Plumbing emergencies are almost impossible to predict. Even if the plumbing system in your home is properly maintained and even with the milder winters that we experience in the Temecula and Murrieta area, there’s always a possibility that part of the system will malfunction or leak, which would require emergency plumbing services.
During the colder winter months, plumbing issues become more frequent since most plumbing systems aren’t able to withstand freezing temperatures on a long-term basis. Also, any damage that’s caused by average wear and tear is exacerbated by freezing temperatures. Temperatures that are very cold at night and warm during the day, like they are during winter in Southern California, can also put undue pressure on your pipes. Here are some plumbing emergencies that we often see during the winter and ways that you may be able to avoid them.
Burst Pipes and Frozen Water
The most common issue usually involves bursting pipes. This issue occurs when pipes become so cold that any water within them freezes. The frozen water will expand, which damages the pipes and leads to them bursting open. Other reasons for bursting pipes during the winter include an incorrect pressure rating, improper flow routing, or damage caused by a bad plumbing design.
The easiest way to prevent pipes from bursting during freezing temperatures is to properly insulate all exposed pipes. In the event that a pipe requires extra insulation, it’s possible to use some insulation foam or get in touch with our plumbing experts at We Care Plumbing, Heating, and Air.
Water freezing inside the pipes is a problem even if the pipes don’t burst. The freeze and thaw cycle that can occur may result in connections between pipes loosening and eventually breaking altogether. It’s common for outdoor pipes and faucets to freeze. Kitchen and bathroom plumbing may also freeze.
The easiest method for keeping frozen pipes at bay is to allow water to drip from the faucets inside and outside of your home. Running water helps prevent frozen pipes. If you find that your pipes are currently frozen, it’s possible to thaw them by turning on the hot water in your home. You can also open cabinets near your sinks to expose the pipes to warmer air.
Locating the main water valve in your home is also highly recommended. If a water-based emergency takes place, turning the valve off should reduce the potential damage. If you suspect that your pipes have frozen or if you notice a leak, contact us immediately. Problems in one pipe can cause damage to the entire plumbing system.
Lack of Hot Water
Another issue that you might need to contend with is a lack of hot water in your home. It’s possible to avoid this issue by having an emergency water heater installed. These systems are designed to heat water in a backup tank that’s always kept warm.
If you have a tankless water heater installed in your home, it may be a good idea to replace it with a more traditional type of tank-based water heater. Scale buildup is a serious problem in tankless water heaters, and this may eventually lead to your home having less hot water than you need available. You should also think about placing an inline heater on your property, which is a type of external water heater that is designed to be an alternative solution to traditional tanks.
There are two primary issues that water heaters can encounter during the winter months. For one, a heating element within the system could malfunction, which means that you would have no hot water in your home. This happens suddenly, and it’s definitely a plumbing emergency. Taking cold showers in the winter is unpleasant, and washing your hands in cold water doesn’t kill germs as effectively as washing them in hot water does.
Our professionals at We Care Plumbing, Heating, and Air can replace a malfunctioning heating element. It’s highly recommended that you don’t perform this task yourself because of the difficulty of the task as well as the potential risks to your health and the condition of the system.
The second common issue that you could see in your water heater is sediment buildup that has occurred along the lowermost portion of the tank, which leads to reduced water heater efficiency. If scale buildup is a problem, you will notice that your water doesn’t get as hot as it used to and that the hot water runs out quicker than it once did. It’s a good idea to get your water heater checked out as soon as you notice an issue.
In areas with hard water, sediment buildup may occur more frequently. This issue can be resolved by having your water heater tank flushed out every three to six months.
Another plumbing problem that could affect your home during the winter involves clogged sinks. The first thing you can do to keep a clogged sink at bay is to have a plunger on standby. It’s possible that the plunger could be used to remove the clog before you need to call an expert. At We Care Plumbing, Heating, and Air, we have the experience needed to unclog any sink without damaging the drain, which can happen when homeowners try to address clogs themselves by using caustic chemicals or sticking a straightened hanger down the drain.
It’s common for homeowners to bake and cook more often during the holidays, which makes it more likely that kitchen drains will become clogged by food. This issue is easily avoided by disposing of oil, eggshells, coffee grounds, food scraps, and grease in trash cans as opposed to garbage disposals.
Keep in mind that these items are able to clog your garbage disposal and damage the entire piping system in your home, which might require costly repairs. In the event that your drains become clogged, it’s highly recommended that you contact our plumber to make sure that you don’t damage the pipes in your home by trying to address the issue yourself.
Request Expert Plumbing Services
During the holiday season, obtaining plumbing services can be more challenging because of how busy plumbing companies are at this time of the year. While these steps are good starts to addressing specific problems, emergency plumbing repairs can be avoided by contacting a plumbing expert to maintain your home’s plumbing system and fix issues before they worsen. By having these issues fixed during a yearly maintenance visit, you should be able to prevent more extensive damage that can be costly to repair.
Here at We Care Plumbing, Heating, and Air, we provide residents in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego counties with a wide selection of services that focus on the primary home systems. Every aspect of a plumbing system can be tended to by our professional technicians. Our services also include heating and cooling installation, repairs, and maintenance. If the air in your home isn’t as clean as you’d like it to be, our air quality services include everything from air filtration and purification to humidity control. Call We Care Plumbing, Heating, and Air today if you have a plumbing emergency or to schedule routine home system maintenance.