How to Prevent Pipes from Bursting

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The Virginia Beach climate can vary dramatically depending on the season and time of the year. While you don’t need to worry about frozen pipes during the warm summer months, the cool winter months in Virginia often bring freezing temperatures—which means you need to protect the plumbing in your Virginia Beach home.

A burst pipe results in very costly repairs. Let’s take a look at what causes a pipe to burst and how you can prevent your pipes from bursting this winter.

What Causes a Pipe to Burst?

Have you ever put a soda in the freezer and forgotten about it? When you went back to your freezer, you probably found the soda exploded after freezing and bursting through the can. Similarly, water expands when frozen. However, a burst pipe is not a result of frozen water expanding against the pipe. When a pipe freezes, it forces the water pressure between the freezing point and the closed faucet to significantly increase. In most cases, a pipe bursts where no ice is found, but rather where the water pressure inside the pipe is the greatest.

Pipes often freeze when:

  • Temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Located outside of an insulated building
  • Located in unheated internal areas (basements, attics, crawl spaces, etc.)

Keep reading to learn how to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting.

Tips to Prevent Your Pipes from Bursting

In order to save yourself hundreds of dollars in future repairs, be sure to take the proper precautions to help avoid a burst pipe.

Never Expose Pipes to Cold Temperatures

If you live in the Virginia Beach area, never exposing your pipes to cold temperatures is probably impossible. However, if you are building a new home, consider designing your plumbing so that pipes are only located in insulated or heated areas of the house.

Completely Drain Outdoor Pipes

When closing your pool or when you are finished with your automatic sprinkler system for the year, be sure to follow manufacturer instructions on how to properly—and completely—drain any outdoor pipe system. This includes in-ground and above-ground pools, automatic sprinkler systems, outdoor Jacuzzis, hoses, etc. It is also important to never put antifreeze into any pipes, as this can cause damage to your existing system and add unhealthy elements to your water supply.

Pipe Sleeves

Many companies make pipe sleeves to prevent a pipe from bursting. Like a sweater on a person, pipe sleeves wrap around the outside of a pipe, keeping the pipe warmer when located in an unheated or outdoor location. For a quick, DIY pipe sleeve, wrap newspaper (approximately a quarter of an inch thick) around your pipes.

American Mechanical, Inc. Repairs Burst Pipes in Virginia Beach

Even if precautionary steps are taken to prevent a burst pipe during the winter months, there is no guarantee they will work. If you live in the Virginia Beach area and need an experienced plumber to repair a burst pipe, call American Mechanical, Inc. or contact us online.