A burst pipe at any time of year is a hardship for homeowners. However, pipes burst far more often in the winter, and the clean-up can be more difficult. Fortunately, there are some reasons that water pipes burst in the winter which can be prevented. Understanding what causes the burst is crucial to understanding mitigating the problem.
There is a scientific explanation for why frozen water can result in burst pipes. Essentially, water molecules that freeze become stronger and more defined, resulting in expansion. When ice expands in your lines, pressure increases. That increase in pressure can result in a burst pipe.
Think of a garden hose that is flowing with water. If you were to place your thumb over a portion of the spout, water would flow with more pressure where it can escape. However, if you were to cover the entirety of the water spout as it is running, water will escape in any way it possibly can.
When the ice blocks the path for the water to take, flowing water has no choice but to make its way out. In most cases, this means bursting through the pipe. Avoiding that burst of pressure requires preventing the water from freezing within the pipes.
Preventing Pipes from Bursting
There are a few ways to prevent a burst pipe in your home. Although extreme winter conditions make freezing pipes nearly expected, it is always best to do what you can to avoid disaster within your home.
Drip, drip, drip.
Leaving a faucet or two on and dripping sounds terrible for water conservation. Despite this, a dripping faucet ensures that water has an escape and will continue to flow. While you may want to do anything but leave water dripping into your kitchen sink, doing so can truly help in the cold months. This trick is beneficial if you are away from home for an extended period. You’d likely rather come home to a dripping faucet than a burst pipe.
Open cabinet doors.
By simply leaving your cabinet doors open, you can help warm and flow air to your pipes. The heat inside your home can do well to warm up the pipes under your sinks.
Wrapping your water pipes in insulation materials can go a long way in preventing freezing and burst pipes. You could choose from many materials – even a layer of foam can aid your water pipes in resisting ice. Take a trip to your local hardware store to determine the best material for your home.
Older and damaged pipes are more likely to burst in cold weather. By ensuring that your lines are in excellent condition and no cracks are present, you can prevent damage to your home.
How to Handle a Burst Pipe
Water damage is tough on a home. If you have had a water pipe burst in your house, start by turning off the water. You’ll then want to look at the damage to your home and items while getting in touch with a trusted plumber or water damage expert, such as Elite Plumbing & Heating. Elite Plumbing & Heating is an excellent resource for any problems you have with your water pipes and damages. Give us a call today at 781-438-2997.