A burst pipe is a homeowner’s nightmare, causing significant water damage and potential mold growth. However, there are some quick temporary fixes you can do to slow the impact of a burst pipe. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do when you find a burst pipe in your home:
1. Shut off the Water: The first step when you discover a burst pipe is to shut off the water to prevent more damage. Depending on where the leak occurs and how big it is, you might also need to shut off the electricity.
2. Open a Faucet: Opening a faucet can help relieve pressure in the system and reduce the amount of water that leaks from the burst pipe.
3. Call a Plumber: Unless you’re comfortable trying to repair a broken pipe on your own, you’ll probably need a plumber. However, there are several things you can do before the plumber arrives to help reduce the impact of a burst pipe.
4. Start Getting Rid of the Water: Use a mop, buckets, and a shop vacuum to start getting rid of the water. Quick cleanup will reduce the chances of something getting moldy.
5. Turn up the Heat: Set up fans to blow heat into cold rooms and keep the garage door closed. If you have reduced water flow, heat the most vulnerable pipes with a hair dryer. Leave the faucet on while you apply heat.
6. Open Doors: If you have exposed pipes inside closets or pantries, leave doors open. Open vanity or cabinet doors so warm air can reach the pipes under sinks as well.
7. Place a Piece of Rubber over the Leak: Putting a piece of rubber over the leak should be done in conjunction with placing some kind of clamp over the broken pipe. This can serve as a temporary fix.
8. Add a Block of Wood Before Adding a Clamp: If you’re in a pinch and don’t have the necessary tools around to stop the leak, you can improvise by adding a block of wood over the piece of rubber before fastening a clamp. The block of wood will spread the pressure and help prevent the pipe from collapsing.
9. Grab a C-Clamp: Add a C-clamp over the block of wood and piece of rubber to seal the leak for a temporary fix.
10. Cut Out the Damaged Pipe: If you’re a little more well-versed in plumbing repair, you might take the next step and cut out the damaged area of the pipe.
11. Clean and Flux Mating Surfaces: Clean corrosion from the inside of the repair sleeve using a wire fitting brush. Clean the outside of the pipe with plumber’s sandcloth or emery paper. Brush flux onto all four cleaned surfaces.
12. Slide on the Repair Sleeve: Slide an end of the sleeve first over one pipe and then slip it back over onto the other. You may have to loosen nearby pipe hangers. Center the sleeve over the pipe ends so that about 1/2 in. of each pipe is inside the sleeve.
13. Solder the Joint: Hold the tip of the torch flame to one side of the joint and hold the tip of the solder wire to the opposite side. Pull the solder away when enough of it melts to completely fill the joint.
14. Work on Insulating the Pipes: Insulating your pipes will come long after the repair work but it’s important to do in order to prevent future burst pipes.
15. Clean the Damage: Once the immediate crisis is over, it’s time to clean up the damage and start the process of repair and recovery.
In conclusion, while a burst pipe is a significant problem, quick action can minimize the damage and