When it comes to plumbing problems, burst pipelines are one of the most common issues in residential buildings.
Dealing with burst pipework can be problematic as most pipes are hidden behind walls. Sometimes, homeowners only know about the issue from visible damage like mould on walls.
That’s why all homeowners should know the factors that might lead to pipes bursting. We have created a list of the leading causes of burst pipelines to help you stay prepared while adding details about where you might encounter such plumbing emergencies.
Where Do Pipes Burst?
One of the things to note about plumbing pipelines is that they can burst anytime or anywhere, especially when the pipes are old. However, places that experience high-temperature fluctuations are more prone to the problem, particularly for exposed pipes.
Sometimes, you can miss the initial signs of damage in pipes, such as leaks or cracks, so that a burst pipe may appear suddenly. That’s why it’s essential to regularly inspect homes' plumbing systems, especially if you’re still using old plumbing installations like metal pipes.
What Causes Burst Pipes?
1. Wear And Tear
Are you living in a home with old plumbing fittings like copper pipes or joints? If you have copper pipes, you may find a pipe bursting due to regular wear and tear that has taken place over the years. This is especially true for exposed pipes as they come in contact with environmental factors that cause rust and corrosion.
Even though most pipes are designed to last for decades, corrosion can weaken them earlier, resulting in leaks, fine cracks, or uneven water pressure. If you have metal water pipes, you may find brown water flowing from the taps, which signifies that the pipe is rusted.
Corrosion often damages the connection point and bends of pipes, so keeping an eye on them during regular maintenance is helpful to avoid dealing with burst pipes.
2. High Water Pressure
Another common reason for burst pipes is uneven water pressure, especially when it’s too high. Most Australian residential buildings' average or normal water pressure should be around 500-550 kPa. For some reason, the pipes can sustain damage under stress if there’s suddenly excess water pressure.
A key sign that indicates excessive water pressure is a banging noise known as a water hammer. If you hear such sounds, it might be time to call the local supplier or a plumber to find out what might be wrong with the pipelines.
Water pipe bursts are often caused by debris, oil, grease, and scum accumulation in the pipelines. Even though a clog might not be noticeable at first, the deposits may increase, and the pipes may burst due to the high pressure. In some cases, the burst pipes result from hard water damage due to the accumulation of excess minerals like magnesium and calcium.
Usually, the first signs of a blocked pipe to look out for are uneven water flow or slow drainage in bathrooms. And if the blockage isn’t cleared out as early as possible, even a relatively new pipe can succumb to breakage.
4. Tree Roots
A lesser-known reason water pipes burst is the intrusion of roots. This is especially seen in the case of underground pipelines, as the moist environment is favourable for roots to grow. The pipes are vulnerable to severe damage when tree roots coil around them, even entering the pipes through any weak point, which causes them to break.
That’s why an experienced emergency plumber checks the nearby vegetation and trees before laying down underground water or drainage pipes. And they must be equally careful about fixing pipes damaged by tree roots to prevent further issues.
5. Freezing Temperatures
Frozen pipes are a reality in areas that experience colder winter months, as the water flowing within a pipe can freeze in cold temperatures, causing it to burst. Plastic pipes are by far the most vulnerable when bursting from frozen water.
Another thing to note is that ice blockage can also occur in hot water pipes, as warm water freezes faster than cold water. Moreover, older rusty pipes are more susceptible to bursting as the temperature within the pipes drops due to the sudden contraction that happens in cold weather.
6. Poor Installation
The reason hiring professional plumbers becomes quite essential for your home is to avoid poor installation. Improper installation is one of the leading causes of burst water pipes resulting from rushed or unprofessional work. This causes even more trouble when pipes inside the wall develop a crack or leak, as it can be several days before a homeowner may know about the damage.
Improper plumbing work can lead to blocked pipes when the joints aren’t laid down. So, if you feel that similar problems exist in your home’s plumbing pipes, contact a licensed burst pipe plumber to get the system checked.
Prevent Burst Water Pipes At Home!
Now that you know about the common causes of burst pipes, it will become easier to maintain them in good condition to prevent plumbing issues. This can be done by asking a professional local plumber for tips and avoiding dumping substances like grease, bleach, and food debris down the drain.
When encountering a burst pipe, contact a licensed plumber, such as Woolf Plumbing and Gas, for emergency plumbing services. Our Perth plumbers can provide fast and affordable solutions for burst water pipes with our same-day emergency plumbing services.
Remember, don’t try to repair the pipes yourselves, as it can result in more damage and expensive repairs.