Few things can ruin a home faster or more completely than fire. In fact, according to the Zebra, house fires cause roughly $12 billion in damage in the U.S. every single year. This is because most parts of a damaged home require replacement.
To a layperson, plumbing fixtures, like sinks, toilets and pipes, may seem more fire-resistant than wood, drywall and furniture. As a result, you may wonder whether plumbing fixtures can survive a fire. Unfortunately, even in a moderate fire, they usually cannot.
Heat and flames
A standard house fire is capable of generating temperatures in excess of 1,500 degrees. This extreme temperature is certainly sufficient to damage porcelain plumbing fixtures. In fact, sinks, toilets and basins can crack or even melt during a house fire. Moreover, the heat and flames from a house fire can cause pipes, faucets and connections to fail. Failure can include warping, separating and melting.
While heat and flames are likely to be your paramount concerns during a house fire, you cannot ignore the potential for damage that comes from water. When firefighters use water to extinguish the blaze, they also generate steam. This steam can be detrimental to plumbing fixtures.
Additionally, as temperatures rise, water within your plumbing system can boil and turn to steam. This can cause an increase in pressure, which can blow a plumbing system apart. It also can cause tiny cracks to appear in plumbing fixtures, often rendering them a total loss.
Therefore, after any house fire, it is important for a professional to perform a full inspection of your entire plumbing system.