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There’s a lot to love about life in Central Indiana: Great people. Great food. Great sports teams. And, during certain times of the year, great weather. But as any Indianapolis native knows, the winters can be awfully cold and windy. The onset of cold temperatures can lead to a number of undesirable effects, including water pressure problems, frozen pipes, and more.

It’s helpful for homeowners to know about some of the most common plumbing problems that cold weather brings, and to take the right precautions to safeguard their water pipes, water heater, and beyond. And, if any problems do arise, make sure you have the best plumbing company in Indianapolis saved to your contacts list.

winter plumbing

What are Some Common Plumbing Problems During the Winter Season?

Consider just a few of the issues that winter weather can bring.

Frozen Exterior Pipes

Having outdoor spigots and supply lines can make it easy to water your plants, irrigate your lawn, or wash your car. However, these outdoor plumbing fixtures are also more prone to freezing during the winter months. Frozen exterior pipes can often burst, leading to lots of potential damage. Thankfully, there are some simple steps that you can take to minimize this risk:

  • Disconnect any exterior hoses.
  • Use protective bibs to cover your outdoor spigots.
  • Talk to a professional plumber about adding insulation to your water lines, especially those that run along exterior walls.

Frozen Interior Pipes

Intense winter storms can also cause interior pipes to freeze, particularly if you don’t have proper insulation. Again, this isn’t just an inconvenience. It may also result in burst pipes and in costly water damage. Consider a few options to mitigate this risk:

  • During freezing periods, allow your faucets to drip overnight.
  • Leave your sink cabinet doors open, allowing air to circulate.
  • Talk to your plumber about installing a pressure relief valve.

Water Heater Malfunctions

Cold weather makes all of us more desirous of hot showers and long soaks in the tub. But as the demand for hot water rises, so does your risk of water heater malfunction. There are a few ways you can combat these issues:

  • Perform routine water heater maintenance, staying on top of your annual sediment draining needs.
  • Add insulation to your water heater lines, and consider getting a water heater blanket.
  • If your water heater is on its last legs, talk to your plumber about having a tankless hot water heater installed.

Septic Problems

Low temperatures can cause sections of your septic tank to freeze; likewise with your effluent lines. Frozen septic equipment may result in back-ups into your home, which is really the last thing homeowners want. So what steps can you take to avoid the costly repairs that come with frozen septics?

  • Make sure there is ample soil coverage to insulate your septic system.
  • Add straw for further insulation.
  • Never park or drive over the components of your septic system.
  • Schedule a septic plumbing sometime soon, ensuring your system is winter-ready.

Clogged Kitchen Drains

Winter is a great season to enjoy home-cooked meals, and to host big family gatherings. Unfortunately, this can take a toll on your kitchen sink, causing potential clogs to your drain and issues with your disposal. Here’s how to avoid these problems:

  • Be mindful of what goes into your garbage disposal, particularly avoiding cooking oils, greases, and fats.
  • After using your garbage disposal, take about 30 seconds to flush it with warm water.
  • Use ice cubes to keep your garbage disposal clean and your blades sharp.

Outside Drain Damage

Your outdoor drains are easily damaged during winter, as the water inside them can freeze, expand, and cause significant issues throughout your household plumbing systems. Here are some steps you can take to avoid this issue:

  • Keep your drainage areas clean, regularly sweeping or raking away any organic debris.
  • Be diligent in removing ice and snow buildup.
  • Talk to your city about switching to a metal drain cover, which may be a little less prone to damage.

Be Ready for Indianapolis Winters

The bottom line: Winter weather can bring with it potential power outages, loss of heat, and a host of other concerns. And that’s to say nothing of plumbing problems. Make sure you’re ready, and that you know the best habits for keeping your pipes and appliances in good working order. And if you do need to call a professional plumber during the winter months, make sure you choose Carter’s My Plumber. Our family-owned business has served Indianapolis families for decades, and we’d be more than happy to help you with your winterization needs.

Kelson Carter

Article reviewed by:

Kelson Carter, aka, The Prince of Plumbing

Kelson is a 3rd generation Plumbing Contractor. His family business is located in Greenwood, Indiana, and provides Residential Plumbing Service to the Indianapolis Metro market.

Kelson grew up watching his grandfather and father do plumbing. After graduating high school, Kelson went to Trade School and became a Licensed Master Plumber and Licensed Plumbing Contractor. He is also Certified in Backflow Prevention. He currently owns and operates Carter's My Plumber with his parents.


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