Water pipes can rupture at any time – What are the warning signs? And what should you do?
A ruptured water pipe is something people usually associate with extremely cold conditions in the middle of winter. As pipes freeze in the cold and then thaw out as the temperature rises, they can in fact leak and burst. Depending on where you live, ruptured pipes can happen at any time of the year. It won’t always be a pipe that’s easily accessible that ruptures; many times pipe fractures will take place inside of walls where it can go undetected for days, weeks or even months!
Unfortunately, ruptured pipes can be one of the most common causes of water damage within the home.
Non-weather related causes of ruptured pipes
There are three main, non-weather related causes of ruptured pipes:
Unless you have a newer home, chances are the pipes in your property are made from cast iron, steel, or even lead. Over time, all of these materials will rust and weaken the pipes, causing them to eventually break. Newer homes have copper and PVC pipes, which resist rust, but it’s extremely expensive to run new plumbing lines through a home unless absolutely necessary.
Water contains a variety of minerals naturally, but an overabundance of magnesium and calcium is referred to as “hard water”. It is deemed safe for humans and animals to drink, although can leave an unpleasant taste. Unfortunately It’s not safe for your pipe plumbing; these minerals can build up inside your pipes. Over time, the buildup slows down the flow of water and can corrode and weaken pipes. Eventually holes can develop and allow water to leak out and cause water damage within your home. One way to limit the damage hard water inflicts on your plumbing is to install a water softener, which removes the calcium and magnesium from the water.
If your pipes weren’t assembled and installed correctly, it will eventually cause problems. A poor soldering job or loose connections can lead to a pipe rupturing, usually when you least expect it.
Tell-tale signs of ruptured pipes
The most common sign of a ruptured pipe is standing water, but there are other signs that may indicate pipe problems long before you need to pull out the gumboots. It is always a good idea to regularly check around your home frequently and look for these red flags:
Water will leave discolorations on walls and ceilings, so be sure to take action at the first sign of a watermark. This may be the only sign you come across for a ruptured pipe inside your wall until the water eventually soaks through the drywall.
If the water coming out of your taps is of a brownish colour, you may have rust inside the pipes. Rusty water will ruin appliances, as well as clothing when it goes through the wash cycle. It’s not nice to bathe or clean your home with rusty water and you definitely can’t use it for drinking and cooking.
Lower water pressure
Small cracks and leaks in pipes can reduce water pressure in your home. If the pressure drops suddenly, a pipe may have recently fractured and started to leak.
What to do if you suspect a ruptured pipe
If you suspect a ruptured pipe, it is important to take immediate action to prevent damage to building materials and furnishings, as well as prevent any mould growth. Disconnect the water supply to the pipes until they can be repaired.
Unfortunately sometimes the damage is done and burst or just leaking water pipes can reach the extent of serious water damage. Quite often the residents won’t even notice until it’s too late and professional water damage restoration is needed. Fortunately Disaster Restorations Australia can help. We can work out where the problem originated and have the issue rectified quickly and efficiently. Our professional water damage specialists provide emergency extraction and dehumidification, applications of sanitation and antimicrobial products, moisture monitoring and assessments, and mould remediation, among other services. We’ll work with your insurance company to process your claim as quickly as possible so you can get your home back to normal as quickly as possible.