Oh No! A Pipe Burst, What Next?
It might be the sound of dripping water on the ceiling or behind a wall, or a mysterious puddle on the floor. Maybe you've noticed a decrease in water pressure when you turn on the hot water faucet, or no water flow whatsoever. These are all signs that a pipe may have burst.
It only takes a small hole to cause you big problems when the water starts to melt.
Pipe Bursts Can Be Destructive
They happen most often in the wintertime, when water freezes inside - outdoor plumbing or in pipes near exterior walls. As the water freezes, its volume can expand and it exerts pressure on the pipe's walls. The ice can block the pipe so that the water that is behind it adds even more pressure. Whether the pipe is copper, lead, or PVC, it can give way under the pressure. you may not become aware of the emergency until the weather warms up. Then your first sign might be wet ceilings or walls if the broken pipe is concealed from view.
What to do When a Pipe Bursts
- If you discover a leak, try to discover where the leak seems to be coming from, and then turn off the water at the main water valve. That will stop the water flow and hopefully keep the damage down.
- If possible, you may need to also turn off the electricity in the affected area.
- Call a licensed plumber to repair the leak. Many plumbers have 24/hour availability in emergencies for plumbing repair. It is a good idea to keep a plumber's contact information handy just for these kinds of situations. The plumber will be able to replace the damaged pipes or fittings and turn your water back on.
- Once the leak has been repaired, you may mitigation. Mitigation may include water extraction, removal of affected materials that may work as a moisture barrier and setting drying equipment.
How to Prevent Burst Pipes
Here are a couple of things you can do to prevent cold weather emergencies:
- If plumbing runs along an exterior wall, leave the water dripping in the faucet and open the under-sink cabinet to let the warmer indoor air in.
- If the outdoor temperature is supposed to drop and you will be away, make sure before you go that the inside temperature will be maintained above 55 degrees in your absence.
- Insulate pipes in unheated areas.
Call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South at 770-448-5782 for any water emergency needs.