Wondering if Copper pipes can Burst if Frozen? Not sure What will happen if they do burst?
In this guide ,you will learn:
- Can Copper Pipes Burst & Common causes of burst copper pipes,
- What can happen if copper pipes burst,
- Ways to prevent copper pipes from freezing and bursting.
Can Copper Pipes Burst?
Yes. Just like any other type of pipe, whether it is made of plastic, PVC, or another material, a copper pipe will burst if put under a sufficient amount of pressure.
This pressure could be caused by a number of factors we will discuss later in this article.
How Easily Do Copper Pipes Burst?
However, it should be noted that copper is a little bit more likely to burst than certain other types of plastic-based pipes.
This is due to two factors:
Firstly, copper is highly rigid.
While certain plastic-based pipes can expand and bend to help maintain structural integrity, copper pipes are less capable of doing this, especially in the cold.
Due to this fact, copper is surprisingly prone to bursting in cold weather.
The other factor worth noting is that copper is a conductor of heat.
This means that, like other metals, heat can travel through copper extremely quickly.
While copper can get hot at stunning speeds, it can also get cold just as quickly.
This conductivity is another reason that copper is less resilient to bursting than it may first appear.
The fact is this: copper pipes are more likely to burst in cold weather than other types of pipes.
Most Common Reasons Why A Copper Pipe Might Burst
There are several reasons why your copper pipes may burst. The bursts could be caused by one of the following.
The most common cause for copper pipes bursting is freezing, especially in colder climates.
When the temperature drops, copper pipes decrease in temperature rapidly. This may cause any water inside the pipes to freeze.
Freezing in and of itself does not always lead to a burst copper pipe.
However, if your faucet remains closed while the pipe is frozen, any unfrozen water caught between may cause the pipe to burst.
Throughout years of use, small amounts of sediment may build up in your copper pipes.
This buildup of sediment could eventually, if left untreated, cause a blockage that would lead to a pipe bursting due to the water having nowhere else to go in the copper pipe.
3.High Water Pressure
While not as common an occurrence, if water pressure is too high then your pipes may burst beneath the strain.
For example, high water pressure could be caused by road works taking place on the water system as a whole.
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What Is The Chance That A Copper Pipe Will Burst If Frozen?
All else being equal, there is a 70%+ chance that a copper pipe will burst if frozen.
If all of your heating or plumbing systems consist of copper pipes and it hasn’t been properly protected chance is you will have to deal with burst pipes!
What Temperature Will Copper Pipes Burst?
Copper pipes are more likely to burst at a temperature below negative 6.6 degrees Celsius or 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, pipes without proper insulation may burst at a higher temperature due to factors mentioned previously.
Issues with Burst Copper Pipes
A copper pipe bursting can cause a variety of serious problems in your home. Some of these include:
- Mold Growth: Even a little bit of water leaking from copper pipes can give mold the perfect environment to grow. Mold can be dangerous for people with breathing conditions such as asthma and must be dealt with quickly.
- Water Damage: The most readily seen issue with a burst copper pipe is the release of large amounts of water. Water damage can be extensive and can quickly destroy electronics, furniture, and other valuables.
- Damage to structures: Finally, if a burst pipe is not noticed, the leaking water can cause damage to the structure of the house. For example, the foundation could be affected by erosion while wooden beams supporting floors could rot away.
Due to these facts, burst copper pipes are a serious issue. If you find one, you should contact a professional as soon as possible.
Preventing Frozen Copper Pipes
Thankfully, there are numerous ways to prevent copper pipes from freezing, even in cold weather. These include:
1. Opening the faucet
Letting water drip out from the faucet reduces the amount of pressure in your pipes and keeps a constant small flow of water making your pipes less likely to burst.
2. Seal leaks
Have a look for any leaks on or near your pipes that could let cold air in.
By sealing these leaks, you reduce the chances of your pipes freezing.
3. Insulate pipes
Insulating pipes is one of the simplest ways to prevent freezing.
Installing insulation in exposed areas and crawl spaces can drastically reduce the chances of freezing and bursting of copper pipes.
4. Use heat tape
Heat tape is a great way to prevent your pipes from freezing.
This is done by wrapping your pipes with the tape and plugging the tape into an outlet. The tape then keeps your pipes from freezing
5. Adjust the thermostat
Finally, another simple way to reduce freezing risks is to turn up the thermostat.
Keeping the temperature consistent throughout the day and night is a great way to avoid freezing copper pipes.
When To Call A Professional
The best time to call a professional is before the problems arise. Getting a qualified professional to check your pipes once a year or two is a great way to avoid any problems.
However, there are two scenarios where it is best to contact a professional immediately.
The first is if your copper pipes have frozen and burst.
The second is if there is any amount of water damage caused by burst pipes.
If either of these happens, they will need to be dealt with by a professional in most cases.
With all that in mind, if you don’t feel absolutely confident performing repair work yourself: contact a professional.
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