Protecting your Water Pipes Year-Round
If you own a building of any kind, you know that upkeep can be very costly at times. Electrical, plumbing, heating, and hot water systems all require a regular amount of attention if they are to stay functioning properly and efficiently. One of the best things a property owner or manager can do is to prevent these costly accidents from happening.
Water systems on properties come in all different shapes and sizes, but all share one characteristic: they can fail when temperatures get extreme. Cold weather causes water pipes to freeze and eventually burst. The rupture occurs because the pressure from unfrozen water between the ice and the closed faucet becomes so great, it splits metal. This phenomenon can happen in warmer climates as well. In Florida, it is not uncommon for a quick wind gust to create a wind chill. When that colder air passes by the warm water in the pipes, pressure is created, and boom! The pipe ruptures.
Cold weather is not the only cause of water pipe failure. Warm weather also causes thousands of pipes to burst each year. In the dog days of July, August, and early September, heat-related water main bursts are at peak levels. Even if your pipes are underground they are not safe from extreme temperatures. Have you ever noticed that in the summer months there seems to be roadwork going on everywhere? Some of that is due to underground water pipes rupturing due to the heat. Most towns and cities keep extra roadwork crews readily on call to deal with this problem. A good way to tell if the heat is affecting your pipes is by feeling the temperature of you water. If you turn on the cold water and you feel lukewarm to hot water coming out for several minutes, chances are your water pipe has already begun to leak or has gained pressure.
These incidents can cost between $2,000 and $15,000 to fix, depending on how damaging the burst is. However, the repair is not the only cost. If you are unaware that your water pipes have begun to leak, then you are paying for water that is not being put to use. Cases such as this happen more often than you think. Without tracking of your data, leaks can be very hard to spot. To prevent these issues from happening make sure your pipes are insulated, covered, and inspected regularly. If you have unground pipes, make sure they are buried deep enough to defend against extreme temperatures. If you want to learn more, check out Sean's tutorial on Conducting a Water Audit in 30 Minutes or Less.
Check your pipes!