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Spring Weather Causes Burst Pipes

Posted Thursday, March 15th, 2018

It always happens around this time of year. Our Michigan springs are notoriously volatile, with temperatures ranging from sunny and warm one day, to cloudy and freezing the next. While Detroit and Ann Arbor residents don’t have to deal with lake effect like Grand Rapids and Lansing, they still have to contend with weather systems pushing up from the south, which can leave them even colder than the rest of the state! (minus the U.P., of course, since they’re basically tundra until May). Springtime in Michigan certainly isn’t gentle, and this fluctuating weather can be incredibly harsh on your indoor plumbing. This sort of spring weather causes burst pipes, leaving us Michiganders with water in our basements and a mess on our hands.

Freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw – the weather cycle we experience in spring causes a major strain on your water pipes. Why does fluctuating weather cause pipes to burst? Well, when water freezes, it expands. Ice will take up more volume than water, which is a huge problem in confined spaces – like your plumbing!

If you’ve ever had the ice cubes in your ice tray freeze together, you’ve experienced this effect. Even though you put the exact right amount of water in the tray (and it didn’t overflow), the cubes all froze together on the top when you pulled it out of the freezer. What gives? When the water froze, it pushed upwards and out. Having this happen in your ice tray is a minor inconvenience; having this happen in your plumbing can be a disaster!

Expanding ice will push against the barriers of the piping, and, given enough pressure, will actually split the pipe. Not good. The worst part is that you won’t even realize it until the water thaws and starts flowing again. Even a tiny, ⅛ inch split can spill up to 250 gallons of water per day!

Luckily, there are a few Simple & Quick steps you can take to help prevent burst pipes from happening:

  1. Locate and insulate any vulnerable plumbing
  2. Keep your thermostat at a steady temperature – day and night
  3. Let your faucets slowly drip when the temperature drops
  4. Close the garage

That’s why Michigan spring weather causes burst pipes; the up-and-down temperatures make it more likely that your pipes will freeze, which puts them at risk of bursting and causing a massive flood in your basement. Or bathroom. Or kitchen. Or any room that plumbing runs through. While you should be vigilant all year long (like in the winter, for example), springtime is prime time for burst pipes and water damage in your home.

From burst pipes to flooded basements to toilet overflows, Modernistic has been helping Michigan recover from water damage for over 45 years.

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