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It’s never a fun problem to deal with it, but it happens. Pipes can burst and wreak havoc in your home. Every year winter comes, and every year, there’s a possibility that your pipes might burst on you. When this happens, luckily, you can call your local emergency plumber to handle the problem quickly and efficiently. If you’re looking for a quality plumber in San Antonio, TX, call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain for all your plumbing needs. And, if you want to take preventative measures against your pipes bursting, keeping reading for a full breakdown on why pipes burst and prevention tips.
Why Do Pipes Burst?
Pipes burst when they experience more stress than they can handle. Typically, there are four main causes of burst pipes:
- Water pressure
- Frozen pipes
- Moving pipes
Cold Weather (Frozen Pipes)
Typically, pipes burst in the winter due to the cold weather. When water freezes in your pipes, it expands in size and increases the pressure inside the pipe. This pressure needs to find a way to escape, so it ends up simply bursting the pipe. The burst can occur in a weak joint in the pipeline or right out the side of the pipe wall. One of the many reasons plumbing companies offer emergency plumber services is due to the frequency of burst pipes in the winter.
Your water pipe system is very sensitive to water pressure. A sudden increase in water pressure can lead to a failed plumbing fixture (usually with a faucet or toilet) or a burst pipe. As the pressure increases, the pipe isn’t able to contain it, and a rupture occurs. Before your pipe bursts and an emergency plumber call is needed, book an appointment with your local plumber to install a pressure reducing valve. This will give you peace of mind and stop a potentially chaotic accident from happening.
If water pipes aren’t secured or have come unhinged, they can sometimes move around. As you turn the water on or off, the flow of water through the pipe causes it to shift. Homeowners usually know this has happened because they’ll hear their pipes clanging inside their walls or floors (known as water hammer).
As the pipes move around, they slowly weaken the joints in the pipe. Eventually, one may fail and allow pressurized water to escape the pipe. The damage can be costly and messy, and always requires an emergency plumber to handle the situation.
Pipes should last a long time, but, at some point, they will deteriorate. For some households, years of slowly built-up corrosion will cause a pipe to fail. Corrosion is typically caused by a pH imbalance in the water, such as a high presence of minerals and iron. This eventually takes a toll on the pipes. Areas that are known for “hard water” are more at risk of corroded pipes. For example, water supply pipes made of galvanized iron will be worn down by the minerals of hard water, eventually exposing the iron pipe beneath. Over time, the exposed iron rusts and slowly narrows the diameter of the pipe, so water struggles to get through. As a result, the pipe will burst or close off water flow completely.
Corroded pipes also can be dangerous and result in lead poisoning in the water. A case of corroded pipes should always be handled by an emergency plumber who can evaluate the extent of the damage and confirm if the water is safe to drink.
Tips to Prevent Your Pipes from Bursting
When your pipes burst, it can be one of the most frantic and expensive calls to the emergency plumber you make. Damage can be caused to your floors, your walls, your items, your lawn, and more. A burst pipe is a situation you need to handle immediately. However, you can also educate yourself on some prevention ideas, so your risk of bursting pipes decreases.
Keep Faucets Running
If the weather turns extremely cold, always keep a couple of faucets slowly running. Allowing water to move through the system should prevent it from freezing in the pipe system.
Circulate Warm Air Within Your Home
Usually, the pipes that freeze are close to an outside window or wall. Try to direct warm air to any of the colder rooms within your house, such as the basement. Keep all the interior doors to the home open so that heat can flow through the house.
Leave Cabinets Open
Pipes are usually located in cabinets. As temperatures turn cold, keep these cabinet doors open. This will allow the heat from the rest of the house to spread to the pipes and keep them warm.
Disconnect Your Hose
During the winter months, disconnect your hose from the outside faucet. Leaving the hose connected will mean the water doesn’t drain out of your hose bib, the water will then freeze, and break the device.
Use Heat Tape
Some hardware stores sell a product called heat tape. As the name implies, heat tape can be wrapped around pipes to warm them throughout the winter months. You can attempt to install heat tape yourself or hire a professional plumber for installation.
Look for leaks in your home around dryer vents, pipes, and electrical wiring. These gaps allow cold air into your home where pipes are located. You can seal these leaks with insulation or caulk. In extreme climates, even the smallest hole can allow enough cold air into your home to freeze pipes.
Keep an Eye on Your Home’s Temperature
In general, you want to keep your home at a cozy temperature of 72 degrees in the winter. If you have separate temperature gauges for different rooms, pay particular attention to the areas of your home where water lines are located.
Call a Plumber
A professional plumber can inspect your pipes and tell you if you’re at risk. If you think your pipes are on the verge of bursting at any moment, opt for calling an emergency plumber instead.
Book an Emergency Plumber with bluefrog Plumbing San Antonio, TX
For the residents of San Antonio, TX, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain is the professional, trusted source for quality plumbing services. Whether you need an emergency plumber or regular residential work, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain always has licensed and trained professionals available. Remember, never attempt to handle a plumbing emergency on your own, as that can cause further damage. Instead, call a bluefrog Plumbing + Drain emergency plumber that is available 24/7.