A pipe burst and home emergencies go hand in hand. The damages caused by a burst pipe can be quite catastrophic if you do not attend to it immediately. Often, many water pipes tend to freeze and burst during colder months of the year. This is because when water flows through, the pipes freeze and exert a lot of pressure on the pipes or metal work. As a result, the pipes buckles and splits.
It is always recommended that you insulate your pipes ahead of the cold season. To be on the safer side, you need to always look for the warning signs that include:
- Having water taps that produce little or no water.
- Clogged sinks and toilets that flush slowly.
- Gurgling sounds from your central heating system among others.
However, even with proper measures in place, you may find that you have a pipe burst. What do you do? Here are 5 steps to take when a pipe bursts.
1. Find A Burst Pipe
When your pipe bursts, you need to find it immediately. This is because the signs may not always be clear like having kitchen sink pipes full of water. Sometimes, a burst water pipe may have a slow consistent leakage. As a result, if you do not locate it immediately, it can cause significant damages to your infrastructure. In this case, you need to look out for;
- Interrupted water supply in your taps or persistent water pressure.
- Water patches on your ceilings, walls and any suspicious watermarks.
- Any bulging ceilings or walls.
- Damp floor.
Once you identify a burst pipe, it is imperative that you turn off your main power switch. This is a safety measure you cannot afford to ignore. Water and electricity can be quite hazardous if they come into contact. In this light, you need to take care of all your electric appliances and switch them off. It is always an excellent way to prevent shocks and other possible risks.
2. Turn Off Your Water Supply
It is vital that you turn off your water supply after identifying a burst pipe. Find your stop cock that is often located under your kitchen sink or near a kitchen cupboard. There are also stop cocks that are located outdoors. Clear it to ensure that there is nothing that obstructs it and turn off the water.
To minimize the damage, you can also soak up any excess water that is escaping from your pipes. Use towels or heavy materials to soak up the water. Alternatively, you can use buckets or any large water storage containers to collect water. If there is water on your ceiling, use a long-handled reliable implement to drain and release the water. Make sure that you stand back as you drain water from the ceiling for your safety.
If there is a lot of water standing in your home, and you cannot drain on your own, call for professional assistance. A professional will be able to use the right tools to drain off water and to keep your home safe.
You also need to switch off your central heating system and drain all your pipes. To effectively do this, it is vital that you run very cold water on your faucets. Flush your toilet and then go back to each faucet and drain all water in your taps. You will realize that the leak will stop once all the water is drained, paving way for your inspection.
The rule of thumb here is that you need to drain as much water as you can from your system. It helps to prevent further damages and reduces possible risks as you fix a burst pipe. Therefore, make sure that you flush your toilets and drain all water pipes.
3. Inspect The Damage
The next step is to carefully inspect a broken pipe to determine the extent of the damage caused by a burst water pipe. This should be done before you start thinking of possible repairs. Regardless of the extent of the damage, the size of the broken water main pipe, it is worth carrying out a thorough inspection. It helps you to plan for quality repairs or possible replacement of a burst pipe.
Remember, if a major water pipe is broken, it will take more effort and time to fix it. If it is a small water pipe that is broken, you may only need to patch it to prevent major and further damages. You can use a chemical bonding agent or a commercial tape to patch your pipes. Whatever you choose, it is essential that you get experts advice for a repair that will fix the problem once and for all.
During your inspection, you may also want to check with your neighbours to see if they are affected by your burst pipes. It is also important to check if by switching off the main water supply, you are inconveniencing your neighbours. By doing so, you will be able to notify them of what has happened and carry on with your task of fixing a burst pipe without any confrontations.
4. Fix A Burst Pipe
Fix a burst pipe once you have thoroughly inspected it. This is fairly a straightforward task that you can do on your own, especially if the burst area is small. If the pipe burst is relatively bigger, call your professional plumber immediately. An expert will use the right mending or repair materials that will not only fix the problem, but it will also prevent a pipe burst in the future.
For the best constriction when fixing a burst pipe, you will need a normal garden hose as well as hose clamps because they offer the same amount of grip. Carefully measure the crack, fissure and fill the broken area. Next, slip in a slice of a garden hose to the burst in the water pipe. Hold the hose in place using hose clamps while compressing it as hard as you can. Turn on the water to test your repair.
If the break is larger, you can always cut away the part that is broken or an inch larger on the side of the rupture. Replace the part using pipe spacers and cover it using a sealant. However, you need to be careful to avoid closing the compression nut too tight. It leads to further leakage and it can cause more problems.
In the event where you cannot fix the pipe on your own, always call a professional plumber. A plumber will not only handle the broken or burst pipe but will also take care of the electrical and gas work. Therefore, take time to find a certified plumber who is qualified for the task ahead.
Use the internet to find certified emergency plumbers in your area. While you wait for the plumber, you can use heavy-duty tape to bind the burst pipes. Do not relax and assume that the tape will fix the problem. This is only a temporary solution.
5. Professional Clean Up And Drying
A thorough clean-up is very crucial after fixing a broken water main pipe. This depends on the severity of the damage caused by the flood or water leakage. If there is a lot of water standing on your floor, chances are high that your furniture and other important items could be saturated. In this case, you need to wait for your insurer to assess the losses if you had taken a cover.
An insurer will also be able to carry out the drying and the task of repairing your home and furniture. Meanwhile, you can try to move your items out to a dry area to prevent further possible damages.
If the leakage is too bad and you cannot handle it on your own, it is imperative that you document every detail. If possible, take pictures, find proof of purchase and your insurance forms as well as any serial number that will help you to make claims. This is because home insurance plans differ from one company to the other. Some will need to come and assess the damage first, while others will consult on your major concerns before offering compensation.
However, if the damage from the water pipe burst is something that can be fixed by a professional drying crew, you can contact the company immediately. Professionals use special fans and other advanced tools to dry up your home. Remember, you may be simply tempted to open up windows and use your home fans to dry your house. This is an easy way out, but it is also an invitation to mildew and mould growth in your house. This means that you are also inviting serious illnesses to you and your family members.
Before you start using your toilets and sinks, you need to run cold water and the hot water. This helps to clear out any mess and to give you the confidence that you have restored your home and water system to its original state.
With these steps, you now know what to do in the event of a burst water pipe. You can contact ALK Plumbers. We are professional, trusted and reliable emergency plumbers in Essex.