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Dealing With Burst Pipes

When it comes to water damage in your home or business, few things are bigger problems than pipes bursting. Pipe bursts may occur slowly over time, which allows the damage to set in and have an effect long before it is ever discovered, or they may happen suddenly and violently, sending massive amounts of water into your property in a very short amount of time.

The location of a pipe burst also has an effect on the level of damage involved. Some may occur in the basement, which is a location that may or may not be frequently visited. This means the problem may remain undiscovered for an extended period of time.  Pipe bursts may also occur on main floors or upper levels, which means the excess water can soak down into flooring, and even affect drywall and ceilings as gravity pulls it toward the lower levels.  A burst pipe in the wall means damage to your electrical systems, and your HVAC system may also be compromised. For this reason it is important to shut off all utilities servicing the location until the problem has been dealt with.

Burst pipes in winter are a common problem, as water freezes within the pipes and begins to expand. It will not take long before the pipe is compromised, and a frozen pipe burst will become readily apparent as soon as temperatures warm up enough for the water to begin flowing again.

A water pipe bursting will release enough water to be dangerous, especially if the problem occurred on an upper level. Ceilings will begin to sag under the weight of the water released. If you see a ceiling with a visible sag, remain outside of that room, since the ceiling could collapse at any time, sending huge amounts of water cascading into the room, along with any debris that may have accumulated. A person standing in the wrong place could be seriously injured or killed as a result.

You don’t have to visually witness a burst pipe to k now you have one. If you notice an uncharacteristic spike in your water bill, that is a clear indicator that you have a problem somewhere in your property’s pipework.

To fix a burst pipe, you will first need to shut off the water at its source. Little can be done as long as water is still coming in. Make sure you know where the main water shutoff valve in your home is so that this can be done as soon as the problem is discovered. The water should not be turned back on until repairs are completed by qualified pipe bursting contractors.

As with any water damage scenario, the excess water will need to be removed and any and all areas affected by the spill will need to be thoroughly dried out. This prevents further damage to the structure as well as heading off the appearance of mold.  The burst pipe will need to be repaired by replacing the damaged section with new piping and the appropriate fittings and seals. The repair will need to be tested for stability by a water restoration professional before the water is actually turned back on. Burst pipe repair is almost always best left to the professionals since they will have the experience, techniques, and equipment necessary to correct the problem without risking further damage to the home.

It is highly recommended that pipes be inspected on a regular basis to look for signs of wear or damage, and warm water should be run through pipes during cold weather months to prevent freezing and subsequent pipe bursting problems.

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