What happens with a bottle full of water in the freezer for a long time? Simply, it will break under the pressure of the ice.
The same thing happens with pipes of water lines, especially in extreme winter. Water will turn into ice that will draw pressure on the surface of pipes. Eventually, the pipes will burst or get the leakage. One of the biggest plumbing troubleshoots is pipe freezing and then eventually bursting with pressure.
How long does it take for pipes to freeze and bursts? There is no exact time period that pipes take to freeze. It mainly depends on factors like constant freezing temperature, ice blockage, pressure increase, closed outlets, and insulation. Pipes would not take too long to burst if the temperature is extremely cold and insulation is poor.
This blog will answer all of your questions regarding the freezing and bursting of waterlines. By the end of this article, you will be fully informed about how to handle this issue to avoid water damage to your property.
Reasons for pipes bursting
It is a common belief that pipes mostly blowout from the area when water ice up. However, this observation is far from reality. Ice accumulation is not the direct cause of water line damage. Truth is that damage occurs in closed outlet areas. A combination of three factors is directly responsible for breakout or leakage in pipes. These factors are –
- Ice blockage
- Block outlets
- Pressure increase
What causes pipes to freeze?
There are several factors responsible for freezing water lines directly or indirectly. Let’s see how they can affect pipelines –
- Temperature below 20F is the main cause of turning water into ice. Exterior pipes are exposed to cold winds that can ice over water around pipes.
- Poor Insulation is probably the main cause of water icing in pipelines of exterior walls or attic. Outdoor pipes should be wrap in thick installation sleeves.
- Water pressure In case of high water pressure, joints and fixtures will crack. During winters, the cold wind will let in through these cracks to freeze pipes.
- Previous blockage in pipes can also cause freezing. Water will run out of pipes and this moisture will turn in snow during winter which may cause breakage.
What temperature cause pipes to freeze?
At what temperature you should worry about pipe freezing? The temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less is alarming for pipes exposed to snow or cold winds. Contractors concluded that it will take about 3 to 6 hours below 20 degrees to freeze pipes. However, pipes without insulation would freeze less even before 3 hours. Insulation of houses in Southern areas is not good enough to withstand extreme cold weather conditions. So, pipes in Southern houses are more vulnerable to burst than North.
Which Pipes are affected mostly?
Mainly outdoor pipes are more vulnerable to ice over. Insulation also plays an important role to heat up metal as well as plastic piping. Let’s see which pipes are more in danger of leakage –
- Pipes in outdoor walls or attic
- Pipes in basement
- Already block or crack pipes.
- Old rusty metal pipes
Builders should ensure proper installation during construction to avoid this problem.
How to Prevent pipes from blow-up?
The number one solution to this problem is the proper insulation of outdoor pipes with wrap or sleeves. Pipes should not be installed in worn-out walls as cold air will get in which may lead to ice up the water passage.
- Fill the gaps in the wall properly during installation
- Always hire experienced plumbers for basement piping or attic piping as they are more vulnerable
- Always buy extra-thick insulation sleeves to wrap pipes. It will be costly but effective.
- Ensure water to run continuously in lines especially in cold weather. It will stop freezing.
- Use the hairdryer to open the faucet end. If it does not get open, consult plumbers immediately
After knowing how long does it take for the pipe to freeze and burst you can take precautionary measures before the problem starts. Always keep water flowing constantly through pipelines during winter as it will prevent freezing of the main lines. Insulation is costly but it will save you from the future expenditure of re-piping. Pipe bursting is always overwhelming and needs instant plumbing. If you are facing this troubleshoot, contact experienced plumbers as soon as possible.