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broken pipe leaking

How to Handle a Burst Pipe Emergency

When picturing a burst pipe, it’s likely the first image that comes to mind is water gushing everywhere and a flooded bathroom closely resembling the climactic scenes of the Titanic sinking.

In reality, it could be far less eye opening. But burst pipes in any scenario can quickly become a plumbing emergency. The good news is the warning signs are often obvious if you know where to look.

Here’s how you can handle – and hopefully stop – a burst pipe emergency.

The Signs of a Burst Pipe

You have a burst water pipe but you just don’t know it, yet. When you are next washing your hands or doing the dishes, have a look for the following:

  • Low water pressure: A hole in your pipe means water is leaking out of an unwanted exit point. As a result water pressure will drop. By the time it comes out of your tap or showerhead, you should notice a significant change from your regular water flow.
  • Unnatural water marks: Is there a water stain on the wall, or a damp patch on the ceiling? When your pipe bursts and leaks behind a wall or in the roof, water has to go somewhere. It will drain and settle in one spot, leading to damp spots, unnatural water marks, water blisters and worse.
  • Puddles and sinkholes: Prolonged leakage means water continues to pool in one location. You will be left with puddles in the garden or cement which just don’t disappear, even during dry spells. Or, you may even see a patch of garden turn into a sinkhole if a burst water pipe is left alone long enough.
  • Noisy pipes: What you hear is just as important as what you see. Listen out for whistling, bubbling or whispering – especially when you are not using any water. Your pipes should not sound like they are in use when they are not. Also, listen for any dripping. If there is a consistent dripping and your taps are fine, the sound is likely coming from behind a wall.
  • High water bills: Are your bills higher than normal, but your water use has not changed? Water leakage is likely to blame. A burst water pipe means your water is still running, just not out of your taps. Sadly, you are still slugged for the water wasted when a pipe bursts.

What Can Cause a Burst Water Pipe?

Dealing with a burst pipe is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. The sudden gush of water can wreak havoc on your property and lead to extensive damage if not addressed promptly.

Understanding the causes behind burst pipes can help you take preventive measures and minimise the risk of this plumbing emergency. In this article, we will explore the common culprits that can lead to a burst pipe and how to handle them.

  1. Freezing temperatures: One of the primary causes of burst pipes is freezing temperatures. When water inside a pipe freezes, it expands, exerting immense pressure on the pipe walls. This pressure can exceed the pipe’s capacity, resulting in a rupture. Pipes most vulnerable to freezing are those located in uninsulated areas such as attics, crawl spaces or exterior walls.
  2. Age and corrosion: Over time, pipes can deteriorate due to ageing and corrosion. Older pipes made from materials such as galvanised steel or iron are particularly susceptible to rust and erosion, weakening their structure. The weakened pipes may develop small cracks or fissures that eventually give way under the pressure of flowing water, leading to a burst pipe.
  3. Water pressure issues: Excessively high water pressure can put a strain on your plumbing system, leading to burst pipes. If the pressure exceeds the recommended levels (typically between 40-80 psi), it can cause stress on the pipes, especially at joints and weak points. Regularly monitoring and maintaining appropriate water pressure can help prevent this issue.
  4. Tree root intrusion: Tree roots seek out water sources, and if they infiltrate your underground pipes, they can cause significant damage. As tree roots grow, they exert pressure on the pipes, leading to cracks or fractures. With time, these weakened areas can give way, resulting in a burst pipe.

Understanding the potential causes of a burst pipe is crucial for homeowners to take preventive measures and safeguard their property. By addressing issues such as freezing temperatures, aging pipes, water pressure, and tree root intrusion, you can significantly reduce the risk of a burst water pipe emergency.

Regular maintenance, insulation and prompt repairs are key to ensuring the integrity of your plumbing system and protecting your home from water damage.

How to Fix Burst Pipes

You discovered a burst pipe. Now what? In any scenario, the first step is to turn off the water supply. Shutting off your water mains will prevent a leak from worsening, and at least stem the flow of damage.

Next, call a plumber. Confident homeowners can certainly repair a burst pipe, but when it comes to cutting into walls or digging up pipes, it gets tricky. Thankfully, an expert plumber will know the most efficient way to provide a long-term solution for a burst pipe.

That could be replacing a small section of pipe, or a large scale replacement if existing pipework has broken down due to age. There is no point replacing just one pipe if other sections will burst in the next six months.

In an emergency, you can confidently rely on Plumber Near Me. For all emergency plumbing needs, Plumber Near Me is available 24/7 with prompt 1 hour* attendance.

Once you know an emergency plumber is on the way, start cleaning up as best you can. Use a mop, towels and bucket as necessary to dry water or catch ceiling leaks. Clear away any furniture which could also be damaged or block the plumber’s access to the leak.

Tips to Prevent a Burst Pipe

Unfortunately, a burst pipe is really one of those problems you cannot always prevent. Pipes break down over time, no matter what. Really, the best prevention is early action so you stop a minor repair becoming a major plumbing emergency.

Always keep an eye out for the warning signs of burst water pipes and never ignore them. It will only worsen and could lead to you not having a fresh water supply for several days, and serious structural damage. It could also shut down your hot water system.

In terms of avoiding disaster, be smart as well. If you go away on holiday, shut off the water supply. If your pipes are old, look at a replacement. And insulation.

Insulation protects and warms pipes during the coldest winter months. While Australia is typically a warm country, in some parts the coldest winters do go past freezing and pipes could burst. Insulation warms them, while a dripping tap also helps.

We know that’s hard advice to accept, but a dripping tap during freezing conditions means your water will flow at a low pressure, preventing pressure build up inside the pipes.

Plumber Near Me is Here for You

Are you concerned about burst pipes, or have you caught sight of a leak? Plumber Near Me is here for you! Our local plumbers are fast and reliable with 24/7, one-hour* attendance for any emergency plumbing.

And when something goes wrong, we know it can catch you off guard. If you need an emergency plumber today, call the experts at Plumber Near Me. Pay no more after hours and rest assured you can have any problem fixed with convenient interest free** payment plans.

Just call us when emergency strikes!

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.