Do Frozen Pipes Always Burst?
Living near Duluth and Hastings in one of the colder regions in the country, homeowners are always concerned about freezing pipes and the damage they can cause as they begin to thaw. But it is essential to understand that many variables are at play when a water line begins to freeze. Factors like the pipe’s location, the pipe material, the amount of water in the pipe, and the air temperature will influence your outcome with a frozen pipe. The only thing that is safe to say is that very few things are always guaranteed to happen, including a frozen pipe bursting.
Why Does A Pipe Burst?
There are typically two contributing factors that cause a pipe to freeze. The first is the pressure of the liquid inside the pipe, and the second is the pipe’s material. When you think about the pressure inside a water line, you know that pipes are rated to a maximum PSI or pounds per square inch. And if the pipe can handle the water moving with force under its capacity, then freezing should not create an issue. And that would be true, except that water increases in volume by 9% when it freezes, significantly increasing the pressure inside the pipe.
The other factor, the material used to make the pipe, also impacts its durability. We can all agree that a water line made of steel or iron is more durable than one made of PVC or another plastic compound. So a PVC water line is more likely to shatter when it freezes than a pipe made of thick metal.
Myth Or Helpful Tip
Many people wonder if it is actually helpful to leave a faucet dripping to help prevent frozen water lines. And the answer is yes. Moving water takes longer to freeze than static water. So if you leave a faucet running or dripping, the water will continue to flow through the center of the pipe even as the water along the pipe wall begins to freeze. That space in the center where the water is moving will help prevent the excessive pressure of a fully frozen water line and protect your pipes from bursting. However, at around 20 degrees, even moving water begins to freeze. So take more precautions than simply leaving a faucet trickling.
In extreme cold, water lines need to be insulated or wrapped in a warming device to ensure that they do not freeze, burst and cause costly water damage to your home. If you are unsure how to prepare your pipes for cold weather, call 612-340-1444 to speak to the experts at Paul Bunyan Plumbing And Drain. Our team of licensed plumbers will provide you with helpful information and options to install devices to protect your home’s water lines from the brutal cold of a Minnesota winter.
Should you discover a frozen water line in your home, call the pros at Paul Bunyan at 612-340-1444 for expert assistance thawing and repairing any damage before it can create water damage in your house.