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Common Culprits for Burst Pipes
Common Culprits for Burst Pipes
June 15/2024

Common Culprits for Burst Pipes

Burst pipes are among the most common plumbing problems homeowners experience, especially during the winter. A burst pipe can cause costly water damage in your home and send a lot of water down the drain, raising your water bills. Today, we’ll look at the common causes of burst pipes.

Tree Roots

Tree roots are among the most common causes of burst pipes as they search for water and nutrients. They can exploit cracks, leaks, joints, or deteriorated sections of pipes to enter the pipe system. Over time, even small cracks can widen due to root pressure, further compromising the pipe. If tree roots have infiltrated your pipes beyond repair, it may be a good idea to consider pipe replacement.

Tips To Keep Tree Roots Away From Your Pipes

  • Opt for tree species with less aggressive root systems. Good examples include dogwood, Japanese Maple, and Crabapple.
  • Plant trees at least 10-20 feet away from sewer lines and other underground pipes.
  • Have a qualified plumber install root barriers to prevent roots from reaching your pipes.
  • Conduct regular inspections and maintenance of your plumbing system.
  • Apply chemical root repellents to deter root growth near your pipes.
  • Use modern, durable pipe materials that are less prone to root intrusion, such as PVC or concrete pipes, rather than older clay or cast iron pipes. A professional plumbing service can help you choose durable pipes that will stand up to invasive tree roots.

Freezing Temperatures

In cold climates, water expands as it freezes. This can cause uninsulated pipes to burst, leading to significant water damage and expensive repairs. Some of the pipes that are more likely to freeze include those running through exterior walls, especially in unheated areas like garages or basements. Older pipes are also more susceptible to bursts when the temperature drops to 32°F (0°C) or below.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Wrap exposed pipes in your attic, crawl space, basement, and exterior walls with pre-slit foam pipe insulation or fiberglass sleeves.
  • Set your thermostat to a minimum temperature of around 55°F (13°C) even when you're not home. This will help prevent pipes, particularly those in vulnerable areas, from freezing.
  • Seal air leaks with caulk, weather stripping, or spray foam insulation to maintain warmer temperatures near your plumbing.
  • If you have pipes running through cabinets in unheated areas like a garage or basement, consider keeping the cabinet doors open during cold snaps.

In case of a pipe burst, knowing the location of your main water shut-off valve is important. Familiarize yourself with its location and how to turn it off quickly to minimize water damage.

Accidental Damage

It’s common for homeowners to unintentionally damage plumbing pipes when drilling into walls, mowing grass, or doing some yard work. You can avoid accidental pipe damage by being aware of where your pipes are located and exercise caution when working around them.

High Water Pressure

Plumbing pipes are designed to handle water pressure up to 80 pounds per square inch (PSI). If the water pressure exceeds 80 PSI, it can put excessive stress on pipes, which can lead to burst pipes. A water pressure regulator can help reduce the incoming water pressure to a safe level. Call a reputable plumbing repair service to perform a plumbing inspection and help you choose the right pressure regulator.

Old Pipes

Over time, pipes can deteriorate due to corrosion, rust, or weakened materials. Older pipes are especially prone to bursts, corrosion, leaks, and other issues. If your pipes have seen better days and you’re experiencing frequent issues, consider repiping your property. Installing new pipes will reduce the risk of leaks and improve water quality. When it’s time to repipe your home or office building, get in touch with Mr. Rooter Plumbing.

Contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing for burst pipe repair and all of your plumbing needs.