What causes a pipe to burst?

14 September 2016

When it comes to a burst pipe, it can be extremely inconvenient and it can also affect your day-to-day routine. On top of this, a burst pipe can also be quite costly, particularly if a leak or burst pipe causes extensive damage to your property and belongings. Knowing how to spot a leaking pipe is important, but knowing what causes a pipe to burst can be invaluable, as you may be able to prevent a leaking or burst pipe before it happens. We’ve put together a list of the causes of a burst pipe, to help you.

Cold Weather

When the temperature gets below freezing, there’s a chance that your pipes can burst or start to leak. This usually happens if a pipe is old or unprotected, and as water freezes inside the pipe, it can cause your pipes to expand. Continual freezing and expansion of the water inside the pipes can cause a lot of pressure to build up between the ice blockage and the closed faucet. Ultimately, something will have to give. To prevent this, you should check what your pipes are made of and when the weather starts to drop in temperature and goes below freezing, you should take preventative measures to make sure you’re not stuck with frozen pipes. Keeping your heating on, running cold taps regularly and draining your outside tap are all ways that you can attempt to prevent a frozen pipe. If you’re having trouble with the flow of water, make sure to call Hamblin Watermains to carry out an effective leak detection survey, in order to stop the trouble before it starts. In addition to this, you can ensure that any outside taps and piping are insulated and any unheated areas, such as lofts and garages, are all lagged with good quality pipe lagging. In addition to this, leaving your heating on at least 12 degrees Celsius at all times throughout cold spells can help to keep the system warm enough to stop your pipes from freezing.

Rusty or Weakened Pipes

If pipes have been in place for a long time, they may end up starting to rust. This rust can result in numerous issues for your pipes as it can begin to weaken them. This weakened pipe can slowly increase the chances of a leak or a burst pipe. Rust sediment can also end up in the water supply, as it has nowhere else to go. If there is an excessive amount, it will show when the tap is running, and if you see a large amount of orange or red in the water, then you should look to getting your pipes updated immediately, in order to reduce the risk of a burst pipe. As part of our leak detection service, we will detect any weak pipes and aim to either repair or replace them as a preventative measure.

Water Pressure

A build-up of water pressure is another cause of a burst pipe, similar to the way a frozen pipe may burst. When something in your house ends up clogged, such as a toilet or the water pump itself, the pressure can become too much for your pipes to handle – therefore resulting in a burst pipe. This can happen suddenly, and sometimes there aren’t any warning signs. However, if you carry out routine maintenance on your water pump and bathroom fixtures, then you may be able to spot a potential build-up of water pressure before it results in a burst pipe. Also, if you’re experiencing low flow or pressure from your taps, there’s a chance that this could be due to a leak or a blockage, which should be checked immediately.