What To Do When a Pipe Bursts

Pipe Bursts

Picture this, you’re sitting in your quaint Portland home, enjoying a hot chocolate (with a peppermint stick in it, of course) by the fire. Outside the temperature has hovered around freezing but you don’t mind because your fireplace and pile of cozy blankets are keeping you warm. At least you didn’t mind—until you started to see the puddle of water creeping across your floor! Suddenly the cozy evening you had envisioned is thrown out the window as you realize that you’ve got a burst pipe on your hands. So, what do you do?

  1. First, you’ll want to work on turning off your main water supply. Look for the shutoff valve around the perimeter of your house. It’s usually found in a utility space near where the main water line enters the house, or on an outside wall near the water meter. This valve will almost always be located on the same side of the house as the water meter (the street side of your house) and is usually pretty large. Keep in mind that since this valve rarely gets closed, it may be a little stiff to operate. If you can’t find it, you can try looking at the plumbing section of the property inspection report that was done if you purchased your home. And if all else fails skip to step number 2.
  2. Get a plumber to your house as soon as possible. As soon as you can, call us up to get on our schedule. During a cold snap we may have a lot of calls to attend to, so contacting us quickly ensures you will get us there as soon as possible. Make sure you have lots of details on hand so we can get a good idea of what you are dealing with and be sure to let us know if you haven’t been able to shut off your main water supply.
  3. While waiting for the plumber to arrive, drain the excess water in the system. If you have shut off the water main and are dealing with a big leak, to reduce the pressure on your system you can try running your faucet or flushing your toilet. This helps to rid the system of any water that was already in it and can keep water from leaking out in places you don’t want it.
  4. Lastly, work on cleaning up as much of the water as you can. Sop up the water and work on cleaning your home as quickly as possible. The quicker the water gets cleaned up the less damage it can do to your possessions and the less likely you are to have to deal with mold. If the weather allows, try opening windows to get air circulating and help the drying process.

To avoid the dreadful puddle from hijacking your cozy evening in the first place, make sure to keep your pipes warm. Heat your house to at least 55 degrees even when you aren’t home and be sure to insulate the pipes that run in the exterior walls and basement of your home because those get the coldest. If one especially frigid night has you concerned, then leave the faucet on a slow drip because running water freezes slower than still water. Unfortunately frozen and burst pipes will sometimes happen even after taking precautions, but we are here to get you back to your cozy nights as soon as we can, just give us a call if you need a hand.

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