Burst Water Pipe What to Do In an Emergency
WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY
The floods caused by leaking orcan result in damage on a grand scale, bringing down ceilings and ruining decorations and furnishings.
In temperate climates, the combination of unexpected frost and inadequate insulation is still the major culprit. But faulty pipework, worn fittings and DIY accidents all account for their fair share of emergencies, so wherever you live it pays to know what to do when disaster strikes — and to be prepared at all times.
♦ Make sure you know where your stopcocks are and which pipes they control. Ensure they all work.
♦ Keep emergency repair materials (see Shopping List below) in the house.
The following repairs are designed to get you by until the damage can be repaired more permanently.
Shopping is the last thing you want to do when faced with a flood, so be prepared.
Two-part epoxy putty will plug almost any kind of leak and is useful for countless other repair jobs around the home. Car bodyis an effective substitute, but less easy to handle.
Two-parttape is another handy repair material, especially for sealing burst soldered joints in copper pipes.
PTFE tape makes it possible to re-make burst compression joints.
Potatoes have saved many a plumber — if a pipe comes adrift, shove a potato over the end.
Repair kits for pipes are inexpensive, and worth buying.
1. PIPE ALREADY BURST
If you are alone …
Turn off the
♦ Do this as close to the leaking pipe as possible. If you can’t find a stopcock, or it is jammed, turn off at the main stopcock. Failing this, if you have a cold storage tank and central heating expansion tank, tie up their ball-valves to stop water entering.
♦ Switch off the central heating, immersion heater, or any other water heating appliances. (If the flood is near electrical outlets, switch off at the main switch by the consumer unit or fusebox).
♦ Open all the taps to relieve pressure on the leak and get rid of any water left in the system.
If there are others in the house, get someone else to carry out the above steps while you …
♦ Locate the exact source of the leak.
♦ If the pipe has failed at a joint and it will pull apart, shove a potato on the end to stem the flow. (If the water is at mains pressure, bend the pipe or wedge something against the potato to hold it in place.)
♦ Otherwise, tie a cloth around the leak to contain it while you decide what to do next.
2. YOU BURST PIPE
♦ If you did it with a nail or, leave this where it is (it will at least contain the flow) while you turn off the water as described above.
♦ If you did it with a drill, drive apart-way into the hole to stem the flow. Then turn off the water and heating.
3. WATER POURING FROM OVERFLOW
♦ Locate which tank or cistern the pipe is connected to and tie up the affected ballvalve (the cause of the trouble). Turn off the supply to the tank.
4. WATER BOILING IN PIPES
♦ Turn off water heating.
♦ Leave system to cool down.
♦ Open hot taps to check water supply to hot water cylinder, which if the heating has been off during a frost may be blocked by an ice plug.
♦ If supply is OK, call plumber to replace faulty central heating or cylinder thermostat.