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Why and When Do Pipes Burst?

Sudden pipe bursts can be dangerous, which is why it’s crucial to know some plumbing basics so that you can take preventive measures and ensure your house safety.

Pipelines burst usually during the winter season when the incoming water has lower temperature compared to the summer season. This causes pipelines to contract, increasing water pressure on the weaker parts and causing them to burst.

Generally, pipes burst when water reaches it freezing temperature – 32°F. However, the indoor temperature is mostly higher than outdoor temperature; thus, pipes bursts occur when the temperature falls below 20 °F. This further depends on your location and pipe’s ability to withstand temperature variations.

So, let’s look at some precautionary measures that can help prevent pipe bursts at home:

1) - Let your faucets drip

Dripping faucets may be annoying but they can be helpful in preventing pipes from freezing during the winter season. Allowing faucets to drip little bit of water constantly may relieve pressure in your pipelines; thus, reducing the risk of abrupt bursting. If you have a faucet with both hot and cold connections, try to keep the hot tap open slightly.

2) - Install heating tapes

Heating tapes are designed to keep your pipelines warm during cold weather. You can easily install heating tapes by yourself. However, if you can’t seem to handle it, let a professional plumber handle it for you. Heating tapes can consume only 6 to 9 watts an hour and are really effective at preventing pipes from freezing and bursting.

3) - Keep the plumbing area warmer

Indoor temperature stays higher than the outside temperature. So, when the exterior temperature goes down, it can be a good idea to keep your plumbing area warm by keeping its doors open because mostly, pipelines are installed inside the cabinets of the kitchen.This way, pipes will stay warmer and won’t freeze.

4) - Keep the heater on

If you’re planning your winter somewhere else, chances are high that your pipes will freeze in your absence because there will no water flow. Thus, to keep the flow of heat, leave your heaters on to minimize the risk of pipe bursts.

Besides, you don’t have to leave your heaters at extreme high temperature settings while you’re out. Instead, keeping it on at 50-55°F would be enough to be on the safe side.

5) - Seal your pipelines beforehand

If your pipelines are very old and you think they might not sustain excessive pressure in winters, it’s better to fix your pipes beforehand prior to their burst. Inspect your pipes and look for any holes, leakages, and cracks.

Seal them properly using a spray foam insulation or a caulk. Try to seal them from both interior and exterior the floor or wall.

6) - Keep your pipes extra insulated

Some areas of the house, such as attic and basement, do not get proper insulation; thus, keeping the pipelines colder and increasing the chances of freezing and bursting. Therefore, you’ll need extra insulation such as fiberglass sleeves in risky areas to lower the risk factor. Furthermore, you can also fit rubber foam into your pipes so that they stay warm.

This is an effective yet economical solution in the winter season; however, if your pipelines are fitted behind the walls or under the flooring, this may get costly. Besides, insulating the pipe may not be useful if your pipe is exposed to prolonged freezing temperatures as this does not provide extra heat to the pipes.

7) - Watch for unusual smell

If you notice a constantly appearing unusual smell from your faucets or drains in the winter season that may be an alarming situation because strange odors may indicate frozen pipelines. When ice builds up in the pipelines, sewer smells don’t get any way out to escape; hence, they take a back route and return back to the house. Get your pipes checked because if the ice continues to build inside, the pipelines will burst at any moment.

8) - Keep the garage doors shut

If your pipe connections go through your garage, then keep its doors shut during winter to prevent pipe bursts. Garages are places in the house that feature concrete in high amounts, which keeps the area cold. Even with its doors shut, garage area can be colder than the rest of the house. Thus, leaving it open can further drop the temperature, leaving water lines vulnerable to freezing and busting.

9) - Maintain consistent thermostat temperature

As the winter season requires more heating, you can expect your electricity bills to constantly increase due to running heaters and thermostats. That’s why homeowners lower the thermostat temperatures in the evening to save billing costs. However, this strategy may not be efficient if you have to pay to compensate a pipe burst – which is more expensive. Therefore, try to maintain a consistent thermostat temperature at all times so that your house pipelines do not freeze and you stay safe.

What If The Pipe Has Already Burst?

Even after trying everything, if your pipe couldn’t sustain the falling temperature, turn off the main water line to avoid wasting water and do not panic. Leave all the faucets in your house on. Also, make sure your family also knows where the main supply line is so that they can handle the situation in your absence.

Call a professional plumber

Don’t worry if your pipe has burst! ContactMesa Plumbing Companythat offers 24/7 plumbing service with no extra charges, and provides 100% satisfied plumbing facilities across 12 cities in Arizona. So, don’t wait until the last moment and get your pipeline fixed professionally.

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