Canadian winters can wreak havoc on outdoor infrastructure. That includes water mains, which are particularly vulnerable during the colder months. And since water main damage can result in significant costs and headaches, it’s helpful to understand why water main breakages occur and what remedies are available.
There are several reasons why a water main break during the winter. Common causes include:
- Frost loading: The soil around water mains freeze when the temperature dips below 32-degrees. The resulting force (aka “frost loading”) adds additional pressure to the pipe, increasing the likelihood of cracks and other breakages. Over time, extreme frost loading can lead to costly water main bursts, which require immediate attention.
- Deep freeze: Colder temperatures make pipes more brittle and, therefore, more likely to crack when extracting and expanding due to icy temperatures. Several factors can help make water main pipes more resilient, such as:
- Materials: Different materials (e.g., cast iron, steel, copper) react differently to temperature changes. As well, each has different strengths in regards to their ability to withstand added pressures and erosion.
- Age: Nothing lasts forever, and unsurprisingly, older water mains are more brittle and susceptible to erosion and cracks due to exterior conditions.
- Construction: Mistakes happen during construction, and sometimes those mistakes include nicking a water main pipe during digging or other surface activities.
While water main breaks are possible throughout the year, they are more common in the colder seasons. And when they occur, immediate actions are required to stop the seepage, repair the damage, and restore the site. Failure to repair a broken water main effectively (and timely) can result in additional expenses, safety hazards, and business loss for properties in the surrounding area.
Undoubtedly, coming back from broker water main disaster relies on a fast, coordinated, and efficient response. Here is where calling on surface specialists with the right people, tools, and experience can make the difference.
The good news? That’s what Fort York Paving is here to do. Armed with years of water main repair experience, we’ll manage all aspects of your water main crisis. Just make the call, and we’ll take care of the rest.