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5 Common Winter Plumbing Problems and Their Solutions 

As the winter season approaches on Vancouver Island and the surrounding areas, it is time to ensure that all your plumbing, drainage, and heating systems are ready for what Mother Nature might throw your way.

Vancouver Island is well known for its temperate climate, offering the warmest weather in Canada. But this doesn’t mean that we are immune to the effects of winter weather. Environment Canada projects many rainy days ahead during this festive season.

Rain and snow can cause major damages to your plumbing system if not repaired immediately. However, with proper care and maintenance, you can avoid most plumbing problems. But in case they occur, you can always rely on Homewise Plumbing & Drainage to come to your rescue.

So, what are these common winter plumbing problems? Read on to find out, including their long-lasting solutions.

Common Winter Plumbing Problems and How to Solve Them

To help you get ready for the winter season and keep your plumbing system in check, our experienced plumbers have put together the top 5 winter plumbing problems in Vancouver Island and provided solutions for every situation.

  1. Flooding Basements

The climate on Vancouver Island is different from what you would imagine when envisioning a typical winter season. Since rain is a bigger threat than snow or freezing temperatures, flooded basements are the region’s greatest and most expensive plumbing concerns.

Even though the rain accounts for most flooded basements, melted ice caused by the freezing waters could also lead to these floods. In most times, the flooding is also due to poor drainage and foundation cracks.

Solutions for Flooded Basements

  • Dry the flooded area as fast as possible to prevent further damage. Remove the accumulated water using a pump or a towel, depending on the amount.
  • Remove any damaged items and those prone to damage by water.
  • Dry the basement immediately to prevent the growth of mould. You can use dehumidifiers and fans for faster drying.
  • Contact HomeWise Plumbing & Drainage to inspect and seal any leakages and draining problems.
  1. Frozen Pipes

Sure, Victoria may be the only major city in Canada whose temperature rarely drops below the freezing point. But this doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, and when it does, the cold temperatures can freeze your indoor and outdoor pipes, causing significant damages and inconveniences.

One major contributing factor to frozen pipes is the failure to shut off outdoor taps properly. Because of the mild climate and its surroundings, most homeowners tend to leave their hoses hooked up through the winter season. As much as this practice creates convenience, it is also a recipe for disaster.

When temperatures drop beyond zero for some time, or even days, water in the taps and hoses will freeze, expanding in the process. Since it has nowhere to go, the expansion will cause the pipes to burst, causing extensive damage to your pipes.

Solution for Frozen Pipes

  • Ensure you have appropriately drained water pipes in your home.
  • During a cold period -5 degrees or colder, leave the tap dripping to allow movement and alleviate pressure in the system, this can be useful when pipes are expanding and contracting due to seasonal temperature changes. Do not leave tap dripping throughout the entire winter as you may incur a large water bill.
  • If your pipes freeze, turn off the main water supply and reach out to HomeWise Plumbing & Drainage immediately.
  1. Clogged Drains

Clogged drains can cause serious inconveniences, especially during this festive season full of cooking and celebrations. Soap, hair, grease, and paper can easily clog your drains. Kitchen and bathroom sinks are particularly at risk due to their regular use. As more food waste is taken down by garbage disposals, your kitchen sink will likely get clogged.

Solutions for Clogged Drains

  • To keep your sinks and drain functional throughout the winter, avoid disposing of anything that may clog the drain. If clogged pour a half a cup of baking soda down the drain and then half a cup of distilled vinegar. Leave it for twenty minutes and then pour a kettle of hot water down the drain to flush away the blockage.
  • Dispose of items such as grease, cooking oil, hair, and paper into a trash can instead of down the drain.
  • Run cold water through the drains for 15 to 30 seconds after disposing of garbage for easy flow.
  • For any stubborn clogs, contact HomeWise Plumbing & Drainage.
  1. Poor Water Heating

As the cold winter temperatures become unbearable, you will need to rely on your hot water heating system, which could result in your heater working overtime. The reasons for poor heating are always difficult to tell. Sometimes it’s just an assembling problem, or some parts are worn out, while on some occasions, it could be due to sediment buildup.

Solutions for Poor Water Heating

  • Check your temperature setting due to the cold weather the heater may need to be turned up.
  • Flush the water heater tank to remove any sediments, but you will have to shut down the system for some time.
  • Check your heating element it may be defective.
  • Let Homewise perform a thorough inspection on your water heating system and repair any damage. It’s also important to conduct regular maintenance and annual inspections.
  1. Busted Water Lines

Still water is a pipe’s worst nightmare during winter. A busted water line occurs when water in the pipes freezes, leading to increased water pressure which eventually causes the water lines to burst. This could lead to major flooding in your home and damaged appliances.

Solutions for Busted Water Lines

  • Shut off the main valve to avoid excess water flowing into your pipes.
  • Detach any hose from your home before temperatures drop during winter.
  • In case of busted water lines, contact Homewise for repair.


General Tips for Handling Common Winter Problems

  • Clean your gutters before rain or snow starts to remove any clogs
  • Insulate any exposed pipes in your home
  • Turn off your main water supply if going on a holiday
  • Tarp your roof during winter if you have skylights or a flat roof
  • Regularly empty your septic tanks
  • Make sure you have no blockage in your drainage system
  • Clean your chimneys
  • Clean the exterior ventilation grills to allow intake of air
  • Check the safety of gas fireplaces
  • Check perimeter drains to ensure they are clean before elevating the water table
  • Check any area in your home prone to ice formation


Contact Homewise Plumbing & Drainage for All Your Plumbing Needs

Whenever these common winter plumbing problems occur, don’t hesitate to act. For problems that require professional help, such as pipe bursts, clogged drains, or poor drainage, call Homewise Plumbing & Drainage for effective plumbing repairs today. Our skilled plumbers will attend to your plumbing needs in the shortest time possible.