Why Do Pipes Burst in Freezing Cold Weather?

The winter and the freezing UK temperatures that can occur during the season can lead to a number of issues. One of these issues is the potential for your water pipes to expand and burst. Naturally, when water freezes it expands in size. As a result, any standing water left in the pipes of your home will begin to expand as they freeze. As the water expands the pressure inside of your pipes will increase. Depending on the amount of pressure your pipes are subjected to there is the risk of them bursting.

Burst Pipe Due to Frozen Water

The extent to the damage can vary depending on a few factors:

  • The material your pipes are made of
  • How old the pipes are
  • The area in which the burst occurs

Once the pipe has burst the danger then comes when the frozen water melts, again the extent to which the pipe is damaged will directly affect the amount of water that is able to escape. However, any escape of water can have potentially catastrophic repercussions for your home and family. A burst pipe can lead to severe water damage to your property, which could also lead to structural issues if the situation worsens. In the event this occurs it is vital that you quickly look to hire a flood damage cleanup service provider like Ideal Response.

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Can a Burst Pipe Lead to Mould?

Another risk that comes alongside burst pipes is mould proliferation, which at this time of the year is already a risk to many homes throughout the UK. The escaped water will lead to damp patches in your property. These damp patches provide the perfect environment for fungal growth to grow and spread. Mould can cause significant health complications and we strongly recommend you seek the help of a professional mould removal service provider like Ideal Response as soon as you notice or suspect mould growth.

Mould Caused by Burst Pipe Leak

The Risks and Reality of a Burst Water Tank

Alongside the risk of your pipes bursting due to the freezing cold UK weather is the risk of your water tank also bursting. In many homes the water tank is located in the attic/loft in order to better use the forces of gravity to distribute water throughout your home. Again, the cause of a burst water tank is the same as the cause for bust pipes. In the sub-freezing temperatures of the UK during the winter, the water in your pipes will expand as it begins to freeze. This freezing water creates pressure as it expands, and it is this pressure that will result in your water tank and water pipes bursting.

The bursting of a water tank will create the same problems as a burst water pipe but to a much greater extent. A larger volume of water has the potential to escape the burst water tank. Depending on the location of the water tank, this water could potentially reach a larger area of your home compared to water from a burst pipe.

Properties at Risk of Bust Pipes and Tanks

For all properties there is the risk of the freezing winter temperatures causing damage to your water pipes. However, the homes most likely to be affected by freezing conditions are older properties. Older properties are more likely to have older pipes and outdated insulation. Insulation will help your property retain heat and for many older properties the insulation used is not as effective as it could potentially be.

This is more likely to result in your property reaching these sub-freezing temperatures that result in pipes bursting. Having older pipes is also a factor, due to the fact that they will already have seen significant wear and tear and may not be as structural sound enough to withstand the internal pressure caused by the expanding water/ice.

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How to Prevent Your Water Pipes Bursting This Winter in the UK

There are a few steps that you can take to help prevent your water pipes and water tanking from bursting this winter:

  • Insulate – Insulating your home and pipes will help to prevent the cold from outside entering your property, whilst also ensuring as little heat is able to escape from within your property.
  • Keep your home as warm as possible – Maintaining warm conditions inside of your property will do a great deal in terms of preventing water freezing inside of your pipes. Using heating timers will help to maintain a good temperature whilst also reducing the amount you spend on your heating.
  • Locate the Stopcock – In the event that your pipes do burst it is vital that you know where your stopcock is. The stopcock will enable you to completely turn of the water at the source and prevent a constant escape of water from the burst pipes.
  • Fix any leaking taps – Leaking taps allow a constant (very slow) flow of water if this freezes it can not only lead to your pipes bursting but also to them backing up. This back-up can lead to an overflow which just adds another issue on top of the burst pipe.

What To Do If Your Water Pipes Burst This Winter

If your pipes have been damaged as a result of the freezing temperatures the UK has recently been subject to you should immediately look to solve the problem. A plumber will be able to help you replace any damaged pipes, but you should look to hire a professional Damage Restoration & Specialist Hygiene company like Ideal Response in order to deal with the issues that come as a result of the burst pipes.

Frozen Water Pipes

If your pipes have burst, you may be in need of:

Get in touch with Ideal response on 0808 239 4130 if you need help with any of these services.

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