Most people know pipes can freeze in the winter, but did you know that your sewer line can freeze too? Understanding how this happens, and ways to avoid it, may save you an expensive mess in the cooler months.
What Causes a Freezing Sewer Pipe?
Travelling water or trapped water in your sewer pipes become exposed to cold winter temperatures. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, this water is susceptible to freezing. As we learned in Science class, when water freezes, it expands. Expanding water in a pipe has nowhere to go!
What Happens Next?
The expanding water blocks the line, or can even crack open your pipes causing them to burst.
A blocked line stops water from flowing freely through your sewer pipes. It may start as a small blockage, but when more water arrives, and builds up overtime, your pipe can be completely blocked off by ice. Blocked lines equal backed up drains and lots of mess for homeowners. Even worse, cracking or bursting pipes may cause serious damage to your home and require an expensive fix.
Freezing Sewer Pipe Culprits
- Extremely cold temperatures, especially if there is a sudden drop in temperature
- Water isn’t flowing through pipes regularly
- Lack of insulation surrounding pipes
- Drains or sewers not installed at the proper depth
- Heating isn’t reaching all areas of the home leaving certain pipes and drains exposed to cooler air
- Outdoor exposed pipes like gutter systems feeding frigid water into your sewer line
- Tree roots causing blockage as they search for water
How Do I Avoid Freezing Sewer Pipes?
You cannot control the weather, but you can take a few preventative steps to battle the cold:
- Insulate the pipes in cooler areas of your home where the heat doesn’t reach and also your pipes exposed to the outdoors
- Make sure your home is kept warm even while awhile
- Open up cupboards and other areas containing pipes to let warm air in
- If you’re experiencing extremely cold temperatures, leave your faucet running at a very slow rate (just a drip) to keep your water moving
- Remove snow near drains
How Do I Know If My Sewer Pipes are Frozen?
Watch for any water or dampness appearing in an unusual place. Damp walls and ceilings, water puddling outside, frost on the outside of pipes, or flooding may indicate frozen sewer pipes. Take note if your pipes or vents are producing strange noises or smells. Another indicator is if water stops flowing from faucets or only comes out in small amounts.
What Should I Do If I Have Freezing Sewer Lines?
For hard to reach drains and pipes, you should contact a professional drain service who specialize in dealing with underground sewer drains. They will be able to make a clear assessment and produce a solution.
About Clear Drain Cleaning
Clear Drain Cleaning is a local owned company that specializes in cleaning and servicing drains, sewer systems and septic systems. We utilize specialist cleaning methods such as hydrojetting and electric drain cleaning methods, along with camera inspections to ensure we get it right the first time. Additionally, we service grease traps, septic systems, sewers and offer a root removal service. We proudly serve Holmes County, Wayne County, Tuscarawas County, Coshocton County, Stark County, Ashland County and Carroll County. Contact us today and Like Us on Facebook!