How Do Pipes Burst?

On the list of “last things you want to go wrong in your home”, a burst pipe should be pretty high. Pipes are tucked away behind walls and ceilings, and when one of them breaks open, water is sprayed into all sorts of unreachable places. Not only does this cause damage, but it could result in electrical shortages, mold development, wood rotting, and more. 

It’s a situation best avoided.  

We’ve put together a list of the most common causes of burst pipes, and what you can do to keep them from happening. 

Avoid Freezing 

The first and most common cause of pipe bursting is of course freezing. Unlike most liquids, which shrink when they freeze, water expands. Aggressively. If water expands while sitting in your pipes, it will burst right through them. Generally, as long as you’re using water regularly throughout the winter, that should be enough to keep them from freezing. 

However, if you have pipes exposed to outdoor temperatures, you may need to add some insulation around them. Electric heating cables can also do the job. 

And remember, if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time during the winter, shut off your water before you go. 

Other Causes for Pipe Bursts 

Pipes are long lasting, but they will eventually wear out over time. Whether it’s rust, corrosion, or worn joints, pipes will fail. The trick is fixing them before it happens. Rusting or corroded pipes can usually be seen or tasted in water.  

If there’s unexplained discoloration or a metallic taste, have your pipes checked out.  

In less common situations, pipes may break due to excess movement or pressure. If the pressure in your home is too high, it can break your pipes. It certainly doesn’t hurt to check your home’s water pressure once or twice a year. If you’re on city water, you can ask your water department. Alternatively, you can attach a water pressure valve to a water spigot. 

If your pressure is too high, you may need a plumber to install a pressure reducing valve. 

Pipes can also become loose due to extended use and sudden pressure. If it sounds like something is hitting the wall every time you turn on the water, you might have a loose pipe. This could damage your wall, the pipe, or both. 

Lastly, and most dramatically, a pipe could be broken by something breaking through a wall, ceiling, or floor. A car could run into your home. A large tree branch could fall through your roof. These are extreme cases, but they can happen. 

What to Do When Your Pipe Bursts 

Assuming you’re around for it, the first thing you should do is get the water shut off. If you don’t know where your home’s main valve is, we highly recommend you learn before you need to know. It’s not always the easiest to find, and most likely, there will be a number of valves to choose from. 

Once the water is off, make sure everyone is safe and there are no potential electrical hazards. After that, you’ll need to get things cleaned and repaired immediately. Otherwise, mold and rotting can set in. Water damage can be especially tricky to repair. This is a job you should trust to an emergency repair professional. 

For 24/7 water damage restoration in Springfield, Ohio and the beyond, contact the team at Reliant Restoration. We’ll get you dried out and fixed up in no time.  

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