Yes! Your drains can freeze!

Yes! Your drains can freeze!

Yes! Your drains can freeze!

Winter brings a lot of plumbing problems along for the ride. Frozen pipes are the first (and maybe worst) things that come to mind. A frozen pipe can burst, spewing fresh water all over the place. If you’re lucky, the water hits the walls and floors. If your pipes are buried in the wall, however, you might need to brush up on your drywalling skills to make a complete repair. Putting a frozen water pipe aside for a moment – here’s another chilling thought: drains are pipes, too. And yes, your drains can freeze.

Opening frozen drains

A frozen drain is as much of a plumbing emergency as a frozen pipe is. Frozen drains can break, and when they do, they often take the trap with it. Keeping your pipes in good working order in the winter can be a bit of a trick. On one hand, plumbers will tell you to leave a trickle of water running to keep a pipe from freezing. On the other hand, that same trickle of water can cause ice to build up in the drain, gradually occluding the pipe. It’s almost like you can’t win!

If you have a basement, don’t allow the temperature to fall below about 60° F. If you need to add space heaters to the area around your plumbing core, consider an oil-filled radiator-type heater. You can control the heat and safely leave them on for extended periods of time.

Have your drains cleared ahead of the cold weather. A partially clogged drain can completely freeze with just a small amount of water standing in the pipe. Having your drains professionally cleaned annually will help ensure that they’re able to withstand the cold. A video inspection of your drains can also yield useful information, including the presence of breaks, cracks and tree root invasions, which can all cause drainage problems year-round.
Add pipe insulation as needed to drains that are vulnerable to freezing. If your pipes enter a crawl space, be sure to insulate them very well. Also have them inspected periodically to ensure that they haven’t been damaged by the cold.

Call us at Jasco Rooter and we can clear your drain lines safely, and video inspect them for damage at the same time. If you would like more information about drain maintenance, please give us a call at Jasco Rooter at (330) 262-2564 to schedule an appointment.

Photo Credit: Michael Brown, via Flickr.com

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