Water Main Breaks and Other Common Pipe Problems in Charlotte
When a water main breaks, it is a huge inconvenience for those affected. Breaks can shut down highways, damage property, and cause harm to the surrounding region. So why is this happening so much here in Charlotte?
The pressure and flow inside water main pipes is controlled by a sequence of valves throughout the town scheme. Your drinking water in Charlotte-Mecklenburg originates from Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake. Raw water is gathered by one of three water treatment plants, where it is filtered and disinfected to become clean drinking water. It is then pumped through more than 4,200 miles of water pipes directly to your home. In this way, we come to rely on the integrity of the pipes that carry water to us on a daily basis.
This system is built to withstand a lot of stress, but some issues can lead to water main breaks and other pipe-related problems.
The Impact of Weather Changes
Water main breaks tend to happen when the weather is too dry or too wet because these changes in weather can cause the ground to shift. When the earth expands or contracts due to extreme weather changes, the heavy dirt and clay wrapped around the pipe’s diameter provides pressure as the ground shifts. Abrupt changes and the normal wear and tear that comes from aging results in water main breaks.
Construction workers can also cause water mains to break. When they dig into the ground, they can accidentally crack a water pipe with their equipment. Sometimes the pressure of heavy equipment rolling over a vulnerable water main that has already been subjected to pressure from temperature fluctuations can cause the pipe or fitting to crack.
In some cases, older piping is the problem. For example, pipes that were made in the 80’s and 90’s were made out of materials that did not hold up well under drastic temperature changes.
Galvanized piping was typically installed in homes built before the 60’s. After 40 years of use, galvanized pipes develop problems related to corrosion and build up inside the pipes. Galvanized pipes are made of steel, and while they have a protective zinc coating that delays corrosion and rust, the lining does not work indefinitely. Because it is common for these older pipes to crack, homeowners who have galvanized pipes may find themselves in need of whole house or partial home re-piping services.
Polybutylene pipes are a type of plastic resin. This material is low in cost and easy to install. Between the years of 1978-1995 these pipes were installed in about 6 million homes. One in every five households constructed during the time of the manufacturing of this type of pipe has this piping material inside the home somewhere in the plumbing system.
Unfortunately, polybutylene pipes are prone to leaks and breaks and responds to frequently used disinfectants that cause pipe fractures. Claims of defective manufacturing and faulty assembly causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages were lodged throughout the 1980s lawsuits. If your house has been constructed within this time frame, re-piping services may be needed.
Dura PEX piping manufactured by CPI is also prone to cracking. This type of piping impacts the first 20 feet of the hot water supply line as it leaves the water heater. Unfortunately, hot water causes the pipe to split or crack, resulting in leaks.
Thinking About Hiring a Charlotte Re-pipe Service?
Find out if re-piping your home is the right choice for you. Call 704-846-5371 and speak with one of our expert re-pipe specialists in Charlotte, NC today. We’ll answer all your questions and help you find a solution that works for your unique situation.
Quick question & answer: What causes water main breaks?
Water main breaks occur due to dry weather and overly wet weather due to the ground shifting. They can also happen when construction workers dig into the ground, cracking water pipes with their equipment. Certain types of piping are more susceptible to cracks in general.