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Know The Causes and Signs of A San Antonio Pipe Burst

Who doesn't have high expectations of their home's pipework? From the moment you install your plumbing system, you ensure it's done correctly, using high-quality materials that will last you for years to come. That said, there are other important factors to consider, such as San Antonio's climate and water hardness. Ranging between 200 and 500 PPM, Texas's water ranks as the sixth-hardest water in the US. While the northern part of the state is ranked as moderately soft, San Antonio deals with 357 PPM. Whether you have copper, PVC or PEX for plumbing pipes, annual maintenance services are crucial to ensure you won't fall victim to serious incidents like slab leaks, tree root intrusion, or a pipe burst in San Antonio.

Plumbing emergencies happen frequently when preventative maintenance needs or warning signs are ignored. But it’s just too easy to take your supply and drain lines for granted because you have a daily routine, during which you need everything to be fully functional and work in your favor. Although your pipes will do their best to adhere to that routine, you might think the gurgles in your toilet will go away on their own or condensation on your supply lines will dry on its own. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In plumbing, any type of situation requires action because chances are that these problems have been in the making for quite some time. When left untreated, you will likely need burst pipe repair experts in the future.

San Antonio can have unexpected weather conditions that affect pipes, such as cold spells or flash floods. However, there are many preventative measures homeowners can take to minimize the risks of a San Antonio pipe burst. Trust our skilled team of San Antonio plumbers at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Antonio to inspect your plumbing lines, complete repairs and help you take preventative measures to avoid catastrophic damage. Our uniformed experts are licensed and insured, bringing many years of experience and quality craftsmanship. We’re proud to be San Antonio’s first-choice plumbing company.

What Causes A San Antonio Pipe Burst?

There are many reasons for pipe bursts in San Antonio, but whether each of them is preventable is a different question. That said, nobody can control external forces from wreaking havoc on your property, but you can control how you want to protect your home from potential danger. Before we move on to prevention and signs, let’s analyze the causes of pipe bursts in San Antonio. That will give you a better understanding of how to take action in the event of a plumbing disaster.

Soil Shifting

Each part of Texas has its unique type of soil, but throughout Bexar County, you will mostly encounter thick clay soil, which has a great affinity for water. This means that it has a high water-holding capacity, yet it can also dry rapidly during the summer and crack. Even though home settling is a natural occurrence, shifting soil is something that every homeowner needs to watch out for. Signs may include foundation cracks on siding or drywall. Soil shifting also includes seismic activities like earthquakes which increase the overall threat of a pipe burst in San Antonio. If you have a newly-built home, pay attention to uneven floors or cracks in the wall within the first five years of the house settling. Your San Antonio plumber recommends contacting a foundation specialist to inspect the interior as well as a certified plumber to inspect your plumbing system that’s buried underneath the slab.

Aging and Corrosion

Properties built in the 1930s would have metal pipes like cast iron or galvanized steel. It’s very unlikely that they would have made it past 80 years with the type of water hardness in San Antonio. This doesn’t mean that cast iron and steel are no longer in use. On the contrary, steel is still widely used, especially in commercial buildings. Copper pipes are also popular and a traditional favorite for durability and reliability in supplying homes with potable water. Of all metals, copper has high corrosion resistance, but it does collect mineral deposits over time. When left untreated, it will lead to oxidation and the copper will finally corrode.

Not only does corrosion trigger buildup and clogs, but it’s also one of the main causes of pipe bursts in San Antonio. Many burst pipe repairs are related to corroded metal lines that have trouble handling the local water. The other common cause of corrosion is aging material that hasn’t received detailed plumbing inspection services. These systems are prone to clogs and leaks, requiring burst pipe repair before the actual burst occurs. Corroded pipes will only deteriorate further and make your water unsafe for consumption.

Pro Tip: If you live in an older house with cast iron or galvanized steel for a plumbing system, we recommend regular checkups and drain cleaning services to ensure your system’s efficiency. However, we do recommend replacement sooner than later because aging pipes won’t be robust enough to handle severe weather and soil conditions. When you’re unsure about your home’s overall plumbing performance, contact your local plumber in San Antonio for a detailed plumbing diagnosis.

Clogs

Every homeowner has experienced a clog in one form or another. Your plunger or plumbing snake may serve wonders at times, but when backups come back, you’ll know that you have an underlying issue that you need to address. Is your toilet gurgling or are you experiencing slow draining in the sink or bathtub? Some DIY solutions include clearing the p-trap and drain opening. But if they don’t solve your problem, you will need an expert San Antonio plumber to take a closer look at your clogged drains. Besides mineral deposits, food waste and foreign objects flushed down the toilet are also potential culprits. And since clogs and blockages severely interrupt the flow, the pressure they create inside your pipework can lead to leaks or a pipe burst in San Antonio.

Pro Tip: Often the problems lay way deeper than your secondary drain lines, especially if more than one plumbing fixture is affected. Check your floor drains for backup or sewer gas smells and locate your sewer trap (also known as sewer cleanout) which connects directly to your sewer line. Carefully unscrew the cap to see if the interior is under pressure or even leaking. If water is spilling out, it’s most likely a sewer backup and the exact cause will yet need to be determined by an experienced plumber. Also, check your lawn for wet patches and odors. Those are additional signs of a San Antonio pipe burst.

Frozen Pipes

Even though San Antonio’s winters are short, you can’t underestimate any potential risks. The polar vortex has stretched into Texas, triggering low pressure and cold air. Your exterior pipes and fixtures can freeze when uninsulated. It’s no longer unusual for San Antonio’s temperatures to drop below freezing. While frozen pipes don’t necessarily burst, homeowners have to keep in mind that it’s water pressure flowing through them in a rush that leads to pipe bursts in San Antonio. Pipe bursts in the winter are most common if you don’t winterize your hose bib (outdoor faucet) or drain your garden hose. Unused supply lines that connect to the outside will still have water in the lines that freeze when reaching 21 °F.

Pro Tip: To avoid burst pipe repairs in the midst of winter, turn off any shut-off valves that connect to your exterior plumbing fixtures and drain, and insulate them properly. This includes ensuring your interior pipework is also insulated in case they're located in non-heated areas.

Signs You Have San Antonio Pipe Burst

It may start with musty smells or a drop in water pressure, but even the smallest sign could quickly advance into something more serious. Now that you know the potential causes, we will soon give you some advice for prevention. First, it’s important to know warning signs to which you must act fast.

Fluctuating Water Pressure

When you notice a drop in water pressure while taking a shower or doing your dishes, there are many small factors to cross out first before you believe you need burst pipe repair. Your supply lines or shower head might be clogged with calcium deposits or your faucet might need a new cartridge valve. These plumbing issues are more common than you think. However, never rule out the possibility of a San Antonio pipe burst in case those factors aren’t responsible for the change in pressure.

Discolored Walls

Watermarks on the wall could be a roof problem if you experience them on the main floor of your home. Check your roof system, siding and gutters to determine whether the water damage was caused by severe weather conditions.

Otherwise, water leaks are a plumbing issue that requires immediate action. Do you hear dripping noises in the walls? Do you believe you have a busted pipe? Check every corner of your home for additional warning signs, including your water supply pipes. If leaks occur in other areas, immediately turn off your main shut-off valve and call your local emergency plumbers at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Antonio.

Basement Flooding

While not many San Antonio houses are built with basements anymore, you will still find properties equipped with basements. Because water will always flow downhill, checking the basement for flood is the fastest way to determine a San Antonio pipe burst.

Contaminated Water

When a busted water pipe goes unnoticed, it will eventually cause rusty pipes and enable particles and contaminants to enter your supply. Pay attention to the smells in your house because smelly water could also indicate a sewage leak.

Increased Energy Bill

If your water usage habits haven’t changed, but you have an increased energy bill, you might a leak. This is when San Antonio homeowners think carefully about warning signs they might be ignoring. It could be a water hammer knocking against their copper lines whenever they do the dishes or run the washing machine. Our burst pipe repair services are here to help you investigate.

What To Do If You Have a Pipe Burst in San Antonio?

Step 1: Shut Off Your Water

Don’t know where your home's main shut-off valve is? Get in touch with your plumber in San Antonio today to be better prepared for any emergencies. During a plumbing emergency, the first thing to do is close that valve.

Step 2: Seal It Temporarily

Use dirty rags or towels to seal the broken pipe. If you have some epoxy putty, plumber’s tape, silicone tape, patch and clamp kits, use these to seal the affected joints temporarily.

Step 3: Call Your Plumber

Call your local San Antonio plumber to report an emergency, and we will be on our way with our professional tools for burst pipe repair.

Additional Precautions:

Your San Antonio plumber may ask you to do a few other things while you wait for them to arrive. Depending on the severity of your situation, you may need to call CPS Energy and ask for your home's power to be shut off to remove the risks of electrocution.

If possible and safe, clean any affected areas using towels, rags or even a shop vac to remove excess water. Do not go near if you suspect that water may have come in contact with electrical wires or your fuse box. Wait for your power to be shut off and for professionals to arrive.

How To Prevent San Antonio Pipe Bursts?

The key to prevention is maintenance which includes annual inspections, small repairs and parts replacements. React early to any of the warning signs mentioned above and follow these helpful tips!

  • Ensure your pipes and your home are properly insulated
  • Ensure your home's temperature does not fall below freezing temperatures
  • Open your taps slightly during a severe cold snap
  • Open the cabinet doors below your sinks during colder days
  • Disconnect your garden hose from your outdoor faucet
  • Install water softening systems
  • Upgrade old plumbing
  • Schedule routine check-ups with your local plumber

Pipe Burst In San Antonio? Trust Mr. Rooter Plumbing For Efficient Plumbing Repairs!

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Antonio provides quality service with effective results, using advanced technology for your plumbing solutions. We are available 24/7 for any emergency needs, so you can rest assured that you won't ever have to wait in line for service. We're dedicated to helping residents of San Antonio and nearby communities, including Boerne, Converse and Universal City.

If you need a trusted San Antonio plumber for burst pipe repair or other popular plumbing services, call 210-570-9965 today to speak with one of our friendly customer service representatives.

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