Thousands of people in the United States have to deal with burst pipes every single year. As the seasons change, it’s quite common for pipes to burst in some regions. Let’s face it, unless you’re an experienced plumber, the thought of tackling a burst pipe is quite terrifying. But, there are some preventative steps you can take to reduce the damage before the plumber arrives. Follow these 12 steps, in order, to help at least minimize the damage.
1. Shut Off the Water
When water freezes, it expands in volume. The water also expands with tremendous force that no pipe can contain, so the pipe naturally bursts. A pipe can burst where the ice forms or where water pressure finds a weak spot in the pipe. The weak spot can be up to several feet away from where the frozen water is! As a result, it’s best to turn off all water, as you may not know where the problem is. Turn off your main water line as quickly as you can.
You may also want to consider shutting off the electricity as well if you think there’s a possibility of the leak getting into charged areas.
2. Open a Faucet
After you shut off the water main, open a faucet to let it drip. This will relieve any remaining pressure in the pipes.
3. Call a Plumbing Company
Now is the point where you call a professional. Many plumbing companies such as Paul Bunyan Plumbing and Drains offer 24/7 emergency services, so you can find help no matter what time of day or night it is. Generally speaking, you don’t want to tackle a burst pipe on your own, and it’s worth the investment to call a professional in.
4. Start Cleaning Up the Water
A burst pipe means excess water in your home. Start cleaning up as much of the water as possible by mopping or using a shop vacuum to clean up any small remaining puddles of water. Cleaning will reduce the damage done to your property, home, and belongings. Additionally, cleaning up the water quickly will minimize the chance of mold growth.
5. Turn Up the Heat
If possible, turn on fans to blow heat into any cold rooms. Keep your garage door closed to minimize cold air entering the home. If you’re experiencing reduced water flow throughout the house, heat the most vulnerable pipes with a hairdryer. Usually, pipes in the basement, crawl spaces, and near exterior walls are most vulnerable. Make sure to leave the faucet on as you apply heat. As the ice in the pipes melts, the flow will increase throughout the home.
6. Open Doors for Warm Air Circulation
If you have exposed pipes located in pantries or closets, leave those doors open to help circulate warm air. Additionally, open any cabinet doors and vanity doors, so warm air can reach pipes that are under sinks.
7. Place a Piece of Rubber Over the Leak
For a temporary patch solution to the leak, use a piece of heavy rubber material and hose clamps around the leak.
8. Use Wood to Relieve Pressure
You can also use a block of wood to relieve some of the pressure that’s building. Place a block of wood over the piece of rubber and then fasten the clamp. The wood will spread the pressure and help to prevent the pipe from collapsing.
9. Use a C-Clamp
Next, if you have one, use a C-clamp over the block of wood and rubber to seal the leak. This is only a temporary fix and you will still need a plumber.
10. Update the Plumber On the Situation
Once the plumber arrives, update them on the situation and the steps that you have taken. They may have some follow-up questions for you before they start fixing the situation. They will take over at this point and let you know the next course of action.
11. Insulate Your Pipes
After the plumber has fixed your burst pipe, you will want to work on insulating your pipes to avoid future repeat incidents. There are many ways you can insulate your pipes, including:
- Foam pipe covers
- Insulating pipe wrap
- Installing frost-proof faucets
- Expanding spray foam
- Outdoor faucet covers
- Foam caulk rope
- Fiberglass insulation
You can hire a professional plumber to insulate your pipes for you. Additionally, when they are working on the burst pipe for you, ask their advice about insulating pipes in the future.
12. Clean the Damage
After the burst pipe is repaired, it’s time to clean the damage thoroughly. You may want to remove any wet furniture to a dry area. Some furniture may require professional cleaning. Remember that if you take too long to repair the wet damage, it can cause mold growth. If the burst pipe significantly impacted your carpeting, hardwood floors, laminate flooring, cabinets, drywall, or ceilings, all of these might require professional repairs. You may need to repaint walls and ceilings. You also may need to rebuild cabinets and have your carpets professionally cleaned. All of this will depend on the extent of the damage done to your home.
Contact Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drain in Minneapolis, MN
For anyone looking for a professional plumbing company in the Minneapolis, MN area, Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drains is the top choice. As your local hometown plumbers, the community knows they can trust us for any plumbing repair. We offer services in water heater installations and repairs, frozen pipe repairs, leak repairs, faucet repairs, drain cleaning, water softener installation, sewer and toilet repairs, garbage disposal repairs and replacements, pipe replacement, video pipe inspection, boiler installation, and backflow testing. As well as, 24/7 emergency plumbing. If your pipes burst at 4:00 am, don’t hesitate to call, we will be there for you! Contact us today for a quote or service.