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Other cities across the central U.S. — which has had the worst of this summer's heat — are also seeing more breaks than usual as older pipes feel the strain from both sides: increased water use builds pressure from inside pipes, while dry soil shrinks away, leaving space on the outside of pipes for the inside pressure to burst through.
While many homeowners know the frustration of frozen pipes bursting "it can be surprising to know that high heat can also put stress on a pipe and cause it to break," Greg Kail, spokesman for the American Water Works Association, told msnbc.com.
"The nationwide infrastructure is getting older," he added, "and when pipes begin to corrode and weaken they're more susceptible to breaks brought on by temperature conditions."
"Normally, in a summer we have 200 water main breaks a day over our 7,000 miles of pipes," she told KPRC TV. "Right now we're over 700 a day and we have a difficult time maintaining the water pressure."