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Common Springtime Plumbing System Failures

5 Common Springtime Plumbing Repairs in Austin, TX

Austin might stay warm most of the winter, but the seasonal changes can put a strain on your plumbing system.

Between changing weather, heavier use, and the spring growing season, there are lots of potential causes of problems.

Being aware of those problems and knowing the signs can help you know when to call a plumber. You can also take steps to prevent some of the spring plumbing issues before they happen. That can prevent serious damage inside your home and cut down on your repair bills.

Keep reading to check out five potential spring plumbing repairs you could need in Austin.

1. Sewer Line Obstructions

You can have sewer line problems any time of year, but spring brings more potential for damage.

Tree roots often grow into your sewer lines, causing damage. They can crack the lines as they grow into the sewer.

The roots can also clog the sewer line. That can cause sewage backup in your home or slow down the drains.

In the spring, your trees wake up after being dormant in the winter. The roots seek out water. 

That new growth can increase the chances of root damage to your sewer lines.

While you can't always prevent sewer line blockage from trees, you can spot the problem early with regular servicing.

A plumber can inspect your sewer lines using cameras to spot tree roots and other obstructions. This allows the blockages to be cleared before they cause damage inside your home.

If the sewer lines are damaged, you might need to have them replaced. This can be a very extensive process that requires tearing up your yard.

2. Clogged Pipes

The winter months often mean lots of guests and holiday celebrations. You might be the designated spot for the annual Super Bowl party and other winter events.

With all that fun and entertaining comes a lot more strain on your plumbing system. You might send a lot more food than normal down your garbage disposal as you prepare all of the meals. If you put the wrong things down your disposal, it can gum things up and cause clogs.

You might have overnight guests, which means more flushing toilets and more showers. That increases the chances for clogs throughout your system. Longer, warmer showers might mean you shed more hair into your drains.

Muddy spring weather might require more baths for your dog, which increases fur in the drains.

It's often not an immediate problem. The extra junk going down the drains slowly builds up.

But if you notice your sinks draining slower or your toilets not flushing well, it might be time to call in a plumber.

Avoid using the harsh drain cleaners you can buy at the store. The caustic chemicals are bad for you to inhale and can be damaging to skin.

They can also damage your plumbing.

Try a plunger or a plumbing snake to loosen the clog. If that doesn't work and you are too clogged to function, it's best to call a plumber to remove the gunk. Plumbers have commercial-grade tools to power through clogs and get your system flowing again.

3. Sump Pump Problems

Sump pumps are usually found in basements, which are rare in Austin. Sump pumps can also go into crawl spaces on the lower level of a home.

If you have a basement or crawl space, a sump pump can keep your home from flooding. Austin gets an average of 34" of rain per year, so having a sump pump can be good protection, especially during rainy spring months.

Spring is a good time to have your sump pump inspected. You can test it yourself by dumping a bucket of water into the sump pump. If it turns on automatically and shuts off by itself after removing all of the water, it's working correctly.

If it doesn't turn on, a plumber can help you diagnose the problem

4. Damaged Pipes

The risk of frozen pipes isn't as high in Austin as it is further north. The average low in January is 42 degrees Fahrenheit. On average, the city only reaches freezing temperatures 25 days each year.

But there's still the potential for frozen pipes if it's an unusually cold winter, especially if freezing temperatures last for an extended time.

Since you're used to the warm, subtropical climate in Austin, you might not think about the potential for frozen pipes. But frozen water in your plumbing can cause huge problems.

Burst pipes can result in flooding inside your home. 

Some of the pipe damage isn't always noticeable immediately. You'll likely know your pipes have frozen because it stops water from flowing to your faucets.

But if the pipes freeze while you're on vacation or away from your home, you might not realize it happened.

Even if you know the pipes froze, the full extent of the damage might not show itself until later. Small cracks might not be noticeable. If it just causes a small trickling leak, you might not notice the water damage immediately.

If you notice lower water pressure in the spring, it could be to undiscovered damage to your pipes. A higher than normal water bill can also indicate that there's a leak somewhere in your system.

Doing a little investigating may help you spot the source of the leak, but a plumber can also help find it quickly.

5. Outdoor Plumbing

Another common cause of plumbing issues in the spring is with outdoor plumbing. Because the pipes are outdoors, they're exposed to the sometimes freezing Austin temperatures.

If you don't winterize your outdoor spigots, outdoor kitchen plumbing, and other exterior plumbing, you might face damage issues outdoors.

Outdoor spigots are often a source of damage, especially if you leave your hose connected in the winter. When it freezes, it can damage the pipes leading to the spigot.

Take Care of Your Plumbing System

Your plumbing system is something you want to keep in good condition. Even minor damage to the system can cause major leaks and damage inside your home. Being aware of common seasonal issues helps you be proactive in getting the plumbing repairs you need.

If you're concerned about your plumbing, request a job estimate today.