Breakdown: Why pipes can burst when it’s cold

Breakdown: Why pipes can burst when it's cold

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Some may believe that pipes burst due to ice expanding inside the pipes. However, that is not quite the case. When water freezes inside pipes, the water molecules move around and expand. The ice does expands but it also pushes the water toward the faucet, causing a good deal of pressure to buildup between the ice blockage inside the pipe and the faucet. Once the pressure build up is too much for the pipe to take the pressure, it bursts. The rupture typically occurs in an area in the pipe where there’s little if any ice at all.

Pipes that are the most vulnerable to rupturing are pipes that are continuously exposed to freezing temperatures. These include pipes that are not insulated and indoor pipes that are in areas that are not heated. Places like basements, attics and crawl spaces. This is why many pipes that burst happen in basements which can cause floods.

There are ways that you can help protect your pipes from bursting. One of the best ways to prevent is to insulate pipes that are more susceptible with foam or fiberglass sleeves. Another way that most of us are familiar with is by allowing water to drip out of the faucet or even a trickle can help by preventing the water pressure from building up.

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