A burst pipe with water spraying out of a crack

Causes and Prevention for Broken Pipes

Causes and Prevention for Broken Pipes

When a pipe breaks in your home, you may be wondering what went wrong. It can seem random, but why do pipes break in the first place?

We’ve ‘broken’ down the causes of pipe breaks and what you can do to prevent them in your home.

Why Pipes Break

Minimal or poor maintenance of your plumbing system increases the likelihood of a broken pipe. Likewise, incorrect disposal of food and hygiene products down your drains can lead to clogs, corrosion, and eventually a broken pipe.

Tree roots are also a major contributor to pipe breaks, especially in your sewer and water lines. The roots seek out water, and some can be extremely aggressive about infiltrating your pipes.

Extreme weather causes pipes to expand and contract, causing small cracks and burst pipes.

High water pressure - The normal water pressure (PSI) coming into your home should be 40-60 PSI. Just like high blood pressure is bad for your organs, high water pressure stresses your pipes and appliances.

Other factors can be age, natural corrosion from soil, and improper maintenance.

Preventing Broken Pipes

Annual plumbing inspections are recommended, to detect hidden leaks and ensure everything is working as efficiently it should. When you have your plumbing system maintained by a licensed plumber, the risk of broken pipes drastically decreases, and you avoid many of the problems that we described.

It’s important to be careful about what you put down your pipes. Common items that cause trouble include:

  • Coffee grinds
  • Eggshells
  • Stringy vegetables
  • Rice/Pasta
  • Meat/Bones
  • Oil or grease

Also, avoiding items that cause corrosion will also help reduce the chances of a broken pipe. Harsh chemicals, including chemical drain cleaners, should not be dumped down the drain as they will accelerate corrosion on your pipes, leading to a leak.

Regarding roots, you can avoid root intrusions, by planting trees and other foliage far from your pipelines. Call your local, licensed plumber if you need help locating your pipes.

Follow weather reports and the proper protocols when there is a freeze on the way. Some recommendations include:

  • Insulating outdoor spigots
  • Letting water faucets drip
  • Leave cabinets open under sinks warm air can reach pipes

Have your water pressure checked (just like your blood pressure!) If it is too high, consider a water pressure regulator. (Note: If water pressure seems low, only at 1 or 2 fixtures, this could be due to lime and scale build-up. Gilbert and the surrounding areas have extremely hard water. In this case, you’ll want to explore your water treatment options.)

Think twice before having an unlicensed (handyman, friend or family) perform plumbing or drain repairs. There is a lot that could go wrong and quickly become very costly. Besides having the know-how to avoid these catastrophes, licensed pros also have warranties and liability insurance!

Expert Pipe Repair With 5-Star Service

When you experience a leak or full pipe break, it’s important to have a trusted plumbing team on your side. The Plumbing & A/C Medic team is equipped with the knowledge and experience to fix any pipe issues in your home. Our elite team of trade professionals is standing by 24/7 at (602) 975-2306 to provide you with the exceptional service you deserve.

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