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What Cause A Pipe To Burst?

Burst pipes are every homeowner’s nightmare. Not only can they result in water damage, but they could ruin your home’s overall structure if not fixed in time. Below you’ll learn more about what causes this issue and a few ways you can prevent it.

What Causes a Burst Pipe?

Extreme Temperatures: One of the most common culprits of burst pipes is fluctuating temperatures. When hot or freezing temperatures surround them, they will expand or contract. This can stress them leading to small punctures that could eventually burst.

Connected Hoses: Sometimes, if you leave your hoses connected to an outdoor valve for a long time, the water stored inside could back up into pipes creating high pressure. If this is done during the winter, the left-behind water could freeze and cause the pipes to expand and eventually crack.

High Water Pressure: If your pipes are carrying high water pressure it can stress them. Ideally, the pressure should be anywhere from 40-60 PSI. If it’s too high, it will overwhelm the pipes causing them to crack and explode. Most of the time, high water pressure is the result of thermal expansion. As your home adjusts with the exterior temperature, the pipes do as well which could cause them to overreact.

Age: Another aspect that could result in a burst pipe is age. Depending on your home, your pipe might be anywhere from 2-40 years old. The older your pipes are, the more likely they’ve gone under stress and are wearing out. This could result in piece corroding which could cause the entire thing to burst.

3 Ways to Prevent Burst Pipes

Use Heat Tape: If you notice your pipes tend to freeze easily, heat tape is good to invest in. This product generates heat which stops the water from freezing. While it might sound dangerous, heat tape is safe and designed to only reach certain temperatures so it’s not a major fire hazard.

Monitor the Water Pressure: You might also want to watch your home’s water pressure. You can place a pressure gauge on a faucet for a reading. If it’s above 60 PSI, you’ll want to adjust the water regulator. Once you do, test it again. If you don’t see a difference, it’s important to contact an expert.

Replace Them: If your pipes are decades old it might be worthwhile to replace them. While this could be pricey at first, in the long run, it will avert future damage.

If you want to prevent burst pipes, keep this information in mind. For those concerned about their pipes bursting or fear it has already happened, contact RCS in Santa Rosa. Our team will quickly examine the area and get to work repairing any issues that might be of concern.

frozen pipe sonoma county

Preventing A Frozen Pipe Disaster

We are in the middle of the winter season, where the weather can be unpredictable and in certain areas of Sonoma County it can get rather chilly. Many residential floods in the winter are caused by frozen pipes that burst; this happens because water expands as it freezes, putting pressure on pipes, and no matter how strong your pipes are, they will burst if care isn’t taken during the winter months.

According the The Red Cross, pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

Even if none of these factors pertain to you and your home, you are not necessarily immune to frozen pipes.

The following are precautions you can take in order to prevent a disaster:

Start with simply insulating and keeping your home warm, especially areas in which your pipes reside. If you have a crawlspace, attic, or basement, ensure that these areas of your home are properly insulated, which will not only help prevent frozen pipes but also help reduce your energy bill.

Never turn your heat off. Regardless if you are home or not, keep the temperature at least 55 degrees. And Consumer Reports does not recommend turning the heat down overnight to save a few bucks.

Everyone has heard of this one: Keep your faucet dripping, especially overnight and especially if the source from the pipe is exposed to the elements.

If you have a specific room that is prone to frozen pipes or you are concerned, keep a space heater on in that area while you are home.

Doors make a difference. Opening cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around your kitchen and bathroom pipes and keeping doors closed to drafty areas, such as the garage, can make a world of difference.

Drain excess water. Home Depot recommends disconnecting hoses and draining water from those pipes that are accessed outdoors.

In the next article, we will discuss what to do when you have located a frozen pipe and how to unfreeze it yourself without calling in the professionals.

Unfortunately, we cannot always prevent every frozen or leaky pipe; if you happen to be in the middle of a winter-weather home disaster, don’t worry—Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. will take care of you! They have been proudly serving the Santa Rosa and North Bay areas since 1975.