Why do water pipes break?
-A 10-degree change in the air or water temperature can dramatically increase stress on a pipe. Sometimes this increase leads to a fracture of the pipe causing a water leak.
-Water temperature below 40 degrees F can cause pipes to become more brittle. Air temperature at or below freezing causes the ground above a pipe to freeze - increasing external stress on a pipe. Frozen ground can lead to pipe breaks throughout the winter months. When water turns into ice, it can expand. When ice forms in soil it pushes the surrounding ground with great force. This leads to a movement in the ground as well as any nearby pipes.
-Since the drop in water temperature lags behind air temperature changes, water main breaks may occur one to 2 days after a cold spell.
-Other factors that can lead to water pipe breaks and leaks:
->Age: The break rate for pipes increases after 60 years. Age alone, however, cannot always be used as an indicator of failure.
->Corrosion: Older pipes are not cement lined and corrode inside and outside, increasing the chances of a break.
->Pipe Diameter: The smaller the diameter, the greater the risk of breakage.
->Soil Erosion: A previous pipeline break, excavation or nearby construction activity often erodes soil around water mains, which can cause breaks.

Please call 336-883-3111 for more information.

Show All Answers

1. Why do water pipes break?
2. Why was my water cut off?