When we head towards the winter months we are often reminded how the freezing temperatures can cause pipes to burst. 

But did you know that pipes can burst in the summer months too. 

Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can cause changes to your pipes and their surroundings that can cause them to burst. Burst pipes can cause significant damage. 

In this article we will look at why pipes burst in the summer months, some of the other reasons why pipes may burst, how to prevent burst pipes and what you can do if you experience a burst pipe.

Why do pipes burst in the summer?

During the summer months a combination of both the extreme heat and increase in demand for water can cause pipes to burst.

Extreme Heat

Throughout the summer we experience days of extreme heat. This can cause soil to dry and become loose, causing pipes to shift. The heat can also cause the pipes to expand and move.

Increase in Demand for Water

There is a greater increase in the demand for water during the summer months. This is due to people washing their cars, filling paddling pools, watering plants, the use of sprinkler systems and pressure washers.

Other common reasons that can cause pipes to burst

Frozen pipes

During winter months when the temperature drops it can cause water in your pipes to freeze. As it freezes it can cause the pipes to expand and burst. This isn’t always immediately obvious until the ice melts and escapes through the cracks in the pipes.

Tree Roots 

Tree roots are a common reason why pipes get blocked and burst.

Tree roots are naturally drawn to water so can often be found near to external pipes. They can wrap themselves around the pipes, crushing or breaking them. They can also find their way through small cracks and gaps in the pipes and start growing inside the pipes. This can result in the pipes becoming blocked or excessive internal pressure causing them to burst.

Blocked pipes

There are numerous reasons why pipes can become blocked, including tree roots as mentioned above. 

Some of the other reasons pipes can become blocked are:

Flushing items which should never be flushed - flushing sanitary products, nappies and paper towels are common reasons why pipes become blocked. These should always be disposed of in the correct manner and never flushed down the toilet.

Pouring cooking fats and grease down the drain  - once these fats cool, they will solidify and block your pipes.

Rinsing hair down the drain - hair is another common reason why drains become blocked. There are a number of ways to reduce or prevent this, including installing plugs designed to stop the hair from being drained away or using a drain cover.

Hard Water

If you have hard water flowing through your pipes you may find that the inside becomes covered in a layer of limescale. This can cause blockages and have an impact on the flow of water. It can also weaken and corrode pipes causing them to burst.

Wear and Tear/Old Age

Pipes that are not regularly maintained and have become worn are much weaker and therefore more likely to burst, especially when combined with any of the above issues.

These issues can also cause sewage to back up into homes. 

For more information on some of the reasons why sewage back ups into homes, take a look at our article 'Common Causes Of Sewage Back Ups'

How to prevent burst pipes

If you notice an issue with your pipes, never ignore it. Always call a professional in to take a look, it will work out much cheaper than fixing the damage a burst pipe can cause.

Be mindful of your water usage. Increased water usage during the summer months is inevitable. However, you can make a difference by simply being mindful of this and reducing usage where possible. It is important to make everyone in your household aware of this too.

Insure your home against burst pipes. Check if your insurance covers burst pipes, if it doesn’t it might be worth looking to see if you can add it to your policy. However, it is important to be aware that insurance companies may not pay out if the burst pipes have not been properly maintained.

Signs that may indicate that you have a leaking or burst pipe

Increase in water bill - any unexpected increases in your water bill need to be investigated.

Damp -  damp patches in your home, on floors, ceilings and walls may indicate a leak or burst pipe.

Discolored water - discolored water coming from your taps may indicate there is rust, resulting from a leak in your pipes.

Strange sounds - any change in sounds when using water needs to be investigated as these could be a result of an issue with your pipes. These include thumping, whooshing and hissing sounds.

What to do if you experience a burst pipe

  • Turn off the water supply as soon as you can.
  • Turn off the electricity, but only if it is safe to do so.
  • Call your insurance company. They will be able to confirm if your policy covers burst pipes and advise you on the next step to take in order to claim.
  • Call a professional water damage cleaning company.

Flood Doctor is a professional water damage cleaning company. We are experts in water damage remediation and restoration

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to deal with emergencies. We can also provide you with all the required information and photos to support an insurance claim.

Our technicians are often highly praised for how professional and considerate they are, which is especially important when dealing with this type of potentially stressful situation.