Plumbing accidents and emergencies are inevitable. No matter how prepared you think you are to handle a plumbing emergency, they can be challenging to deal with when they occur. Burst pipes are one of the most common plumbing emergencies residential and commercial customers experience. When a pipe bursts, it can send gallons of water through your property, damaging floors, walls, ceilings, and your belongings.
Why Do Pipes Burst and What Steps Can I Take to Fix a Burst Pipe?
Let’s look at some of the common reasons pipes burst and how they can be fixed.
When the water freezes into ice in frigid weather, it expands in your plumbing system and adds around 9% more volume to your pipes. This causes a build-up of pressure that cannot be contained, ultimately causing the pipe to burst.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Burst pipes from freezing can be avoided by:
- Turning on faucets and releasing a steady flow of water to reduce pressure buildup.
- Insulating any water pipes that are exposed to prevent them from freezing.
Some pipes bang and clang when we turn on the water. This is called water hammering. When the pipes move around, they will eventually weaken until they breaks and bursts.
Preventing Water Hammering
Burst pipes from water hammering can be avoided by:
- Making the lines stronger.
- Reducing the pumping velocity.
- Using surge tanks
Water Pressure Issues
Another reason for burst pipes is water pressure issues. A sudden increase in pressure can cause weaker pipes to explode. That’s why it is necessary to keep your water pressure at the correct levels at all times.
Preventing Water Pressure Issues
The best way to avoid burst pipes with water pressure issues is to check the water pressure. You can do this by using a pressure gauge to keep the water pressure at the correct levels.
While plumbing pipes are made to last for a significant amount of time, they don’t last forever. Corrosion can occur after years of use. When lines weaken from corrosion, they can suddenly burst. Not only does this create a significant problem for your property, but it can also cause lead poisoning, which creates significant health issues.
While you can’t prevent the deterioration of your pipes from normal wear and tear and age, you can be proactive with this issue. First, have your pipes checked regularly. Then, if you notice the start of deterioration or corrosion, have your pipes replaced immediately to avoid future problems.
What Do I Do if My Pipe Bursts?
If you have a burst pipe, the following tips can help prevent significant damage.
- Call a local plumber immediately.
- To minimize flooding, shut off the main water supply.
- If the flow of water cannot be stopped, open all the taps and drain the water.
- Do your best to clean up any water. Use buckets or trash cans to collect any additional water that is leaking.