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Living in Boulder and Denver: What Causes Pipes to Burst?

Living in the Denver and Boulder areas, we are exposed to some extremely cold temperatures each year. Once winter has set in, temperatures can reach well below freezing. In fact, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Boulder, Colorado was -24 degrees (recorded in 1990). The lowest in Denver, Colorado was -29 degrees (recorded in 1875).

pipe bursting leak frozen heating winter water plumbing

Understanding why pipes burst is an important part of learning how to prevent the occurrence. Many homeowners believe that pipes burst simply because of the expanding volume of water that has frozen in their pipes. While ice is part of the problem, this isn't the only reason for a burst pipe. Many pipes burst because of water caught between an ice blockage in the pipe and a closed faucet. The ice blockage prevents the water from retreating back to its source, causing a pressure build-up, leading to a burst pipe. While most pipes are strong enough to handle the occasional strain of increased water pressure, repeated stress can weaken the structural integrity of the pipes over time.

There are a number of ways to prevent this disaster from occurring in your home. During colder seasons (especially as temperatures reach 20 degrees and below), it is important to keep water running through your pipes on a consistent basis. During deep freezes, many professionals recommend maintaining a slow trickle of water through your faucet to maintain a steady flow. If you plan to leave your home for vacation, be sure not to turn your heat off entirely as it is vital to ensuring that your pipes maintain an adequate amount of heat.

As we prepare for winter, be sure to know exactly where your water emergency shutoff valve is and how to use it. Turning off the main supply of water can prevent a substantial amount of damage to your home once water begins to leak. If you need help in an emergency, think your house may be in need of re-piping, or you would simply like to learn more about protecting your home, please call one of our licensed technicians at 303-581-1455. We would also be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the heat in your home.

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