During winter, the temperature can drop to such low levels that it can lead to pipes freezing which can have a lot of devastating effects if not treated in time.
But why do frozen pipes burst and what can we do to prevent it?
What Causes Water Pipes To Burst In The Winter?
When the temperatures drop below freezing, the pressure will start to rise as the water in your pipes progressively freezes and expands.
When there is no more room in the pipe, water will start to flow toward the faucet as it continues to expand into all available spaces.
The pipe will eventually fill up since the water will have nowhere else to go.
The pipes won’t be able to hold the enlarged frozen water inside them if the pressure is allowed to continue to rise.
The pipe will then rupture, shatter, and break. The water molecules start to radically alter as soon as the cold weather is below freezing.
As molecular bonds are stronger, mobility is constrained, and a more distinct structure is produced.
Then, the molecules stop moving constantly and instead form crystalline structures that align in a hexagonal arrangement.
Thus, the molecules need greater room between them as they move into their new hexagonal shape.
This causes the pipes’ pressure to rise as a result.
How Cold Does It Have To Be For Water Pipes To Freeze?
32 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which water freezes.
However, your home’s insulation safeguards the pipes within from the freezing temperatures of the outside environment.
Exposed pipes, on the other hand, are more likely to burst as they are exposed to direct cold air.
This implies that even if it may be 32 degrees outside, your pipes won’t always freeze on such days.
It usually takes at least 20 degrees Fahrenheit for the pipes in your house to start freezing.
Once more, this is based on where you are in the world.
For instance, your home’s interior water pipes are more insulated in locations where temperatures are predicted to be lower than other areas.
The amount of insulation in your house and the depth to which your water pipes are buried will both affect how long it takes for your pipes to freeze and break.
While considering the insulation of your pipes, you might also be curious about how much weight PVC pipes can hold in different applications.
Signs Of Frozen Water Pipes
When your faucet doesn’t turn on and no water comes out when you turn it on, you may have a frozen pipe.
When you do, ensure there are no leaks in the basement and that the water is still flowing.
Once you’ve verified these two facts, continue your investigation to make sure that none of your pipes have burst.
How To Fix Frozen Water Pipes?
Never defrost frozen pipes using a blowtorch, a propane or kerosene heater, a charcoal fire, or any other appliance with an open flame.
That poses a serious fire risk.
Additionally, you ought to refrain from utilizing a space heater unless you are certain that there are no combustible materials around.
Always keep an eye on the space heater. Keep the water flowing.
Your pipes need a discharge hole because throughout the thawing process, water and steam will be produced.
Maintaining the faucet open also enables flowing water to pass through the pipe, hastening the thawing procedure.
If the frozen pipes are within an outside wall, act quickly.
In order to make repairs, you may need to create a hole in the wall facing the interior of the home so that the pipes may be exposed to direct warm air. This will help to safely thaw the pipes.
This is a severe condition and you should contact a professional contractor.
Heat the water until it flows normally once again.
Turn on other taps in your house to check for any other frozen water pipes once you have successfully defrosted the pipe.
Once you have dealt with frozen pipes, it’s important to know other maintenance techniques like how to properly bevel PVC pipes for future plumbing projects.
Signs Of A Burst Water Pipe
If a puddle dramatically increases when the water is turned on, it most likely represents a burst.
Small drops frequently signify a leak. When a pipe bursts, water pools underneath it and also travels through walls.
Because a burst impairs the efficiency with which water flows through the pipes, water pressure also signals a problem.
Low water pressure may indicate a leak or busted pipe.
When a pipe bursts, water pours out of the hole rather than through the faucet, lowering water pressure.
Finally, high water bills are sometimes a symptom of burst pipes since the extra water that leaks through the hole or crack increases your bill and wastes water.
Additionally, homeowners may need to use more water than usual to attain sufficient pressure since a burst affects water pressure.
Turn off the mains, call a plumber, and remove valuables from the vicinity if you believe you have a burst pipe.
To promote airflow, you should also open the windows and doors.
If you do encounter a burst water pipe, it’s crucial to know how to repair PVC pipe in the ground to prevent further damage.
Preventing Water Pipes From Freezing In The Winter
Here are ways that you can prevent your pipes from freezing.
Insulate The Pipes
The easiest approach to prevent your pipes from freezing is to get pipe insulation that is made expressly for that purpose.
In comparison to the price of fixing a ruptured water pipe, pipe insulation is frequently surprisingly affordable.
Particular care should be paid to pipes in internal, non-heated areas of your house, such as the attic, garage, or basement while insulating your water system.
Let The Faucets Drip
Keep a faucet open as one method of preventing frozen pipes. You are not required to open every faucet in your house.
Find out which of them are fed by exposed pipe first.
When the options are reduced, turn on these few faucets during very chilly weather.
Standing water loses intrinsic energy to running water, even a tiny trickle.
Moving water is more difficult to freeze than still water because of the continual friction that is produced by the movement.
Keep A Consistent Temperature
Maintaining the same temperature on your thermostat throughout the day and night is one of the greatest strategies to avoid ice blockages.
Avoid any abrupt changes in your home’s atmosphere since consistent temperatures will assist maintain your pipes clear of ice.
Pipes can burst in the winter months due to the water freezing, which then makes the molecules expand and put pressure on the pipes.
When the pipes cannot handle this pressure anymore, they burst which then leads to water seeping up from the floor, from the wall, and also impacts water pressure and coloration as well.
Luckily, there are steps that you can take to prevent pipes from bursting in the winter which includes keeping a consistent temperature within the home with the use of a thermostat and letting the faucet drip so that the water is not left stagnant.