How Do Water Pipes Burst? Winter Maintenance Tips To Prevent Burst Pipes In Your Home

The cold weather is on its way. If you’re in a part of the country that sees below-freezing weather, then it’s a good idea for you to prioritize water pipe maintenance.

As temperatures drop to below freezing, the water pipes in your home can freeze. Frozen water will obstruct water flow and eventually cause a burst water pipe. This, of course, can cause a lot of damage to your home.

Although water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your home’s temperature insulates your pipes to some degree. Generally speaking, only when the outside temperature is around 20 degrees Fahrenheit is there a chance your pipes may freeze.

But if you are dealing with a burst water pipe, not all hope is lost. Picking up your tool belt and implementing some simple maintenance to your water pipes will go a long way. The good news is you can prevent your pipes from freezing this winter, both inside and outside your home.

This post looks at what causes a burst water pipe and some simple preventative tips for maintaining the pipes inside and outside your home.

How Do Water Pipes Burst?

Old and Weak Pipes

If your home is on the older side, you may be dealing with some weakened, unprotected, or even corroded pipes. After an extended time, corrosion causes pipes to get thinner and thinner until they eventually burst at their weakest point. Keep up with regular maintenance checks to avoid this from happening.

Under Pressure

Water pipes are regularly dealing with extreme pressure, which can eventually lead to leaks or bursts. Have you heard a banging sound in your pipes? This is a sign of high water pressure. Ask your plumber to look into using pressure-reducing valves to combat the high pressure and avoid further damage.

Clogged or Blocked Pipes

If your pipes get blocked or clogged, they will experience a pressure build-up. The build-up in pressure can then cause your pipes to crack or even burst. To avoid this issue, make sure no foreign objects make it down your drains.

Tree Roots

Tree roots are one of the most common causes of water pipe bursts. These winding, growing roots travel far and wide without your knowledge and can wrap themselves around the water pipes or even make their way into the pipes. This can consequently reduce the water flow or block the pipes completely.

Extreme Temperatures

If your water freezes during the cold winter months, it will cause your water pipes to expand, and they will burst at their weakest point. To prevent this from happening, make sure your pipes are well-insulated during the winter months.

Bad Plumbing Work

If the plumber who installed your plumbing pipes did a lousy job or used the wrong parts, you may be in for some water pipe problems in the future. Always make sure to use a reputable and certified plumber to avoid future plumbing problems.

Maintenance Tips To Prevent A Burst Water Pipe in the House

Most homes keep their water pipes from freezing just by the heat produced in the house during winter. But in the unheated parts of your home – like the attic, garage, crawl space, or maybe even the basement – your pipes should have insulation tape or pipe sleeves covering them. Have a look, and if this is not the case, it’s time to call the plumber. These are some tips to prevent a burst water pipe in the house.

Don’t Turn Off Your Faucets

When the temperatures are extremely low, make sure you keep one or two of your faucets running very slowly. The movement of the water should help prevent your pipes from freezing.

Direct Your Heat

If you can, direct warm air to the colder, unheated areas of your house. Open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let warmer air circulate around the pipes, especially if your sinks are located along an outside wall.

Use Heat Tape

Heat tape is a quick and easy solution you can implement yourself. Apply the heat tape to any pipes you think will benefit from an extra layer of insulation.

Check for Leaks

Try to find any possible leaks around your house that will allow cold air inside. The prime spots are the dryer vents and around electrical wiring. Caulk up the holes or add insulation to prevent cold air from entering your home.

When Out of Town

If you’re planning on being away from your home for a long time during the winter, make sure to turn off the water mains and drain the water system.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent A Broken Water Pipe Outside the House

Did you know that a broken water pipe outside your house can still affect the inside of your home? Often, there are openings around the spaces where your pipes enter your home. It’s important to check for holes in these spaces, and caulk them up before the severe weather approaches. Here are some other tips to keep your outside water pipes from bursting.

Insulate Your Walls

To prevent your pipes from being exposed to freezing air, protect the exterior walls that hold your plumbing pipes with an extra layer of insulation.

Add Snap-On Insulation

For your pipes outside and in unheated areas of your home, add snap-on insulation when the temperatures drop. Cut and taped Styrofoam or pool noodles can even help insulate your pipes.

Disconnect Hoses and Faucets

Be sure to drain out all your outside faucets. Disconnect water hoses from the faucet, so any trapped water doesn’t cause the hose to freeze and break. Store the hose in your garage or shed, out of the harsh weather elements. If you’re expecting a sharp temperature drop overnight, let a tiny trickle of water run out your exterior faucet to prevent extra pressure build-up and an eventual burst.

Turn Off Irrigation Systems

When temperatures drop, your plants become dormant and don’t need watering. So make sure to turn off your sprinkler or irrigation systems.

Don’t get stuck with a burst water pipe and water damage this winter. Instead, follow these simple preventative measures to reduce the risk of burst pipes in your home. Of course, even the most prepared DIYer may face a burst pipe issue. If you’re dealing with burst water pipes, call the water damage experts at Restoration 1 for top-quality restoration service.

Call the Professionals at Restoration 1

Water damage is a job for professionals. Although you may think you can handle a burst water pipe and some water damage on your own, restoration experts use professional equipment to prevent microbial growth and other adverse effects of water damage. There is no substitute for professional restoration experts.

If you have any questions about water damage restoration and flood damage cleanup, please contact us 24/7 at Restoration 1.