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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

7 Tips to Avoid Bursting Pipes

2/8/2018 (Permalink)

Lets start off by explaining why water pipes burst in the first place.
As the temperate drops down, the water freezes expanding inside the pipe. This causes pressure on the pipe itself. When the pressure gets too high, the pipe ruptures. How this actually happens is through a chemical anomaly. As a liquid cools, its molecules begin to slow down. As they slow down, the molecules get closer together causing them to become more dense. However, water molecules try to align with other water molecules based on their hydrogen bonds, and this is what causes the expansion. Interestingly enough, ice has a volume up to 9% greater than the water it was formed from. You can also think of it as, ice is less dense but takes up more space. This is the reason why icebergs float. 
Now let's take a look at some tips you can do to avoid bursting pipes when the temperature drops down.  

Indoor:

  • If the temperatures dip below freezing, let warm water drip overnight
  • Keep the cabinet doors under sinks and appliances open to allow heat circulation
  • Shut off and drain your water system if you are leaving for a few days

Outdoor:

  • Wrap outside faucets
  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the house
  • Disconnect garden hose
  • Drain in-ground sprinkler systems 

Source: Berry, Nick. "Why Cold Weather Makes Your Water Pipes Burst"

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