WHAT TO DO WHEN A PIPE BURSTS
For a homeowner, a single burst pipe can lead to a financial nightmare, possibly inducing tens of thousands in water damages, creating an ideal environment for harmful mold, and severely impacting the value of your home. Unfortunately, burst pipes, which are often the result of freezing temperatures, are one of the most common emergency plumbing problems homeowners encounter.
For business owners, sensitive electronic equipment and machinery could also be severely damaged by flooding due to a burst pipe and prevent operations from continuing until repairs are made, resulting in a major economic loss. In addition, a severe event can even put people out of their homes, shut down areas of an entire neighborhood, and inhibit water services to the public for an extended period of time.
For pipes located in ceilings and floors, the problem might go unnoticed for an extended period of time, leading to even more extensive damage and the potential collapse of the ceiling or floor in an explosive deluge of water.
Reacting quickly in that potentially catastrophic situation can make all the difference in saving your home from immense flooding and severe water damages that could haunt you for years to come. A single burst pipe can release 4-8 gallons of water per minute. In just one day, the equivalent of dozens of bathtubs full of water could flood into your home.
While age and existing damage might lead to a burst pipe in warmer temperatures, freezing is often the cause of this emergency plumbing disaster. The average cost of water damage from a single burst pipe is $5,000.
Through this guide, you will be able to learn important prevention techniques and, if a pipe does or has burst, the essential cost-saving steps you can take before your emergency plumber who knows how to fix a broken pipe arrives.
WHAT TO DO IF A PIPE BREAKS
Even if you take preventative measures, pipes still break. Reacting quickly can save your home or business from the financial burden of immense water damage. By acting fast, you can help mitigate the damage. In some cases, the burst pipe will not always be apparent right away. Be on the lookout for leaks coming from ceilings and walls, strange noises in the system, and electrical disturbances.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do when pipes burst.
- Turn Off Main Water Valve
- Similar to when you experience a frozen pipe, if you experience a burst pipe, the first step is to immediately shut off the water supply to your home. This will drastically reduce the amount of water in the system and prevent the deluge from continuing.
- Avoid Light Switches and Electrical Devices
- Water leaking into electrical devices, light switches, and electrical circuits can be deadly. If you observe or suspect a pipe has burst, immediately shut down the electrical main, or the electricity in the vicinity of the burst pipe. Do not use electrical equipment, light switches and other electrical fuse boxes near the burst pipe.
- Collect the Water
- Depending on where the pipe is located, you need to collect the water in whatever you have available. Utilize buckets and tubs to catch any water leaking from a ceiling or from exposed pipes. This will help prevent excess flooding damage to your home. In addition, the faster you clean up the water that has resulted from the burst pipe, the more damage you can prevent from occurring.
- Turn on the Cold Faucets and Flush the Toilets
- In order to drain your system, you’ll need to get as much of the water out as possible. It is imperative to turn on all cold water faucets and flush all of the toilets in the home to reduce the amount of water flowing from the broken pipe.
- Turn Off the Heating System and Drain the Hot Water Faucets
- As you begin to drain your system, shutting off the central heating and turning on the hot water faucets will help further reduce the amount of water in your pipes.
- Save Your Possessions
- To prevent your valuables from incurring more damage, remove them from the impacted area and salvage whatever you can. Insurance may be able to replace certain items in your home, but personal belongings and heirlooms can be irreplaceable. Safeguard these items as soon as possible.
- Document All Damages
- After the initial problem is contained, begin to document the damages through photographs and personal notes that will help you when you file an insurance claim.
- Contact Your Insurance Agent
- Insurance companies offer emergency assistance, and contacting them as soon as possible will help you get started with the claim process. In addition, they can advise you on how to handle the situation and what steps are needed to proceed in order to get the emergency burst pipe repair services conducted.
HOW TO FIX A BURST PIPE
Unless you have experience in plumbing, it is not likely you will able to fix the burst pipe on your own. Contacting a qualified plumber such as the dedicated staff at Haynes Plumbing to repair the broken pipe will get your problem resolved quickly and assist in the insurance claim process. For any inspection, estimate or repair work needed, document all transactions with receipts for the insurance agency.
HOW TO PREVENT PIPES FROM FREEZING AND BURSTING
Of course, if you want to avoid fixing a burst pipe, it’s best to take some preventive measures. Frozen pipes are one of the biggest culprits to broken pipes. Follow these suggestions to prevent them from getting too cold.
LOCATE MAIN AND HOME SHUT OFF VALVES
When purchasing a new home, it’s smart to know where the shut off valves to areas in your home are located and ensure they are in working order throughout the year. In addition, there is a main water shut-off valve that will allow you access to immediately shut off the water flooding into your home.
Depending on the location and architectural design of your home, the main shut off valve may be located in different areas. In colder temperatures, take these preventative steps when preparing your home for the winter months ahead:
- Shut the water valves off from external faucets
- Remove garden hoses
Another method in preventing the failure of your pipes is to inspect them regularly for any potential problems you may encounter in the future. If there are pipes exposed in your basement area, attic, crawl spaces or on the outside of walls, make sure they are not leaking or corroded, which could lead to a break. In addition, hiring a qualified plumber to inspect the plumbing before purchasing a home will help you ensure safety from costly repairs and potential plumbing disasters in the future.
INSULATION AND HEATING
When the mercury begins to slide, you need to maintain proper insulation and heating in areas that have pipes susceptible to freezing. Inspect your home for any gaps or areas that are no properly insulated from the outdoor elements. When temperatures dip below freezing, whether the pipes are plastic, copper, concrete or steel, freezing can still occur and lead to a pipe bursting.
Also, it may be advantageous to insulate your water tank and any pipes that may be exposed with foam and other protective material. In areas that do not normally receive adequate heating, leaving these areas open to allow warmer air to circulate may be advantageous in preventing pipes from freezing on extremely cold days.
FIX LEAKING FAUCETS
It is important to fix leaking faucets, as they remain one of the leading causes of freezing pipes and blockages.
WHAT TO DO IF A PIPE FREEZES
If a pipe freezes, contacting an emergency plumber may not be necessary unless it has led to a break. However, hiring a qualified plumber is needed for a burst water pipe repair. Here’s what you should do:
- Turn off main water valve: If you notice a pipe has frozen, immediately shut off the main water valve to prevent the pressure from building in the frozen pipe. A pipe that has frozen will have a reduced flow or no flow at all. If the pipe does burst, this will mitigate the severity of the water damage caused.
- Identify the pipe: If you are experiencing no flowing water or reduced flow, identify which pipe is frozen. If the pipe is exposed, you may be able to feel for bulging along the pipes.
- Protect yourself and possessions: Inspect the area surrounding the frozen pipe for any items, electronics or electrical wiring that could be damaged or cause harm if the pipe does burst. Remove anything valuable from the area.
- Thaw the pipe: After identifying the frozen pipe and ensuring the area is safe to work in, you can attempt to thaw it out. You can utilize a hair dryer or a hot water bottle to begin to thaw the pipe. Never use an open flame to thaw a pipe nor an electric heater or hair dryer applied directly to the piping because of the risk of leaking water.
Open up faucet slightly to allow the built-up water to leak out as the pipe thaws. Be patient and gently apply heat until the pipe is unfrozen. When the faucet has successfully drained the remaining water in the pipe, you can turn on the water, but it is recommended someone else slowly turn on the faucet. They can communicate to shut off the valve if a break has occurred.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE LEAVING YOUR HOME UNATTENDED
If you plan on taking an extended vacation or leaving your home unattended for a lengthy period of time during the winter months, there are a few preventive measures you should take before hitting the road, including:
- Leave the heat on in the home so temperatures do not drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Turn off the main water valve to your home.
- If you have trusted neighbors or friends, encourage them to inspect the property in your absence for any potential problems and to ensure it has adequate heating on severely cold days.
HOW CAN HAYNES PLUMBING ASSIST ME?
Our dedicated staff of plumbers is here to serve our customers every day of the week and on weekends with 24-hour availability. Whether you’re experiencing drainage issues or have experienced a broken or frozen pipe, our staff provides efficient, reliable and fast service without compromising quality or workmanship. In addition, we have more than 20 years of experience in clearing drains and repairing broken pipes.
Haynes Plumbing offers:
- General plumbing services
- After hours and emergency services
- Commercial and residential services
- Remodeling, water heaters, water softeners and water purifier services
Haynes Plumbing handles the installation, maintenance and repair of toilets, pipes, faucets, sinks, water heaters and tankless water heaters. We also offer services such as bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, water purification and filtration, water softening, project estimates and quotes. We can provide maintenance and installation of garbage disposals, gas lines, shut-off valves, pressure regulators and outside house bibs, as well as all general plumbing services.
We are proud of the high-quality services we provide, and we guarantee you will be completely satisfied with our work. Call Haynes Plumbing today.
Contact Haynes Plumbing today for an estimate.