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How to Prevent and Fix Common Fall Plumbing Problems in Your Louisville Home

During the fall months, when Louisville residents have changing leaves, costumes, and pumpkin patches on the brain, it’s important to be aware of the potentially spooky and scary plumbing issues that could be going on in their homes. When the fall temperature drops, common fall plumbing problems are more likely to occur.

Jarboe's Heating, Cooling & Plumbing helps you take the surprise out of possible fall plumbing frights. We share why a professional plumber spends more time dealing with common fall plumbing issues like water heater issues, blocked drainage, frozen pipes, and burst pipes during this season. Believe it or not, each seasonal plumbing issue has a link to fall changes – the temperature drop and fallen leaves are main culprits.

Also, reduce the possibility of any plumbing system tricks with advice from a plumber about how to protect your pipes, drains, and hot water heater! Should you have the bad luck of experiencing fall plumbing problems, learn what to do to fix your plumbing issues and when to call in professional help to repair to replace a burst pipe, bad water heater, or clogged drains. Jarboe’s offers same-day service to help in situations that develop into a plumbing emergency – contact us anytime for 24/7 plumbing services in Louisville.

1. Common Fall Plumbing Issues in the Drainage System

Leaves fall heavily this time of year, which can cause various common fall plumbing problems in your home. Once they drop to the ground, those vibrantly colored beauties create a risk of clogged drains and blocked drainage system lines.

  • Fallen leaves form piles whether you rake them up or fall wind and rain pushes them around your property. If you don’t remove this yard waste, leaves break down and make their way into your drainage system. Leaf debris can cause clogged drains inside the home, like in a sink or tub, and create blockages in the home’s sewer line.

  • Leaves can even clog the plumbing vent pipe that sits on your roof. This vent helps maintain air pressure for good drainage while allowing noxious sewer gases to escape the system instead of backing up from your drain.

  • When leaves aren’t cleaned out of gutters, they cause blocked drainage that can force water runoff from rain in the fall and snow in the winter to drain back toward your house instead of away. Gutters clogged with leaves can contribute to basement or crawlspace flooding, which forces sump pumps to work more than they should have to.

  • If leaves also cause a clog at the exit of the drainage system attached to sump pumps, you may experience major water damage from unmanaged flooding in your basement or crawlspace.

When leaves fall, clean them up and get rid of them to avoid common fall plumbing problems like clogs and blocked drainage in your plumbing drainage system.

  • Don’t leave piles of leaves on your property – always bag them up and dispose of them.

  • Inspect the plumbing vent cap on the end of the pipe on your roof – if it is missing or broken, install a new one to keep leaves from falling down into the vent, causing a clog.

  • Periodically check your roof and plumbing vent stack for a blockage due to leaves. If there are leaves piled up around the vent or against the cap, safely climb on the roof and sweep them away or use other tools to safely access the area.

  • Inspect each drain cover on any outside drains around your home. If the cover is missing or damaged, leaves can easily get inside and cause clogs – have your professional plumber take measurements and install a new drain cover.

2. Fall Plumbing Problems Causing Water Heater Issues

Because the temperature drops during the fall, homeowners in Louisville are more likely to find themselves dealing with common fall plumbing problems with their water heaters, including lukewarm water or a hot water heater that isn’t heating as fast as it did a few months prior. A professional plumber from Jarboe's Heating, Cooling & Plumbing will explain why the cold weather temperature has an impact on your water heater.

  1. Cold weather causes a ground temperature drop.
  2. Though ground temperature won’t fall lower than 50 to 60 degrees even in winter, the difference between fall and summer temperatures can be many degrees.
  3. The cold water that supplies the water heater comes from below ground, as it is held in a well or underground supply lines.
  4. Colder ground means the incoming water temperature is colder in fall than it was in summer.
  5. When cold water enters the water heater at a lower temperature, the amount of heating the water heater has to do to achieve a comfortable temperature increases.
  6. The water heater runs more, using more energy and experiencing more wear and tear.
  7. Increased use can cause the unit to overheat and components to break, reducing the water heater’s operating abilities.
  8. Those issues paired with a possible lack of maintenance can prevent a water heater from heating water to the desired level.
  9. Water heater damage caused by excess use and poor maintenance can cause the system to fail altogether, and you won’t have any hot water.

To avoid discomfort due to common plumbing problems like lukewarm water or no hot water from your water heater this fall, these steps can help:

  • Perform water heater maintenance each fall. Flush the tank or tankless water heater to clean away mineral deposits and sediment that restricts the heating elements and reduces energy efficiency. If you have a tankless water heater, you also need to clean the water and air filter for the unit.

  • Raise incoming water temperature by insulating the cold water supply lines that enter your water heater. Install materials such as a heat cable, UL-listed heat tape, or a pipe sleeve.

  • Correct, current water heater troubles. If your unit suffers performance problems or other water heater issues, contact a professional plumber to make repairs now that increase the function and efficiency of the unit. Repair also helps prevent breakdowns due to wear and component failures.

If you notice common fall plumbing problems indicating water heater problems, it’s time to seek professional water heater repair from a plumber. Your plumber will diagnose the plumbing problems impacting your water heater and make a repair or replace the unit if needed.

3. Common Plumbing Issues of Frozen Pipes Making Pipes Burst

Over the fall months, it’s possible that we could see the temperature drop below freezing for the first time this year in Louisville. Once the temperature drops and stays below freezing for a time, you’re more likely to notice common plumbing problems related to a frozen pipe or burst pipe. These common plumbing issues become a risk when the outdoor temperature is around 20 degrees or less, as pipes may freeze anytime in these conditions.

Common plumbing frozen pipes occur in areas of the home where there is little to no heat, such as an unheated attic or basement, pipes in an uninsulated garage, pipes that it along exterior walls, and your outdoor faucet fixtures and water lines. When exposed to the cold, water in pipes can freeze. Water expands as it forms ice, pushing against the interior walls of the pipe with greater pressure. The force of the frozen water diminishes the integrity of the piping material, making it more susceptible to a plumbing issue like cracks or leaky pipes.

Frozen pipes and burst pipes wreak havoc on a home, creating the potential for extensive water damage. Give your pipes the best chance at avoiding common plumbing issues in fall with these ideas:

  • Add insulation on pipes running through unheated or uninsulated spaces. Apply a pipe sleeve, heat cable, or UL-listed heat tape.
  • Add insulation to unheated and poorly insulated spaces where pipes are exposed to keep more warmth around the pipes.
  • Close air leaks throughout the home so spaces do not lose as much heat nor gain cold air that can impact the pipes.
  • Winterize outdoor faucets and always detach garden hoses for the winter.
  • Do not lower indoor heating temperatures below 55 degrees at any point during fall or winter where freezing weather is a possibility.
  • During freezing weather, keep cabinet doors open below sinks along outer walls so heat from the house can warm the pipes behind the wall.
  • If the weather presents a risk of frozen pipes, keep cold water taps open so water continues to flow in the lines which makes them less likely to freeze.
  • During cold periods, increase heat in areas with exposed pipes through the safe use of a space heater.

Common plumbing issues you’ll likely experience if you have a frozen pipe include low water pressure or no water from your sink, shower, and tub taps. Ice can form a full blockage in the pipes, which will cause you to receive no fresh water when you turn on a faucet.

A frozen pipe means you need to act right away. Thawing the pipe should be your priority as you want to prevent ice causing damage to the plumbing line. You can thaw pipes yourself or request professional help doing so as a plumbing emergency.

  1. Find out where the frozen line sits by opening faucets throughout your house. If you have low water pressure or no water from one faucet, it’s probably in the supply pipe to that specific fixture. If all faucets in an area have these common plumbing symptoms, the supply piping branch is likely frozen. When all fixtures in your home have issues, the main line is probably frozen.
  2. Assess the condition of the pipe. If there is no damage or leaks, keep water on. If you see hairline cracks or larger, loose joints connecting pipes, or other flaws, turn water off.
  3. Open the cold faucet(s). Doing so lets melted ice flow out and calls for water flow that will help melt the ice.
  4. Add heat to the frozen water pipe. You can use hot water-soaked towels or an electric heat pad wrapped around the line. Apply heat directly to the line with a hair dryer or use an electric space heater to warm the area around the pipe to increase heat. When thawing pipes along the home’s interior, use the furnace or heating unit to add heat in the area. Don’t use anything with an open flame or that burns fuel, as these tools could damage pipes or cause other safety hazards.
  5. Keep adding heat until you notice full water pressure from the faucet.

If you have pipes burst due to a freeze in the new season, this is an urgent plumbing issue that will require help from a professional plumber. Before your plumber arrives, do what you can to prevent as much home damage as possible.

  • Turn off water at the main shutoff valve.
  • Soak up and remove water from the area.
  • Remove belongings from the area if possible.

A plumber will remove the damaged pipes and install new ones so you are able to use water again at home. The plumber can also help you with solutions for removing water and moisture from this area of your home.

Louisville Help for Common Fall Plumbing Problems

For common fall plumbing problems like these as well as other plumbing issues like a garbage disposal repair, Jarboe's Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here to assist you. Contact us anytime to schedule an appointment for fall plumbing services.

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