Any homeowner knows – a busted pipe due to it being frozen is about the worst thing that can possibly happen. It’s a huge mess, possibly ruining many valuables in your home. On top of that, damage and repair costs can get expensive. Fortunately, knowing why and how they can burst can help you prevent them from bursting in the first place. In this post, we are going to discuss the primary culprit for burst pipes: cold weather.
Here in West Texas, we typically have mild winters. But not this year! Not only did we get our first snow in October, in February the temperature stayed below freezing for several days in a row! We even had some overnight lows below zero! Anytime the temperature drops below freezing there’s a risk of freezing pipes, so prolonged temperatures below 32 degrees make the risk even greater!
WHY DO PIPES BURST?
When the water inside the pipes freezes, it expands. This causes pressure in the pipes, and they will eventually crack. This seems like a fairly natural phenomenon, but it really isn’t. Scientifically, most matter shrinks when it freezes; water is actually an exception to the rule.
Without getting too deep into your 10th-grade chemistry class, the molecular structure of water actually causes it to contract as it gets colder, but then expand again when it actually freezes. That means that the pressure on the pipes is constantly changing, making the risk of breaking even greater.
Here are a few practical tips:
- Keep faucets running: A dripping faucet will keep water in the line, making freezing less likely.
- Open cabinet doors: Open the cabinet doors underneath your kitchen sink to allow the air from your home to keep the pipes warm.
- Disconnect the garden hose: This allows water to drain from interior pipes more easily.
- Check the temperature: All interior parts of your home should remain above 32 degrees. As long as you have power, this should be easy to accomplish, but don’t forget about your garage and laundry room!
WORTH THE CALL
The Bosworth Company offers a variety of services and treatments for the water that you use for drinking, cooking, or bathing. You can also count on us for 24/7 emergency plumbing in case of burst pipes or any other plumbing problem! Call us today for an appointment at 432-570-5233 or schedule an appointment online. The Bosworth Company. Worth the Call. Always.