One of the most destructive things that can happen inside of your home during the winter season is a burst pipe. Water ruins your drywall, warps wooden floors, destroys carpet, and promotes mold growth. To help you prevent water damage and save money, we have compiled a list of 8 ways to prevent a severe pipe burst and ways to fix a cracked pipe.
Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent a pipe burst during the winter, it’s important to keep your thermostat at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. This will keep the water pipes beneath your flooring or behind your walls warm. Most types of pipes in households will not freeze unless the temperature drops below 20 or 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
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How to Preserve the Life Cycle of Your Pipes
1.) Use a Water Pressure Gauge to Inspect the Water Pressure
The pipes in your house are engineered to withstand water pressure that ranges from 30 to 50 pounds per square inch (PSI). Unfortunately, the total volume of the water in your pipes will increase when it’s transformed from a liquid to a solid. A standard water pipe is not designed to withstand pressure of 60 pounds per square inch or higher. An easy way to prevent a pipe burst in your house is to attach a water pressure gauge to a faucet outside your home.
Most hardware stores offer pressure gauges that are able measure up to 300 pounds per square inch. If the water pressure in your pipes is higher than 50 pounds per square inch, immediately call a licensed plumber to perform an inspection. When the water in your pipes freezes, the water pressure can increase to 80,000 pounds per square inch or more. Once the water behind your walls is transformed to ice, it can expand with a maximum force that varies from 25,000 to 114,000 pounds per square inch and cause a pipe burst.
2.) Fix Moving Pipes in Your Walls & Ceiling
If you notice a banging noise when you deactivate your faucet or washing machine, this is a sign of shock waves in your pipes. This type of issue is referred to as ‘hydraulic shock’ by licensed plumbers in the industry. The banging noises are produced when water reverses directions or stops. Once a sink or fixture is shut off, the drastic change in water movement and pressure may cause metal pipes to hit one another.
To prevent a pipe burst, it’s important to hire a licensed plumber to secure the moving pipes. Hydraulic shock problems are more common with metal pipes. However, CPCV and PEX pipes can also produce noises due to shock waves and movement. The best ways to eliminate banging noises includes installing an air chamber, tightening loose pipes, or investing in a water pressure regulator.
3.) Replace Pipes With Corrosion
Although it is common for cities and suburbs to provide soft water to homes, there are a large number of areas that only have access to hard water. If you live in an area with hard water, it’s important to be familiar with the negative consequences of hard water on water supply lines. Hard water is filled with minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
These minerals stick to the interior of your pipes and cause blockages to form. In addition, the high pH balance in hard water can cause the finish on the pipes to chip or deteriorate. Once the walls of a pipe become too thin, the pipe will crack and burst. The best way to stop a pipe burst is to replace old deteriorated pipes in your foundations and walls.
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4.) Turn Your Sinks on a Low Setting
The quickest method to reduce the pressure of water in your pipes is to leave your sink on throughout the winter season. To prevent high water bills, don’t turn the water on a high setting. Turn your kitchen or bathroom sink on a low setting to allow water to drip during the day. This will enhance the movement of water in your pipes and decrease the probability of severe pipe bursts.
5.) Close the Garage Doors
The biggest mistake people make throughout the winter months is keeping their garage doors open. Keeping the garage door open makes it easy for cold air to enter the garage, kitchen, living room, and other areas of your house. To keep cold air away from your water pipes, it’s important to keep your garage doors closed when you’re not outside.
6.) Insulate Your Pipes
The most effective method to prevent pipe bursts is to add insulation to crawl spaces, garages, and other areas with exterior walls. Make certain that the pipes under flooring and behind your walls are insulated. You can buy pipe insulation that will keep the heat around your pipes. If the insulation doesn’t work, you can buy heat tape and install it along your pipes.
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7.) Keep the Kitchen Cabinets Open
When the temperature gets really cold outside, you might want to leave the cupboard doors open on your kitchen and bathroom sinks. This allows the warm air inside your household to circulate to the pipes beneath your sinks and prevents pipe bursts. We understand that keeping your cabinets open makes the kitchen look messy. On the other hand, this is a small price to pay to prevent damage to drywalls, wiring, and furniture.
8.) Remove Your Garden Hose
One of the main reasons that pipes burst during the winter is your garden hose. If you leave it hooked up during the winter, the water in the hose freezes. When the water expands, the high pressure in your pipes can produce cracks or a pipe burst. In order to prevent this, detach your hose from the spigot. It’s an easy thing to forget, but the price of forgetting this simple step is high. The best place to store your garden hose during the winter season is in the garage.
How Long Does It Take For Water Pipes to Freeze & Crack?
The total amount of time it takes for the water pipes behind your walls to freeze will vary depending on the type of insulation in your household and the location of the water lines. If the temperature in your area is between 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to become familiar with the signs of a pipe burst to prevent damage to your walls, floors, and furniture. Once the temperature drops to 20 degrees, the pipes behind your walls or beneath your floors can freeze in 5 to 6 hours. It will take less time for a pipe with no insulation to crack and burst when compared to a water pipe with insulation.
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Process of Fixing a Burst Pipe
To properly fix a burst pipe beneath your foundation, a licensed plumber will use a saw and other tools to remove the wet drywall and gain access to the damaged pipe. Next, it’s important to place a container directly below the pipe that will be removed to prevent water damage to the surrounding frames. To remove the cracked pipe, a plumber will rotate a pipe cutter to cut the pipe below the water leak.
Next, use the pipe cutter to create an incision directly above the water leak. Once the damaged portion of the pipe is removed and sanitized, The last step you will need to perform to fix the burst pipe is integrating a copper pipe sleeve. Grab a flame torch to melt and integrate the top and bottom sections of the pipe sleeve. Wait for a total of 15 minutes to allow the copper repair sleeve to solidify. Once the repair sleeve is integrated into the pipe, activate the water in your house and perform an inspection to confirm that the water leak is gone.
After the pipe burst has been fixed, install new drywall boards to cover the exposed pipes. If you need help with a burst pipe, give our team a call by phone at (732) 201-3305. Our staff of licensed plumbers offers emergency plumbing services to homes in New Jersey such as water line repair, water heater installation, sewer pipe replacement, sump pump maintenance, and gas line repair. We offer plumbing services in areas of New Jersey such as Brick, Middletown, Trenton, Old Bridge, Elizabeth, and Tom’s River. Our staff of certified HVAC technicians and plumbers have been providing trustworthy services to homes in New Jersey for over 18 years.