Breakdown: Why pipes can burst when it’s cold

Breakdown: Why pipes can burst when it’s cold

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands as it gets close to freezing. When it freezes it also causes the pressure inside the pipe to increase. When the pressure gets too high, the pipe can burst.

When a liquid cools the molecules slow down and as they slow down molecules get closer together. This closeness will increase the density of the liquid. When water is cooled down, it gets denser and before it freezes, it expands.

Pipes normally freeze around 20 degrees but can above 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Pipes that are exposed to cold air like when it’s windy or if there are cracks in an outside wall or lack of insulation, can also make pipes vulnerable to freezing at temperatures above twenty degrees.

Here are some ways to keep pipes from bursting

  • Make Sure Pipes Are Insulated. Exposed pipes are prone to freezing
  • Drip Your Faucet 
  • Seal Up Cracks and Leaks
  • Open Cabinet Doors to let warm air flow to your pipes 
  • Watch That Thermostat
  • Shut Off The Water.

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