Why Do Water Lines Break?

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A broken water line is a disaster that can catch you by surprise. If these lines break in winter, you will have to contend with a frozen water supply. In summer, mold, insect infestations, and bad smells invade your home if you have broken lines.

Above-ground water line breaks can cause massive property damage, while underground water line bursts can compromise your foundations. So, why do pipes in your main water line break? Read on to learn more.

Wear and Tear

A water line can break due to old age. Over time, elements can take a toll on your water line, regardless of the construction material. These materials can eventually deteriorate and break whether you use steel, copper, CPVC, or PVC. 

Like other plumbing materials, you can extend your water line's life with proper maintenance and timely replacement. Routinely check for rust and corrosion in your external pipes. If you catch rust early and eliminate it, your water lines will last longer. Also, conduct regular plumbing inspections to check for issues such as:

  • Discolored water 
  • Reduced water pressure
  • Dirt in your water line

These are obvious signs that pipe corrosion is imminent. You should act quickly before your water lines break and trigger flood damage in your home. 

Freezing and Thawing

When temperatures plunge in the winter months, the water that runs through your main water line can freeze. As a result, ice accumulates inside the lines. Since frozen water needs more space than liquid water, pressure builds up. Eventually, your pipes rupture. Pipes most vulnerable to freezing often run through unconditioned areas, such as garages, basements, and attics. 

If your underground water lines break, you should consider trenchless pipe repair. For above-ground pipes, appropriate insulation can protect the pipes located in unheated places in your home. Also, open your bathroom and kitchen cabinets to optimize the flow of warm air to prevent frozen pipes behind your cabinets. 

Other approaches you can use to winterize your water lines are:

  • Keep the garage door closed, especially if water lines pass through your garage.
  • Let faucets served by vulnerable pipes drip. (Even a trickle can prevent frozen pipes.)
  • Set constant temperatures on your thermostat during day and night.

With these steps, your water lines will remain functional throughout the cold weather. 

You can evade the inconvenience of broken pipes with regular maintenance of your main water line. If, however, your pipes break, contact a residential plumber for specialized repair or installation. 

For more information, contact a residential plumbing service.