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2024/03/04 2:40

By Flooded

Preventing Burst Pipes

Burst Pipes

While you’re enjoying the convenience of running water, it’s easy to take the health of our plumbing system for granted. Who cares, you might ask. Besides, the plumbing system is not seen unless a pipe surprisingly bursts. 

It’s quite a mess when a pipe breaks. Leaks, eventually flooding, and its aftermath are challenging situations you must attend to immediately. 

What could happen when your water pipes burst? Here are some common but serious effects:

  • Flooding—Flooding can be a minor or major catastrophe. Leaks from bursting water pipes could easily drench the structures along the flood’s path. Water is quick to spread, especially if the current is strong. Even if the flooding stops, the cleanup will be the hardest part.
  • Damage to structures and property—Porous materials and home structures like walls, wood floors, furniture, and carpets can swiftly absorb water. Water can damage these items unless you have a restoration team on standby. It would be more challenging to restore them to their pristine condition.
  • Health risks—Not all clean water may come from broken pipes. Water can be contaminated with certain pathogens and elements from corrosion. Mold and mildew growth from excessive moisture can add risks to health. Mold remediation can be avoided if proper plumbing maintenance is in place.

What can you do?

The Science Behind Water Pipes Bursting

Freezing temperatures, high water pressure, freezing temperatures, and corrosion are common reasons pipes burst. Factors like location, type of pipe material, and insulation can also weaken pipes and make them burst.

Let’s understand these vulnerabilities further:

  1. Exposed pipes. These are pipes found in the attic or basements and exterior walls. While they are exposed to heat and cold, they are more susceptible to bursting due to extreme temperatures.
  2. Exterior pipes. These pipes are different from exposed pipes. They are the ones situated outdoors. Examples of these types of pipes are swimming pool lines, hose bibs, or pipes for irrigation. They are more at risk of bursting and freezing, more likely when they haven’t been drained in the winter or during cold weather. 
  3. Older pipes: Old pipes are of galvanized steel or copper and are prone to corrosion. Rusted pipes increase the risk of bursting. Also, they are vulnerable to damage from extreme cold.
  4. Pipes with existing leaks or damage: This is non-negotiable. Damaged pipes eventually fail and burst, especially when exposed to freezing temperatures. 

Plumbing systems are vulnerable to freezing temperatures, especially in areas with cold climates. When water freezes, it puts tremendous strain on the pipe walls. The pipe may burst if the pressure buildup exceeds its carrying capacity. Also, as ice expands, it may cause further damage to the pipe, raising the possibility of a rupture.

Another common reason for burst pipes is corrosion, particularly in older plumbing systems or pipes made of metal. The pipe material may eventually weaken due to exposure to rusty substances. Under typical operating conditions, this slow deterioration destroys the pipe’s integrity and increases its likelihood of erupting.

Pipes burst due to high water pressure. Excessive pressure causes stress on the pipes and makes them vulnerable to cracks, leaks, and bursts.

With this knowledge, property owners can protect their plumbing systems and reduce the risk of costly burst pipes.

Property owners or occupants should pay attention not only to freezing temperatures but to hot weather as well. This prevents burst pipes and water damage that could necessitate water restoration services.

What Can You Do to Prevent Burst Pipes?

Take the following proactive measures to prevent pipes from bursting: 

  1. Insulate exposed pipes. Uninsulated areas like basements or attics cause damage to exposed pipes from freezing temperatures. 
  2. Keep interior temperatures stable. Maintaining a consistent temperature inside your home, especially during cold weather, prevents freezing pipes.
  3. Seal air leaks, cracks, and gaps. Cracks and gaps are a gateway for cold air to infiltrate the home.
  4. Let the faucets drip. This relieves pressure in the pipes, preventing them from freezing.
  5. Drain outdoor hoses and shut off faucets.
  6. Leave cabinet doors under the sink open to let warm air circulate. 
  7. Schedule regular maintenance with a qualified professional to quickly address issues. 
  8. Keep watch of the water pressure in your plumbing system. High water pressure can strain pipes and raise the possibility of a rupture, so be aware of any variations and take immediate action.

How Do You Stop Pipes from Bursting in the Summer?

Although freezing temperatures are frequently linked to burst pipes in the winter, there are other reasons why they might also happen in the summer. To keep pipes from bursting in the summer, follow these suggestions:

  1. Insulate exposed pipes.
  2. Maintain a comfortable temperature. If you’re away for many days, keep the temperature at your house steady and avoid high temperatures. Regulate indoor temperatures by using fans or air conditioning.
  3. Check your irrigation system in your garden. Regular inspection for cracks, leaks, and other signs of damage will prevent pipe bursts. Adjust the watering schedule based on the weather.
  4. Inspect outdoor faucets, hoses, and sprinkler systems for signs of leaks. Fix or replace any damaged components to prevent water from accumulating and causing pressure on pipes.
  5. Remove gutter clutter and clean downspouts regularly to prevent excessive water runoff, causing damage to the property’s foundation. Water pooling around the pipes causes the pipes to burst.
  6. Use water sparingly: Pay attention to how much water you use in the summer, especially if there is a drought or other water restrictions. To ease the burden on your plumbing system, use water-saving fixtures and appliances instead of overusing water-intensive ones like washing machines and dishwashers.
  7. Plan routine plumbing inspections: Have a skilled professional evaluate your plumbing system regularly to spot possible problems early on and fix them before they become serious ones. Frequent upkeep can help save costly repairs and unplanned pipe bursts.

What Pipes Are Most Likely To Burst?

Hot water pipes are more dangerous because water freezes more quickly than cold water. Although not at the same risk of bursting as their copper counterparts, plastic pipes can also burst. 

Identifying Vulnerable Areas

Certain locations and types of pipes are highly likely to burst. Therefore, we require preventive measures and caution.

  • Location: Pipes located where the temperature is less controlled, such as in attics, exterior walls, crawl spaces, sinks, and showers, are vulnerable to freezing.
  • Types of pipes: Finding weak points in your plumbing system requires understanding the materials used. Older homes may have solid copper or galvanized steel pipes that are prone to rust over time. On the other hand, plastic PEX pipes, which are more corrosion-resistant but could still rupture in severe circumstances, are frequently used in newer projects.
  • Outdoor plumbing: In cold weather, outdoor plumbing fittings susceptible to freezing and break include hose bibs, irrigation systems, and swimming pool supply lines. These fixtures are vulnerable to harm from freezing temperatures since they are frequently exposed to the environment and might not have enough insulation.
  • High-risk seasons: When temperatures drop below freezing in the winter, pipes will likely burst. During this season, it’s critical to pay additional attention to sensitive areas and take precautionary steps like insulating pipes and letting faucets drip to avoid freezing.

Property owners can prevent expensive water damage by taking preventative measures to safeguard their plumbing systems and recognize places susceptible to pipe bursts.

Recap of the preventive measures against bursting pipes:

  1. Insulate exposed pipes in unheated areas.
  2. Maintain a consistent temperature in the home.
  3. Allow faucets to drip during freezing temperatures.
  4. Seal cracks and gaps to prevent cold air infiltration.
  5. Drain outdoor hoses and irrigation systems before winter.
  6. Monitoring water pressure and addressing any issues promptly.
  7. Have a plan in place for dealing with frozen pipes.

Importance of Regular Maintenance and Inspections Before Winter

Prioritizing routine plumbing system maintenance and inspections before winter arrives will help you find and fix any potential weak points, reduce the chance of burst pipes, and save your property from expensive water damage. The trouble and cost of dealing with broken pipes and water damage later on, can be avoided by devoting time and energy to preventive steps today.

Bottomline

Burst pipes seriously threaten your family’s safety and your home’s structural integrity. Such an event might have emotionally and financially draining consequences. The effects of burst pipes are significant and can endure for a long time. They can cause extensive property damage as well as interrupt daily activities.

Imagine returning home after a long day, only to find your living room flooded and your belongings soaked. The stress and inconvenience of dealing with water damage cleanup and restoration can be overwhelming, not to mention the financial strain of repairing structural damage and replacing damaged belongings.

As the #1 water damage restoration company in New York, FLOODED.COM understands the urgency of preventive measures in safeguarding your home against the threat of burst pipes. We have witnessed the devastation caused by burst pipes and are committed to helping homeowners like you avoid such disasters.

Act now. Find out more about our services and how we can help you protect your home from the risk of burst pipes. Get in touch with FLOODED.COM today. Let’s restore that peace of mind together.

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