Most homeowners don’t realize the severity and circumstances behind pipes bursting. First, let’s get the ugly truth out of the way: even in a newer house pipes can burst. Yes, pipe bursting is not solely an issue in old 100 year old iron pipes. Second, the damage caused by a bursting pipe is often astounding. It’s never just a broken pipe. It’s usually major water damage inside walls spanning multiple floors causing mold and damaging electrical components.
Here are the most common reasons why pipes burst in homes:
When the temperatures drop down to around 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the water which runs through your pipes is actually capable of freezing in place. As more water freezes and accumulates in one area of a pipe, more and more pressure is applied to that area. When the pressure becomes too much, the pipe will burst.
2. Tree Roots
Another reason for water pipe bursting is tree root encroachment. As trees grow larger and larger, their roots extend further and further in the soil. In some cases, these roots will grow until they make contact with other underground entities (ie. water pipes). In the vast majority of cases, water pipes are not strong enough to stop tree roots in their tracks. Instead, tree roots will continue to apply pressure on said pipes, pushing them until the crack.
In some cases — particularly when they’re made out of steel — your pipes will burst quite simply because they’ve taken on too much water abuse over the years. When this occurs, said pipes will corrode, narrow, and slowly bust open.
One last reason for bursting water pipes is the existence of a clog. When a clog exists in your pipes, it can cause undue pressure to build up within those pipes. At some point, this pressure will become too much for the pipe to bear; at which point it will crack. Water pipes can become clogged by just about anything, from hair to bathroom products, to food, and more. Be cognizant of what you’re throwing down your drains.
5. High Water Pressure
The optimal water pressure for most home water pipes is 40 to 45 psi. At the most, your water pressure should never exceed 60 psi. If it does, your water pipes are vulnerable to bursting. Water pressure rises for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s simply pumped into your home at too high a speed. In other cases, impairments in your pipes can cause water to slow down and speed up at inopportune times.