When temperatures drop below freezing, pipes begin to expand. This makes them vulnerable to damage and the possibility of bursting. As soon as temperatures fall below freezing, pipes can expand too greatly. Plastic, copper and other types of pipe can be compromised, causing serious damage to your home.
What Causes Pipes to Burst
Water expands as it freezes into ice. Ice first forms on the inside wall of the pipe and grow inward until there is a no more room for it to move. The expansion of the freezing water in the pipe merely pushes water back into the water main. When the plug of ice completely blocks the pipe, it seals water between the plug and the closed valve. If more ice forms between the plug and the closed valve, the expanding ice has nowhere to go, and causes the pipe to burst at its weakest point.
Hot water pipes are under even more risk. The higher temperature of the water in them makes the formation of ice crystals more difficult. This causes the water to cool at a greater rate. When freezing does occur, it occurs rapidly, quickly blocking the pipe and trapping water between itself and the closed valve. The sudden formation of the plug causes the pipe to burst.
Preventing Your Pipes From Bursting
Often, home owners don’t think about frozen pipes until it’s too late, but the best offense is defense. Champion Restoration Experts recommends some tips for preventing pipes from bursting.
1. Seal leaks around pipes that allow cold air inside. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes; use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out.
2. Disconnect garden hoses. If possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in pipes just inside the house.
3. If a deep freeze is expected, let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall. Just a trickle may keep your pipes from freezing.
4. Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in temperature – more common overnight – could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
5. Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and to appliances near exterior walls.
We have been repairing properties affected by bursting pipes in NJ, PA, and DE since 2005. Contact us today for a FREE CONSULTATION and to have our emergency relief specialists repair and restore your home.