3 Steps For Handling A Leaky Pipe From Start To Finish


If you've never had the experience of a pipe bursting somewhere in your home, it's hard to know how to handle it if it happens. Sure, you know that you need to call a plumber, but what can you do to mitigate the damage in the meantime? Take a look at the steps that you'll need to take for handling a burst pipe, starting when you first suspect that you've sprung a leak.

Identify and Locate the Leaky Pipe

Are you picturing something dramatic, like a basement flooded because an overhead pipe has burst suddenly? That's one possible scenario, but it's not the only one – it could be a pipe inside a wall that's dripping, or you could have a pinhole leak in a pipe hidden behind an appliance. The first thing that you need to do is learn the signs of a leak and figure out how to locate where the leak is coming from.

Water is the most obvious sign that you have a leaky pipe – if you're noticing puddles on the floor, damp patches on the walls, or yellow spots on the ceiling, those are all good signs that you have a leaky pipe, and additionally, they tell you right where the leak is likely to be. However, you may not see water. Instead you may hear dripping sounds or smell a musty odor. Following the sound or scent to its strongest point can give you a general idea of where the leaky pipe can be found.

If you notice a reduction in water pressure in your kitchen or bathroom, or notice that your electric bill is inexplicably high, those are also good signs that you have a leaky pipe. However, those clues don't give you any idea where the actual leak is. Chances are good that the signs are there, but you've missed them. If you suspect that you have a leak because of a high electric bill or reduced water pressure, take the time to examine your home carefully for wet spots, odors, or sounds of running water.

Perform Pipe First Aid

Once you've confirmed that you have a leak, it's time to call for a plumber. It's always better to get a plumber to fix or replace the pipe sooner rather than later, but if the leak is a small one and you have to wait for an appointment, you may be able to perform some pipe first aid to contain the leak temporarily.

One way to do this is by simply duct-taping the leaking section of pipe. If it's only a pinhole leak, this may provide enough pressure to stop the leak. If you have a larger leak or the duct tape doesn't do the job, you can try to stop the leak with a sleeve clamp. A sleeve clamp is made up of two semicircular pieces of metal that can be attached together around the pipe with screws. You can purchase a sleeve clamp at any home improvement store.

Remember that duct tape or clamps are only temporary fixes that can stop the leak while you wait for a plumber. You still need to make an appointment with a plumber as soon as possible. If you can't locate the leak or you're unsuccessful at temporarily halting the leak, you should turn the water off and contact an emergency plumber.

Paying for Plumbing and Water Restoration

The good news is that once the plumber arrives, your job is done – they'll be able to locate the leak if you were not able to, and they'll also be able to provide a permanent fix for the problem. The bad news is that now you have to figure out how to pay for it. This is what often causes homeowners to hesitate before calling a plumber.

The amount of money that you'll pay to fix the problem depends on how much damage has been done. It can cost anywhere from $50 to $1500 for the plumber to fix the pipe – the exact amount depends largely on where the pipe is and how easily it can be accessed. If you've sustained significant water damage because of the leak, water damage restoration could cost between $5000 and $70,000 depending on the extent of the damage.

Luckily, the chances are good that your homeowners insurance company will pay for the damage. Almost all home insurance policies cover damage from a burst pipe, unless the pipe burst because you failed to heat the home and prevent the pipe from freezing. Make sure that you contact your homeowners insurance company as soon as possible so that you can submit a claim for the cost of the pipe repair and water damage cleanup.

Dealing with a leaky pipe isn't any fun, but when you know how to identify and locate a leak and how to temporarily fix a leak, you can significantly limit the amount of damage to your home. Make sure that you have the number of a good emergency plumber in your area as well – the sooner the leak is permanently fixed, the better. 



24 February 2016

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