The importance of water in man’s everyday life is very clear. However, improper installation or damaged pipes may pose a problem in delivering water to the end user.
Do you have a pipe burst in house? It is the most common problem and even the worst thing that can happen to any plumbing system. The repair cost and damage caused by burst pipes can be huge.
Causes Of Burst Pipes
Pipe failure may be due to age, wear and tear, misuse, or damage to the pipe. Water flow gives pressure to the pipe and any error in the installation will in due time cause it to breakdown.
Aside from unprotected piping, water freezes and solidifies at extremely low temperatures (0ᵒC/32ᵒF). Because water expands as it solidifies or becomes ice, the pipe bursts. The pressure inside causes the pipe to give space for the solidified water.
The occurrence of burst pipes is aggravated by the material used (copper or plastic), weak joints in the water system, or high water pressure in the middle portion of the pipe.
Since the piping system is usually hidden in the flooring, in the walls, or in roof spaces, the damage may be devastating and more than what we expect.
What To Do When A Pipe Bursts
1. Turn Off The Main Water Source.
When you have a suspicion that there is a burst pipe in the house, the first thing to do is turn off the flow of water, even if you have not seen the exact location of the pipe causing the problem. The stop tap on the water main is usually located under the kitchen sink or in the place where the main service pipe is connected to the house.
Once the main water switch is off, the pipes should be drained. It can be done by running the cold water on all the faucets. Flush all the toilets at least once. The water heater should also be shut off.
Then, you have to go back to each faucet and run the hot water so that the supply will be drained. The leak will automatically stop when there is no more tap water flowing in the pipe.
2. Locate The Broken Pipe.
The burst pipe can now be located after draining all the water remaining in the pipe after the main switch was turned off. Examine the damage and mark the location.
If the damage is in the main pipe, more cost, time, and effort would be incurred as it holds larger amounts of water. A single pipe under the bathroom sink poses a lesser problem.
3. Call Your Insurance Company (If you Have An Insurance Policy).
Call your insurance provider as soon as possible for insurance claims. They will advise you how to file claims and how to get payment for repairs. To validate your insurance claim, record all the evidence of the damage by taking photos.
Make notes about the damage as well as the circumstances how and when the burst pipe happened. Don’t throw away damaged items affected by the burst pipe, as these can also be used as evidence when filing a claim.
4. Repair The Burst Pipe.
Break Is Small
If the break is small, you might be able to patch it. Immediate action is recommended to prevent further damage. You can use commercial tape or chemical bonding. However, this repair should be checked often because it may burst later and the problem will recur.
Break Is Large
If the break is large, the portion of the burst pipe should be cut away using a hacksaw. The cut should be one inch larger on either side of the rupture. Use pipe spacers and sealant when replacing the cut piece of pipe.
Tightening should be just right to prevent an “ovaling effect” which can cause leakage. If ovals appear due to repair, you have to start with another compression nut.
If you can’t fix the burst pipe on your own, proceed to the next step.
5. Get Professional Help.
After stopping the flow of water, contact a skilled plumber to assess the damage and do the repair. If you have home insurance, contact them before calling a plumber. Some insurance policies offer home emergency service. They may help you avail the services of a professional plumber.
Sometimes, burst pipes cause water to reach electrical sockets. Appliances which came in contact with water should not be used (bring it first to a shop for repairs). Seek the services of a licensed electrician.
6. Put Things Right.
It can take time before things go back to normal after experiencing damage from a burst pipe. Affected areas should be cleaned and dried out. Allow air to circulate over the floor, walls, and furniture to speed up the drying process.
Damaged furniture and fixtures may need to be stripped out. Redecoration can be done after the area has been dried thoroughly.
How To Prevent Burst Pipes
1. Water Supply System
Old pipes made of steel can rust over time, causing a pipe to burst. High water pressure can put stress on the water pipes which can also lead to bursting, causing a lot of damage.
You can check for warning signs that there is a problem in your water line. They are the following: soil erosion around the foundation, water spots on floors, and higher water bills.
2. Water Freezing
If you live in a place where there is freezing temperatures, water freezing and expanding can cause pipes to burst. To prevent it from happening, you can follow these tips.
Put the central heating of the house at a minimum of 15ᵒC (59ᵒF) for a few hours each day. Drain your water system completely if you will be out of the house for a long time during winter.
3. Sinks, Bathtubs, And Showers
Broken pipes in the sink, bathtub, or shower can cause damage and inconvenience. To prevent this, periodically check the sealants; replace if necessary. Check for stains on floors and walls near kitchen or bathroom plumbing.
A burst pipe is caused by age, wear and tear, and damage to the pipe. Freezing temperatures can cause water to freeze and expand, which can result in a pipe burst. What should you do if there’s a pipe burst in house?
Turn off the main water source, locate the broken pipe, call your insurance company, repair the burst pipe, get professional help, and put things right.
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