What Causes Burst Pipes? What Can I Do to Prevent It?
What Causes Pipe Bursts? What Can I Do to Avoid It?
Burst pipes are a common occurrence in Cottage Grove, MN as the colder months set in. Many residents and workers are in buildings where the pipes are potentially older than their grandparents! It sounds like a car backfiring, this loud pop sound when these water pipes burst. The result is major flooding in the home and structural damage problems for homeowners. SERVPRO of Northeast Minneapolis has compiled a list of the four main reasons why burst pipes occur:
- Frozen Pipes
- Moving Pipes
- Water Pressure
In the Winter months, serious issues arise for the water supply pipes in the home. Cold temperatures generally cause contraction to occur. Ice has more volume than water, so when water freezes inside a pipe it expands and increases pressure inside the pipe. The pressure builds and needing to escape it’s forced to burst out of the pipe. The burst will occur at the weakest point in the pipe, with pressure bursting right out of the side of the pipe wall.
To prevent frozen pipes, make sure that your home never goes below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Open your cabinet doors below the sink to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes as well.
Pipes can actually move around within the walls if they’re not properly secured AND the water is suddenly turned on or off. One way to know for sure is if you can hear your water pipes making noise inside the walls or floors. If your pipes sound like they’re clanging against each other, it’s called a water hammer. What you’re hearing is that the pipes are moving back and forth due to not being held into place properly. Gradually, these pipes become weakened in the joints until one pipe fails and pressurized water has a crevice to escape from. This causes the water pipe to break and flood an entire floor within a few moments!
Water pressure must be kept at a normal setting in order for your water supply pipes to function properly. Any noticeable increase in the water pressure can translate to a burst pipe. It can also lead to a sink, toilet, or tub. As pressure increases, the pipes will cave in and separate, causing a rupture. Think your water pressure is getting too high? Here’s what to do!
- Monitor it by attaching a pressure gauge to a sink spout and turning on the faucet. The pressure will move the needle on the gauge and display the water pressure in psi (pounds per square inch).
- The water pressure in most homes is between 30-50 psi to avoid damage to pipes and plumbing fixtures.
- If your home’s water pressure is too high, a SERVPRO technician can install a pressure reducing valve to bring it down to safer levels.
Pipes are meant to last a long time and provide decades worth of reliable service, but they aren’t able to last indefinitely. Over time, buildings experience corrosion which can mean that pipes will show signs of failure or decay. Corrosion is caused by an imbalance of pH in the water. At first, this seems to be a minor issue, but it takes its tolls on the pipes over the years.
Many water supply pipes are made of galvanized iron, the minerals inside the water slowly wear down the galvanized coating and expose the iron pipe beneath. In time, the iron turns to rust and gradually clogs the interior of the pipe which prevents water from getting through. As a result, your pipe may burst or the water flow may be stopped entirely.
What Should I Do Now?
If you experience a burst pipe, the first step is to turn off the Water Main. Then, be sure to call a professional from SERVPRO of Northeast Minneapolis to remediate the water damage and to determine the cause of the burst pipe. Why is it important? Early detection and annual checkups can help prevent this issue from happening again in the future. Our team of experienced water remediation technicians is able to assist in giving tips for preventing water damage in addition to offering cleanup services.
If this happens to your building, don’t worry. Our team will be on-site as soon as possible to start removing water and determining the source of damage to prevent future disasters. We know that burst pipes are unexpected and downright terrifying, but leave it to us to get it fixed promptly. We’re able to remove water quickly so you won’t have to replace everything and you can go back to your daily routine as soon as possible.