It’s that time of year to think about the possibility of frozen or burst pipes. Of course, water pipes can burst during other seasons as well, but freezing temperatures are usually the main reason this occurs.
As you probably know, you have pipes leading to and away from your home which are located underground, and you have pipes spread throughout your home in your walls.
Sometimes these pipes burst and cause a lot of financial and material damage. The extent of damage caused by burst pipes depends on different factors, such as how fast you can stop the flooding.
For example, if the flooding happens in an empty house, with the tenants away for several or more days, the damage can be measured in thousands of dollars.
If it happens while you’re at home, and you immediately shut off the main water supply, turn on all faucets to remove the remaining water from the pipes, and call your plumber right away, you can prevent serious damage.
What Causes Burst Water Pipes?
We mentioned the most common reason for pipes bursting – cold temperatures and pipes freezing. As for underground pipes, as long as they are installed deep enough, the ground will keep them warm.
As for wall pipes in your home, they are sometimes installed outside of your wall, and those exposed pipes are at risk the most. However, your interior pipes can freeze as well, especially those that are located in exterior walls, or in an unheated area of your home (garage, basement, attic, etc.)
There are some other things that can potentially cause your pipes to burst. As you’re well aware, they don’t last forever. They corrode with time, especially in places with hard water where mineral or rust buildup can cause the pipes to deteriorate and crack.
They can also break if the water pressure is higher than what the pipes can handle.
What Are the Signs of a Burst Pipe?
There are a few subtle things that can give away a slightly fractured pipe. If you turn on the faucet and there’s no water coming out or it just trickles, that could be the sign of a frozen and slightly cracked underground waterline.
Mold or wet patches on your walls could also give away a pinhole leak in the pipe.
The most obvious sign of a burst pipe is a huge amount of water on your floors, walls, flooded furniture, and other belongings. However, there are things you could do to help avoid this worst scenario.
4 Things to Do to Avoid Burst Pipes
- Once the temperature in your area drops to below freezing point for a while, you are in danger of having your pipes freeze. Some of the things you can do to avoid this is to:
– Insulate all exposed (outside) pipes with pipe sleeves or some other lagging material that you can buy in DIY stores.
– Provide extra heating in unheated areas of your house, such as the basement or attic. This will be an added expense, but it’s worth it, because damage from a burst pipe will be much more expensive.
– Let water run from one or two faucets, especially if they are positioned on an exterior wall. Let the water only trickle, but make sure it runs because running water will prevent freezing in the pipes. That’s another extra expense, but again, it’s sometimes absolutely necessary.
– Make sure the heating in your home is never below 55 degrees.
- If you notice the water is not running from the faucet or the pressure is very low, check whether the pipe is frozen. If it is, or if you can’t find it, it’s best to contact a professional plumber.
You may try to thaw the frozen pipe yourself using an air drier, a heater, or lots of towels soaked in hot water, but your safest bet is a professional who knows what they’re doing.
- Buy a water gauge and occasionally check the water pressure in your pipes by connecting the gauge to the tap. If it shows a figure above 70psi (pounds per square inch), call your plumber ASAP.
Our team of experts are ready to inspect your pipes, contact us and ,we’ll make sure you spend this winter season without unpleasant disruptions.