November 10, 2023
Common Causes of Cracked Pipes

No matter where you live, your home’s plumbing is important. The good news is that modern residential plumbing is both durable and reliable. However, it is not indestructible. There are a variety of situations and conditions that can pose a threat to the various pipes in your home. Left unchecked, those things can damage or even destroy your home’s plumbing. But you’re not powerless to stop it. Here are six reasons that your home’s pipes might crack and what to do about them.

1. Freezing

By far, the most common reason for cracked pipes inside your home is freezing. As the temperature of the water flowing through your home’s pipes drops, ice may start to build inside them. At first, you may not notice a problem. Then, your first warning could be a slight lack of water pressure coming out of your faucets. If the problem isn’t corrected, though, pressure will build inside your pipes, eventually causing them to crack.

Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent pipe freezing from happening. First, never turn your home’s thermostat below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Second, make sure to open the cabinet doors under your home’s sinks when the outside temperature drops below freezing for extended periods. That will allow the warm air from your home’s HVAC system to reach the pipes and transmit heat into them.

For added protection, you should also insulate any pipes that run through unheated parts of your home. This includes places like garages, crawlspaces, and attics. You could also install heat tape, which is a kind of electric heating system for your pipes.

2. Age-Related Deterioration

Another common cause of cracked pipes is simple age-related deterioration. Depending on the type of pipes you have in your home, you can expect them to last for different lengths of time. The average lifespan of common residential piping materials includes:

  • Galvanized steel – 20 to 50 years
  • Brass – 40 to 70 years
  • Copper – 50 to 100 years
  • Cast iron – 75 to 100 years
  • PVC – Indefinite lifespan

If your home has PVC piping, you shouldn’t have to worry much about cracks forming due to age. However, be aware, that not every plastic pipe is a PVC pipe. Here in Las Vegas, homes constructed between the 1970s and the 1990s may have polybutylene pipes instead. They look like PVC but are usually gray, not white. If your home has this type of piping, you should know it’s prone to breakage. In that case, you should call BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair to arrange an inspection. For the other pipe types, you should consider more frequent pipe inspections and replacements as they reach the end of their expected lifespan.

3. Clogged Pipes

Although it may seem that clogged drains or pipes are little more than an inconvenience, nothing could be further from the truth. A clog in a pipe can lead to a pressure buildup as water tries to bypass the clog. In some cases, this can result in a cracked pipe. When it comes to drain lines, it’s best to call for a pipe cleaning whenever you notice a slow or clogged drain.

For water supply lines, you may also end up with clogs due to limescale deposited by hard water. Since most homes in Las Vegas have hard water, this is a common problem here. You won’t know about a clogged supply line until it starts impacting your water pressure. If you notice this in time, you can correct the problem before any of your pipes can crack. Plus, you can install a water softening system to eliminate hard water as a contributor to pipe cracking in your home.

4. High Water Pressure

Another common issue that can lead to cracked pipes is excess water pressure. This can happen when your home’s water supply comes in with too much pressure, and there’s nothing to correct it before the water reaches your home’s plumbing. Ideally, your home’s incoming water pressure should be around 60 psi. Once your incoming water pressure reaches about 80 psi, your pipes are at risk.

The best way to find out if your home has high water pressure is to have us check it for you. However, some signs might tip you off to a high water pressure problem. They include banging or noise when you use your home’s water, noisy appliances, and higher-than-expected water bills. If your home has high water pressure, BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair can install a pressure regulator for you to solve the problem.

5. Shifting Soil

Your home’s sewer lines are uniquely vulnerable to cracking for one specific reason. It can happen when the soil under your home shifts over time. That can exert a huge amount of pressure on your sewer lines, eventually forcing them to crack. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent this. What you can do is arrange for periodic camera inspections to make sure your sewer lines are still in good condition. If they’re not, the faster you act, the more you can hope to limit the damage that results from the shifting soil.

6. Tree Roots

Tree roots are another major threat to your home’s sewer lines and may cause cracks in them. If you have trees on your property anywhere near your sewer lines, there’s a good chance their roots will damage your sewer line eventually. Again, this is something that you can monitor by scheduling periodic camera inspections. However, unlike shifting soil, there are some things you can do to protect your home’s sewer line from tree roots.

One thing you can do is remove the trees that are near the sewer line. That’s the surest way to protect your pipes, but it’s not an option that too many homeowners want to go with. After all, trees provide much-needed shade here in the hot Las Vegas summer. Plus, they benefit the air quality around your home, too.

Instead of removing trees, you can instead opt for a root barrier. A root barrier is like an impenetrable wall between your sewer line and the trees that grow near it. Typically made of fabric, plastic, or metal, root barriers can redirect root growth to parts of your property where there aren’t any sewer lines. However, you’ll need to find a qualified installer since installing a root barrier can damage well-established trees if you do it wrong.

Your Las Vegas Plumbing Team

When it comes to maintaining your home’s pipes, you need a trusted plumber like BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair to help. We’ve served the residents of Las Vegas since 2016, offering the best and most complete plumbing services around. We can handle everything from clogs to pipe replacements, sewer repair, water heaters, and more. We also offer HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance, along with air quality testing and duct sealing. We offer upfront pricing for everything we do and strive to always provide flawless customer service and satisfaction. That’s how we won the Best in Las Vegas award in 2019.

So, if your home has a cracked pipe or you need help keeping your plumbing in good condition, contact the experts at BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair today!

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