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The Science of Burst Pipes and Recovering From Winter Woes With Water Damage Restoration in Yankton, SD

January 13th, 2017 · No Comments

Below freezing temperatures in southeast South Dakota are the norm at this point in the winter season, and while most people are experienced survivors of Midwest winters, accidents can happen when least expected. Even those wise enough to keep their homes and businesses well heated and insulated can have pipes running close to the building perimeter or outside the building itself. These pipes are often more exposed than others and are thus more susceptible to freezing and bursting. If you’re struggling with the aftermath of a cracked frozen pipe, contact ServiceMaster Clean of Southeast South Dakota for comprehensive water damage restoration in Yankton, SD.

Most people are aware that pipes will burst under the duress of freezing temperatures, but fewer know the science behind why this happens and what can be done to prevent it.

In fact, the real problem with pipes cracking has everything to do with whether or not water is inside the pipes and whether or not the pipes were closed off when they were exposed to freezing temperatures.

Why do pipes burst?

When water molecules are exposed to lowering temperatures, they begin to restructure. When temperatures hit 0ºC (32ºF—the temperature at which water freezes) the molecules form a crystalline structure similar to the structure of salt, sugar, and many types of rocks. H20 molecules themselves don’t expand when exposed to freezing temperatures, but instead they restructure into the hexagonal crystalline form of ice, which takes up much more space than the smooth, liquid form of water.

When the form of H20 molecules restructures to fill more space, it essentially expands in its container. If the form is contained inside a pipe, it will move based on its pressure outlets. This can mean moving out of the tap if the pipe is not closed off, or it can mean forcing its way out of a closed pipe, cracking and bursting the metal of the pipe in the process.

Preventing burst pipes is easy. You can get away with having cold areas in your home or business if you don’t want to spend energy on unnecessarily heating some areas of your building. Pipes running throughout the winter simply need insulation against the cold and adequate drainage through taps. Pipes you don’t use during the winter (outdoor hoses, for example) need to be completely drained and left open just in case any remaining water needs a space to expand into when it freezes.

Even with all the preparation in the world, some pipes can still be missed when you winterize your building. If you’re struggling with damages left by a burst pipe in your home or business, contact ServiceMaster Clean of Southeast South Dakota at (800) 834-7081 for 24/7/365 emergency water damage restoration in Yankton, SD.

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