Why Pipes Freeze and Burst
Contrary to popular belief, pipes don’t burst at the moment they freeze. The real issue arises from the pressure build-up caused by ice blockages. This blockage leads to increased water pressure behind the frozen section, and it’s this pressure that eventually causes the pipe to burst.
The Melting Phase
The danger of bursting intensifies when the ice starts melting. The rapid movement of water through the pipes, combined with pressure fluctuations, can result in pipe bursts.
Vulnerability in Different Climates
In colder northern regions, homes are typically constructed with pipes located inside the insulation. This design generally shields the pipes from extreme cold. However, severe cold snaps, inadequate insulation, and openings that let cold air touch the pipes can still cause freezing and bursting.
Conversely, in warmer southern climates, pipes are often positioned in unprotected areas outside the insulation. Homeowners in these regions might be less vigilant about freezing risks since they occur infrequently, usually just a few times per season.
Temperature Threshold for Freezing Pipes It’s a misconception that pipes only freeze when temperatures stay below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for several nights. In reality, pipes can start to freeze at around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Below this threshold, the likelihood of pipe bursts increases, especially in southern areas.