Burst or frozen pipes are the last things anyone wants to deal with. Not everyone knows how to handle plumbing emergencies. The aftermath can be costly and might cause structural damage to your home. That’s why most homeowners take all necessary measures to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Proper maintenance can help you prevent bursting, while some insulation tactics ensure you won’t deal with frozen pipes.

Most people associate freezing pipes with bursting. But have you ever wondered why pipes burst where there is no or very little ice? That’s because freezing isn’t what necessarily causes pipes to burst. The water pressure inside the pipe will force them to burst eventually. Read on if you want to learn more about frozen and burst pipes.

The Difference Between Frozen & Burst Pipes

Frozen pipes can occur when outside temperatures drop, typically to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below. When this happens, you may observe ice forming around the pipes, indicating the need for proper insulation to prevent freezing. However, burst pipes can result from a variety of factors.

While rust is a common cause of metal pipe ruptures, frozen pipes can also contribute to these failures by exerting increased pressure on the pipe walls, causing them to expand and potentially burst. This phenomenon is often linked to issues with the valve trim within the plumbing system. The expansion of ice along the pipe walls leads to an automatic rise in water pressure inside the pipes.

Between the closed faucet and the ice blockage, the pipes may ultimately succumb to the excessive pressure, sometimes resulting in bursts. It’s important to note that not every instance of burst pipes is solely attributable to freezing. Pipe failures can occur even when temperatures and pressures are within normal ranges. Several other factors can contribute to burst pipes, including blockages, intrusion by tree roots, general wear and tear, and instances of poor workmanship during installation.

Regular maintenance conducted by a professional plumber is essential to identify and address these issues before they escalate, potentially preventing costly and inconvenient pipe failures. Ensuring that the valve trim components within the plumbing system are functioning correctly can help mitigate the risk of burst pipes due to freezing and pressure fluctuations.

How To Handle Frozen Pipes

A frozen pipe can become a disaster if you don’t fix it immediately. The best thing to do is protect and insulate all pipework before winter. But if it’s too late and ice is already forming on the pipe, there are precautions to take. Before you call a professional to come and inspect the situation, here are some things you can do.

  • Look for the stop valve and turn it off. This will ease the pressure in the pipe and prevent bursting.
  • When you suspect a frozen pipe, turn on the faucet to allow a little trickle to come out. Leaving the faucet on for a while might help thaw the frozen parts.
  • Apply some heat to the affected areas. You can use a hair dryer, a warm towel, or hot water. Do not use a naked flame. Start applying heat from the faucet as you work your way down.

These measures will keep the pipes running for a while as you wait for your plumber. If you notice the pipe leaking anywhere, take your time; find help immediately. In case it bursts and causes water damage, only a professional can easily restore your property.

Preventing Burst Pipes

Burst pipes are any property owner’s worst nightmare. It can cause water damage, mold, or mildew issues. It’s also possible to experience structural damage that can make you lose the property. That’s why prevention is always better. There is only one thing to do when you want to avoid experiencing burst pipes. Get a plumbing company and schedule regular preventative maintenance.

A licensed plumber knows where to inspect. They will evaluate the condition of the pipes and recommend any upgrades. If the pipes are degraded, installing new ones is a must. It might be costly, but you would have prevented future issues. Also, if they detect water leaks, they can fix the issue before it escalates. This will prevent you from losing money and reduce the damage. The professional will tell you how often you need an inspection.

You should also ensure the water pressure in the home is right. You can do it by simply observing. If the water from the faucet seems to be at high pressure, you probably need to reduce it. You will rest easy when you have done your best to prevent pipes from bursting. Working with a professional has its perks. They will give you valuable insight and tips on handling the entire plumbing system.

Final Thoughts

Frozen and burst pipes can cause irreversible water damage in the home. Restoration might take a while, and sometimes you may have to let go of the property if it’s not fixable. Maintenance should be part of your plumbing plan. Before moving into a new place, ensure you inspect the condition of the pipes. Always remember to protect outdoor pipes during the winter. Learn a few plumbing tips on how to handle a disaster. But it’s wise to know the problems that need professional intervention.

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