Fixing Burst Pipes

The burst pipe, of which the first indication is usually the ominous drip of water following a thaw, is becoming a thing of the past. This is partly because of new, versatile materials, which are less prone to burst, and higher standards of lagging and loft insulation.

Before the onset of cold weather, check all lagging. Bursts are more likely to occur in lead pipe than copper, stainless steel or plastic.

Burst pipes are caused by the formation of ice, which expands, distends, and then bursts the pipe. Sections of most modern pipes are often connected using compression-type fittings and the effect of ice formation in the pipe will usually be to push the fitting off the pipe.

Provided this is noticed before the thaw, it is easily rectified by reconnecting the joint, saving yourself from possible flooding.

If a burst is detected, first shut off the water supply. Using a blow torch, gently heat the area of the burst-keeping a receptable handy to take the thawed water. It is simple to cut out a damaged or distended section and place a new piece of pipework in position, joining this with a capillary or compression connector.

If the pipe is in leadwork, cut out the damaged section and replace it with a piece of of copper or stainless-steel pipe. The jointing technique is the same as that for connecting a stopcock on lead supply pipe-the only difference being that you will finish up with a pair of joints.

Alternatively, you can hammer the split closed, clean and prepare the pipe and wipe plumber’s metal around it to repair it.

The same procedures apply if a hole is knocked in a pipe.


Prevention is better than cure and periodic inspection of vulnerable pipes should take place during cold weather. Exposed pipes should be carefully lagged with bandage, polystyrene or foam lagging. Pipes above loft insulation should also be lagged.

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10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fixing Burst Pipes


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