Coming home to a burst pipe is every homeowner’s nightmare. While this issue rarely ever happens in most homes, it’s important for homeowners to know what to do when a pipe bursts.
Most homeowners are unprepared and unskilled when it comes to handling a burst pipe. Luckily for you, we have all the information you need right here.
This article will discuss the reasons for a burst pipe and walk you through the steps of what to do when a pipe bursts.
Reasons Why Pipes Burst
Water pipe bursts usually don’t happen overnight. Without regular cleaning and maintenance, pipes can develop issues over time, eventually causing pipes to burst.
Below are a few of the most common issues that cause a burst pipe:
Metal water pipes are easy to corrode. Corrosion damages the water pipe in two ways:
First, it weakens the pipe and lowers its integrity against high water pressures.
Second, it causes clogs to form inside the water pipe, creating pressure buildup.
Pipes used in a plumbing system often have anti-corrosive treatments that prevent the metal from breaking down too early. Unfortunately, this treatment gets stripped away over time.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Water acidity
- High water temperatures
- High water pressure
- Minerals in the water supply
There’s no way to avoid corrosion entirely, but there are ways you can slow it down.
Some preventive tips include:
- Treating your water to minimize corrosive agents present in your water supply
- Maintaining appropriate water pressure in your pipes
- Set your water heater to an appropriate temperature
- Switch to non-metallic pipes when possible
You don’t need to be a genius to know that water freezes when the temperatures drop.
When water freezes, it tends to expand as its volume increases. If this expansion happens inside water pipes, it often results in a burst pipe.
Use the following tips to prevent frozen pipes:
- Remember to insulate your pipes during the colder seasons
- Check your basement for drafts
- Let your home faucets trickle
- Keep your heater running in the house to keep the space warm
When pipes freeze, it takes a while for the pressure to build and cause a burst pipe. If you notice that your water pipe is frozen, turn off your water supply and seek professional help.
External tension above subterranean pipelines, particularly those at shallow depths, can cause pipe damage. Construction and traffic are two common sources of external tension on pipelines.
Controlling human activity and soil erosion above the pipelines is the most effective way to prevent a burst pipe.
Extreme water pressure can also cause burst pipes. Typically, high water tension is caused by the following:
- Clogged pipes
- Improper pressure valves adjustment
- Significant pressure from the utility company
Installing a regulator can help solve extreme water pressure issues. You could also try to adjust your water pressure valve to the appropriate setting. If none of these solutions work, call an emergency plumber for assistance.
Burst Pipes: Signs and Symptoms
Many homeowners know when pipes burst because of water leaks in their homes. However, there are other signs that are less likely to alert homeowners to a pipe burst. These signs are harder to find and are typically written off as normal in most cases.
Keep an eye out for the following:
Wall and Ceiling Stains
Mold and mildew are not the only things that can cause wall stains. Large water leaks can also discolor your walls and ceilings, indicating that there’s a broken pipe somewhere in your home. If you notice even the smallest stain has started to form on your walls or ceilings, you need to act quickly.
Confirm that it’s not mildew growing on your walls by calling a professional to assist you.
High Water Bill
A broken water pipe can cause leaks that increase your monthly utility bills. If you notice a significant increase in your latest bill, it’s a strong indicator that a pipe burst in your home. Check your water meter to see if there’s been a strange or considerable change in your water usage.
Even small leaks can change the way water flows in your home. Instead of water going through the faucets, it’s escaping through a leak in a broken pipe.
Puddles on the Floor
Puddles on your floor typically indicate a leak. More water on the floor means a bigger leak — which is typically what a burst pipe is.
A burst pipe will have standing water in the area directly below it.
While water discoloration doesn’t technically mean you’re dealing with broken pipes, it can indicate corrosion somewhere in your pipeline. If you notice a reddish tinge on your water, it’s a sign of a possible pipe burst.
What to do When Pipe Bursts in Your Home?
Homeowners have more power over burst pipes than they realize. Although it’s ideal to leave repairs to the specialists, there are some things you can do to mitigate water damage in case of a pipe burst.
Step 1: Turn off the water and drain your faucets.
If you suspect that a pipe has burst in your house, the first thing you need to do is turn off the water main. In most instances, you can find the shut-off valve near your water heater. However, it may also be located in crawl spaces or basements.
Once you’ve turned off the water, you want to run all your faucets to drain the remaining water quickly from the pipes. This relieves the tension within the pipe system, preventing further damage to the pipeline.
Depending on where the leak is located, you may also need to shut off your electricity. Locate your breaker box and turn off the electrical connection in your home. Watch out for electrical sockets that may have gotten soaked from the leakage.
Step 2: Locate the burst pipe.
Try to locate the burst pipe in your home. If it’s a major leak, there might be significant water damage in the area where the leaks are most prominent. Be careful when entering rooms where signs of deterioration are evident.
In minor cases, homeowners can use a repair sleeve to temporarily fix a burst pipe. This allows you to use your water throughout your home. To do this, simply slip the sleeve into the affected area to keep the water in the pipeline.
Another way to momentarily fix the issue is to use the rubber, wood, and clamp technique.
- Stick a piece of rubber in the burst area
- Cover it up with wood
- Use a clamp to keep everything in place
Keep in mind that these are only temporary fixes and will still need to be permanently remedied by a professional.
Step 3: Call a plumber.
Get in touch with a plumbing professional as soon as possible. A plumber will help you diagnose and treat your plumbing problems. They may also give you tips on how to prevent reoccurrences of the issue.
Step 4: Clean up the water.
It may take a while for the plumber to come to your house. To prevent more serious water damage, you must clear out excess water coming from the burst pipe.
Rapid cleaning also prevents mold and mildew growth. The longer the water remains in your home, the more probable it is that these substances may proliferate. Clean and dry the area ASAP.
Keep the doors open to increase the flow of warm air in the area where the pipe has broken. Spaces with exposed pipes need optimal airflow to heat and dry the pipes and their surrounding areas.
If there’s ice in your pipes, heat is especially important to thaw the remaining frozen water, allowing it to flow easily out of the pipes.
Step 5: Document damages and contact the insurance company.
If the damage from your burst pipe appears to be substantial, you should begin photographing impacted areas immediately. This information is important when you make a homeowners insurance claim.
Take close-up photos of the damage from different angles. Organize these photos in a folder and send them along with your insurance claim.
Avoid Costly Plumbing Issues with MAC 5 Services
Water pressure problems can signal homeowners to burst pipes in their homes. While it might be tempting to repair the issue DIY-style, attempting this can lead to serious and costly consequences down the road. If you want to save money and preserve the functionality of your pipeline, hiring a professional to repair a pipe that has burst is ideal.
Our professionals are trained and heavily skilled at performing plumbing tasks that most people may find challenging. We use all of the latest technology to ensure that our clients get the best services possible from our crew. If you’re currently facing plumbing struggles that seem impossible to fix, you can rely on us to come up with a solution.
Call (321) 244-7500 for more details.