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Dealing With Burst Pipes: A Primer

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Dealing with burst pipes can be a pain. Although it is recommended that you call a trusted plumber the moment you notice that your pipes have burst, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage that a burst pipe can bring upon your home, as well as some preventative measures that you can take to ensure that burst pipes don't happen in your home.

Why Do Burst Pipes Occur?

There are numerous reasons why burst pipes occur. Perhaps the most common reason that serves as the cause for burst pipes is freezing water sitting inside of the pipes themselves. They often times react to the materials from which the pipes were constructed and burst. When water freezes, it contracts. This contraction can affect the material from which the pipes were constructed – especially copper – adversely. Even material that seems quite resilient, like PVC piping, can fall victim to frozen water and can lend to bending and bursting.

What Are The Signs That A Pipe Is Going To Burst?

Sometimes, the signs that a pipe is going to burst can be quite subtle. This is why it is important to inspect your pipes with some degree of frequency, especially in the colder months, in which freezing conditions are far more commonplace. Often times, your pipes will become "bloated." You can usually spot a bloated pipe with ease. Its girth expands and looks as if it is going to burst. This size will be even greater around the joints of your piping. Keep your ears open, as well. If you hear hammering sounds coupled with a large gargling noise, then this could also serve as a sign that you are about to deal with a burst pipe.

How Do You Minimize Damage After A Pipe Has Burst?

Sometimes it is too late to catch a pipe after it has burst and you must simply do whatever is in your power to minimize the amount of damage that the water will leave behind. Turn off your main water line, so that no water will be pumped throughout your piping system. Make sure to move everything of importance out of areas which are prone to become flooded, particularly your kitchen, bathroom, and any closets where waterlines can be found. Mop up the affected areas and make sure that everything is dry, so that conditions in which mold can grow do not exist.

Hopefully, this brief guide has given you some idea of the cause of burst pipes, some signs that your pipes are going to burst, and how to minimize the damage wrought upon your home by burst pipes.