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5 Major Causes of Pipe Failure

5 Major Causes of Pipe Failure

If you’re a homeowner or property manager, you know that pipe damage is one of the most frustrating and costly problems you can encounter. Leaking or bursting pipes can cause serious damage to your property, from water damage to mold growth. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the common causes of pipe failure and take steps to prevent them.

In this article, we’ll explore the top five causes of pipe failure: corrosion, water velocity, clogging, movement, and extreme temperatures. We’ll also give you tips on how to prevent these issues from occurring and how to maintain your piping systems to prevent future damage. Whether you’re dealing with drainage lines, exposed pipes, or complex piping systems, this guide will help you avoid costly repairs and keep your property in good condition.

So, whether you’re a seasoned property manager or a homeowner who wants to protect your investment, read on to learn how to prevent pipe failure and keep your pipes in top condition. From pressure regulators to pipe walls, we’ve got you covered.


Corrosion is a major cause of pipe failure in various pipe systems. It occurs due to the reduction-oxidation reaction between the piping material and the surrounding environment. Galvanic corrosion is a common type, caused when two dissimilar metals are in contact.

This interaction leads to one metal corroding faster, causing the pipe to weaken and eventually fail. In water supply systems, oxygen particles can increase corrosion, leading to small leaks and pipe failures. Preventive measures, such as using corrosion-resistant materials, can help mitigate this issue.

Water Velocity

High water velocity in piping systems can lead to premature pipe failure. An increase in flow can exert more force on the pipes, causing them to wear down faster.

Water hammering, a sudden change in water pressure, can also contribute to pipe damage. Installing air chambers and maintaining proper water pressure can help reduce the risk of pipe failure due to water velocity.


Clogged pipes are a common issue in sewage systems and plumbing systems. Solid waste, food waste, and toilet paper can accumulate, leading to blockages that put pressure on the pipe walls.

This pressure can cause the pipes to crack or burst. Regular maintenance and proper disposal of waste can prevent clogging and subsequent pipe failure.


Ground movement is a natural occurrence that can lead to pipe failure. Shifting soil, settling, and seismic activity can all cause pipes to bend, twist, or break.

Proper installation and support for pipes can minimize the risk of failure due to ground movement. In areas prone to significant movement, flexible piping materials may be a better choice.

Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures can cause pipe systems to fail, particularly if proper insulation is not in place. Cold temperatures can cause water in pipes to freeze, expanding and exerting pressure on the pipe walls. This pressure can lead to cracks or even bursts.

On the other hand, extremely hot temperatures can cause pipes to expand, potentially leading to leaks or breaks at the connections. Proper insulation and temperature control can help protect pipes from extreme temperatures and prevent failures.

Tips on How to Prevent Pipe Failure

Tips on How to Prevent Pipe Failure

Preventing pipe failure is essential for maintaining a safe and efficient piping system. Whether it’s a plumbing system, supply lines, or water pipes, implementing preventative measures can save time, money, and hassle. Here are a few tips to help prevent pipe failure:

  1. Ensure proper installation: A well-installed piping system is less likely to fail. Poor installation can lead to leaks, breaks, and other problems. Hire a professional to install your pipes and inspect existing installations for potential issues.
  2. Choose the right materials: Opt for materials resistant to corrosion, like copper. Copper pipes are less likely to rust, which can cause leaks and other issues. They are also more resistant to heat, making them suitable for hot water supply lines.
  3. Insulate pipes: Insulating your pipes can protect them from extreme temperatures. This is particularly important in cold climates, where freezing water can cause pipes to burst. Insulation also helps prevent heat loss in hot water pipes, improving energy efficiency.
  4. Monitor water pressure: High water pressure can strain your pipes and lead to failure. Regularly check your water pressure and adjust it if necessary to maintain a safe level.
  5. Perform regular maintenance: Regularly inspect your plumbing system for signs of wear or damage. Address any issues promptly to prevent them from becoming bigger problems.
  6. Clear growing roots: Tree roots can infiltrate your piping system, causing blockages and damage. Regularly check for root intrusion and remove any offending roots to protect your pipes.
  7. Install a water softener: Hard water can cause mineral buildup in your pipes, leading to reduced water flow and potential pipe failure. Installing a water softener can help prevent this issue.
  8. Dispose of waste properly: To prevent clogs, be mindful of what you put down your drains. Dispose of food waste, grease, and other materials appropriately, and avoid using your toilet as a trash can.
  9. Replace old pipes: Over time, pipes can weaken and become more susceptible to failure. Replace aging pipes to prevent leaks and other issues.
  10. Install a backflow preventer: A backflow preventer can protect your potable water supply from contamination due to backflow. This device prevents water from flowing back into the supply lines, keeping your water safe and clean.

By following these tips, you can help ensure the longevity and reliability of your piping system. Regular maintenance, proper installation, and attention to potential issues can all contribute to preventing pipe failure and keeping your plumbing system in top condition.

The Bottom Line

There’s no telling whether or when a pipe system may fail. However, there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening. Regular maintenance and inspections, proper installation, the right materials, insulation, and other measures can help protect your pipes from damage and keep them in good working condition. Taking these precautions may help save you time and money in the long run.

If you are in Mesa, AZ, and need help with pipe failure prevention or repair, contact P&L Plumbing. We have been providing quality plumbing services for many years and offer a variety of solutions to suit your needs.

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