Call Us First: 970-964-4437

You’ve probably been in this situation: You’re sitting cozy in your living room, having a calm night, when you unexpectedly hear a loud noise. You hurry to inspect and discover that a pipe has burst, creating uncontrolled flooding. What was once a lovely evening has now become an expensive catastrophe. Regrettably, this is a predicament that almost all homeowners and property managers encounter regularly. Plumbing pipes are essential to any home, yet they are sometimes overlooked until a blockage or leak occurs.


The damage and property loss can be devastating when a pipe bursts due to an accumulation of pressure. A burst pipe can significantly damage the property, resulting in structural damage, water damage, or mold growth. Based on insurance claim submissions, water damage is the most severe loss for homeowners. Between 2013 and 2017, nearly 10,000 water damage losses were incurred by homeowners.[1] To implement preventative measures that entirely avoid these bothersome pipe breaks, it’s essential to answer the question, “Why do water pipes burst?”

Reasons Water Pipes Burst

Understanding what causes a pipe to burst is critical for taking preventative and mitigating measures. Here are a few of the main culprits:

1. Extremely Cold Temperatures

It’s not uncommon for frozen pipes to occur, even in more temperate climates. During a cold spell, water inside pipes gradually freezes as it approaches the freezing point (32 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s easy to overlook the early warning signals of a frozen pipe since water may still flow through it, although at a considerably slower rate.

Water sprinkler pipes, piping in unheated crawl spaces or attics, and pipelines running parallel to poorly insulated exterior walls are the most prone to freeze. As water freezes in one section of a pipe, pressure develops. If the pressure grows too much, the frozen water pipe will burst. As temperatures drop below freezing, you should adequately insulate and check water pipes.

2. High Water Pressure

High water pressure in the house is a primary source of pipe damage, leaks, and wasted water. Water pipes are built to handle a specified maximum level of water pressure. Pressure causes pipelines to fracture, ultimately resulting in the water pipe bursting. If your water pressure is too high, you may measure it using a hose bib gauge, which is available in  most hardware stores.

Standard pressure ranges between 50 and 80 PSI (pounds per square inch). If the water pressure in your house is too excessive, a plumber can install a pressure-reducing valve to reduce it to safe levels. Detecting any underground leaks can be a complex operation that requires the assistance of a skilled plumber who can quickly fix a burst pipe.

3. Corrosion

Metal pipes are at risk of corrosion as a result of constant exposure. Rust weakens the walls, joints, and seals of metal plumbing pipes over time. Corrosion can eventually lead to the pipes bursting as it eats away at them, creating tiny cracks along the way.

Water pipes can last up to 20 years, beyond which they get structurally degraded such that they cannot withstand considerable water pressure. Plastic pipes usually become brittle and fracture at the slightest strain, whereas metallic pipes, in particular, are susceptible to corrosion with time.

If you notice any warping or discoloration on your pipes, that may be a sign of corrosion. Additionally, yellow or brownish water from your faucets is another sign you must watch out for. It may be time to call a plumber if you see any of these signs.

4. Tree Root Encroachment

It’s possible for root systems growing in your yard to put pressure on your pipes, especially if your soil is compacted. This excessive pressure can cause pipes to break and leak. When trees increase in size, their roots penetrate deeper into the earth and become attracted to underground water and sewer connections. Water pipelines are hardly robust enough to keep invading tree roots at bay.

As roots penetrate an underground pipe, they keep growing and pressure it, leading to the water pipe bursting. To avoid this, grow trees and plants as far away from underground water lines as feasible. If you believe roots have already infiltrated your water pipes, a plumber can use a camera probe to examine your lines for obstructions and breaks.

5. Soil Shifting

While uncommon, geological disturbances can expose pipelines to high stresses, causing a water pipe to burst. Such incidents are pervasive in disaster scenarios, earth tremors, and earthquakes. They also occur when the earth shifts slightly up, down, or laterally, such as after heavy rains. Such earth motions subject ground pipework to tremendous stresses that push it beyond its limitations, causing it to break without warning.

6. Clogs

The buildup of clogs in your piping system can result in higher water pressure, developing minor leaks and eventual bursting. Even mildly obstructed pipes can contribute to costly damage. This leads to higher water pressure in your pipe system, which can easily lead to the water pipe breaking and, ultimately, a total burst. If you face a stubborn clog that you cannot tackle independently, contact a plumber for assistance to prevent it from becoming a more severe and expensive issue. You can avoid the problem by installing low-cost mesh drain covers in sinks, showers, and tubs.

Consequences of a Busted Water Pipe

Water pipe bursting can result in considerable devastation to personal possessions, real estate, and furnishings.

Mold Growth

Your health is one of the biggest concerns a burst pipe presents. Failure to promptly eliminate stagnant water can cause mold growth and increase overall humidity levels. Mold can grow undetected in difficult-to-reach areas, causing even more issues for building residents.

They increase the likelihood that residents may experience respiratory conditions such as asthma, throat infections, congestion, headaches, wheezing, and eye discomfort. In addition, anyone near the pipes at the time may get hurt.

If left alone, mold can harm both the company’s property and all its inhabitants. It can spread rapidly and worsen the harm level, creating risk to the individuals occupying the premises in question. In buildings with multiple households, there is an increased possibility for the spread of diseases and cross-contamination since these residents utilize communal spaces.

Compromised Structural Integrity

Water damage can seep through your home and impact its integral structures. Just one pipe burst is enough to compromise your home’s structural integrity. If neglected, this deterioration might increase the likelihood of your home’s collapse or other major disasters.

For instance, water damage from a burst pipe might spread to wooden support beams and subfloors. When water damage goes undetected and isn’t quickly dried out, it can lead to the decay of essential support structures in your house. This can ultimately weaken the overall structural integrity of your home.

Wooden components are especially prone to rot and decay, whereas concrete and metal can corrode and cause structural collapses. Fractures and warping may appear, making the structure unfit for habitation. This presents immediate risks and calls for expensive remodels and repairs.

If your pipes burst, the water can damage the exterior of your home if it seeps into the brick, stucco, or siding backing. When pipes burst, your home’s electrical system is also at risk. Water exposure within walls and surrounding floors can create eclectic shorts and fires. Structural sections can be damaged even in a minor house fire.

Irreparable Damage

Water pipe breaking can result in flooding. Home flooding is a complex problem to solve. Not only does it harm your possessions permanently, but it also has the potential to destroy some of them. Water can collect in various living spaces, such as the bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen, causing furniture to soak. It can seep into the fabric near the bottom of furniture and ruin the upholstery on parts of the furniture.

If there is enough water, it can seep through the ceiling and flood the lower levels. Water can corrode light fixtures and wiring, as well as beams and ceiling insulation. You might have to find temporary accommodation elsewhere if your entire house floods. Apart from that, repairing pipes is expensive. You might need to replace the whole plumbing system if several pipes burst.

What to Do if a Water Pipe Bursts?

Dealing with burst pipes and water damage can be a significant hassle. Pipe damage can occur unexpectedly and cause severe harm to property and health. Swift action will help to safeguard your family and limit the damage. Remember that preventing pipe bursts in your home is your primary priority. As the seasons change, inspecting your property’s exterior and interior for any leaks is critical. You can also keep frozen pipes from bursting and causing pipe failure by wrapping exposed pipes in fiberglass insulation and removing any garden hoses from the outside. Contacting a professional plumber to promptly and accurately repair a damaged pipe is best. Endeavoring to fix it on your own may lead to more harm, so seek the services of specialists.