How Did That Pipe Burst?
The most common cause of burst pipes is freezing. Water expands as it freezes, so frozen water will exert more and more pressure on the pipes. The pipes are then likely to give way, especially in prolonged or severe cold.
In addition, frozen pipes are blocked with ice, halting the water flow. When the ice finally melts, the pipes will leak at the break.
Another factor involved in burst pipes is the age and condition of your pipes. A leaky fitting can wear out over time and suddenly break apart, letting out a strong stream of water. Since water is under pressure inside the pipes, cracks in any damaged or worn area will widen from the force of the water.
Is There a Way to Avoid Burst Pipes?
Insulating your pipes will go a long way toward preventing unexpected pipe bursts. The most common area for water to freeze is where the pipes come out of the ground and move into the house. We suggest wrapping pipes that run along the outer walls of your home.
Feel for drafts wherever you can access pipes in the house. Pipes under sinks are likely to freeze at the bend, where ice can collect until it blocks the flow completely. It’s also a good idea to insulate these pipes under your sinks.
In emergency situations, put space heaters near pipes in vulnerable areas. In older homes, where pipes can easily freeze, turn on your hot water faucet very lightly at night. You want a small trickle to run through the pipes when temperatures drop to their lowest. This prevents ice from forming.
Note: While you can thaw pipes that have frozen, this is not usually recommended. Frozen pipes are vulnerable; the rapid expanding and contracting on your pipes can cause them to suddenly break if the thawing occurs too quickly, or if it is not handled correctly. For safer results, contact your technician to help thaw your pipes.