up in the storm drain.

clooged sink

Water Heater Fails

There’s nothing quite like an icy-cold shower on a frigid winter night. No, really. There’s literally nothing like it. It’s disappointing, unsatisfying and can be downright painful. Now, a nice warm shower to thaw your fingers and toes after shoveling the surprise encore snowstorm is exactly what you need but unfortunately, this is the time of year most common for water heater failures.

You’ve been taxing your water heater all season between the hot baths and steamy showers enjoyed by every family member, and now, just when winter’s almost finished, it fails. Is this simply an inevitability? It can be, if you neglect to take the proper steps to ensure your water heater gets through the winter despite all of its hard work.

To prevent your water heater from breaking down over the winter, be sure to have it professionally inspected prior to the commencement of the winter season. A plumber can identify and replace faulty parts, drain sediment and crystallized minerals from the bottom of the tank and apply proper insulation to prepare it for a season of hard work.

broken water heater

Damaged Sump Pumps

If you have a basement and experience winter, it’s likely you have a sump pump on standby, ready to prevent a flood by pumping excess water out of the home. These pumps aren’t infallible, however, and problems can arise when you experience a lot of wet weather such as snow, ice and rain.

While the snow by itself is not necessarily a problem, end-of-season thaws can oversaturate the ground and the extra water can find its way into neighborhood basements.

But wait; you have a sump pump, so no problem, right? Here’s where your thinking-ahead skills - or lack thereof - creates your scenario. If it’s been a while since your sump pump has been used, or at least tested, you’d have no real idea if it’s even working properly. If it’s not, and water enters your basement, well, you’re in for a bad time.

Preplanning will absolutely pay off in the event of a rapid thaw or even a heavy rain. Before the first major snow and periodically throughout the season, test your sump pump to make sure it’s in proper working order. To perform a simple but very important test, pour some water into the crock and wait to see if the pump activates. If it does not, call your plumber as soon as possible to make sure it can be fixed before the next bout of harsh weather.

sump pump

Spring Has Sprung

The winter season can be harsh on your home’s plumbing system, but being diligent about preseason inspections can prevent giant headaches and save you potentially thousands of dollars for repairs and remediation. You can use the savings to buy new warm-weather wardrobes for the whole family!

Need emergency plumbing service? Call Hamm & Sons at 317-202-9853

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