A burst pipe in your home can be disastrous. It can cause extensive damage to your home and will prevent you from living your life in a normal fashion. Of course, you can never completely guard against them, but there are a few ways to lessen the likelihood that a pipe in your home will burst. The following text discusses why pipes may burst in both cold and warm weather. It also outlines a few steps that you can take to protect your home. Additionally, we will discuss what you should do if a pipe bursts in your home.
Why do Pipes Burst in Cold Weather?
Water is a unique substance. Because water molecules have a unique structure, they actually take up more space as a solid, than they do as a liquid. That means, that when water freezes, it expands. This article explains how some burst pipes occur.
Additionally, multiple ice blockages within pipes can increase water pressure at multiple positions throughout the pipe. This can put a large amount of stress on the pipes and cause a burst. These are the basic principles that explain why pipes often burst in freezing temperatures.
Now that we have some background regarding why pipes burst, we will discuss a few measures that you can take to prevent your pipes from freezing.
5 Cold Weather Preventative Measures
Prevent Pipes From Freezing
Of course, you can’t control the weather. However, you can have some say about the temperature within your house. If you know where your water lines are located within your home, you might try to ensure that the temperature in those areas does not go lower than the freezing point (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
Seal any areas in which cold air can get into your home. Ensure that there is proper insulation in every area through which cold air can get into your home.
This may not be practical for your home, but it is a simple step that may help you to avoid having to suffer through a broken pipe in the cold winter months.
Keep Some Water Running
When the temperature is extremely low, it can be helpful to leave a few faucets running slowly. This keeps a water flow in the pipe which can help to prevent ice from building up throughout the pipe and causing the dreaded pipe burst.
Leave Cabinet Doors Open
The pipes under sinks are vulnerable to bursting in cold weather. A good way to prevent this is to leave the cabinet doors open to expose the pipes beneath the sink to warm air.
Pipe insulation is a relatively inexpensive way to prevent a, potentially, very expensive problem. Wrapping your pipes in insulation can be a good, long-term, measure to prevent water from freezing within a pipe and eventually bursting.
Turn Off Exterior Spigot(s)
Many times a burst pipe is caused by water freezing in a pipe that delivers water to the outside of your house. When winter comes, you should turn off the water supply to those pipes. This shutoff can usually be easily located in the basement or other areas of the home.
Additionally, you should drain the pipes after you shut the water off. These pipes are extremely vulnerable to freezing because parts of them are located outside of the house. However, if there is no water in the pipe, then it can not freeze.
What to do if You Have a Burst Pipe in Cold Weather
Unfortunately, even if you take all of these precautions, you may still have to suffer through a frozen, and eventually, burst pipe. If that does happen there are a few things that you should do to mitigate damage and fix the situation as quickly as possible. (The Red Cross offers some helpful hints and provides resources for the public)
Why do Pipes Burst in Warm Weather?
Cold weather isn’t the only reason that pipes burst. Each year a large amount of pipes burst within the summer months. The following are a few causes of warm weather burst pipes.
Too much rain makes the ground excessively moist. Too little rain can make the ground that surrounds a house looser. These shifts can affect the pipe’s pressure and cause it to burst.
Warm weather can accelerate rust formation. When pipes rust they become weak and brittle. This can cause pipe failure.
Your pipes can become blocked for a number of reasons, other than ice. When this occurs in the summer, it can cause fluctuations in water pressure which can cause pipes to burst.
Hard water leaves mineral deposits on pipes. These deposits weaken the pipe’s walls and can make them very likely to break and burst.
5 Ways to Prevent a Burst Pipe in Warm Weather
Soften Hard Water
Improving your water quality will cause less deposits in your pipes and make them less likely to burst.
Clogs are a major reason for burst pipes. Keeping your pipes clear will eliminate this cause of burst pipes.
Employ a Professional
Shoddy work is a leading cause of burst pipes. Ensure that all of your plumbing work is done by a competent, licensed, professional.
Replace Old Pipes
A professional will be able to tell you if your pipes are weakened by excessive wear. Being proactive and catching these problems before they can help to prevent burst pipes.
Improve Your Home’s Drainage
Proper drainage can minimize the shifting of the ground around your house in various weather conditions. This can alleviate the stress on your pipes and allow them to function longer.
What to do if a Pipe Bursts in Your Home in Warm Weather
The first thing that you should do if a pipe bursts in shut off the water supply at the main shutoff valve. Then, run sinks and flush toilets to drain any excess water. The next step is to evaluate whether or not you can fix the burst yourself or call a professional. Then you should assess the damage and clean up as soon as possible to prevent harmful mold from forming.
These kind of emergencies are often best left to a professional. When a pipe bursts in your home it is sure to cause a lot of stress, and you may not be up to making the repair yourself.
However, if you are living in Brisbane, Australia then contact experienced, and knowledgeable plumbing contractors in Brisbane to have your emergency fixed quickly and with as little pain as possible. These professionals can use their expertise to efficiently fix your issue and help you and your loved ones return to normalcy.