Bursting water pipes is one of the most common plumbing issues among homeowners. In some instances, the burst pipes are part of the internal plumbing network of the home. In others, the burst pipes are part of the external supply lines. This issue most often occurs with little to absolutely no warning and results in the immediate need for repair by a licensed plumber. In this guide, you will learn the various culprits behind what causes pipes to burst.

1. The pipes are old.

Regardless of what the pipes are composed of – be it metal, plastic, or PVC – they are not designed to last forever. The lifespan is limited. Various factors may impact the lifespan of the pipes of your home. Examples include exposure to environmental elements, weather conditions, exposure to extreme temperatures, and the maintenance schedule of the pipework in place. Generally speaking, most pipe systems are capable of lasting up to two decades. Plastic and PVC products often become brittle under pressure. Metallic-based pipes often lose their durability as a result of corrosion.

2. The pipe is clogged.

Pipes that experience clogging and become blocked are more likely to burst than pipes that are not subjected to clogs. Naturally-occurring clogs are the most common in standard homes. These develop as a result of an accumulation of various minerals on the interior surfaces of the pipes, over time. Other types of clogs come from paper products, soap products, and feminine products. All clogs have the capability of hindering the flow of the water that flows downstream. This, in turn, places an immense amount of pressure upstream. Once the pressure reaches a certain point, the pipe may crack or burst, which will result in the development of leakage.

3. The pipes freeze and thaw causing expansion.

By far, the most common reason why pipes burst is the development of frozen water during the winter months. When water turns into a solid, it expands. This results in high tensional-based forces within the pipe. Once the pressure becomes too immense, it will burst. While common, this is one of the costliest culprits of burst pipes.

4. Heavy objects on the pipe.

It is possible for the pipes in and around a home to become subjected to a high level of external force. Examples of items that may result in this pressure include parked vehicles, passing vehicles, tree roots, and construction equipment being utilized at or around the home. The pressure weighs on the pipe until it cracks or burst. The repairs on pipes that have burst due to external pressure or force may be quite costly due to the fact that the exact point of breakage must be identified. This may require certain tools, techniques, and may take time.

5. High water pressure.

All water pipes are specifically designed to withstand a certain amount of pressure. You may determine the pressure level of a pipe by reviewing the labelling that comes with the pipe or is placed directly on the pipe. If your home is pumping high volumes of water through a pipe, it is possible that it will burst. Generally speaking, this usually only occurs if a pipe that is too narrow is installed to serve as the supply of the water. This will put more pressure on the water pump. In turn, this places high levels of water pressure on the pipes, which has the potential to abruptly burst them.

6. Bad pipe connections.

When it comes to pipework, the connections are considered to be the absolutely most vulnerable components of the system. If the connections are not appropriate, they are weak, or they are not properly sealed, they may break under pressure – resulting in a burst pipe. Connections in the pipework must be aptly reinforced to ensure that this does not happen.

7. Bad placement of the pipe.

All pipe systems within the home should be installed by a plumber who is licensed and highly knowledgeable. If these systems are improperly placed and layered by an individual that lacks the knowledge of the systems, water pressure may result in being too high. This could weaken the entire plumbing system and lead to the bursting of pipes.

8. Movement of the ground such as earthquakes.

The movement of the ground – as in the case of tremors and earthquakes – could result in the bursting of water pipes; however, this is quite rare. Ground movements after torrential rains may also have an impact on pipe systems in residences. These movements result in extreme degrees of force that may result in pipes immediately bursting, cracking, or popping.

fixing pipes

Is a Burst Pipe Considered an Emergency?

A burst pipe may be considered an emergency. It really depends on where it is located and how quickly you are able to turn off the water supply to your home. Additionally, if it is very cold outside, it is considered an emergency. Quick repair is ideal so that no further complications arise, such as flooding in the interior of your home. Remember, should a pipe burst, the first thing you will want to do is to turn off the water to the home. Next, call a professional plumber for immediate assistance.

Signs of a Burst Pipe

You may not realize you have a burst pipe until a tremendous amount of damage has already occurred. Signs that a pipe is broken include changes in your water pressure, watermarks on the ceilings, walls, and/or floors, and obvious puddles of water or drippage. Additionally, faucets that are discolored, unusual odors from faucets, pipes that are bulging, and a higher-than-usual electric or water bill may indicate that a pipe has burst. If you recognize any of these signs, it is time for a plumbing professional.

Burst Pipes? Contact Us Now

If you have noticed any signs that indicate that you have burst pipes or you know that you are experiencing a plumbing problem, contact us today here at Reynolds Plumbing. We have the skills, expertise, knowledge, tools, and resources to handle any and all plumbing complications in and around your home. For more information or to set up an appointment, contact us today.