Preventing Leaky Pipes
We know the story. One second, you’re washing your hands. The next second, you’re surprised by a sudden splash of water at your feet. You look down and, to your dismay, you realize a leaky pipe has drenched the inside of the cabinet underneath and your shoes along with it. This is a common narrative we hear in our line of work. It seems there are always pesky leaks that seem to pop up out of nowhere and take us by surprise, disrupting our lives and possibly damaging our cabinets, floors, and walls. Contrary to what you might think, there are some things you can do to prevent these troublesome leaks. Here are few common pipe maintenance techniques:
- Watch your PSI
High pressure in your pipes can cause them to shift and move in place, increasing the likelihood of leaks. You may also hear a thud or bang when suddenly shutting off your water; this is noise is called “Water Hammer”. Usually this happens when the PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) in your pipes is over 60 and your faucet is on for an extended period. If you notice this, let us help you out. Call us and we’ll have a technician out to your home to regulate your water pressure. This process shouldn’t take very long.
- Install a water softener
One of the benefits of having a water softener in your home is the lack of minerally build up, or scale, your pipes will accumulate over time. If you do not have a water softener and you have developed scale in your pipes, you are more likely to develop leaks in your plumbing. Water softeners help to filter out any minerals that would build up in your system and cause these leaks.
Why do pipes burst?
We’ve heard this story before. You come home one day from work to find a watery mess all over your floor. Bursting pipes can be a real cause for concern for folks who live in colder temperatures or older homes. If you’ve ever had a pipe burst on you before, you know how much of a hassle it can be. Here are some reasons why a pipe might burst in your home:
- Frozen Pipes
Extremely cold temperatures have been known to cause pipes to burst. This usually happens when temperatures drop below 32 degrees and the water in the pipes freeze. Although freezing usually causes contraction, the mass of ice is greater than the mass of liquid water. Ice in the pipes will lead to an immense amount of pressure that can gather near the weak point in the plumbing system. In this case, the pipe will then burst. To prevent this, turn on your sink faucet just a tad. This will prevent any pressure building up and keep slow moving water in your pipes. Also, try to keep the overall house temperature above 55 degrees.
- Water Hammer and Movement
Pipes that are not properly secured into position will often move around while water is being shut off at the sink faucet. The sudden stoppage of water causes the pipe to shake and bang up against the wall around it. This can cause pipes to burst over time due to the weakening of the pipes with each bump of the wall. To prevent this, simply secure your pipes in place.
- Water Pressure Issues
The pressure of the water in your pipes will greatly affect whether they will burst. In some homes, when the water pressure is above 80 PSI, the pipes can get to the point where they burst. The solution to prevent this from happening is simple. Call a plumber to come down and adjust your PSI for you. Keep in mind that when your water pressure is above only 60 PSI, you could be damaging your pipes.
Naturally, over the various years of service to your home and organic “wear and tear”, your pipes will corrode. When this corrosion happens, it can leave your plumbing system with some weak points. Eventually, these weak points will rupture, causing there to be a big mess if you don’t catch it in time. To prevent this, have a plumber come out and inspect your pipes and system. Then, make the necessary changes in pipes to avoid the problem.
Keep in mind, if you ever run into a problem that is more than your current level of plumbing knowledge to please give us a call sooner rather than later. When you call us, we can have a licensed expert technician to your home as soon as possible! Give us a call at (623) 499-9794.