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New Homeowner's Guide: How To Handle A Burst Water Pipe And Apply A Temporary Bandage

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As a new homeowner, you will be responsible for handling issues with your home as they happen, and the winter time can be a particular stressful time if something goes wrong. An issue that occurs for many homeowners during the coldest time of year is dealing with frozen pipes that have burst open. The water flushing out of the pipe can cause a tremendous amount of damage if quick action is not taken to stop the flow of the water. Here is how to prepare for a burst pipe and how to do a temporary fix until you can get a plumber to your house.

Pre-Plan the Emergency

You'll need to know where the water main shut off valve is if you want to shut off the water quickly in an emergency. Take a walk around the house and locate where the main water line comes into your home.

Water lines typically run from your house to a municipal water line running under the street or underground through your backyard. If you have a basement, the water line typically comes through the foundation wall. Go into the basement and check the walls in front and back of the house until you find your water meter. The shut-off valve will be located right by the meter.

Houses without basements typically have the water line coming up through the bottom of the first floor. You'll need to look under the house until you find the pipe. The water valve will be located either on the pipe under the house or just above the floor where the pipe enters the house. Again, the shut-off valve will be near the meter.

Temporary Fix

You can normally put a temporary bandage made of a rubber garden hose and hose clamps to restore water if you are going to have to wait for a while before the plumber can get to you house. Here is how to bandage the pipe.

  1. Cut a length of rubber garden hose a little longer than the crack in the pipe.
  2. Slice the hose down the middle with a utility knife so you can open it up and wrap it around the pipe.
  3. Place the rubber over the crack—make sure the seam is on the far side of the crack.
  4. Place a hose clamp every couple of inches over the hose and screw them down as tight as you can. The first and last hose clamp should be placed past the length of the crack to prevent water from leaking out of the ends of the hose.
  5. Turn the water back on and check for leaks.

The water is under the pressure and the temporary fix is not a permanent solution. Call a plumber (like those at Plumb Pros Plumbing Heating & Drains) right away so they can do a permanent fix.


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