Every day, water pipes break around the United States. In fact, so many home water pipes and lines fail that every year nearly 1.26 trillion gallons of sewage that has yet to be treated are spilled. Dealing with a burst water line can be a nightmare for homeowners but it does not have to be. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to help you deal with burst sewage lines and pipes.
- Shut off the water. The first thing you need to do when this happens is to get to the water main. If you are not sure where the water valve is and you own the property, a good place to start looking is the basement. Other places to check are near your water heater, crawlspace, and basement.
- Shut off the power to the area. If there is any chance that the burst water line may have gotten to any of the power outlets in your home, you should get to the fuse box and shut off the power supply to the area or your entire home. Note: this is not something everyone has to do.
- Next, the system needs to be drained. Whenever you do this, the cold water taps should be dealt with first. After you have turned off the water, there is still some throughout the system. You need to get it all out before you begin any work. This means that the toilets need to be flushed at least a few times, the showers, and faucets need to be dealt with.
- Drain the hot water. It is the cold water that sticks around in the pipes after the water supply has been turned off. Go to the water heater and turn it off. Now you can go around and drain all of the hot water taps in your home.
- Heat up the pipes. If your burst water line has broken during the colder months, you need to raise the temperature of the pipes before you move on. Many pipe bursting contractors say that cold weather is one of the top causes of these problems. You can do this by using a blow dryer to heat up the pipe you are going to work on. Some people find success using a heating pad. Others just crank up the heat to the entire house.
- Start the cleanup process early. Even before the plumber can get to your home, you need to get as much water up a possible. Mold and mildew spores are all around us all of the time and it takes very little time for them to take hold and start to wreak havoc. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified more than two thousand kind of mold and none of them are good. Left alone, mold can cause more damage to your home than the water itself.
- Document everything. Take pictures and video at every stage of the process. If you can get images of the burst water line, do it! Most of the time, photo and video taking has to wait until the problem has been contained. You should not throw away or remove anything from the area until you have documentation. You will need this for your insurance company. The more evidence you have, the more you can get from your insurance carrier.
There are things you can do to prevent a crisis from happening. Here are a few of them:
- Check out your system on a regular basis. That can help you find problems with your pipe when they are small and easy to deal with. Fix any problem you find as soon as you possibly as you can.
- Keep your pipes warm. If you have pipes outside, you can get insulation that will protect them from getting too cold. If you go away or are dealing with a property that is unoccupied for a period of time, set the thermostat so the pipes will never get to the freezing point. It is much cheaper to heat your house to above freezing than to deal with a burst water line or a resulting flood.
No one likes dealing with burst water lines. These tips can help deal with them and avoid needing sewer line repairs.