Bursting of pipes is one of the most common plumbing problems that many homeowners experience. Whether in the supply pipes or plumbing system, water pipes may burst without any warnings. The burst pipes can be extremely devastating for your residential property and wallet too. Unfortunately, replacing the pipe might be the least of your problems as you might also have to deal with the costly damage caused by water and mold accumulation.

Water supply pipes are usually designed to endure a significant amount of force, thus resisting bursting. In many cases, the bursting of pipes is usually due to significant structural damage. Please continue reading to understand more reasons why pipes burst and simple ways to prevent this from happening.

1. Excessive Water Pressure

Pipes are usually designed to withstand certain levels of water pressure. You can see the exact level of pressure each pipe is designed to withstand when you look at its label. However, the pipe’s water pressure limits can be exceeded when more volume of water gets pumped through a water pipe.

Such incidences occur when you use a narrow pipe to supply more water volume, hence triggering more pressure on your water pump. The excessive water pressure may exceed the pipes’ structural capacity to withstand force, leading to a sudden burst.

Apart from the volume of water, hard water can also deposit some minerals into your plumbing network. These minerals can gradually accumulate and cause your pipes to burst. Since the water in the pipes needs to flow fast to push past clogs and blockages, the pressure might become too high, and your pipes may start to give way. Regardless of the reasons for the excessive water pressure, you should engage the services of experienced plumbing professionals. These experts can access the issue and make all the necessary repairs to prevent further water damage or property loss.

2. Old Pipework

Like all other materials, pipes are designed to last for a certain period, depending on their exposure to different weather elements and how they are maintained. Whether the pipes are made of metal or plastic, an old plumbing network can give in to internal and external pressures.

Despite regular servicing and maintenance, old pipes can burst without warning. According to experts, pipes usually remain in good shape for up to 20 years, but after that, they can begin breaking down where their structure cannot withstand high water pressure. Plastic pipes, in particular, become brittle, making them bust at the least amount of pressure, while metallic pipes can easily rust and corrode. To prevent burst pipes, replace your old pipes with new ones as soon as possible, especially if you live in a home that’s more than 50 years old.

3. Improper Pipe Connections

Piping connections are among the most vulnerable areas of the entire plumbing network. Sometimes, the person who laid your initial plumbing network may have done a bad job. Maybe they rushed the task, were inexperienced, made some mistakes, or used improper tools and parts.

Improper and weak pipe connectivity can easily expose your pipes to high pressure. This, in turn, acts as the point of bursting when pressure builds up. To prevent such problems, you need to ensure that pipe connections get proper reinforcements.

4. Incorrect Pipe Layering and Pipework

Pipe layering and piping connections must be carried out by a trained plumber knowledgeable in plumbing work. Mistakes always occur when pipe layering is done by people without plumbing technical know-how expertise, leading to improper water pressure subjection on the pipes. For instance, if a bigger pipe gets connected to a smaller one with lesser thickness, high pressure can weaken the pipe structure, making it vulnerable to bursting.

5. Frozen Water

Freezing temperatures, particularly in winter, may at times subject the water to low temperatures. As a result, the water usually turns into solid matter called ice, hence blocking water flow in your pipes.

The significant amount of pressure that builds up at the blockage area because of the mass of ice can subject your water pipes to high pressure. This high pressure will cause the pipes to burst, and there will be significant water flow that can cause damage. Furthermore, the pipes won’t be able to deliver water into your home.

Fortunately, you can easily prevent water from freezing inside the pipes by turning on your faucets or taps to drip water slowly. If you keep the water moving, it will not freeze up in one place, and your pipes will be safe.

6. Clogs

Clogs are among the major causes of blockages in plumbing systems that eventually cause pipes to burst. Clogging in water pipes can occur due to the accumulation of mineral deposits in the pipes’ inner surfaces over time.

Clogs can also form in instances where the water flows with solid materials like chaff. Big clogs can hinder water flow, and the clogged pipe can give way by bursting open or cracking, leading to leaks. Secure a reputable plumbing service to check your pipes for clogs at least once per month to ensure that water flows smoothly.

7. Tree Roots Encroachment

The other reason for bursting pipes is tree roots encroachment. As the trees in your home grow bigger, their roots may extend deeper and further in the soil. Sometimes, these roots might grow until they reach other underground entities like the plumbing network.

The tree roots continue to apply unwanted pressure on the water pipes as they grow. Such pressure tends to squeeze your pipework beyond its structural limit. It makes them burst open or crack, hence leading to water leaks. Detecting such underground leaks can sometimes be challenging, and it’s only possible with an experienced, professional plumber.

It would be best to prevent tree roots from creeping into your plumbing network by planting trees far away from your pipes.

8. Ground Movements

Although they are not common, ground movements can also subject your pipes to extreme pressure causing them to burst. These movements can cause the soil around the pipework to shift, leading to bursting pipes. Often, soil shifting occurs when there is an ongoing construction near your water pipes, heavy rains, and other forces such as earthquakes and tremors.

Such ground movements may expose your pipework to excessive pressure beyond its limits, hence making the pipes burst open without warning. If there are ongoing constructions in your proximity, you can safeguard your water pipes by asking the construction team to be careful when distributing the soil. The crew can save your pipes from undue strain by strategically dumping the displaced soil away from your pipe network.


Pipes burst due to structural weakness or excessive internal pressure. Pipe bursting also occurs due to tree roots encroachment, clogs, ground movements, old pipework, improper pipe layering, and faulty pipe connections. You can avoid bursting pipes by calling JW Plumbing, Heating and Air when your plumbing fails to function properly or when deteriorating pipework needs replacement.

Apart from plumbing services, we also offer a wide array of other services including, furnace repair, HVAC maintenance, indoor air quality assessment, air conditioner replacement, ductless mini-splits, and many others.

If you reside in Los Angeles and are looking for a reputable plumbing service to fix your cracked or burst pipes, you can contact our team at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air. Our team of NATE-certified technicians will professionally handle your plumbing system to keep you from suffering from residential property damage.

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