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Burst Pipes – Stop the Water; What Next

Burst pipe

A burst pipe in the water system is one of the most common plumbing problems both in the home and the public system. Several things can cause burst pipes, the main one been freezing conditions.

We have complicated plumbing systems in our homes such as waste disposals, boilers and even garden features that pipe bursts are far from a modern curse.

One of the worst things that can happen to a plumbing system is a burst pipe. It is not the cost of the repair of the pipe or even the loss of the water whilst it is fixed, but the sheer amount and cost of the damage water can do. The potential water loss from burst pipes in a house:

  • 106 gallons that’s 2 full baths an hour.
  • 2,500 gallons of water or 48 full baths of water after a full day.
  • 2,500 gallons of water in that week or 336 full baths of water.

Frozen temperatures and unprotected pipes is the most likely cause of a burst in a home. A pipe bursts when frozen due to the expansion of the water as it becomes ice. This puts pressure on the pipe from the inside and something has to give. This almost always is the soft copper or plastic of the pipe.

Sometimes these breaks can be at the weaker joints or in the middle of the pipe. As quite a lot of your piping in your home is hidden in flooring, roof spaces or walls, the damage caused can be devastating. Some pipes will not be accessible, some will be underground while others you may not even know exist.

Prevention of Burst Pipes

Prevention is by far the best solution, below are several key things you can do to.

  1. Make sure you know where your main water shut off valve is.
  2. Ensure that any outside taps and piping including drain pipes for heating or overflow pipes are insulated. You can use insulating lagging or foam to do this but make sure you do not leave any joints, bends or taps exposed. For outside taps fitted covers are available.
  3. Any piping that are in unheated areas such as lofts, basements and garages all need to be wrapped with good quality pipe insulation.
  4. Buried pipes need to be buried deep enough and/or insulated.
  5. Fix any dripping taps/faucets or existing leaks before the cold spell. Many burst pipes happen because of leaks.
  6. Have your Central Heating System serviced regularly.
  7. Leaving for any length of time, turn off the main water, drain any water from the system and close the taps again (this is very important), leave your heating on. Most heating systems will continue to work without the mains water on for a period of time.
  8. Most importantly of all make sure that someone can check on the house from time to time.

If You Have a Burst Pipe

No matter the prevention taken sometimes burst pipes happen. What you do when you discover one will make the difference between an inconvenience or a total disaster. Here we have highlighted the best action a homeowner can take.

  1. Look out for the signs of burst pipes.
    • Not every burst pipe is a torrent of water from the ceiling, look for damp patches on walls, ceilings and floors.
    • Loss of water pressure, unusual noises in the system and even electrical faults all can point to burst pipes.
  2. Suspect a burst pipe then isolate the water from the main water shut off. Turn off water and open the taps in the home to remove the water from the system.

    marked main water shut off valve
    Marking your main water shut off
  3. DO NOT use the electrical devices, keep away from light switches and sockets if water is leaking it easily can be within the electrical circuit.
  4. Call ServiceMaster of Columbia for water removal.
    • Clean the excess water away as soon as possible the quicker the water is removed the less damage can be caused.
  5. Move any furniture and belongings from the affected area, remember insurance does not always cover everything and somethings just cannot be replaced.

ServiceMaster of Columbia is your 24 Hour Emergency Water Removal company in Mid-Missouri, the Master of Disaster. We will take care of your disaster and restore your peace of mind. We work with all major insurance companies.