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Dec 31 2023

Most Common Winter Sewer Problems

As winter sets in with its icy grip, homeowners begin to face a myriad of challenges. Among the less obvious but critical concerns are the vulnerabilities of underground sewer pipes. Buried beneath the frosty surface, the sewer line is exposed to unique challenges that can lead to deformations, damage, and faults.

In this article brought to you by Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air, we'll explore four common sewer problems that can come up, or worsen, during the winter months. We’ll also shed light on the importance of proactive measures to protect your plumbing infrastructure during the harsh winter.

Freezing and Thawing Cycles

One of the primary concerns during winter is the fluctuation between freezing and thawing cycles. As temperatures drop, water inside sewer pipes can freeze, causing the pipes to contract and potentially crack. When the thaw arrives, the pipes expand again, exacerbating existing cracks and creating new ones. This repetitive cycle weakens the structural integrity of the pipes over time and can lead to leaks, blockages, and, in extreme cases, complete pipe failure.

To mitigate this risk, homeowners should consider insulating exposed sewer pipes, particularly those located near exterior walls or in unheated areas. Insulation acts as a protective barrier, reducing the impact of temperature fluctuations and minimizing the likelihood of freezing-related damage.

Tree Root Intrusions

Winter doesn't put a stop to the relentless pursuit of tree roots seeking water sources. In fact, the colder months can exacerbate this problem. As the ground freezes, soil moisture decreases and prompts thirsty tree roots to extend further in search of water. Unfortunately, this can lead them directly to your sewer pipes.

Tree roots infiltrating sewer lines pose a serious threat, potentially causing blockages, cracks, and, in extreme cases, complete pipe collapse. Regular inspections by plumbing professionals before winter sets in can help identify potential tree root intrusions. Installing root barriers and selecting tree species with non-invasive root systems can also be effective preventive measures.

Grease and Debris Buildup

Winter festivities often involve hearty meals, which usually involves an increased risk of grease and debris entering the sewer system. As grease cools and solidifies in the pipes, it can create stubborn blockages that impede the flow of wastewater. Additionally, debris such as leaves, twigs, and sediment can accumulate in the sewer lines during winter storms.

Homeowners can combat this risk by responsibly disposing of cooking oils and fats, and by avoiding flushing items that can contribute to blockages. Regular sewer line maintenance, including sewer line cleaning, can also prevent the build-up of grease and debris within the pipes.

Ground Settlement

The freeze-thaw cycle, common during winter, can contribute to ground settlement and reduce the stability of sewer pipes. As the soil expands and contracts, it may cause shifts in the ground. This often leads to misalignments or tilting of sewer pipes, which can stress the pipes and cause cracks and leaks.

To address this concern, homeowners should ensure proper grading of their property to promote water drainage away from the foundation. Timely sewer repair and adjustments to sewer pipe alignments can prevent further damage caused by ground settlement.

Worried About Your Sewer Line? Hire a Local Plumber

If you need a peace of mind, then have a trained plumber inspect your sewer line. Rooter Hero Plumbing is an established business with uniformed and experienced plumbers. Call Rooter Hero to schedule reliable and affordable plumbing service today.

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