One of the most frustrating things that can happen in your home is a burst pipe.
There can be several reasons for this, including freezing temperatures, heavy rains and faulty piping. Sadly, sudden pipe bursts can lead to a huge mess, and it can be difficult to figure out how to fix such leaks with all that water gushing.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to shut off the water before too much damage is done. However, if the pipe is already splitting, you may need to take some additional steps to prevent further damage. And we will discuss all the ways to fix burst pipes in the section below so that you stay prepared.
5 Ways To Fix A Burst Water Pipe
1. Replacing It With A New Pipe
First, you need to turn off the water supply to the burst pipe, preventing further damage by stopping the water flow entirely. Then, take a look at it and see if you can identify the source of the leak.
If the leak is in a joint or fitting, you may be able to replace the damaged portions. However, if the pipe is damaged, you will need to remove it and replace it with a new pipe.
Once you have mended the leak, you must turn the water back on and check for any other leaks. If you find any, ensure that all the fittings and the popes have been properly installed. Burst pipes can be a pain, but your DIY plumbing skills can come in handy to fix them before they flood your home.
2. Using A Rubber Gasket
One of the most effective temporary solutions is to place a small piece of rubber gasket over the leak. Then, secure a hose clamp (or multiple clamps, depending on the leak size) around the gasket. This will help take some stress off the damaged portion and prevent further leaking.
But remember that this is only a short-term solution, and you’ll need to properly call a plumber to fix the burst pipe.
3. Applying Epoxy Putty
If the leak isn’t too big, you can temporarily use epoxy putty to fix it.
For the unversed, epoxy putty is a two-part mixture that hardens into a strong, waterproof seal once applied. Mix the two components provided in the package and apply them.?
We’d suggest choosing an epoxy putty formulated for the same material as your pipe for best results, and avoid using a plumber’s putty, which is only for sealing joints. The putty will form an excellent barrier until a professional can repair the burst pipe properly. Remember that epoxy putty is not a permanent fix, so you’ll need to keep the water turned off until it cures (usually a few hours).
4. Eliminating Damaged Piping
Once the water supply is shut off, you can remove the damaged piping from each side of the leak. You may only need to cut out half an inch of the pipe for a pinhole leak. But for a bigger leak, mark 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the pipe on either side of the damage and cut them out with a pipe slice or pipe cutter.
After this, you can repair or replace the pipe and turn the water back on.
5. Breaking Through A Wall
Depending on where the leak is located, this may be a simple case of removing a section of drywall or other material. However, if the break is behind a finished surface, such as tiles, you must take more drastic measures.
This may include drilling holes through the finished surface to reach the break. Although you will need to patch the holes after repairs, it is often the quickest and easiest way to assess the damage.
Another option is to remove the finished surface entirely. This will give you direct access to the pipe; however, it will create more mess, and you may need to repair the entire wall after the work is done.
Things That Will Make Fixing A Burst Water Pipe Easier
1. Know Where The Water Shut-Off Valve Is
Make sure you know where the water shut-off valve is located in your home. This will help minimise the water damage before fixing the broken pipe.
2. Spot The Leak
If the pipe is leaking, one of the most important things to be done is locating the source. This will help you determine how to best access the pipe and make the repair.
3. Keep All Necessary Tools Handy
As a rule of thumb, you should keep some (or all) of the tools and materials in the vicinity, as you can’t really predict a burst pipe. And this will help you avoid wasting time by running around to gather the supplies.
On that note, you will usually need the following to repair burst copper pipes:
- Emery cloth
- Pipe cutter
- Gas or propane torch
- Plumber’s brush and flux
And if you are repairing plastic piping, you will need the following:
- PVC pipe cutters
- Solvent cement
- Safety goggles
If the leak is behind a wall, you will need a utility knife, and drywall saw to get to it. New wood planks or cement may be required to level the area once the work is done.
4. Turning On The Water
After you have repaired the broken pipe, turning the water back on slowly is important. If you switch on the water supply to its full potential in one go, the sudden increase in water pressure may cause irreparable damage to the repaired portion or the entire plumbing system.
Fixing A Burst Water Pipe
Aside from the methods mentioned above, you can try using a rubber piece to seal the leak. This can be done in cases of small leaks where changing the entire pipe is unnecessary. Also, it is essential to insulate your pipes well to reduce the risk of bursts.
Another suggestion is to allow air to enter any cabinet with pipes, like the ones below the sinks. When you keep these cabinet doors open, warm air flows in, keeping the pipes dry and safe.
Again, for any severe plumbing damages or issues, it’s always best to call for a professional plumber.