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Most of the year, we don’t have to worry about our pipes bursting, but in the cold winter months, that’s a different story. When water freezes inside of a pipe, the water expands and as a result, it puts too much pressure on the pipe until it cracks and bursts.

If you ever accidentally left a can of soda pop in the freezer, or if you’ve ever left a can of soda in your car overnight when temperatures dropped below freezing, you might have witnessed this phenomenon firsthand – and it was probably quite messy.

If you haven’t had the misfortune, we’ll explain: When you leave a can of soda in the freezer for too long, the soda will freeze and expand until the can explodes, sending soda all over your freezer. If you left a coke in the freezer, you’d have a dark brown mess all over. The same thing happens with your plumbing pipes and when a pipe bursts due to frozen water, it costs you time and money.

Frozen Water Increases Pressure

When water freezes and expands within a pipe, it causes an increase in water pressure. What happens is the frozen water causes pressure to build-up within the plumbing system, causing your system to be vulnerable to freeze breaks. Typically, the most vulnerable pipes are those located in garages, attics, outside walls and crawl spaces – all areas with little heat and insulation.

Best ways to prevent a frozen pipe emergency:
  • Install plumbing pipes in insulated spaces.
  • If pipes aren’t insulated, add insulation sleeves.
  • When possible, install pipes in heated spaces.
  • When it’s extremely cold outside, let faucets drip. This can go a long way in preventing a pipe from bursting.

If a frozen pipe burst, shut off the mainline in order to prevent flooding. Have a professional plumber locate the cracked pipe and replace the broken sections and then fit the uninsulated pipes with insulation.

Looking for a plumber in Leander or Cedar Park? Contact Excalibur Plumbing to schedule a service call.