The Most Common Plumbing Problems That Strike During Winter

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

Plumbing problems can occur all year long. However, some are more prone to strike during the winter. Winter can bring some serious weather, which can ultimately make for some serious plumbing issues. Fortunately, winter plumbing problems can be prevented with the right preventative steps. Here are some of the most common plumbing problems that strike during winter, and how to prevent them.

Clogged Vent Stack


A vent stack sits on top of the roof and helps vent sewer gases. A clogged vent stack is a common plumbing problem that can occur during winter because of debris collecting like leaves and pine needles, or even ice and snow. The signs of a clogged vent stack include a gurgling toilette, slow drainage, or a strong sewer smell emitting from drains. A clogged vent stack should be fixed by a professional plumber and preventative measures should be taken. A filter or screen should be installed over the opening of the vent stack to prevent future buildup.

Sump Pump Failure

The winter months often bring inclement weather, including heavy rains. If you live in an area that is prone to heavy rains during winter, and you have a basement, then you could be susceptible to flooding during heavy rains. A sump pump is designed to remove excess water from basements to prevent floods. However, since a sump pump isn’t usually used all the time, you may not be aware if it is working. Before heavy rains set in, test your sump pump to insure it is working correctly. Try pouring a bucket of water into the crock and see if it is activated. You will also want to check the outlet drain to ensure that it is free from clogs. If there is an issue with your sump pump, contact your plumber right away. This can help save you thousands in flood damage, and help protect the integrity of your home.

Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are also quite common during the winter months. During heavy usage from holiday get-togethers, things that normally would go down the drain, sometimes accidentally find themselves lodged in your pipes somewhere. Heavy rains can also bring drainage issues as leave and other debris can get swept away into storm drains. To prevent clogged drains during winter, have your drains cleaned before the holidays by a professional. You should also be proactive about cleaning your gutters and keeping your yard free of any excess leaves and debris to prevent them from traveling into storm drains. Remember, things that end up in the storm drain can not only cause plumbing problems, but can also end up in our lakes, streams, and oceans.

Frozen Pipes

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Frozen pipes can be a devastating plumbing problem during winter, causing thousands of dollars in damage. When water gets trapped inside a pipe and freezes, it expands. This expansion can cause plumbing pipes to burst, which can lead to a lot of damage. It’s important to make sure if you live in an area that is prone to freezing temperatures, you have your pipes properly insulated. You should also check for any air leaks around the foundation of your home, attic, and crawl spaces. If you are going on vacation or own a vacant piece of property, be sure that the water is disconnected and that all the lines are drained.

For more information on common plumbing problems that occur during winter and for more preventative tips, contact John Owens Services today!

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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464