What To Do If Your Pipes BurstReading Time: 4 minutes
Steps to Take in the Event of a Winter Plumbing Emergency
Anyone living in a region with frigid winter conditions is likely familiar with the threat of burst pipes. But do you actually know what to do in the event that this happens to your Kelowna home or business? While many people know how to prevent their pipes from bursting, in the event that a plumbing emergency actually occurs, they are left scrambling trying to figure out what to do.
In this article, we will go over why pipes sometimes burst in the winter and what steps you need to take if and when it happens.
What Does it Mean For Pipes to Burst and Why Does it Happen?
Burst pipe is the term used when a pipe ruptures because there is too much pressure inside for it to contain. This can happen for a few different reasons, such as:
Freezing Cold Winter Weather
In the winter time, when temperatures drop to below freezing, water inside your pipes can freeze and expand, causing the pipes to burst. The rupture can occur either where the ice forms in the pipe or anywhere the intense water pressure creates a weak spot in the pipe.
As a result, this can cause flooding and severe water damage in your home.
Corrosion and pH Imbalance in the Water
Your pipes run the risk of rusting and corroding if your water isn’t properly pH balanced. If not addressed, this can lead to small leaks and even major bursts.
This issue is most common in homes that run on well water as it tends to have higher iron levels.
It goes without saying, but when you have a clog in your pipes, there is a risk of bursting, particularly with larger clogs located deep in your pipes. Clogs create pressure buildup in your pipes, and when the pressure becomes too much, the water has nowhere to go and the pipe bursts.
What to Do if Pipes Burst in Your Home or Business
Whether you suspect a pipe has burst or you have confirmation that it happened, follow these steps to help minimize damage.
Turn Off Your Water Immediately
Your first step after discovering a burst pipe should always be to shut off your water to prevent further damage. Do not continue using your water until you have the go-ahead from your plumber.
Drain Your Pipes
After your water has been shut off, drain any remaining water from your pipes to help relieve pressure and prevent any more water from freezing. This can be done by turning on your taps and flushing your toilets until all water is gone.
Locate the Source of the Problem
If you have access to your plumbing system, try to locate the source of the leak so that you can direct your plumber to the source.
Call a Plumber
A burst pipe requires immediate attention from a licensed plumber. Do not attempt to fix the issue yourself. DIY repairs are often unreliable and can fail if performed by anyone besides a plumber, leading to more extensive water damage.
Also, get in touch with an electrician if the burst pipe results in any damage to your electrical system.
Warm Up Your Home
If your ruptured pipe was caused by frigid temperatures, try to warm up your home as much as possible to prevent additional ruptures.
Try to Remove as Much Water As Possible
If the burst pipe has caused significant flooding in your home or business, try to minimize damage by using buckets and/or a shop vacuum to remove as much water as you can.
What Are the Signs of a Burst Pipe?
When pipes burst, it is not always obvious. It can sometimes produce a small leak that is easy to go undetected for several days, causing severe damage to your home or business.
Below, we’ve listed some of the signs to look for that could indicate you have a burst pipe.
Fluctuating Water Pressure
If you notice your water pressure is unusually low, this could be a sign of a burst pipe.
Change in Water Colour
When a pipe bursts, it can start to rust and tint your water a reddish-brown colour. Even if you have PVC and PEX pipes, small rust particles can seep into your water.
You Notice a Foul Smell
Hydrogen sulphide is a naturally occurring gas in sewer lines that produces a strong rotten-egg smell. If a pipe bursts, this smell can seep into the air in your home and is usually very noticeable.
Water is Leaking
Water leaking, particularly under sinks, is the most obvious sign that you have a burst pipe. However, many people don’t realize right away that a burst pipe is a culprit.
If you notice water leaking and try to resolve the issue on your own but the problem worsens, call a plumber immediately.
You Are Hearing Loud, Mysterious Noises
When a pipe is perfectly intact, you should not be hearing any water running unless you have taps on. If you can hear what sounds like water running in your walls but all the taps in your house are off, a pipe may have burst.
Mould Has Appeared
Finding mould on your walls is a dangerous sign that you have hidden moisture inside your walls, most likely caused by a burst or leaking pipe.
Call the Experts at My Plumber Kelowna
If you suspect you have a burst or leaking pipe in your Kelowna home or business, you have an emergency situation on your hands that needs immediate attention from a licensed Kelowna-based plumber.