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December 7, 2022

Avoiding Common Problems With Winter Plumbing in Vancouver

Winter Home Tips For Plumbing in Vancouver

The winter season is upon us again - and very quickly - this year. Digging out the winter jackets, gloves and sweaters in the closet shouldn’t be your only seasonal preparation. 

What if you’re planning to go on some much-needed travelling in 2022? How are the early winter temperatures going to affect my home’s plumbing?

If you’re booking a trip to a sun destination, the last thing you want is a surprise plumbing bill (which can cost you hundreds, if not thousands in home damages). 

We get it: plumbing is likely not top of mind for you. That’s why we’ve prepared our plumbing in Vancouver list of common winter problems and preventative maintenance tips.

Flooding Basements

Being a local, you’ve always got a trusted rain jacket and an umbrella by your door. Since Vancouver is a temperate region, we get plenty of rain, even in the Winter. 

Rain is as much of a threat as snow or below-freezing temperatures. Flooded basements in homes are one of the largest expenses regarding plumbing in Vancouver. With recent atmospheric rivers in 2021 and late 2022, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. 

Flooding Basements: Prevention Tips:

  • Clean gutters and check outdoor drainage. This is to ensure water moves away from your home.
  • Check Your Sump Pump: This is a pump which diverts water away from your home. See that it works properly before a rainstorm by testing it. 
  • Clear Snowfall: It’s best to have about 5ft or more of the area cleared around your home’s foundation. When it melts, water will be diverted away from your home. 
  • Inspect The Foundation: To see if there are cracks and get them patched ASAP. 

If you’re currently having an issue with a flooded basement, don’t hesitate to call us so we can prevent further damage right away. 

Frozen Pipes

Although it doesn’t get freezing cold every year in Vancouver, it still can. Below-freezing temperatures can cause plumbing problems in Vancouver. A common issue is forgetting to shut off outdoor taps before it freezes. 

If you’re travelling and your building has little to no heat, indoor pipes can also burst from cold temperatures. Even just a couple of days of freezing pipes can cause extensive damage. 

Frozen Pipes Prevention Tips

  • Use Indoor Shutoffs When Travelling: Turn off your main water supply if you’re travelling and no one is home. Ensure to use your shut-off valves on major appliances (dishwasher, faucets, taps etc) so you don’t come home to hefty a plumbing bill. 
  • Keep Indoor Faucets on Drip: A bit of moving water helps prevent freezing. Try and leave some faucets on a slight drip to alleviate line pressure. Leaving your cabinets open under the sink or washroom tap allows your pipe to heat up easier. 
  • Insulate Your Pipes: Purchasing and installing pipe insulation can help with exterior walls and uninsulated areas with pipes. Our plumbers can help you with this.
  • Shut off Outdoor Taps: Turn off the valve that lets water into the outdoor taps and lines. Ensure to drain what water remains in these lines so it doesn’t freeze inside the pipes.

Clogged Drains

With the BBQs put away, the kitchen gets a lot more use and so does the kitchen sink. Garbage disposals are popular units installed in the kitchen. If you’re not careful, your food waste will build up in your sink and cause a stubborn clog. 

Clogged Drain Prevention Tips

  • Keep Certain Food Items Away: Throw things like fat/grease, cooking oils, coffee grounds, meat bones and similar food waste products in your green bin or trash.
  • Run Cold Water for 15-30 seconds: This keeps the food particles after they’ve been ground and ensures better water flow. 

Water Heater Problems 

At this time of year, your water heater could be working too hard to keep up with hot water demands. Since hot water tanks and water heaters are under more strain during the winter months, it’s only natural that problems are more likely to occur. 

If you’re noticing a lack of hot water, some repairs or even replacement may be necessary. Common water heater issues may be due to your heating element, temperature settings, or sediment build-up.

Tips to Avoid Water Heating Problems

  • Routine Maintenance: Most water heaters should be drained and flushed about once per year. This can be a DIY project or you can call a professional plumber to help
  • Insulate Water Supply: Pipes running into and out of your water heater can be insulated to prevent freezing. This helps your pipes retain more heat.
  • Install a Water Heater Blanket: A blanket can be installed to prevent heat and efficiency loss from your water heater unit. 

If you need help with your water heater and preventative maintenance, we have plumbers in Vancouver so we can help keep you and your guests warm and cozy throughout the winter! 

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