Discovering a burst water pipe, burst water main, or any burst pipes around your property can be quite stressful. Waking up in the morning or coming home from work to a flood of water is undoubtedly not how you planned on spending your time that day. It can also be a painful addition to your water bill.
The important thing is to remain calm; a burst pipe is not the end of the world.
Follow these steps to take care of the problem and get your property back to its original shape as quickly as possible.
How To Handle a Burst Water Pipe or Burst Water Main
1. Conduct a Quick Inspection
If possible, try to identify where the damaged pipe leak is coming from, even if it is just a general area. It can also help to determine what caused the burst water pipe in the first place, such as high water pressure or blocked pipes. This will save you and your plumber time later on.
If you are unable to locate a specific burst water pipe that is leaking, there is no need to worry, a reputable plumber will be able to help.
2. Turn Off Your Water
The next step is to turn off your main water supply, which will reduce the water flow and stop the leak.
In many Australian homes, it is located towards the front of the property near the water meter, though yours may be located elsewhere. It is always a good idea to ensure that everyone in your household knows where the main valve is located - be it next to your water meter or otherwise - and how to turn it off in case of emergencies, like a burst water pipe.
Once you have turned off the water, the leak from the burst water pipe should stop quickly as the water drains from your water pipes. To help things along, you can run taps and flush toilets to clear any water that remains in the pipes. This way, it won't keep leaking while you or your licensed plumbers work on the repairs.
Don't forget to turn off the taps after the water has stopped or it could cause a mess when your water supply is switched back on.
3. Repair Minor Damage
If you were able to locate the burst pipe or pipes during your quick inspection, go back and have a look at it to determine the extent of the damage to the burst pipe.
If the crack is small, you may be able to repair the damage on your own without needing the services of a licensed plumber. You can fill the crack with pipe sealant, which you can find at your local home improvement store.
For small sections of pipe, such as flexi hoses, it is often easier to simply replace the cracked segment.
Measure the diameter and length of the pipe before you go to the store, or bring the broken piece with you, to ensure the new piece you buy is the correct size. If you are handy around the house, you should be able to complete this minor repair on your own using your home plumbing tool kit.
Take care when tightening the nuts connecting the pipes not to over-tighten, as this can lead to future leaks.
4. Get Help for Major Repairs
Your property's larger, main pipes, such as burst water mains, are more complicated to repair due to their size and the fact that they serve multiple outlets throughout the building. It is a good idea to let a professional plumber handle this job, rather than trying to do it yourself, to ensure everything is done properly and to avoid plumbing problems due to bad installation.
It is also smart to call in a reputable plumber for any burst pipes that are underground or inside your walls or ceilings. They'll be able to get the job done quickly so that you can get things back to normal.
If you discover your burst pipe in the middle of the night, a 24-hour emergency plumber can help you out so that you don't have to wait until morning, risking water damage to your premises.
5. Remove Any Liquid Waste
Depending on the size of the burst water pipe and the amount of time before you were able to shut off the main water supply, you may have significant amounts of water pooling on your property or inside your home.
It is important to get rid of this water as soon as possible to minimise the risk of lasting damage to your home, building or yard. A liquid waste disposal professional can get as much water off your property as possible, then dispose of it in a safe and environmentally conscious manner.
This way, your property can start to dry quicker and prevent long-term water damage.
6. Bring in Professional Dryers
Any moisture remaining on your walls, ceilings and floors is an invitation to mould and mildew, which can create a health hazard for you and your loved ones or employees.
Opening your windows and putting a few fans in the area can help, but only on the surface.
For deeper water damage, you'll need to call in the professionals. A water damage restoration company will do a thorough job and ensure every area is safe. Until everything is completely dry, it is a good idea to turn off the power to any wet areas to protect against shocks.
Causes of Burst Water Pipes
There are several causes of burst water pipes, including:
When the water inside the pipes freezes, it expands and causes the pipe to burst. This is a common issue in regions that experience extreme cold weather conditions, as the frozen water can exert significant pressure on the pipes, leading to cracks and eventually bursts.
Over time, tree roots can grow and infiltrate your pipes, causing them to break. This usually happens when the roots search for water sources and find their way into small cracks or joints in the pipes. As they continue to grow, the roots can cause the pipes to crack further and eventually burst.
Excessive Water Pressure
A sudden increase in water pressure can cause pipes to burst, especially if they are old or damaged. This can be due to a malfunctioning pressure regulator, blocked pipes, or even water hammers caused by rapidly closing valves or taps.
A damaged or weakened pipe can give way under normal water pressure, leading to a burst. This can occur due to general wear and tear, manufacturing defects, or previous damage that has weakened the pipe's structural integrity.
If a pipe becomes blocked, the water pressure behind the blockage can build up and cause the pipe to burst. This can be a result of debris, sediment, or foreign objects lodged within the pipe, obstructing the normal flow of water.
Over time, pipes can corrode or weaken, making them more susceptible to bursting. Older pipes made from materials like galvanised steel or cast iron are particularly prone to corrosion and rust, which can weaken the pipe walls and make them more vulnerable to damage.
If pipes were not properly installed, they may be more prone to bursting. This can occur when pipes are not adequately supported, causing them to sag and strain under the weight of the water they carry. Additionally, incorrect joint connections or poorly welded seams can create weak points in the pipe system, increasing the risk of a burst.
Lack of Regular Maintenance
Neglecting to perform regular maintenance on your plumbing system can result in pipes becoming damaged or weakened, making them more likely to burst. Maintenance tasks like cleaning out sediment from water heaters, inspecting for leaks or damage, and ensuring that pipe insulation is in good condition can all help to prevent burst pipes.
For Burst Pipes in Perth, You Can Count on Tunnel Vision
Having a burst pipe is never a fun experience, but Tunnel Vision is here to help everything go as smoothly as possible for you. We are experts in pipe relining, trenchless and non-invasive repair techniques, so we won't need to dig large trenches on your property to access pipes.
Our friendly team is on duty 24 hours a day, so you'll always have access to our emergency plumbing services when you need them most. Get in touch with us today to book a routine or emergency plumber.