When picturing a burst pipe, it’s likely the first image that comes to mind is water gushing everywhere. 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 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 in an unwanted exit point. As a result water pressure will drop. By the time it comes out of your faucet or showerhead, you should notice a significant change from your regular water pressure.
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 pipe is left alone long enough.
If a copper pipe has rusted or burst, the water will discolour to an off-brown. Other debris could also sneak into the water supply, posing a health risk to your home.
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 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.
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.
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 Jim’s Plumbing. For all emergency plumbing needs, Jim’s are available 24/7 with prompt 1 hour* attendance.
Once you know a plumber’s 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 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.
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 give. But, a dripping tap during freezing conditions means your water will flow at a low pressure, preventing pressure build up inside the pipes.
Jim’s Plumbing Is Here for You
Are you concerned about burst pipes, or have you caught sight of a leak? Jim’s Plumbing is here for you! Celebrating over 15 years of service excellence, our local plumbers are fast and reliable with 24/7, 1 hour* attendance for any emergency plumbing.
And when something goes wrong, we know it can catch you off guard. You don’t have to worry when it comes to Jim’s. Pay no more after hours and rest assured you can have any problem fixed with $0 deposit, interest free payment plans**.
Just call us when emergency strikes!