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The 4 Most Common Causes of a Pipe Collapse

Broken plumbing pipe underground

You’ve heard the horror stories about the expense and inconvenience associated with a collapsed plumbing pipe. They can lead to various issues, like drainage problems, water pollution, and a decline in water quality in general. To determine your risks for a pipe collapse, it helps to understand their underlying causes. Here are the four most common culprits, which can occur separately or together.

1) Age-Related Deterioration

Like other human-made materials, the materials used in plumbing pipe construction have a limited lifespan. On average, you can expect your pipes to last from 30 to 60 years. At any point during or after, ongoing wear and tear can lead to significant problems. In addition to collapsing, an aging pipe may break or split.

Even worse, most homes built before the 1980s have pipes made from materials more likely to fail. This includes tile, clay, steel and Orangeburg piping (a combination of wood pulp and coal tar). Modern pipes made from tough PVC or other plastics have lower chances of failing. However, collapses can still happen in homes with newer pipes.

2) Lack of Proper Maintenance

You probably know that proper maintenance is a constant concern for systems throughout your household. That includes your water lines and sewer pipes. And if you fail to keep up a consistent maintenance routine, your odds of a pipe collapse can rise dramatically. What specific steps should you take? That depends on a range of factors. For example, if your home has older pipes, you’ll want to make sure to schedule periodic inspections. You must also pay special attention if your property contains large numbers of mature trees.

3) Tree Root Invasion

Why should you be concerned about mature trees on your property? As they grow, trees send their roots down into the ground, where they take on water and other nutrients. This process is slow, but immensely powerful. Over time, an advancing root can weaken the basic structure of any piping material. If this happens, your pipes may collapse, break, or crack open.

4) Extreme Weather

The chances of pipe collapse increase whenever outdoor temperatures go through dramatic changes. The same rule applies to both sudden drops and sudden increases. In fact, in certain circumstances, a jump or dip of just 15 degrees can cause big problems. If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, you have an additional risk for collapse or other failure. That’s true because prolonged low temperatures can freeze the ground. In turn, frozen ground can damage your pipes. You should also expect your pipes to have a shortened lifespan in areas where temperatures stay cold or shift frequently.

Combined Problems

Be aware that these and other plumbing line problems can occur at the same time. If this happens, the combined effects can have a devastating impact on your pipes. Make sure to consider each issue when seeking to determine the health of your system.

Seek Advice From Your Local Plumbing Specialists

Whether you have a collapsed pipe, burst pipe, leaking pipe, or other plumbing issues, just contact Orange Coast Plumbing. Our trained professionals can provide you with a detailed breakdown of all possible risks. They can also recommend maintenance plans that help you steer clear of plumbing problems for the foreseeable future. And if your system has already collapsed, verified specialists can help your household recover ASAP with a prompt, cost-effective repair.