Preventing Burst Pipes and Flooding

Water from burst pipe.

It’s enough to strike fear into the heart of any homeowner: you come home to water damage and destroyed valuables because of a burst pipe. It’s not something that happens often, and luckily for you, Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning has some steps you can take to keep it from happening to you.

An Ounce of Prevention…

Pipes burst because water expands when it freezes. Sometimes you get lucky and the freezing only slows the flow of your tap water. But if it happens often enough, it’s weakening your pipes each time and raising the odds of a failure in your plumbing. What can you do?

  • Prevent drafts around your pipes, especially water supply lines
  • Insulate your pipes
  • Insulate attics, basements and crawl spaces
  • Keep your kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanity open to let air circulate and warm the pipes
  • Don’t turn your thermostat down too low, especially if you’re going to be away from home for a bit
  • Keep exterior doors (storm cellar doors, garage doors) closed if there are water pipes nearby
  • If you need water heater repair, don’t wait

What to Do if You Suspect a Frozen Pipe

One thing you absolutely should not do is use an open flame. However, if you have a space heater, a hair dryer, or even a heating pad, these can be used as long as the pipe is not leaking and the surrounding area is dry. Running water through the pipes will gradually thaw a freeze as well.

Pipe Bursts in Warm Weather

Burst pipes in cold weather are easy to avert partly because we take the danger for granted and prepare for it. Just because it’s a lovely summer day doesn’t mean it’s time to let your guard down. Cold isn’t the only thing that can lead to burst pipes. Each of the following can cause problems no matter the weather:

  • Worn or rusty pipes are prone to burst even in warm conditions. They may also develop holes or leaks in multiple places, which can be as damaging as a burst if it goes undetected.
  • Hard water — water with a high concentration of minerals like magnesium or calcium — can cause corrosion. They also build up over time, choking your water flow to a mere trickle.
  • Poor installation often leads to bad fittings between pipes, or a soldering job that doesn’t hold up for the long haul. The DIY job you did, or the cheap handyman you hired, may end up costing you.

What If a Pipe Bursts?

You can do everything right and things can still go wrong. So what should you do if a pipe bursts in your home? First, shut off the water supply to your home. Second, go to your breaker and shut off the power to any areas that are waterlogged. Third, call in a plumber for repairs done the right way. Finally, depending on the amount of water and the area affected, you may also want to call in a professional restoration service.

Need a bit of help keeping your home safer, or assistance with a home plumbing emergency? Call Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning for help.