Plumbing Blunders: How to Handle the Disaster of Broken Pipes

Broken pipes are a nightmare. Even a small amount of water can cause serious damage to your building. A larger leak is an emergency. The response, though, is the same either way.

Water Valve - Plumbing Blunders: How to Handle the Disaster of Broken Pipes

Turning the Water Off

The immediate concern is to stop the water. If the pipe is broken just before an appliance, you may find that there is a shutoff valve handy. In most cases, however, you will need to shut off the water at the point where it enters the house.

If the main shutoff valve is not accessible, you may need to call your property manager. If the pipe is broken on the street side of the main shutoff valve, you need to call the water department. In any event, do not delay. A final word of caution: if you have gushing water in a utility room, proceed carefully. It is possible (though unusual) for water to transmit live current from electrical wiring.


Once the water is off, you will need to drain the pipe. It is virtually impossible to correctly repair a pipe that has any residual water pressure, even a drip. Note that some appliances, such as water heaters, have built-in drains that can be used speed matters up considerably. Sure, the pipe will eventually drip itself dry, but that will take hours, and you want to focus on cleaning up the water. To speed up draining, open the taps and faucets that are above the break.


You now need to remove the damaged section of pipe (often a joint) and replace it. Depending on the type of pipe, this can involve a range of different materials and skill sets, and can have unexpected implications, such as changing the grounding path for electrical appliances. It is usually a job left for the experts. And that gives you time to focus on drying.


Pull the carpets back, get a shop vac, towels, sawdust, and last-but-not-least, a dehumidifier. You want to get every drop of water out of there, as fast as possible, to minimize long-term damage from mold. It takes a while, but if you figure what your hourly rate in terms of the costs you are avoiding, it’s cheap.

Broken pipes are a disaster. They can cause a lot of damage throughout your home if it is not taken care of properly. The moment your pipes break you should call a professional plumber from a company like First Class Plumbing of Florida Inc. to help you take care of this problem as soon as possible.

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