If you live in Saskatoon, we don’t need to tell you how harsh the Saskatchewan winter can be on every home. Extreme temperatures, strong, chilly winds, and frequent snowfall pose special challenges to the plumbing system of any home exposed to these conditions. Being informed about how you can protect your home’s plumbing system is an essential step that will help you winter-proof your property ahead of the cold season.

The following is a list of common plumbing problems caused by extreme winter weather, as well as some tips from the experts on how to prevent them.

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Problem Area 1: Outdoor Plumbing Fixtures

Exterior plumbing equipment is the first to be hit by unfavourable weather conditions. This applies to pipes, hose bibs, water tanks, rain barrels, and sprinklers, among others. After exposure to low temperatures, cracks may suddenly appear on pipes, or they may freeze and burst, and sprinklers may rupture under snowy conditions.

Solution: Insulate any exposed plumbing fixtures and box them to protect them from wind damage. Hose bibs and sprinkler heads should be drained and their removable components should be stored away before the temperature drops.

Problem Area 2: Water Heaters

Sub-zero temperatures put water heaters under strain. To compensate for the cold temperatures, heaters have to work at maximum capacity and this increases the chances of experiencing a breakdown, especially if sediments have built up within the heater.

Solution: Arrange for your water heater to be serviced by a trusted plumber from companies like Perfection Plumbing & Drain Cleaning Ltd. before the cold weather sets in. You should also make sure to have all sediment removed and the pilot controls serviced.

Problem Area 3: Faucets

When temperatures drop below zero, water sitting in a faucet will freeze and expand. This will cause permanent damage to the fixture.

Solution:
To avoid damaging your outdoor faucets, you should drain all faucets and make sure their shut-off valve is closed. You should also inspect all indoor faucets to ensure they are not leaking.

Problem Area 4: Septic Tanks

With the arrival of cold weather, waste can build up and clog your septic tank. This will cause blocking in the pipes and create large-scale problems in the plumbing system.

Solution: Although you can use commercial products to help dislodge waste, the best strategy is to have the tank pumped before winter sets in.

Sources:
Freezing and Bursting Pipes, disastersafety.org