In other areas of the country, millions of homeowners invest a lot of time and money into winterizing their houses. This ensures that the ravages of bone-chilling weather don’t cause expensive damage – like water freezing and expanding in pipes. But it’s not much different than the wintertime plumbing issues Phoenix residents face.
It may not seem like there’s much to prepare for in the desert (besides air conditioning), but us Arizonians also need to do a little winterization ourselves. While we don’t exactly need to go to the extent that someone in Maine does, there are a handful of plumbing problems that can create massive headaches for us during the cold season.
With that being said, here are 3 primary concerns worth keeping an eye on.
AZ Wintertime Plumbing Issue 1: Frozen Pipes.
In the Phoenix metropolitan area, freezing temperatures are few and far between. At the same time, the phenomenon occurs often enough that you should be prepared when it hits. Unfortunately, some people don’t even know how to go about protecting their plumbing systems from freezing weather. In turn, they typically deal with wintertime plumbing issues they later regret.
Those outside of Phoenix are normally shocked to hear that frozen pipes don’t happen everywhere. It’s just one of those things that seems like common knowledge for homeowners. Either way, it’s better to be ahead of the curve about potential problems than to deal with the unpleasant aftermath.
Why Should Frozen Pipes Concern You?
Lots of things shrink as they get older. Water is an exception because when it freezes, it expands. This creates an intense amount of pressure that’ll bust your pipes almost every time — leaving you with an expensive repair bill. Homeowners in Northern Arizona will definitely know what we’re talking about.
Since most Phoenix homes are built on concrete slabs, it’s extremely difficult to expose the pipes and thaw them out. Unless you have a crawl space, your home could easily turn into a construction zone. Aside from paying for a plumber, you’ll also have to shell out lots of your hard-earned money for another company to restore your home back to some semblance of normalcy.
Melting Away the Problem Yourself Can Be Risky.
If you’re going to approach the situation with a DIY mindset, then you have to be cautious. For example, never use a blow torch or open flame to thaw out your pipes (if you’re able to get to them). This is a good way to burn your house down. Instead, use hot water, a heat lamp, or even a hairdryer.
Just keep in mind, there could be a bigger problem. Wintertime plumbing issues, such as leaking water or sewage lines, could continue to freeze if they’re not immediately repaired. Nonetheless, there are some things you can do to keep your pipes from freezing.
What You Can Do to Combat Frozen Pipes.
Turning on both faucets so that the water trickles out is a good way to ensure the temperatures within the pipes remain above freezing. You can also work on insulating your outside (or underground) piping systems and garden hose spigots. Electric heat tape is commonly used to keep lines warm and toasty.
The last thing you can do to make sure your pipes don’t freeze is keep the home heated at 55 degrees or higher. Those of you that own a home in Arizona but live elsewhere could experience a ton of wintertime plumbing issues if these measures aren’t taken.
AZ Wintertime Plumbing Issue 2: Unnoticed Leaks.
While frozen pipes can most certainly result in broken pipes, there are other ways that leaks occur. Over time, pipes can wear out and become vulnerable. Sometimes this happens so slowly that it’s barely perceptible. Either way, the outcome is usually non enjoyable. Damaged pipes can usually lead to bursts, clogs, and massive flooding.
No matter how they start, leaking pipes are not one of the wintertime plumbing issues you’ll want to face. This is because most go undetected until major damage occurs. Even those that find slow leaks, notice them too late. If any part of your home floods, there’s a potential for thousands of dollars in damage. It only gets worse in freezing temperatures.
How Do Leaks Occur and How to Stop Them.
One of the biggest reasons for leaking pipes is corrosion. In most cases, the failure comes from a deteriorating J-trap that’s located underneath your sink. Another issue in Phoenix tends to be copper or galvanized steel pipes in older homes. This makes them more susceptible to corrosion and rust.
Even though we don’t get a lot of rain in Arizona, investing in professional maintenance and pipe cleaning services every year is a good idea. Making sure you have good drainage is also key. Sometimes, replacing water lines early can save you money and further inconvenience.
PVC may be a better choice for pipes, but it can also degrade over time—particularly if exposed to harsh chemicals. Let us know if you happen to have any questions. The longer you wait to address wintertime plumbing issues, the worse they become.
AZ Wintertime Plumbing Issue 3: No Hot Water.
Hard water (or water with elevated concentrations of minerals) is a big problem in Arizona. In fact, most new residents aren’t even aware of how bad the tap water is. Unless you’re treating the water, these minerals easily accumulate on the inside of your hot water heater, forming layers of nasty sediment.
This can interfere with the efficient operation of your water heating system. When this happens, it’s hard to effectively regulate your water temperature. Truth be told, it’s not good for proximate water lines either. As the entire system begins to wear down from the deposits, streaming water can become incredibly hot or freezing cold.
Hot Water Repairs Are The Worst During Winter.
If you don’t own a tankless water heater, the only solution to this problem is to flush your conventional hot water tank. But before you can do that, you’ll need to make sure the system is powered off and cooled down. Then you can drain the water out of it to get rid of the mineral accumulation and sediment.
In reality, it’s best to have a professional manage the task. Once you refill the tank with water and turn it back on, it may still not function properly. In this case, you’re either experiencing additional wintertime plumbing issues (that could be from frozen water) or it’s time for a replacement.
Preventation is Important at Canyon State.
At the end of the day, working with a licensed and reputable plumber is the best way to address the typical wintertime plumbing issues Phoenix residents face. No matter the concern, we take pride in thoroughly inspecting and diagnosing your home’s plumbing system.
Our plumbers have been trained to be able to tell if your outside pipes need to be relocated or if parts of the system are on the verge of collapse. We can even flush your hot water tank or clean out your pipes for you during routine maintenance calls. We know that quality service saves our customers time and effort in the long run.
If you’re already knee deep in a problem and it’s too late to take proactive measures, feel free to give us a call. Our certified technicians are available 24/7 to quickly repair the damage and minimize the impact. We hope to talk to you soon!