Inside of your pipes is a steady stream of water, which comes out when you engage your faucet, shower, or bathtub. So, that water is also at risk of freezing and, since frozen water is a solid and your pipes are built to handle liquids, the frozen water will expand the diameter of the pipe to the point of cracking.
Once the ground begins to thaw, that cracked pipe will no longer contain the liquid that is running through it, and you’ve got a flood or water on your hands.
This scenario is a homeowner’s nightmare and something that nags at the back of their mind each time winter rolls around. But, thankfully there are some things that you can do to prevent a broken water pipe:
- Hire someone to blow out the sprinkler system. If you leave water in your sprinkler system during the cold months, this will lead to a broken sprinkler pipe. The material that your sprinkler pipes are made from is much less resistant to cold than your plumbing pipes so, they will crack if frozen.
- Winterize your garage door. Most homes have the water heater in the garage and leaving the garage door open adds to the cold temperature that the water heater is sitting in. Check to make sure that the weather stripping around your garage door is not cracked, missing, or damaged. And avoid leaving your garage door open for any length of time.
- While you are away. If you are going to be away from your home, on vacation or visiting out of town family, make sure to turn the thermostat down but not off. Keeping your home warm inside helps to combat against pipes freezing. Also, consider turning the main water valve off and your water heater. This might mean not being to take a shower right when you get home but, it will also avoid major water damage in the event of a malfunction while you are away.
Talk with your neighbors about what kinds of winterizing they do around their home and what they have experienced. You never know what could happen until it does happen. Being proactive and as prepared as possible is the best plan for protecting your plumbing system from a broken pipe.