Clogged drains can happen at any time, but if you have ever noticed that they seem more common during the winter, it’s not an accident. It’s important that you keep your home adequately heated at all times during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing. Extreme cold can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing in other ways as well. Here are a few things you should know about low temperatures and clogged drains.
The Big Freeze
The most obvious time when you might need an emergency plumbing company in Pittsburgh, PA, is when your pipes freeze. Frigid temperatures can freeze ice within your pipes. When water freezes, it expands, so not only will ice clog your pipes, but it could actually burst your pipes as well. The worst-case scenario is when a homeowner forgets to leave their thermostat on while out of town on a winter vacation. By the time they return, their pipes may have burst and will require major repairs.
Water isn’t the only thing in your pipes that’s capable of freezing. If you have slow-running drains in warm weather, it’s important that you have your pipes inspected by a plumber before winter arrives. Normal items that clog your drains (such as grease and food in the kitchen and hair and soap in the shower) can solidify if the temperature’s low enough, turning a minor nuisance into a completely stopped drain.
Blocked Vent Pipes
In order for your plumbing to work properly, the vent pipes need to be clear and free from debris. In warm weather, the blockage can be caused by leaves, twigs, branches, and even dead animals. When winter arrives, snow and ice can accumulate around the debris and effectively block your vent pipes from the outside. Even if there aren’t any objects on or surrounding your vent pipes, if there’s enough ice or snow accumulating on your roof, it could affect how your plumbing performs.
Depending on the location and severity of the clog, there are some things you can do to fix them. If it’s a sink, you can run hot water until the sink fills up and then remove with a wet/dry vac. This should eventually melt the clog, though it could take a couple of hours. If you have a clogged vent, you’ll have to get onto your roof and water it down with a garden hose, which is not something everyone is comfortable with.
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