Common Fall Plumbing Problems to Know About This Season
When the leaves fall, your Indianapolis area home is more likely to be impacted by certain plumbing issues. As the temperature drops, homeowners need to be aware of these common fall plumbing problems and take action to prevent a plumbing emergency and major water damage now and once the new season of winter brings more cold weather.
Williams Comfort Air helps you safeguard your plumbing system with information about common fall plumbing issues. As a local professional plumber, we’re typically dealing with more clogged drains, frozen pipes, burst pipes, and water heater troubles over the fall months. Learn why these common plumbing issues tend to happen this time of year and what you can do to reduce the chances of experiencing fall plumbing problems.
If you notice a fall plumbing complication in your home, you need to act fast to prevent potential damage and discomfort. Contact us right away for professional help from a licensed Indiana plumber. We offer same day service to repair common plumbing problems such as blocked drainage, lukewarm water or cold water hot water heater issues, and low water pressure due to a frozen pipe or leaky pipes. Our team can also replace a burst pipe as well as busted water heaters fast.
1. Drainage System Plumbing Problems
Perhaps the most season-specific common fall plumbing problems concern the home’s drainage system, including clogged drains and completely blocked drainage. Fallen leaves give off great vibes for pumpkin patches, harvest festivals, and other outdoor fall fun once the temperature drops, but leaves collecting in your yard can actually cause your drain fall plumbing problems.
When leaves fall and gather on your property, rain, wind, and even leaving leaves be can push this debris into your drainage system. Leaves can also block gutters, which can lead to water backing up in basements or crawlspaces and causing potential problems for sump pumps.
Common fall plumbing drain problems occur when leaves clog your home’s drain vent pipe or block an outdoor drain.
- The plumbing drainage system has a connected vent pipe that opens on the roof to help stabilize air pressure in the drains so waste can easily flow out without causing a clog and to let sewage gases escape so your family doesn’t experience a potentially dangerous exposure. If leaves collect around or enter the opening of the vent pipe, they can block airflow and waste gases, which can cause sink, shower, tub, and toilet drains inside to become sluggish or stop up.
- When fallen leaves collect in your yard in the fall, they break down over the fall and winter. These smaller leaf particles can easily find their way into outdoor drains, filling your drain pipes with matter that causes a clog.
Avoid common fall plumbing problems with your drainage system by cleaning up leaves in your yard throughout the season. Check your roof periodically to look for leaves piling up around your vent pipes – if you notice accumulation that could block the pipe, get a partner and use a ladder to safely access your roof and clean away debris. If you do not feel comfortable cleaning leaves from your plumbing vent pipe, you can always contact your professional plumber to handle this task. Also, check the drain cover to all outdoor drains on your property – if you find that a drain cover is damaged or missing, call your plumber to replace it with new cover and protect drainage pipes from leaf debris blockage.
If you experience fall plumbing problems with your drainage system, make an appointment with your plumber for repair. Slow drainage from a sink or shower is one sign of these common fall plumbing issues. Professional cleaning services can clear any blockage and resolve clogged drains in your home.
2. Fall Plumbing Water Heater Issues
Due to the temperature drop in fall, many Indianapolis area homeowners experience common fall plumbing issues affecting their water heaters. The water heater is tasked with heating cold water to a comfortable temperature for bathing and household chores. To do so, cold water enters the water heater, where heating elements warm the water, storing it for use if you have a tank water heater or heating as you need hot water if your home uses a tankless water heater.
Dealing with chilly water from your water heater is a natural fall plumbing issue. Because of the seasonal temperature drop, groundwater temperature is much lower than it is during the summer months – though the ground temperature stays at least 50 to 60 degrees even during the coldest times of the year, this can be as much as 25 degrees colder than it is over the summer.
With a much lower ground temperature, incoming water temperature is much colder, too. When cold water enters the water heater unit for heating, it’s starting out many degrees lower than it was just a few months ago.
With lower incoming water temperature to combat, the water heater works much harder in the fall than it does in the spring or summer. As such, it uses more energy as well which can increase your gas or electric bill, depending on the fuel source used for your water heater.
This big increase in usage can overburden the water heater, causing parts to overheat and even causing this plumbing appliance to fail entirely. The temperature drop of incoming cold water alone can result in lukewarm water from your water heater if the unit cannot keep up, but damaged water heater components and overheating will certainly do the trick.
To prevent these water heater troubles and common fall plumbing problems, take action to help your water heater perform at its best before the weather gets too much colder.
- Maintain your water heater regularly so that the unit is able to work efficiently in the cooler fall months, which prevents stress to components that leads to fall plumbing problems including water heater failure. Flush your tank or tankless water heater to remove mineral and sediment buildup that can block heating elements. For a tankless water heater, you also need to clean the air and water filters in the unit.
- If you’re already dealing with some water heater issues this year, go ahead and reach out to your plumber to have the unit inspected. Your plumber will be able to spot the source of the problem and make the needed repair to protect this plumbing appliance and help it perform at its best in the fall.
- Lower the risk of water heater problems from cold incoming water by insulating the water lines that supply the unit. Install a pipe sleeve, heat cable, or UL listed heat tape to help the incoming water supply hold warmth so your water heater has less work to do.
When water heater issues occur over the fall, your plumber can help. A professional plumber from Williams Comfort Air can repair damaged components to restore water heater performance. If your water heater suffers a total breakdown and has failed, we will install a new unit so you have access to the warm water you need at home.
3. Frozen Pipes and the Potential for Burst Pipes
As the fall temperature drops, it’s not entirely uncommon for Central Indiana to experience the first freeze of the year this season. Certain plumbing pipes exposed to below freezing temperatures are at risk and could freeze anytime temperatures outside remain at 20 degrees or below.
As water freezes within a plumbing line, it expands as it converts from liquid water to solid ice. Expanding ice exerts pressure on pipe walls, forcing them to expand. Frozen pipes weaken the pipe material which increases the likelihood of future leaks and pipe failures. Or, frozen pipes can be so severe they cause burst pipes in just a short period of time – a mere six hours of steady outdoor temperatures below 20 degrees.
Frozen pipes cause plumbing problems such as low water pressure or a lack of water supply from a sink faucet, showerhead, or other tap in your house. Ice can create a blockage in the supply piping, and will need to be thawed before you’ll have water again. If pipes burst, you may experience low water pressure from taps and faucets due to major leaks causing significant water loss. Not only does this increase your water bill, but it can wreak havoc on your home by causing severe water damage.
The riskiest plumbing lines that could freeze anytime they’re exposed to the cold include:
- Outdoor spigots and their supply lines
- Pipes running through unheated attics, crawlspaces, basements, or garages
- Water lines installed along exterior walls of the home
Luckily, there are measures you can take to prevent frozen pipes during periods of cold weather.
- Insulate vulnerable water supply lines by installing a pipe sleeve, heat cable, or UL listed heat tape.
- Increase insulation levels in unheated areas where exposed water pipes run to retain more heat.
- Seal air leaks to help your home retain heat and avoid cold air infiltration that could further expose pipes to cold temperatures.
- Always keep the heat on in your home to at least 55 degrees throughout the fall and winter, even if you’re away for long periods.
- Disconnect garden hoses from outdoor spigots in the fall and winterize hose bibbs.
- Open cabinet doors below sinks installed along exterior walls when the weather is freezing cold so heat from the inside of the house can circulate into this area.
- Keep faucets slightly open when temperatures are freezing, which keeps water moving through the lines to help prevent frozen pipes.
- When it’s freezing cold outside, add heat in areas with vulnerable pipes by running a safe space heater.
If you have a pipe that freezes, get to work thawing it at once to reduce the likelihood of a burst pipe. Thaw them yourself or get help from a professional plumber for this plumbing emergency.
- Find the location of the freeze by turning on faucets and observing water flow. If only one fixture has low water pressure or no water, the frozen pipe is along that supply line. If plumbing fixtures in one part of the house all seem to have issues, the frozen section is likely along the supply line branch feeding water to this area. If all plumbing fixtures in the home have problems, the main supply line is frozen.
- Check the pipe’s condition. If the pipe is still in good condition and not leaking, leave water on and proceed to thaw the line.
- Turn on the faucet before you start thawing the line so water can exit as ice melts and to allow water movement which will help the ice melt.
- Apply heat to the frozen pipe. Wrap the pipe in towels soaked in hot water or an electric heat pad, or use a hair dryer or space heater. Also, turn up the home’s thermostat to raise the indoor temperature if the frozen pipe is in an interior area.
- Continue to apply heat until full water pressure comes from your faucet.
If you have a pipe burst, turn off water either to the fixture or the entire house using the fixture’s shutoff valve (usually on the wall under or behind the fixture) or the home’s main shutoff valve (usually near the water meter). Do what you can to dry up water in the area, using mops, towels, and other solutions to remove water. Call a professional plumber immediately to repair the burst pipe and help mitigate water damage.
Get Help for Common Fall Plumbing Problems
Whether you experience common fall plumbing problems mentioned above or other plumbing issues in the home such as a jammed garbage disposal, a professional plumber is just one call to Williams Comfort Air away. Call us anytime, day or night, for help with your fall plumbing problems.