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Common Winter plumbing problems

Common Winter Plumbing Problems in Calgary, Alberta

As any Calgarian knows, winters in our city can be brutal. Yes, we get sunny days and Chinooks breaking up cold weather, but we can also get stretches of sub-zero temperatures that can wreak havoc on your household plumbing system.

From frozen pipes to issues with a hot water heater (during a week of -20 °C weather especially) there are many things that could go wrong with your plumbing during Calgary winters. That's why it's so important to be proactive with your home's system to prevent these common winter plumbing issues.

To discover how you can avoid headaches, keep your system running smoothly all season long, and when to call our team of professional plumbers, read on.

1. Frozen Pipes

When winter weather gets incredibly cold, pipes might freeze. Although this issue might not be as much of a concern in the city, since you're using your plumbing almost consistently, it could be an issue at your cottage or affect your home when you go on vacation.

Many Calgarians escape cold weather by flying down to Arizona or Florida. While you're gone, you should make sure the person looking after your home runs your taps and flushes your toilets from time to time. Also be sure to unhook any outdoor hoses while you're gone, and keep your heat on.

If you're away from your cottage during winter months, ensure you properly winterize that property by turning off water supply and letting it drain from the building. This will help keep pipes from freezing. We have more details about preparing your property for cold weather below.

2. Supply Line Break

When you're home, your plumbing runs regularly and your furnace is turned on—especially during a particularly chilly night. This activity and heating helps prevent pipes from freezing. However, outdoor water supply is another matter. Standing water can freeze and create ice blockage in your pipes. This ice can build-up pressure over time and cause the pipe to break. This could cause leaks or pools of water that might also end up freezing.

It's very important to disconnect all outside hoses before temperatures fall below zero. Also, drain your outdoor supply line. To do this, complete these following steps:

  • Locate and turn off your outdoor water valve. It should be located where water enters your home, or near the tank in your basement. Turn the knob right to shut it off.

  • Turn off your outdoor faucet (different from your supply line). Then disconnect the hose. If there's a nozzle on the hose, turn it on so any remaining water can drain out.

  • Drain the pipe. After the hose has been removed, turn your faucet back on and let any remaining water drain from pipes. Once it stops flowing, turn your faucet off.

  • Return indoors and place a bucket under the shut-off valve. Open the drain plug and let any residual water flow out of the valve. The plug looks like a small, metal cap that's located on the side of the shut-off valve. Once drained, close the plug.

3. Water Heater Breakdown

The absolute last thing you want during Calgary winters is to have a hot water tank break down. Since it has to work so much harder during the colder months, it's not uncommon for issues to arise. Common problems with a hot water heater in the winter include:

  • Deteriorating parts: If you have an electric heater, carefully inspect thermostats and heating elements. If it is gas, keep an eye on your pilot, thermocouple and pilot control valve.

  • Lack of insulation: If a heater is not properly insulated, it's more likely to have problems. Not only does insulation reduce the loss of heat, but it also increases temperatures in the tank by a couple of degrees. Meaning, you could shorten your wait time for hot showers!

4. Winterizing Correctly

Any part of your plumbing system that won't be used during the colder months needs to be properly winterized. This reduces the risk of cracking and freezing. Whether for your house or cottage, you should hire a professional plumber to ensure your pipes are winterized correctly.

If you're flying south for the winter or preparing your cabin for the cold months ahead, either your or a licensed plumber should complete the following steps:

  • Shut-off the main valve

  • Turn off the water pump and heater

  • Open all drain valves and taps; keep these open all winter long

  • Use an air compressor to blow excess water out of the pipes

  • Open the drain valve in your hot water tank and let it empty

  • Drain all water in the holding tank

  • Flush toilets to remove as much water as possible

  • Pour antifreeze down your toilets, as well as tub and sink drains

Book Our Pro Plumbers Today!

As the temperature decreases, you should increase vigilance about common plumbing issues. Whether you're skipping town for the winter months, need to prepare your cottage for the cold weather ahead, or want to get your Calgary home ready for sub-zero temperatures, trust the pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary.

Our team has years of experience serving the YYC community. From providing routine maintenance and a professional plumbing inspection to completing water heater repairs and winterizing your property, trust your home to the experts at Mr. Rooter.

Not only do our plumbers provide excellent workmanship, but we're also known for our unparalleled customer service. When you welcome one of our plumbers into your home, you'll always be our top priority. We'll treat you with the utmost respect and ensure you have a positive experience with our company from start to finish.

To get started on preparing your property for winter today, or if you have any questions about our services, we invite you to give us a call at 403-640-7789. Alternatively, please feel free to contact us online through our website. We look forward to meeting you!

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