Most Common Causes of Pipe Bursts

Most Common Causes of Pipe Bursts

A burst pipe can create a disaster in your home, causing extensive water damage. Make sure you know where your home’s water shut-off valve is and how to operate it. That way, if you suffer a burst pipe, you can limit the damage while you wait for your plumber to come and make repairs. Just remember to never enter a flooded basement that has electrical outlets unless the electric power to the entire home is shut off first.


One of the most common causes of pipe bursts is freezing. When frigid temperatures hit, the water inside pipes in poorly insulated areas of the home can freeze. This ice clog stops the flow of water through the pipe, increasing the pressure within. The pipe will burst at its weakest point, not necessarily where the ice is stuck inside it.

Mineral Build Up

Hard water creates a buildup of minerals inside pipes. Over time, these deposits can get so thick that they narrow the pipe, increasing pressure and causing the pipe to burst.

Tree Roots

Tree roots can encircle or invade underground pipes. When roots take hold of a pipe, they exert pressure that can cause the pipe to break.

External Pressure and Earthquakes

Heavy construction equipment and traffic can exert pressure on soil and on the pipes running beneath it. Any time the soil is compressed or shifts significantly, as may be the case after heavy rain or during an earth tremor, pipes are at risk of bursting.

Excessive Water Pressure

A pipe that is too narrow suffers increased pressure, which can cause it to burst. A sudden surge in water pressure caused by a malfunction in municipal supplies could also cause damage. Water pipes have a specific limit on the pressure they can endure.


Even the sturdiest pipes don’t last forever. If you live in an older home and haven’t had your pipes inspected in decades, contact a licensed plumber to assess the health of your pipes. Metal pipes suffer corrosion, and plastic pipes can get brittle with age.

Fletcher’s Plumbing provides residential plumbing repair services in Yuba City, California, and the surrounding areas. If you experience a burst pipe, contact Fletcher’s for help.