Common Winter Plumbing Problems and How To Fix Them

It’s looking like it’s going to be a cold one this year and when cold weather hits, that’s when the plumbing problems start. In this blog we’re going to take a look at the most common seasonal plumbing problems and how Total DIY can help you solve them.

Plumbing Problem: Frozen Pipes

We’ll start with actually the least common plumbing problem – at least in Ireland. Typically, water & gas pipes in your home will only freeze up completely when the weather is set at below freezing for several days or weeks on end. So yes, this is uncommon in most of Ireland, although there are definitely areas in the country, particularly rural or mountainous areas, where this weather can and does occur.

The pipe freezing for a short period of time may not do too much damage. Where this becomes a real plumbing problem is when water backs up for too long due to freezing and leads to the pipe actually bursting. This can cause hundreds or even thousands of euros of Total DIY damages to your home. So, how do you spot a frozen pipe and how can you fix it?

The first sign of a problem is when no water comes out of your tap when you turn it on. Ensure your boiler & water pumps are turned on – if they are, you have a plumbing problem and need to fix it. To do this, you should either call a plumber or, if you’re confident of fixing it yourself, call into Total DIY and check out our range of Pipe products – our in-store experts will be able to direct you to the right pipes for your problem.


Plumbing Problem: Clogged Drains

Now, on to a much more common winter plumbing problem: clogged drains. These can occur for a number of reasons – often due to the cold weather, increased rainfall, fallen leaves, and increased volume of cooking in the home during the festive periods. What this means is more debris and water are likely to fall into your outside drains, blocking them; and increased amounts of fat, grease, and small bits of food will get down your drains inside, congealing and blocking them too.

For interior drains, we recommend a heavy-duty bleach such as our range of Knockout Unblockers, which instantly liquefies grease, hair, soap, paper, sanitary products, cooking fat, and much more, clearing the drain out.

For the outside, we’d recommend cleaning out your gutters and drain coverings regularly. Use our Draper Scraper for Drain Rod as an attachment to help fully clear out your gutters of leaves, litter and debris.


Knockout Sinks Showers Bath Unblocker

Heating & Radiators

The most common time for problems to arise for interior heating is during the colder months, when the heat is on in your home far more often, thus working the systems much harder than they have to for most of the rest of the year.

The most common heating plumbing problem is radiators not heating up fully when the heating is on. If you notice the top half of your radiator is not heating up, you will need to “bleed” the radiator of the excess air built up within it. This is extremely simple to do, simply input the radiator key into the hole near the top at the back, twist it clockwise, and wait until all the air has hissed out. The radiator should now heat up fully.

If, however, you turn the heating on and the entire radiator fails to heat up, you may need to replace the valves entirely. We have a wide range of Radiator Valves in stock on our website, and if you need any further advice, be sure to call into us in store in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow and ask our experts for help.


VG Angled Thermostatic Radiator Valve Lockshield Pair

Leaks & Damage to External Pipes

Finally, we have the potential plumbing problems caused by leaks and damage to external pipes – those found snaking their way around the walls of the outside of your house. These have combined usages of taking waste water from inside the house, out to drain pipes, and also to filter rainwater down to the drainpipes. If one of these pipes gets a leak, crack, or breaks off entirely, your waste systems, drainage systems and heating systems may not work properly. Naturally then it’s very important to solve these problems as soon as they crop up.

The first option is, of course, to simply replace the pipes entirely. Standard Waste Pipe is ideal for these external pipes but you may also need various Traps, Joints or Adapters too if it’s a more serious problem.

However, if it’s only a small crack or leak, rather than replacing the entire section of pipe, you can simply fill in the crack using Tetrion Fix A Leak.

You can also utilise Artic Spray Disposable Pipe Freeze Kit to freeze water to areas of the pipe to make repairs easier.

Finally, you can utilise Tec7 Plumb, which pours directly into the piping system and finds leaks and cracks and fills them immediately.


Tetrion Make Good Fix A Leak 


Tec7 Plumb7 Leak Sealer


Artic Spray Disposable Pipe Freeze Kit

These are the most common Plumbing Problems you may experience during the colder months. Hopefully these tips will be of use to you to prevent or repair any issues you may have. If you have any other questions or queries regarding plumbing problems, contact us or visit us in store in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.