Do you open cabinet doors to find water flooding the baseboards and walls? Is your basement wetter than normal? These are obvious signs of a broken pipe. Pipe bursts can cause significant damage to your home and can be expensive to repair.
While many homeowners are familiar with the symptoms of a broken pipe, many don’t know what causes them. Knowing the causes and preventive measures to take can help you safeguard your home from costly repairs and damage.
Read on to learn what causes pipes to burst and how you can prevent it.
Why Do Pipes Burst?
Water pipes burst for man reasons. This can be anything from cold weather during winter to low quality plastic pipes that are clogged and have improperly installed. To give you a better understanding and help you assess your plumbing system, here are some of the most common causes:
1. Freezing Pipes
Cold temperatures during winter months is the most common culprit of pipe burst. Water expands as it freezes, which increases the pressure in the pipes and cause them to break. Frozen pipes are normally those that are outside your home. This can be anything from outdoor faucets, swimming pool pipes, to sprinkler systems. Frozen pipes burst due to the water inside them freezing and expanding, which causes considerable pressure on the plumbing system. When the water freezes, the pipes can become blocked and ultimately burst, causing serious damage to your home. Warm air and cold air entering and leaving the home can cause a dramatic drop in temperature, potentially causing pipes to freeze.
2. Tree Roots
Outside cold months, you are to experience a burst pipe issue when a tree root has grown into your pipes. This can happen if a pipe is faulty or even if it is just experiencing crack. The tree will send its roots down in search of water and nutrients, so they will grow into any cracks or holes that they find in the pipes.
3. Rust and Corrosion
Another reason for your burst water pipe issue can be due to old age. When your piping system is old and it has been in place for a long time, you can experience corrosion. This is when the pipe’s internal surface is worn down by oxidation and other chemical processes. Corrosion and rust cause your water pipes to become weak, which means that they are more likely to break.
4. Clogged Pipe
Aside from ice blockage, during normal temperature months, your pipes can also get clogged by debris. This is especially true if you have an old home, as pipes in older homes tend to be smaller and narrower. Tissue, food debris, hair, and even insects can clog your pipes. If you experience a sudden drop in water pressure in your home, this may be an indication that something is blocking the flow of water.
Unforeseen things are sometimes out of our control, and this includes accidents that can cause damage to your pipes. For example, things like a heavy object being dropped on the pipes or digging too deep during landscaping projects could end up causing broken water pipes. Regardless whether you have copper pipes, plastic pipes, or any other type of pipe material, damages like these can still occur. Should you experience anything like this, it’s best to call a professional plumber right away so the damage doesn’t worsen.
6. High Water Pressure
You’re home’s water pressure plays a big role in the condition of your pipes. If it’s too high, it could create unnecessary stress on the pipes that could cause them to burst or even just leak. It’s important to check what the normal water pressure is for your area, and if you find out yours is a bit higher than average, then you may need to install a pressure reducing valve. This will help ensure you don’t have to worry about any future pipe damage caused by too-high water pressure.
7. Poor Pipe Installation
This is a common problem when trying DIY your pipe installation. While you can save money in the upfront cost of installing pipes yourself, if it isn’t done properly, it can cost you a lot of money in the long run. It’s important to ensure that pipes are properly fitted and securely connected to avoid any potential issues with leaks. If you’re not sure how to do this, then be sure to seek professional help.
What to Do to Prevent Burst Pipes
To keep your pipes from bursting, it’s important to take proactive steps.
Insulate All Exposed Pipes
During winter months, make sure to insulate all exposed pipes. This can be anything from outdoor pipes to those inside of walls or ceilings. Insulation helps keep the pipes warm and can help protect them against freezing temperatures. Don’t let your home’s temperature drop below 55 degrees fahrenheit. This can cause the liquid form of water to freeze and expand, leading to a burst. You can shop for insulation and wraps at any hardware store.
Have Your Plumbing Inspected Regularly
Once every two years is the recommended interval for having your plumbing inspected. An experienced plumber can check for any potential problems before they become a bigger issue, saving time and money. If the inspection reveals existing issues or signs of damage, it is best to have those repaired as soon as possible.
Keep an Eye Out for Clogged Pipes
The water flow in a clogged pipe is often slow and may produce gurgling noises. If you notice any of these signs, be sure to take the necessary steps to unclog your pipes. You can use a snake or a plunger for this. If the problem persists, it is best to contact a professional plumber for help.
Check Your Water Pressure With a Gauge
Using a gauge is one of the most effective ways to check your water pressure. By installing a gauge, you can easily see if there are any fluctuations in water pressure over time. Using it is pretty straightforward. You simply need to attach the gauge to the pipe and then turn on the water. After a few seconds, you will be able to read your water pressure.
Hire a Professional to Do Installation
Don’t let your desire to save money lead to a disaster. It is important to hire a professional for any major plumbing installation or repair. This ensures that the job is done properly and safely and prevents you from running into any issues later on. A qualified and experienced plumbing contractor will be able to install your pipes, fixtures, and appliances correctly so that you can have peace of mind knowing that your system is running smoothly.
The Bottom Line
A burst pipe issue is a major problem and calls for an emergency. Not only can it cause a great deal of damage, but it can also be hazardous. If you suspect that you have a burst pipe, the best course of action is to turn off your water immediately and call a professional plumber to assess the situation and determine how to fix it.
If you are in Mesa, AZ, feel free to call us at P&L Plumbing. We specialize in all things plumbing, from installation and repairs to maintenance. Our team of plumbers has the knowledge and experience needed to handle any plumbing issue you may have, including burst pipes.