Slow drains to poor pressure: 6 post-winter Okanagan plumbing problems

While it might be too soon to pack away the winter gear just yet, the days are getting longer, and the first signs of spring are starting to appear. If spring cleaning is on your mind, don’t forget to add these plumbing checkups to the list!

“The winter months can be hard on pipes and plumbing, both inside and outside the home,” says Ted Fox, of Fox Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical. “Checking for signs of leaks and damage once the snow melts is a good way to get ahead of what could potentially become a big problem down the line.”

Ted shares his insight on what to watch out for once the snow and ice have melted.

  1. Leaking pipes: Once temperatures are above freezing, do a general walk-through to review your home and all visible pipes. Look for signs of water damage and leaks. Check faucets and toilets to ensure you haven’t overlooked any issues in less-used areas, such as guest bedrooms and bathrooms.
  2. Problems with water pressure: Sudden changes in water pressure can be caused by a number of issues. If you’ve noticed a change, check with your neighbours first in case it’s a widespread problem. If it’s just your home, calling a plumber is the quickest way to get answers.
  3. Damaged exterior plumbing: From underground pipes damaged by tree roots, flooding or freezing, to exterior hose connections that have sprung a leak, spring is often the first chance you’ll get to spot an issue. Watch for unexplained puddles or muddy areas in your yard and check all outside hose connections for new damage or leaks.
  4. Slow or clogged drains: The cold isn’t the only challenge your plumbing likely faced this winter. Built up food debris and grease from holiday feasting can also result in costly repairs if left unattended. Having your drains professionally cleaned once a year or at the earliest sign of a clog can save you time and money down the line.
  5. Sump pump failure: As warm weather returns, groundwater can thaw and overwhelm old, or poorly installed sump pumps. Keep a close eye on your sump pump over the spring months to make sure everything is running smoothly.
  6. Water heater failure: Heating up water when temperatures are dropping into the negatives is no easy task. Winter months can exacerbate water heater problems, which makes spring a good time to make sure your water heater isn’t showing signs of rust, damage or leaks.

“Keeping up to date on plumbing maintenance and performing regular inspections of your home’s interior and exterior can save you from costly repairs,” Ted says. “While we might not be out of the woods with winter weather quite yet, we can certainly get ahead of any seasonal damage before it becomes a bigger issue.”

Fox Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical has been recognized for Customer Service Excellence by the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce and has been serving communities in the Thompson Okanagan since 1999. For service requests visit them online at or call them at 1-833-793-4569.

READ MORE from Fox Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical:

Vernon plumber shares insight on drain cleaning vs. drain clearing

Carbon monoxide safety this winter: What you need to know

8 warning signs your furnace may be on its way out

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