Freezing temperatures can cause serious problems for your plumbing, including frozen sewer pipes, blockages and even pipe ruptures. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent damage to your wastewater sewer pipes. Follow these simple tips to protect your plumbing this winter.
Keep the heat on
Even if you're away from home, keep your thermostat above 55°F to help keep interior pipes from freezing. Keep the garage door closed and periodically open interior doors that contain plumbing, such as bathroom cabinets, to allow warm air to circulate and keep pipes warm.
Insulate pipes in unheated areas
Pipes near outside walls and inside crawlspaces, basements and garages are more likely to freeze. Apply heat tape or insulation as needed, being sure to follow all recommended safety precautions.
Avoid pouring fats, oils and grease (FOG) down the sewer system
When you pour fats, oils and grease down a kitchen sink or drain, it can build up inside pipes, reduce sewer capacity and eventually clog the line completely, causing sewer backups into your home and other problems downstream.
"The winter months are especially bad for FOG," says SD1 Pretreatment Specialist Jason Crawford. "The colder temps can cause FOG in wastewater pipes to solidify more quickly, causing more issues for your home's plumbing and SD1's sewer collection system.”
Do your part to fight the FOG:
- Store fats, oils and grease in covered collection containers until cool and solid, then dispose of it in the trash. Do not pour FOG down the drain.
- Wipe grease from pans or dishes with a paper towel before washing by hand or in a dishwasher.
- Use a strainer to collect excess food particles. Do not rely on the garbage disposal.
Learn more about protecting your sewer system through the SD1 FOG Program.
Warning signs & solutions
You may have a frozen sewer line if you notice frosted pipes or smell sewer odors inside the home when outside temperatures are below freezing. Thoroughly research solutions and contact a plumber for more assistance.
If you experience a sewer backup, contact SD1 immediately at (859) 578-7450 (Option 1). We'll send a crew to investigate the source.