Over the past few years, Texas has had extreme weather, and as a result, many homes have had to deal with burst water pipes. There is a lot to understand about the recent weather changes and setup of Texas homes that have led to these burst water pipes in Texas, so let’s find out: Why do water pipes burst in Texas?
Water pipes burst in Texas because the water inside the pipes freezes and, therefore, expands, which leads the pipes to explode. While this is why pipes burst all over the world, the problem in Texas is that pipes are located in the attic as opposed to the basement, and without insulation, the pipes are more likely to burst.
In this article, we will discuss exactly why water pipes burst in Texas, as well as why Texas has had such a time over the most recent years, and what Texans can do to protect their pipes from bursting. You are going to be a Texas water pipe expert in just a few minutes!
Where Are Water Pipes Located in Texas Homes & Why?
One of the most important things to understand before we dig into why water pipes burst in Texas homes is where water pipes are located in Texas homes and, more importantly, why.
Water pipes are typically located in the attics of Texas homes. This is different from most of the other homes in the United States because the soil and topography in most parts of Texas do not allow for basements, where water pipes are more commonly placed.
In basements, water pipes are usually placed inside the walls, which allows for insulation from the cold, keeping the pipes safe from bursting.
However, when water pipes are placed in attics, as they are in most Texas homes, they are not insulated and therefore are exposed to the elements.
It may seem inefficient for water pipes to be put in an attic, but in addition to the fact that in a Texas home without a basement, there aren’t a lot of other options, the weather in Texas for the past century has been consistently warm enough for its residents to not have to worry about insulating their pipes.
Why Do Water Pipes Burst in Texas?
Now that you understand that water pipes almost always burst because the water inside the pipes has simply frozen and expanded let’s talk about why water pipes burst in Texas.
Because most Texas homes do not have basements due to the fact that the topography will not allow them, water pipes are most commonly constructed in the attic.
With the pipes in the attic, they do not have substantial insulation to keep them from bursting when the temperature reaches freezing or below.
However, because Texas has an average yearly temperature of between 39°F and 96°F, Texas residents haven’t had to worry about freezing temperatures and bursting pipes for decades.
But in February of 2021, Texas experienced a freak storm during which the temperature across the state hit a record-breaking low of 9°F in some areas! The freezing temperatures lasted hours, and consequently, hundreds of Texas homes experienced burst pipes that flooded their homes.
This incredible storm affects thousands of Texans and has led many people to wonder what can be done to protect their homes from the next storm, whenever it may occur.
What Can Texans Do To Protect Their Pipes?
If you live in Texas and your pipes are located in the attic because you do not have a basement, there are certain tactics you can and should do to protect your pipes from bursting if a cold front arrives.
- Turn off your water when temperatures start to approach freezing.
- Insulate your pipes.
- Wrap your pipes.
- Keep the heat on.
- Put space heaters in the attic or near your pipes when the temperatures drop.
- Open cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom to allow heat to penetrate exposed pipes.
- Keep your garage door closed.
- Let water drip from exposed pipes.
Hopefully, these solutions will be enough to keep your pipes from bursting if you live in Texas and your pipes are exposed in the attic. Taking preventative measures is essential as we never know what the weather is going to do!
The Bottom Line
Finding out why water pipes burst in Texas is fairly clear-cut: it is simply because the pipes are located in the attic and are not insulated properly to protect them from freezing and expanding when temperatures drop below zero.
Although freak storms are uncommon in Texas, they can happen, so in order to ensure your water pipes don’t burst, it’s important to take preventative measures to insulate your attic pipes as well as keep the heat on and several other tactics, such as those listed above!
Hopefully, as promised, you are now an expert when it comes to water pipes in Texas homes!