Man sits down and checks pipes

How Does Cold Weather Affect Plumbing?

The Cold And Your Plumbing

The change to autumn leaves and brisk weather can be nice for many of us trying to forget about the summer heat. Whether you want to warm up inside under a blanket or finally be able to bust out that sweater you bought months ago, the fall is just a great time to get cozy. While you are busy getting cozy, your plumbing might be under some stress. Unlike you, plumbing systems can be put under new pressure when the temperature drops, leading to issues that can make themselves fairly noticeable. Here are some of the ways the cold weather can affect your plumbing.

Grease Woes

We have all been guilty of sometimes pouring grease or oil down the kitchen sink. Sometimes you are just tired and do not feel like grabbing a jar to store that excess oil, but you still should not pour grease down the drain! While you may have been able to get away with pouring grease down your drain in the warmer months and possibly not notice any issues, you are not going to have that same luck in the cold weather.

When you pour hot grease or oil down your drain, it will stick to the sides of your plumbing. The grease will cool down far more quickly with the colder temperatures, causing solidified fat to congeal around your pipes and create new blockages that will clog up your system. You will notice a clog if your drain overflows or has a nasty smell. The best way to prevent this clog is not to throw oil down your drain. Instead, properly dispose of the grease in a separate container that you can dispose of in the trash or compost.

Frozen Pipes

Your pipes can quickly freeze if you are not careful with how you treat them, especially in the winter season. Frozen pipes can often freeze in the colder months leading to some funny sounds coming from your plumbing system, as well as having issues with water running across your home. Another issue with frozen pipes is, of course, the issue of a potential pipe burst that can be an expensive mess to clean up. You’ll have to factor in the damage of a pipe and the potential mold growth from all the water damage left behind.

The best way to avoid frozen pipes is to call one of our pros today to help insulate your pipes. Pipe insulation can help retain warmth in those colder months and help prevent a frozen pipe. You can also take the time to use your plumbing system a little more often than you would in the warmer months. Sometimes pipes freeze in the colder months due to the lack of usage, and without water flowing through your pipes often, this leaves a potential for frost to build up.

Stinky Drains

We know clogs are a significant source of some funky odors in your kitchen or bathroom, but sometimes you may notice an odd smell without any actual clog. If you ruled out a clog, you might be dealing with a dry p-trap. The p-trap is that u-shaped portion of your pipes that you will often see right underneath your sink. A p-trap holds water to help prevent sewer gas from venting into your home and avoid stinking up the place, as well as exposing your home to harmful sewer gas.

During the colder months, the cooler temperatures can potentially dry out your p-trap, leaving no protective barrier against sewer gas. Don’t worry if your p-trap has dried out! You can address this smelly problem by pouring half a gallon up to a whole gallon of water down your drain to help get some water back into your p-trap. After a few hours, you should notice the smell dissipate, and your drains will be happy.

Hot Water Issues

Sometimes you might run into the problem of not having hot water or notice your water temperature is inconsistent during the colder months. The best thing you can do is call a professional, and what do you know, we are chock full of them! Regular maintenance and inspection of your water lines and water heater can help prevent any issues with hot water in the colder months. Better late than never, so schedule an appointment today to avoid having to be stuck with nothing but cold showers in the middle of winter.


Sinclair Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, Inc is here for all your plumbing questions and concerns! Call (806) 454-9332 and our team is more than happy to help you find the best cost-effective solution for your plumbing!

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