3 Common Winter Plumbing and Sewer Problems in Northern California

common winter plumbing problemsA couple of years ago, we had a rainy winter like I’ve never seen before in my life—and that’s saying a lot because I was born and raised in Northern California. It was two winters back and we were still in the middle of that five-year drought. Well, we certainly were no longer in any kind of drought when it ended. To say that it rained and rained that year would be an understatement. As a result, homeowners from Sacramento on up to Folsom and down to Vacaville had some common winter plumbing and sewer problems related to the sudden influx of water into their plumbing.

These problems aren’t as severe as major flooding, but they can be problematic for homeowners. As badly as our area tends to need rain in the winter months to get us through summer—and it does—these common winter plumbing and sewer problems can be a bummer for homeowners. That’s why today I’d like to talk a little bit about the three most common pipe problems we tend to have in our region when the rain starts coming down in the winter.

It’s an old cliche, but knowledge really is power. If you know all you can know about these winter plumbing problems, you’ll know how to spot them. If you can spot them, you’ll know how to either clear them up, or when it’s time to contact the professionals for help. Either way, pay attention because if we have another winter half as rainy as the one we had a couple of years ago, this will be vital information for you as a homeowner.

A Sewer Backup: Common Winter Plumbing and Sewer Problems #1

To be quite honest, the most common winter plumbing problems in Northern California are with the sewers. Now, I’m not talking about the municipal sewer set that’s handled and taken care of by your city (although those can backup sometimes, too). No, I’m talking here about the sewers and mainline for your individual house.

sewer and plumbing problems in winter in CaliforniaWe’ve talked about this a good deal in the past, but the climate here in Northern California is such that we have hot and dry summers and cool and rainy winters. During those rainy winters, so much water can fall that the sewers for your individual home get backed up. When that happens, it can lead to sewage flowing back up into your tub, your toilet, and other fixtures. Trust this professional plumber who’s seen it all, nobody wants that.

Plumbing and sewer repair is always easier when it’s not an emergency situation.

If you’ve had problems of this nature in the past, or if you’ve noticed things like slow-draining sinks or toilets, I highly recommend calling a plumbing company out now to evaluate the situation before the rain comes and makes it worse. Plumbing and sewer repair is always easier when it’s not an emergency situation.

Ruptured Pipes: Common Winter Plumbing and Sewer Problems #2

Another common winter plumbing and sewer problem for homeowners is suffering a ruptured pipe. The ground in Northern California is hard for much of the year when it doesn’t rain; when the ground is hard, things like large rocks and roots are locked into place. When a sudden deluge of rain falls, though, the ground gets much softer. Those same large objects under the ground can then shift, sometimes slamming into your pipes and causing them to rupture.

If you notice high water bills or soggy grass, call out a professional plumbing contractor ASAP.

This, for many obvious reasons, isn’t good. It’s especially problematic because it happens under the ground where you can’t see it. I’ve known homeowners to call because they notice their water bill creeping higher and higher, or their backyard turning soggy in places. These are both indicators that the rainy Northern California winter may have led to a ruptured pipe. If you notice high water bills or soggy grass, call out a professional plumbing contractor ASAP.

Mainline Sewer Issues: Common Winter Plumbing and Sewer Problems #3

The third and final of our common winter plumbing and sewer problems is a potential clog or other issue with your sewer mainline. This tends to happen after a lot of rain if debris is also flooding into your sewer system. So many sticks, soggy leaves, and other detritus can accumulate that your sewer pipe can’t do its job, i.e. can’t sweep the water in and out of your home.

This can manifest in some of the symptoms we discussed above, specifically toilets that are slow to flush, drains that seemed clogged, or even the smell of sewer water in your bathroom when everything is dry. If you have some—or any of these problems—my advice is the same as above. Don’t hesitate. Reach out to a local plumbing contractor right away.

It’s a common source of conversation around Sacramento in the fall. When is the rain coming? How much rain will there be? Boy, I sure hope it rains soon; after the hot and dry summer we had, we really need it. And, of course, rain is a good thing.

With great amounts of rain, though, come potential problems for your home plumbing and sewer pipes. Don’t worry, though, they can all be fixed. You just need to keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms we discussed above, and give us folks here at Bell Brothers as call as soon as you notice one of them.

Here at Bell Brothers, we’d be happy to help you and your home plumbing system prepare for the rain. We have decades of plumbing experience and a local perspective. We can help make sure your pipes are primed and ready for the deluge of water likely to come our way this winter. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.

Wondering how to finance a new furnace, or maybe even new windows and plumbing? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.

Image courtesy Dzurag