Why do frozen water pipes break?

When water freezes within a pipe, the volume of water expands.  The same amount of water takes up more space as a solid than as a liquid.  This causes the pipes to expand and possibly break at a weak point.  You may notice this immediately, or it may not become apparent until the pipe begins to thaw, with the break occurring only when full water pressure is restored. 

Show All Answers

1. Which parts of the water service line is my responsibility, and which parts are the responsibility of the MFWD?
2. What if my main shut off valve won't work in an emergency?
3. How should I maintain the main water shut off valves?
4. What are some common reasons for frozen pipes?
5. How will I know if my pipes are frozen?
6. Why do frozen water pipes break?
7. Do water service lines (pipes that run from the house to the street) freeze as well as indoor pipes?
8. What is a water service line?
9. What should I do if my pipes freeze?
10. Can I try thawing the pipes myself?
11. How you can prevent your pipes from freezing