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Water pipes, especially in cold regions, are designed to withstand a considerable amount of pressure. That means it takes significant structural damage for your pipes to give in and burst. However, even without any contact, some of them still burst.
There’s no other way around it; pipe bursts are downright expensive. Aside from replacing and repairing the pipes, you also have to contend with mold and other structural damages to your home. However, if you know what causes pipes to burst, you may prevent them from occurring and save both your home and your wallet.
Texas has freezing winters, but pipes don’t only burst because of cold weather. Aside from water freezing, there are other surprising causes for these pipe bursts. Keep reading and find out a few reasons why your pipes keep bursting, even though it’s not yet winter.
What Causes Pipes to Burst? Extremely Cold Temperature
The number one reason for pipes bursting across the country is the freezing weather. If the temperature drops to below 32 °F, you may have to deal with burst pipes. That’s because, below the said temperature, the water in your pipes freezes.
Unlike other liquids, water expands instead of contracting when it changes from liquid to solid. This is what is called the anomalous expansion of water. This freezing water could exert a pressure of between 25,000 to 114,000 psi, which makes the pipes rupture.
However, taking necessary steps can prevent the water in your pipes from freezing. To keep your pipes from bursting during winter, you should do the following:-
- Turn on the heat in the house to about 50 degrees
- Keep the cabinets that contain pipes open so the heat from your heating system can reach them
- Insulate the pipes that are more prone to freezing, especially those in the attic and basement.
- Open your faucets to allow water to trickle from them to allow steady movement of water from the pipes
- Disconnect any garden hoses from the faucets that you have outside and connect them to the faucets inside
If you do the above, then your pipes will be less susceptible to freezing during winter. Alternatively, you can wrap the most vulnerable pipes with heating tapes. This keeps your pipes’ temperature warm to prevent any freezing.
Sometimes pressure from outside of the plumbing system may be the cause of your leaks. For instance, pressure from an overlying tree root may make the pipes rupture. Sometimes heavy vehicles moving on the ground above may also lead to the pipes bursting.
This occurrence is more likely when there’s an ongoing construction project near your home. Heavy construction equipment exerts excessive pressure on the pipe and make it rupture. Sometimes the pipes don’t burst but crack and leak instead.
Clogging in the Plumbing System
Why do pipes burst?
Anything from a clogged pump to a clogged toilet flange can lead to a drastic increase in pressure in the pipes. This increased pressure can make the pipes burst. A clog in the pipe itself is much worse because it increases pressure in the pipe directly.
As such, it’s super important to talk to your plumber the moment you experience any issue with your plumbing. A tiny issue with the plumbing may escalate into a devastating and costly problem. So, the moment you notice something wrong with your plumbing, call the plumber.
Sometimes the pipes clog because of incorrect fixtures during installation. Homeowners should be careful with the contractor they settle for to lay their pipework.
Too Much Water Pressure
Your pipes can only handle a specific amount of water pressure. Anything above the stipulated pressure and your pipes will rupture. In most cases, however, the water pressure can exceed the limit but only by a small margin.
Pipe manufacturers typically label the allowable pressure on the pipe’s exterior. This is to let the engineer know the permissible amount of water pressure for the pipe.
The problem comes when too much water passes through a narrow pipe. If you want more water volume conveyed through a narrow pipe, then you should replace it with a larger one. If you don’t, you’ll still have to do so when the narrow pipe bursts.
Check out these other tips for improving and maintaining water pressure in your Austin home.
Tree roots are notorious for causing all kinds of problems with the plumbing. These roots may grow beneath the pipes and cause them to rupture because of external pressure. If the roots are large enough, they may disconnect segments of the piping system.
Another way these roots may cause pipe bursts is by clogging the pipes. The roots may grow into the pipe in search of water, thus blocking the usual flow. This leads to an increase in pressure inside the pipes, and they eventually burst.
How often do water pipes burst?
The reason for frequent pipe bursts may sometimes be nothing more than just old age. When time takes a toll on your pipes, they are likely to lose their structural integrity. This is especially true for pipework laid in the late 60s and before.
For old houses, galvanized iron was the norm for plumbing. The pipes served their purpose but were also prone to rusting after a few years. They also were affected by plaque buildup that narrowed the pipes and increased water pressure.
What can you do about old pipes in your house? Here are the answers.
Earthquakes and Ground Movements
Earthquakes and tremors may displace your pipes, which eventually leads to bursts. However, because ground movements are uncommon, it’s not a major cause of pipe bursts. In most cases, when your pipes burst because of an earthquake or tremor, you need a complete overhaul of the pipework.
If that’s the case, you’ll need an experienced plumbing company to relay the pipes correctly. You deserve only the best for your home to avoid further problems in the future.
Landslide may also cause pipe bursts, but to a lesser extent than earthquakes. Minor ground movements may cause pipe bursts without you even noticing.
Most Pipe Bursts Are Preventable
Now that you know what causes pipes to burst, it’s up to you to take the necessary steps to prevent them from doing so forcing an emergency plumbing response. Remember, the number one reason for pipe bursts in Texas is the freezing temperatures. So do your best to keep your house and pipes warm during winter to keep them from bursting.
Also, make sure you take care of any issue with the plumbing ASAP. Delaying the repairs could exacerbate the problem and lead to pipe bursts. For professional and expedient plumbing service, request an estimate today, and we’ll sort you out.