Why Do Pipes Burst? 5 Possible Reasons

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Burst pipes are a common and costly problem for homeowners across Australia, leading to severe water damage and the need for emergency plumbing services. Understanding why pipes burst can help prevent the inconvenience and expense of such disasters.

Let’s explore some of the more common answers to the question “Why do pipes burst?”, reasons ranging from excess water pressure to cold temperatures and bad installation. Join us as we uncover the causes of burst pipes and how to safeguard your home from this prevalent issue.

1. Excessive Water Pressure

Excess water pressure is one of the most common reasons why water pipes burst in your home. When the pressure in your water pipes starts to spike, it can put stress on the system and eventually cause your plumbing pipes to fail. Installing a pressure-reducing valve is an effective way to manage and maintain normal water pressure, protecting your plumbing from the stress of high pressure.

Homeowners should use a water meter to routinely check their home’s water pressure and ensure it stays within safe limits. Monitoring water pressure can prevent many plumbing problems, from minor leaks to pipes bursting. In doing so, you help to maintain the integrity of your entire water system.

2. Frozen Water Pipes

While Australia typically enjoys mild winters, cold snaps can still pose a significant threat to your plumbing, particularly if you have exposed cold and hot water pipes in uninsulated spaces.

Frozen pipes occur when the cold weather hits. The water inside the pipes freezes, expanding and increasing the internal pressure dramatically. This can lead to burst water pipes, resulting in a raft of plumbing issues and extensive damage.

To prevent frozen pipes and burst pipework, insulate any exposed pipes and ensure warm air circulates in areas where plumbing is located. Regular checks during colder months can help spot potential risks of a burst pipe, allowing you to address them before freezing temperatures cause severe problems.

accumulation of debris, such as hair and soap scum build up in the shower, is one of the reasons why pipes burst

3. Blocked Pipes

Blocked pipes are a common headache for many Australian homeowners. They typically result in increased water pressure and eventual burst pipe issues. Numerous factors can be behind a blockage, including:

  • tree roots
  • accumulated debris
  • sediment build-up

Whatever the obstruction might be, it restricts water flow, creating pressure build-up within the pipe. Recognising early signs of a blocked pipe, such as slow drainage or unusual noises like gurgling, is crucial in preventing severe plumbing emergencies. Regular maintenance, including professional inspections and cleaning, can help keep your pipes clear.

If you suspect a blockage or leaking pipe, call a licensed plumber to assess and resolve the issue promptly. It just might save you from more significant, costly repairs down the line.

4. Poor Installation and Ageing Infrastructure

Found yourself dealing with a burst pipe? Check for poor installation and ageing infrastructure.

Poorly installed plumbing often results in weakened joints and frequent leaks. Over time, these can lead to your pipe bursting. On top of that, older residential buildings often feature outdated materials like galvanised iron or copper pipes, which are prone to corrosion and wear and tear. These older systems may struggle under the demands of modern water usage, leading to failures.

In these situations, it’s essential for homeowners to call licensed, professional plumbers to regularly inspect and potentially upgrade their plumbing to contemporary standards. They’ll use durable materials such as plastic pipes, to prevent costly disruptions and maintain efficient water flow.

5. Corrosion and Material Failure

Corrosion and material failure are key factors behind many burst pipes. Metal pipes, especially those made with older copper or galvanized iron, are particularly susceptible to corrosion over time. This corrosion weakens the pipe’s structural integrity, making it more likely to fail under normal water pressure. The chemical composition of your local water supply can speed up the corrosion process and further exacerbate wear and tear on pipes.

To combat these issues, it’s crucial to choose the right materials for your plumbing system and to conduct regular checks for signs of corrosion. Upgrading to modern plastic pipes can also provide a more durable and resistant solution to help prevent burst pipes and maintain a reliable water flow.

Importance of a Plumber in Dealing With Burst Pipes

The importance of hiring a licensed plumber cannot be overstated when it comes to maintaining and repairing your home’s plumbing system. A licensed plumber brings more than just expertise and experience to the table.

They’ll also offer a guarantee that all work meets the stringent standards required by Australian building regulations. This helps to minimise the risk of plumbing failures, such as burst pipes, as an experienced plumber will carry out any and all installations and repairs correctly.

Licensed plumbers can also advise on the best materials and techniques to use, provide regular maintenance checks, and swiftly handle any plumbing emergencies, thereby preventing further damage and potential expensive repairs.

Underground plumbing pipes either being dug up or put in.

Burst Pipe Repair Options

When faced with burst pipes, homeowners have a variety of repair options to consider:

  • Patching: Suitable for minor damage to quickly restore functionality and minimise water loss.
  • Pipe replacement: Necessary for more severe damage; involves replacing sections of the damaged pipe.
  • Pipe relining: A popular, less intrusive method that is particularly beneficial for repairing underground pipes without extensive digging.
  • CCTV inspections: Utilised by plumbers to accurately diagnose and efficiently address plumbing issues.
  • Professional plumbers: Hiring experts guarantees the quality and durability of repairs, ensuring a robust plumbing system less prone to future problems.

By choosing the right repair approach, you can effectively manage and resolve issues related to burst pipes, ensuring long-term stability for your home’s plumbing system.

Prevention of Burst Water Pipes is Better Than Cure

Understanding the common causes of burst pipes, such as excessive water pressure, freezing temperatures, blockages, substandard installation, and material degradation, is crucial for any Australian homeowner. Proactive measures, including regular maintenance and timely repairs, are key to preventing these issues.

Remember, engaging a licensed, professional plumber not only ensures compliance with Australian standards but also provides peace of mind that your plumbing system is robust and efficient. By taking these steps, you can protect your home from severe water damage and avoid the inconvenience and expense of emergency plumbing situations.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

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