Burst Pipes—Why They Happen, What to Do and How to Prevent Them

22 May 2018
 Categories: , Blog

Acquiring a burst pipe is one of the plumbing emergencies that homeowners least expect to encounter, despite the fact that it is one of the more common issues that your plumbing system could develop. Since burst pipes can occur due to a multitude of reasons, there is always a likelihood of having to deal with this problem at some point. Thus, rather than being caught unawares on what to do, it is imperative to familiarise yourself with what to expect and furnish yourself with information that will help you deal with the issue accordingly. Instead of panicking, read on to learn why burst pipes happen, what measures to take when they do occur as well as how best to prevent them in your household.

Why do burst pipes come about?

What may surprise you about burst pipes is that the likelihood of them occurring is when the temperatures get below freezing. When the cold season encroaches, the water inside your plumbing pipes steadily becomes frozen. As the water molecules change into a crystallised state, they inadvertently end up taking up more room than they do when they are in liquid form. As the ice molecules enlarge, they end up creating pressure that forces any liquid water inside the pipes toward the faucet. If your taps are turned off, the pressure continues to build, and this then leads to the pipe bursting. Other supplementary causes for burst pipes in your home include root intrusion for underground pipes, poor workmanship during installation and degraded piping that is long overdue replacing.

What measures should you take when you encounter burst piping?

The first thing homeowners should do when this problem develops is to shut off their main supply. Water damage from a burst pipe can be quite extensive and will manifest in a host of ways including property loss, mould, rot and so on. Therefore, once you have located the shutoff valve, it is obligatory to seek emergency plumbing services promptly to mitigate the risk of damage.

How can burst pipes be prevented?

Considering that the leading cause of this form of plumbing emergency is cold temperatures, a proactive measure that homeowners should take is insulating all their piping. This action can easily be done by either using fibreglass sleeves or insulating foam. Secondly, it is crucial to have routine maintenance inspections so that any damaged pipes are replaced. Lastly, you may want to consider relining your pipes to minimise the chance of intrusions.