The typical freezing cold Toronto weather often brings with big plumbing problems. Cold weather leads to frozen pipes. One common problem with a frozen pipe is that left unchecked it can lead to a burst pipe. Have a frozen pipe? Contact our 24/7 plumbing emergency team to help you sort it out before it bursts.

If you’ve ever been the victim of a frozen pipe that has burst, you’re not alone. There are plenty of people who have had to face this stressful ordeal. So many in fact the City of Toronto has it’s own page on frozen and burst pipes.

How Does Water Freezing Cause A Burst Pipe?

First question many people may be wondering is how exactly did my frozen pipe burst? This has to do with the physics of water freezing and how it interacts with the pipe holding that frozen water.

Got Science?

To simplify the matter, water molecules when in a liquid state are able to move freely. When water freezes those molecules take on a more defined shape. This shape is actually less dense than when the molecules are in a liquid state, which allows it to float in liquid water (think of ice bergs). Frozen water has a larger volume, an increase of about 9%.

Since the frozen water takes up approximately 9% more volume, it exerts an expansion force on the pipe. The expansion of the pipe causes the surface to break, resulting in a burst pipe.

What To Do When A Pipe Bursts ?

Once you’ve realized you have a burst pipe you need to take these three steps:

  • Stop the water flow. You want to put a stop to the water to reduce the flooding and associated water damage. Make sure you know where your water shutoff valve is, and how it use it.
  • Repair the burst pipe. Repair the broken pipes so that you can restore your plumbing system.
  • Prevent future bursts. Taking steps to ensure the pipes do not burst again in the future. This may include insulating your pipes and/or installing heating measures .

Stop The Water Flowing

Remember, a burst pipe a true plumbing emergency. First thing you need to do is protect your home from flooding and water damage. Do this by shutting off your water immediately. If you’re not sure how to do that right now, make sure it’s common knowledge. Consider telling other household members (or write it down) so they know what to do if you’re not around. If the pipe burst due to freezing you should seek out the cold water shutoff.

If you can turn it off for the specific pipe do so, otherwise you may need to shut off the water to your entire house. It may seem a drastic measure, but when you have a burst pipe this is important to prevent further damage.

Repair the Burst Pipe

Repairing a burst pipe is no simple task. You’ll want to call an emergency plumber to take care of this work for you. Some people may attempt to DIY repair their pipes, but we recommend against this practice. If you make a mistake, you could end up with an even bigger problem on your hands.

Prevent Future Bursts

We’ve put together an informative post on how to prevent frozen pipes from bursting. Take a look at that to get a good idea on how to go about preventing frozen pipes from occurring in the first place.

Andrew Olexiuk - Your Toronto Plumbing Expert
Andrew Olexiuk - Your Toronto Plumbing Expert
Andrew has over 20 years of experience as a plumbing contractor. He is co-owner and operator of Absolute Draining & Plumbing, a professional plumbing company serving residential & commercial properties across the Toronto, Ontario region.
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