Broken pipes are most notorious in the winter. When cold temperatures freeze your water supply line, pressure builds up inside and causes the pipe to burst. But frozen pipes aren’t your only concern. Here are six surprising reasons pipes can break in the summer and what to do if this happens to you.
Why Do Pipes Break in the Summer?
- Invasive tree roots: Large trees have extensive root systems that seek out nourishment wherever they can find it. Pinhole leaks in your sewer line are an ideal source of fertilizer. Over time, spiderweb-like roots find their way into your sewer pipe, growing until they cause significant clogs or create such pressure that the pipe bursts.
- Wet and dry periods: Rainy summer afternoons can make the soil around your underground pipes heavy with moisture. Then, dry periods cause the soil to loosen and shift. In both instances, your pipes may become disconnected and start leaking.
- Corrosion: Metal pipes rust from the inside out as they age, weakening the pipe wall and affecting the joints and seals. This may eventually lead to a slow leak or catastrophic rupture.
- Wear and old age: No plumbing system lasts forever. As they age, pipes weaken and wear out. Plumbing hoses also deteriorate over time, causing slow leaks behind your appliances that can cause significant water damage. Replacing rubber hoses with braided steel versions can help protect your property.
- Construction work: Stray shovels are an enemy of all buried utilities, including water supply lines and sewer pipes. Since construction is a common summertime activity, this is another potential reason pipes can break in warm weather.
- Substandard repairs: Faulty pipe patches do more harm than good. Make sure you only hire a licensed plumber to work on your pipes to avoid shoddy repair work.
What to Do if Your Pipes Break
- Act fast: When it comes to minimizing water damage, every minute counts. If the break occurred in your water supply line, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve or behind the affected appliance. If the break is in your sewer line, stop using water to avoid contributing to the leak.
- Fix the broken pipe: Hire a plumber to find and replace the damaged pipe. If it’s located inside your home, you may end up having a hole cut in your wall, ceiling, or floor to access it. If the sewer line is broken, the plumber may need to dig trenches in the yard to remove the damaged pipe and install a new one.
- Clean up the water damage: It’s important to dry your belongings as quickly as possible to avoid mold growth. Start by soaking up as much standing water as you can. Then, open the windows and run fans to begin drying the structural elements.