A bursting pipe

Why Do Pipes Burst in the Winter?

December 7, 2023

Take Steps to Prevent Plumbing Disasters

Winter brings many joys, from snow-covered landscapes to cozy evenings by the fireplace. But it also brings a set of challenges, one of which is the risk of pipes bursting. If you’ve ever wondered why pipes burst in the winter, you’re in the right place. In this blog, we’ll explore the science behind this issue and offer some tips to prevent it.

The Science Behind Burst Pipes

The key factor that leads to pipes bursting in the winter is freezing water. Here’s a closer look at the process:

  • Temperature Drops: When the temperature drops below freezing, the water inside your pipes can also cool down significantly.
  • Water Freezes: As the water temperature approaches 32°F (0°C), it begins to freeze. When water freezes, it increases in volume by about 9%, causing pressure to build up inside the pipes.
  • Increased Pressure: The pressure from the expanding ice can exceed what the pipes can handle, leading to cracks or ruptures.

Preventing Pipe Bursts

Now that we understand why pipes burst in the winter, let’s discuss how to prevent this costly and inconvenient problem.

  • Insulation: Properly insulating your pipes can help keep them warm during cold spells. You can use pipe insulation sleeves or heat tape to prevent freezing.
  • Let Faucets Drip: Allowing a small amount of water to drip from faucets can keep the water moving, reducing the risk of freezing.
  • Seal Leaks: Ensure there are no cracks or gaps in your home’s walls and foundation where cold air can seep in and affect your pipes.
  • Keep the Heat On: Maintain a consistent indoor temperature, even when you’re away from home. A well-heated home is less likely to experience frozen pipes.

Call Craig’s Services for Help

Understanding why pipes burst in the winter can help you take the necessary steps to prevent this unfortunate event. By insulating your pipes, maintaining a consistent indoor temperature, and letting faucets drip, you can keep your plumbing system safe during the coldest months of the year. 

If you find yourself dealing with frozen or burst pipes this winter, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Craig’s Services. Our team of experts is well-equipped to handle any plumbing emergencies, and we’re just a phone call away. Stay warm and safe this winter!