In countries with harsh winters, cold weather can be blamed for most cases of burst pipes. We can’t say the same for Australia where even the coldest months are mild. The water inside the pipes doesn’t freeze and expand. When they burst out here, the causes are usually unrelated to the weather.
Metal pipes were used in the construction of most old homes. These have the tendency to succumb to corrosion over time. The walls weaken and break due to the pressure. To prevent this, new homes are built using PVC or copper pipes that are resistant to rust.
- Hard Water
Water rarely gets to us in pure form. There are usually minerals present in small quantities. This isn’t a problem when drinking as long as they stay under certain levels. However, excessive calcium and magnesium could make the taste bad. They could also result in mineral build-up along the pipe walls. The flow of water slows down and while corrosion accelerates.
- Poor Installation
Sometimes the problem simply lies with poor installation. Perhaps the plumbers rushed things while trying to beat a deadline or got substandard parts to stay under the budget. Soldering wasn’t as polished as it should be and weak points were left around the system.
The Telltale Signs
Homeowners should be mindful of the signs. Quick action is required to prevent things from getting worse. For example, wall and ceiling stains often appear because of leaks. The pipes that run through the spot may have developed a hole.
Check the water from the tap. It should be clear and tasteless. If it starts to turn brown, then you might be dealing with rusted pipes. Contaminated water could cause corrosion in other appliances and leave stains on clothes. You could inspect exposed pipes outside the house as well for additional clues.
Observe the water pressure. If you have noticed a drop, then you should investigate whether this was caused by a hole in the pipeline. This can be a problem for the upper floors as the water can’t flow effectively to the toilets and wash areas.
If there are trees around the house, then you should be wary of the spread of their roots. These could wrap around pipes and strangle them until they break. The roots could also find their way into the pipes and cause a blockage. The pressure could lead to a burst elsewhere in the system.
Dealing with Burst Pipes
Prevent damage by turning off the water supply. This will contain the leak and make the problem easier to fix. If you aren’t at home most of the time, then ask your trusted neighbour to check on your house and shut off the main valve if necessary.
As for repairs, it would be best to leave these to the experts. Call in the plumbers for inspection, diagnosis, and restoration. They will fix things right away so that damage and disruption are minimised. They will also put measures in place to avoid a recurrence.