How Long Does It Take for Pipes to Freeze and Burst?

Winter is a beautiful season, but it can also be dangerous for your home’s plumbing system. One of the most common problems homeowners face during the winter season is frozen and burst pipes. This issue can lead to costly repairs and water damage. So, how long does it take for pipes to freeze and burst? Let’s find out.

How Do Pipes Freeze and Burst?

Pipes usually freeze when the temperature drops below 20┬░F (-6┬░C). The water inside the pipes freezes, causing the pipe to expand and eventually burst. The water expands by about 9% when it freezes, which can create a lot of pressure within the pipes.

Additionally, pipes that are exposed to cold air are more likely to freeze than those that are insulated or located inside the home’s heated areas. This is why it’s essential to insulate your pipes, especially those in unheated areas like the garage, attic, or basement.

How Long Does It Take for Pipes to Freeze?

The time it takes for pipes to freeze depends on several factors, including the temperature, the pipe’s location, and the type of pipe. However, as a general rule, pipes can freeze in just a few hours in extremely cold temperatures.

Also read  How Old Was Harry Potter in The Goblet of Fire?

If the temperature outside drops to 10┬░F (-12┬░C) or lower, pipes can freeze within 3-5 hours. If the temperature is between 20┬░F (-6┬░C) and 32┬░F (0┬░C), it may take several days for pipes to freeze completely.

How Long Does It Take for Pipes to Burst?

After pipes freeze, it’s only a matter of time before they burst. The amount of time it takes for pipes to burst depends on various factors, including the pipe’s size and material, the water pressure, and the extent of the freeze.

In most cases, it takes about 4-5 hours for a frozen pipe to burst. However, if the pipe is made of copper, it can take up to 24 hours for it to burst. If the pipe is made of plastic, it may not burst at all, but it can still be damaged.

How to Prevent Frozen and Burst Pipes

The best way to prevent frozen and burst pipes is to take preventive measures before the winter season. Here are some tips to help you keep your pipes safe during the cold months:

  • Insulate your pipes: Use pipe insulation to keep your pipes warm and prevent them from freezing.
  • Seal air leaks: Check for air leaks in your home and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping.
  • Keep your home warm: Keep your home heated to at least 55┬░F (13┬░C) to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Let the water drip: Leave a faucet dripping slightly to keep water flowing and prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Disconnect outdoor hoses: Disconnect your outdoor hoses and turn off the water supply to your outdoor faucets.
Also read  How Long Should It Take to Cool a House from 80 to 72?


In conclusion, frozen and burst pipes are a common problem during the winter season. Pipes can freeze in just a few hours in extremely cold temperatures, and it can take about 4-5 hours for a frozen pipe to burst. However, with the right preventive measures, you can keep your pipes safe and avoid costly repairs. Insulate your pipes, seal air leaks, keep your home warm, and disconnect outdoor hoses to prevent frozen and burst pipes. If you’re unsure how to do this, consider contacting a professional plumber who can help you prepare your plumbing system for winter.