How to Prevent Burst Pipes (and Make Your Pipes Last Longer)

The plumbing in your home is constantly working, so it’s important to know how to prevent burst pipes. In turn, this will help your pipes last longer.

Water is always being moved around your home: whether you’re washing your hands, taking a shower, flushing the toilet, watering the lawn, or running the washing machine. So, above all else, it’s critical that you decrease the pressure on the pipe system.

6 Tips: How to Prevent Burst Pipes

Let’s go over six tips on how to increase the life of your pipes and prevent them from bursting.

1. Don’t Ignore Small Problems

Most of us have ignored taking immediate action on a leak or clogged drain. We all procrastinate from time to time.

And while a tiny drip drip drip may seem harmless, it should be taken seriously. Leaks wear away at your pipes. Without intervention, they’ll only get bigger and cause even more wear. It is a vicious and expensive cycle.

Additionally, slow drains are a sign of blockage somewhere in the plumbing system. The blockage leads to increased pressure and greater wear.

When you notice the problem, immediately try snaking or plunging the drain. If that doesn’t work, call a trusted plumber. But more importantly, don’t neglect the problem. 

why is my faucet leaking - water faucet trickle
A dripping faucet can cause more problems than you might think.

2. Invest in Regular Drain Cleaning

To avoid catastrophic occurrences, it pays to invest in regular drain cleaning.

It is harder for the water to move if there is buildup or blockages in your pipes. More wear will cause leaks and greater damage than a yearly investment in regular drain cleaning. And blockages or stubborn clogs will back up water into your home.

Water damage and home restoration are extremely expensive. Make a smaller investment by hiring a drain specialist to clean your sewer line once every two years. It will pay dividends.

Sewer lines - camera line inspection of residential home through roof vent
Fixing a sewer line break is extremely expensive. To prevent catastrophic water damage, we recommend that you invest in a sewer line inspection and drain cleaning once every two years.

3. Check & Maintain Good Water Pressure

Here’s an often-overlooked way for how to prevent burst pipes.

We get why people like a strong stream of water, but it can be unpleasant and harsh on your skin and your faucets, pipes, and hoses. So, how do you make sure your water pressure is just right?

We recommend using a simple $10 to $30 water pressure gauge for testing your pipes. This simple device measures the force of water pressure that runs through your pipes. Most people enjoy a water pressure of about 50 psi. Water pressure that is higher than 75-80 psi is frowned upon and dangerous to your plumbing system.

Once you settle on the correct water pressure, you can adjust it by making a small change to your PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve).

Watts water pressure test gauge with two dials - how to test water pressure at home
You can easily check the water pressure in your house with a water pressure gauge. We show you how to use a water pressure gauge in our video here. Make sure your water pressure never goes above 75 or 80 psi. Even better, keep it between 40 to 60 psi.

4. Don’t Flush Anything You’re Not Supposed To

Drain pipes are not a trash can for wet wipes, feminine products, toys, paper towels, wrappers, or cat litter, or highly fibrous foods.

Whether dumped down a toilet or sink, these products break apart over time, collect, and create a sticky residue that builds up on the inside walls of your pipes. This increases pressure on your pipes and fittings, leading to leaks, bursts, and backups. All of these issues can be avoided by simply disposing of the debris in a trash can.

food clogging pipe drain - how to prevent burst pipes
Fibrous and hard foods should never go down the drain. These, and other materials, create blockages that increase the pressure on your pipes. Eventually, the pressure is too great and the pipe leaks, bursts, or backs up.

5. Don’t Use Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners eat away at clogs. But they also eat away at your pipes.

In fact, the lye or acids used in most chemical drain cleaners are proven to begin deteriorating your pipes immediately. Both types are incredibly corrosive and dangerous to use.

The better solution is to try a natural remedy (mixing a solution of vinegar and baking soda for instance), a plunger, or a drain snake. All of these offer safer, more reliable, and more efficient ways of cleaning out a drain without harming the pipe.

Chemical drain cleaners are bad for the longevity of your pipes. Each time you use them, they will corrode the inside wall of your pipe. Eventually (sooner than later), your drain and pipes will deteriorate and burst. You also can watch this video on YouTube.

6. Don’t Let Your Pipes Freeze

During cold months, your pipes can freeze rather easily. And they will burst due to the expansion of water when it freezes. Water expands when it freezes. Unfortunately, your pipe doesn’t expand enough to avoid the buildup of pressure. This leads to a burst pipe.

We offer a few tips on avoiding freezing pipes:

  • Pipe insulation can be found at any local hardware store.
  • Open cabinet doors on cold days. This will allow the warmer air from the house to keep the pipes warm.
  • Slightly open the faucet that’s the farthest away from the water main. A few dribbles of water will work to relieve any pressure that could build up if the pipes freeze.
split copper pipe - best pipe for freezing conditions
This is what happens to a copper pipe (it splits) when the water inside freezes and swells. The pipe isn’t able to expand enough to accommodate the swelling. Instead, it bursts.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are numerous ways to prevent burst pipes.

Unfortunately, this also means that there are many ways your pipes can burst. The best way to keep any of these from happening is to (1) proactively protect your pipes from wear and tear and (2) address any issue as it comes up.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber if You Need More Help

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need help with your pipes, whether it’s to repair, replace, or maintain them.

1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

Similar Posts