Plumbing pipes are essential to any house, yet they are sometimes disregarded until a leak or clog happens. These pipes run throughout the house and are subject to heavy daily use, which wears them down over time. Wear and tear, such as corrosion and mineral accumulation, can potentially lead to your pipe bursting. In this case, understanding the causes of why your pipe can burst is important in ensuring your plumbing system is in good condition.

1. Extremely Cold Temperatures

Extreme cold temperatures can cause pipes to burst because water expands as it freezes. When the temperature drops, water inside pipes can freeze, creating pressure. This pressure builds up between the ice blockage and the closed faucet, leading to a pipe burst. Pipes are most susceptible to severe cold, such as outdoor plumbing, or those in unheated areas like basements and attics.

As ice forms, it obstructs water flow, increasing the pressure within the pipe until it bursts. Factors like inadequate insulation, poor construction, or neglecting to drain water from outdoor hoses can worsen the risk. However, regular tune-ups, proper insulation, and letting faucets drip during freezing temperatures can prevent this costly issue.

2. Corrosion

This is another cause of pipe bursts as it weakens the material, making it vulnerable to structural failure. Over time, copper or galvanized steel pipes deteriorate due to chemical reactions with water, soil, or other substances flowing through them. This corrosion manifests as rust or gradual thinning of the pipe walls, diminishing their strength.

Weakened pipes are prone to developing leaks or ruptures under regular water pressure—moreover, factors like pH imbalance, water acidity, or chemical exposure expedite corrosion. Emphasizing the necessity for scheduling inspections and maintenance and replacing corroded pipes with more durable materials like copper or PVC can help to avert potential water damage and pipe bursts.

3. Tree Roots

Root systems growing in your yard can cause pressure on your pipes as they search for water and nutrients. As they seek moisture, roots exploit existing pipe joints or cracks, gradually widening these openings as they grow. The fine root tips enter through tiny fissures and then expand, forming a network obstructing water flow. As roots penetrate, they can cause blockages or apply substantial pressure, leading to pipe deformation or failure.

If your pipes are made of clay or older materials, they tend to be particularly vulnerable. To prevent this from happening, it is important to plant trees and shrubs as far away from underground water pipes as possible. Also, installing root barriers or using non-invasive landscaping can mitigate the risk of root-related pipe damage.

4. Hardwater

Hard water, rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium, poses a risk of pipe bursts. As hard water flows through pipes over time, mineral deposits accumulate within the pipe walls, reducing the internal diameter. This accumulation, known as scaling, slows water flow and increases pressure within the pipes. As a result, the additional pressure stresses the pipe material, potentially resulting in seepage.

In instances where hard water interacts with galvanized iron pipes, mineral content slowly erodes the protective galvanized coating, leading to hazardous lead exposure. Eventually, the underlying iron becomes susceptible to rust (iron oxide), gradually constricting the pipe’s diameter and impeding water flow. This corrosion can culminate in a pipe bursting or obstructing water passage. The best way to deal with this is to have regular descaling or water-softening treatments that can mitigate the effects of hard water.

5. Clogs

Accumulated debris, grease, or foreign objects restrict the passage within pipes, elevating pressure. As water pressure intensifies behind the blockage, it strains the pipe walls, increasing the likelihood of a rupture. Blockages commonly occur in narrow sections or bends, exacerbating the pressure buildup. Constant pressure from severe clogs weakens the pipes over time, resulting in bursts.

One way to prevent clogs is by scheduling regular maintenance with High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling and ensuring cautious waste disposal. Additionally, employing budget-friendly mesh drain covers in showers, tubs, and sinks also serves as a proactive measure.

6. High Water Pressure

Excessive water pressure is a significant threat to your plumbing system as it can lead to pipe bursts and fixture failures. Pipes are engineered to withstand specific pressure levels, typically ranging from 50 to 80 pounds per square inch (PSI). If the pressure exceeds this threshold, pipes may burst. To assess water pressure, attach a gauge to a spout and observe the reading, aiming for a range of 30-50 PSI, not surpassing 60 PSI to prevent damage.

One solution to preventing pipe damage from high water pressure is to contact a professional plumber to regulate high pressure by installing a pressure-reducing valve. Maintaining consistent and safe water pressure indoors while considering higher pressures for exterior tasks can also safeguard pipes from unexpected bursts.

7. Aging Pipes

Aging pipes stand as a common cause of frequent pipe bursts, succumbing to the wear of time and losing structural robustness. Particularly, pipework from the late 60s and earlier is susceptible to diminished integrity.

Older pipes are prone to rust and gradually lose their resilience, increasing the chance of failure. As a result, scheduling a replacement with a skilled plumber is the best method to deal with this problem.

8. Accidental Damage

Sometimes, simple human error is the cause of a burst pipe. Accidental damage, like drilling into walls, hitting pipes during renovations, or unintentional impacts, compromises pipe integrity. These incidents cause immediate harm or create gradual weaknesses, leading to bursts. Digging without checking pipe locations or improper handling during construction can crush or puncture pipes, setting the stage for eventual failures. Such accidental damage often goes unnoticed until a major seepage occurs, disrupting water flow and causing significant property damage.

9. Poor Installation

Improperly installed pipes may experience weak joints, incorrect fittings, or inadequate support, compromising structural integrity. Faulty connections or misaligned fittings create weak points vulnerable to breaking under pressure. Inadequate support or improper alignment strains the pipes, resulting in stress-induced failures over time. Low-quality installation materials or techniques further worsen these issues.

Furthermore, the effects of poor installation become visible as pipes age, manifesting in bursts or systemic failures. Therefore, to minimize this risk, you should embrace professional installation by qualified plumbers at High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, who will adhere to proper standards and practices.

10. Water Hammer

Water Hammer occurs when abrupt changes in water flow within pipes create sudden pressure surges. Typically caused by quick valve closures or sudden stops in water flow, this phenomenon induces a shockwave that travels through pipes. The force generated by this rapid movement leads to stress on pipe joints, resulting in pipe movement or rattling. Over time, repetitive water hammer weakens pipe connections, causing fractures. Thus, installing water hammer arrestors or pressure-reducing valves can mitigate these pressure fluctuations.

Are you seeking professional guidance for your plumbing concerns? Contacting a certified plumber is your best bet. At High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we offer a thorough inspection and assessment of plumbing systems. Aside from plumbing, we also provide drain sewer services to residents in Denver, CO, and the surrounding area. Get in touch with us today at High 5 Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to schedule your appointment and start enjoying our 24/7 emergency services.

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