Unfortunately, burst pipes are something every homeowner deals with in the frigid winter months. There are ways to prevent them from happening, including insulating pipes and making sure that those installed on outer-facing walls are connected to sinks that are allowed to drip slowly to prevent water from freezing inside. Water freezing inside pipe is what causes them to burst. What follows are tips on how to repair the pipes in your home when one of them breaks.
Turn off the Water
The first thing to do when you discover a burst pipe is to cut off the water supply. The stop tab for stopping the water flow is located at the water main, where the main service pipe enters your house.
Once the main water supply is cut off, you’ll need to drain the water from all the pipes. Remember that pipes hold water even when there’s no water turned on. To drain all the water from pipes, turn on all the faucets in your house on cold and flush each toilet once. Once the cold water is drained, you’ll need to do the same for the hot water. Shut off the hot water heater, and then go back to each faucet and run the hot water instead to drain it.
Locate the Broken Pipe
Once all the faucets have stopped draining water, the leak will stop. You’ll need to locate the burst pipe and inspect the damage. If it’s a break near the main water supply, you may want to consider calling a professional to repair it. This type of pipe break would take more time and effort to replace as it leads to additional connections. If it’s a single pipe under a bathroom sink or something more minor, then you should be able to fix the leak yourself.
Fix the Pipe
For a DIY method to fix the broken pipe, get some ordinary garden hose and some hose clamps that offer extreme constriction. Measure the crack of the burst pipe, and cut the garden hose about 10 inches longer than that length. Slice the garden hose so you can slip it over the crack in the pipe, and using the hose clamps, put the hose over the busted area and compress it as tight as it will go. Test for leaks by turning on the water. If the break is larger than something that can be handled with a garden hose, use a hacksaw to cut away the portion of the pipe that’s broken, with about an inch of clearance on either side. Certain companies, like WESTport, know that it may be necessary to use a tap to rethread an old pipe at this point. Replace the missing section with pipe spacers and sealant. Make sure not to tighten it too much, or it will make the pipe appear to be oval-shaped, and this will cause more leaks in the future.
Dry Everything Out
It’s advisable to hire a professional water restoration company if there’s a lot of accumulated water in your basement. They have the right equipment and techniques to ensure your space returns to a dry state. Fans and open windows in this case won’t do the job to dry out the house, and not addressing it right away can lead to mold or mildew issues.
While no one wants to deal with a burst pipe, these strategies can help you if you ever find yourself in that situation. Repairing it yourself saves money, but it’s also important to know when to call in a professional.