As a homeowner or tenant, we accept that things can, and inevitably will, go wrong from time to time. Some of these problems will be minor occurrences that are easily fixed, but others, such as a burst water pipe, can be a total nightmare.
Burst water pipes present many problems. First, there’s the amount of water than can potentially be wasted. You then have to consider that you might not be able to use your water, especially if it is a main supply pipe or leads somewhere crucial like your shower or washing machine. Then, you have to think about the damage the water, or the pipe itself, if it burst dramatically, has caused either to surrounding pipes or to areas of your home, or both.
All of which adds up to a significant problem that can cost a reasonable sum of money to fix.
When Burst Pipes Occur
A water pipe could potentially burst at any time, but they are more likely to do so during the winter months, when water within the pipes freezes. When water freezes, it expands, and so stretches the pipe, at which point it may burst. As the ice melts, the water then leaks as the pipe contracts and cracks open. A burst pipe can also occur when the outside of the pipe itself freezes and cracks.
The leak can be a gradual drip or a torrent, depending on how much ice froze in there originally and whether the pipe was already damaged.
How can you prevent this from happening?
Shutting off the Supply
Completely shutting off your water supply might sound like an extreme thing to do, but it will prevent large stores of water being present in your pipes and save you water at the same time by preventing drips and other seemingly innocuous water wastage that can quickly build up to large volumes.
By only turning on your water when you need it, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of frozen and burst pipes, saving you water and money in the long-term.
If you’re unsure where the water valve is in your home, find it now.
Take Pipe Warming Measures
Keeping your pipes warm can help prevent water freezing in them. Foam or fiberglass is commonly used as an insulator, while heat tape is a popular product in very cold areas, or in houses where pipes run closely alongside each other.
If the pipes at risk are those within your home, keep the heating turned on as much as possible, if you can afford to do so. This obviously keeps the water in the pipes warm, but also raises the air temperature outside which prevents the pipes themselves from freezing.
Check Pipe Connections
While the weather can be the primary cause of burst pipes, it is not the only one. Ensure that part of your regular home maintenance checks concerns checking washers and faucets for leaks. Feel them as well as make visual checks, as small but significant water loss might be difficult to spot, especially if the pipe then runs into a wall and there are no small puddles or watermarks.
If you do find problems, the Agua Flux website offers a range of solutions that can help you to save water and prevent leakages.
Preventing Burst Pipes
Both the weather and weakened infrastructure can cause pipes to burst, ensure you take the time to be vigilant and, if you need to, spend any money as a preventative measure before problems occur or escalate. Being proactive will lessen the impact of issues that do happen, and cost you a lot less then replacing or repairing burst pipes and the incremental damage they can cause.
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Robert is a home improvement consultant who works around all areas of the home. Robert is regularly contacted by people experiencing problems that could have been prevented, including burst water pipes.