As temperatures take a nose dive into winter, one of the biggest hazards you could face is a frozen pipe. But just why does this happen?
Many people’s first answer is, “Water freezes, turns into ice that expands past the pipe’s capacity and causes it to burst.”
But that’s not entirely true. Burst pipes are caused by water pressure buildup, not freezing.
“Water molecules expand as they freeze,” LiveScience.com says. “As the ice expands, it pushes water toward the closed faucet, which causes an immense amount of water pressure to build between the ice blockage and the faucet.
“Eventually, the pipe ruptures under the pressure, usually at a spot where there’s little or no ice.”
Common places where pipes can freeze
Because they’re less likely to be insulated or heated, here are at the most likely places your pipes will rupture.
- Crawl spaces
- Sprinkler lines
- Hose bibs
- Swimming pool supply lines
Protect your home
To protect your pipes, insulate risky areas with foam or fiberglass sleeves. This usually prevents catastrophic buildup of water pressure. Both types of insulation are available at most home improvement stores.
It’s also a good idea to leave faucets on so water trickles. This, too, helps prevent pressure buildup.
If you head out of town sometime this winter, ask a friend or neighbor to walk through your home and check the faucets while you’re gone.
This should ensure water pressure doesn’t build up in your pipes.
Nobody wants to deal with a burst pipe during wintertime. If it happens, immediately call Eyman Plumbing, Heating & Air at 402-731-2727. We are here to help you.