Your plumbing system at home or at work is built pretty tough. However, there are plenty of internal and external threats that could cause an expensive water pipe burst. In the best case, the problem results in only a minor leak beneath the sink. In the worst-case scenarios, you could be looking at expensive slab leak or main water line repair! Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent a disaster.
Ways to Prevent a Busted Water Pipe
Start by targeting any external threats that could harm your plumbing system. For families and business owners, there are three serious outside forces that lead to a busted water pipe:
- Freezing Temperatures
- Shifting Ground (from Moisture)
- and Invading Tree Roots
As you may know, water expands when it freezes. This is why homeowners and building managers are encouraged to let pipes drip during freezing weather. Ground shifts occur when the soil in a given area swells with moisture. The resulting force can completely snap underground pipes, especially rigid ones.
Invasive tree roots can be much more subtle. Roots gradually apply enough force to crack underground pipes, then grow directly into the water line. If this continues for long enough, the property owner could be faced with a very costly water line replacement.
Internal forces are much more likely to cause ruptured piping. The usual suspects here are miscellaneous objects (tossed in the sink or flushed down the toilet) and hard water content. When a pipe cracks from internal force pushing outward, this is typically the result of a clog or choke point. The only items that should ever be flushed down the toilet are human waste and toilet paper. Save all other materials, including so-called “flushables” for the trash can. Also, try to avoid sending oily foods down the sink.
“Hard water content” refers to dirt and minerals that accumulate in your water supply. These could be natural local impurities that slipped into your water on the way from the city treatment center. You can typically spot these contaminants swirling around in water or settling at the bottom of the glass. Make sure you either have your water treated with chlorine or have a water softener installed to combat mineral/dirt deposits.
What Do You Do When Your Pipes Burst?
Perhaps the time for prevention is long gone. If you have a water pipe broken underground or in the house/office, you need to take immediate action to find and address the break. Your exact response will vary depending on where the leak is break is located, so you need to find it as soon as possible.
A Quick Guide: How to Find a Burst Water Pipe
- Make sure all water appliances are turned off on the property.
- Consult your water meter and write down the current reading.
- Take a slow walk through the house/building.
- Look and listen for running water.
- If you don’t find the leak inside, check the ground outside for puddles.
- If you still don’t find any leaks, consult your water meter again.
Should your water meter still indicate water is running somewhere on the property, talk with your local plumber. Make sure the problem doesn’t lie with the HVAC system or roofing. This might be an issue for your local residential or commercial roof repair service.
If You Have a Water Pipe Broken Underground
Underground leaks are the most frustrating to locate, especially when there aren’t any puddles to give away the burst pipe. Keep an eye open for soggy ground. Otherwise, you likely need to call a professional to locate the leak for you. Once you are sure the leak is underground, you’ll want to prepare for underground water line repair. If the leak is particularly bad, make sure you’ve shut off the water.
Some homeowners like to dig out the area surrounding the pipe. Do NOT dig up any area of the yard that may have a power or phone line. Depending on the size of the leak, the damaged pipe will either require repairs or replacement. If at any point you feel like you need help, talk with your local plumber about your water line repair.
If the Busted Water Pipe is Inside…
Interior pipe bursts are generally very easy to spot; the swelling pool of water is a dead giveaway. However, some leaks originate in pipes located behind the wall or in the ceiling (though that’s rare nowadays). If the leak is in a place you can easily access, you can apply plumber’s tape to the affected area to slow the damage until a professional gets there. For gushing leaks, it might be best to shut off the water.
You may be wondering “Is burst pipe covered by insurance?” Homeowner’s insurance will usually cover water damage in the case of an internal pipe rupture. If the burst occurred outside, you will have to prove that the resulting damage was indeed caused by the broken pipe. So try not to worry!
Schedule Your Pipe Repair Today!
If you need assistance with a busted water pipe or water line repair in Pittsburgh, PA, our experienced team at Patrick E. Chase Plumbing & Heating would love to help you fix the issue as quickly as possible. Contact our team today at 412-561-3624 for any questions!