Why Do Pipes Burst?
What causes pipes to burst? Four chief causes of failure inside a home, or in the municipal system, are:
- Frozen Pipes
- Moving Pipes
- Water Pressure
Here in Minnesota, frigid weather seriously affects the water supply in your home. Although cold temperatures generally cause things to contract, ice has more volume than water so when it freezes inside a line, it expands and increases the pressure inside. The increasing pressure must escape so it literally bursts right out of the pipe. This sometimes occurs at a weak joint in the pipe but pressure can bust out the side of the copper. As you know, one way to prevent pipes from cracking during extreme cold is to turn on your faucets to allow a slow but steady stream to escape. This will keep water moving through the channels, and most importantly, prevent pressure from building up inside. Insulate exposed supply lines with foam pipe sleeves and don’t allow the temperature in the house to fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow warm air to circulate. For help winterizing your home, consider reaching out to your 24Restore team.
If the pipes themselves aren’t secured to the structure, they can sometimes move around inside the walls whenever water is suddenly turned on or off. Whenever you’ve heard pipes clanging inside walls or floors, that is “water hammer.” The back and forth movement gradually weakens joints until one fails which allows pressurized water to escape the pipe. The resulting wet damage to your walls can be catastrophic and expensive.
Water Pressure Issues
Maintaining normal pressure is vital for your supply pipes to function properly; a significant increase in the water pressure can lead to a burst or a failed plumbing fixture. If you suspect your pressure is too high, you can check it by attaching a pressure gauge to a sink spout and turning on the faucet. The pressure will move the needle on the gauge and display the water pressure in psi (pounds per square inch). The water pressure in most homes is between 30-50 psi and in most cases, it should not exceed 60 psi to avoid damage to pipes and plumbing fixtures. If your home’s pressure is too high, a plumber can install a pressure reducing valve to adjust it down to safer levels.
Plumbing systems are meant to last a long time and the vast majority of them provide many decades of reliable service. However, that doesn’t mean that materials last indefinitely. Sometimes years of slow building corrosion will cause a pipe to fail. Corrosion can be caused by a pH imbalance in the water, a minor issue that can progress over time. If you have hard water and your lines are made of galvanized iron, the minerals inside the water slowly wear down the galvanized coating (which itself can cause dangerous lead poisoning) and expose the iron pipe beneath. In time, the iron turns to rust (iron oxide) and gradually narrows the diameter so that water can barely get through. Your pipe may rupture or it may just close itself off and prohibit flow altogether.
24 Hour Clean-up and Restoration Minneapolis Area
Minnesota based 24Restore can evaluate the damage, assess the extent of needed repairs, prepare an accurate estimate and provide cleanup. The technicians will stop mold causing moisture at the source, then remove, clean up and restore damaged parts of your home or business to like new condition.
24Restore offers fast response; someone will be in route to your home within one hour. For more than 15 years, 24Restore’s technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration Certification (IICRC) to handle all kinds of water problems.
If your home does suffer from winter water damage, don’t let it sit overnight or wait to hear from your insurance company. Contact 24Restore any time by calling (612) 255-9578; the on-call emergency team is always available. Wind, hail, lightning, flooding, heavy rains, and freezes can destroy your home and damage your belongings; 24Restore can quickly help clean-up the mess left behind.