Avoid major water damage from plumbing emergencies, what you should do if your water pipes burst.

burst pipesBurst pipes can truly be a home maintenance nightmare, as they cause a mess and can be expensive to repair. In general, pipes burst either because freezing water expands, or the pipes have structural malfunctions.

First, a note on how to prevent pipes from bursting: the best way to keep water in pipes from freezing is to keep it away from subfreezing temperatures. Water pipes should only be in parts of the house in heated spaces; water pipes should not be in colder crawl spaces and within thinly insulated walls, especially if you live in an area with more severe winter weather that includes subfreezing temperatures.

If the water in your pipes has frozen, that also doesn’t mean that your pipes will automatically burst. Slowly turn your faucet on. If nothing comes on, leave them on and call your local plumber, says a trusted San Mateo plumbing company that has much experience in responding to plumbing emergencies throughout the Bay Area. Try to thaw out a frozen pipe with a hair dryer. Start at the part of the pipe closest to the faucet, then make your way down to the coldest sections of the pipe.

Next, if your water pipes have burst, don’t panic. It will be obvious because you’ll see running water on the floor and parts of the house that include water pipes. First, take all proper precautions. Don’t go near any flooded wiring or electrical systems, as you can be electrocuted if they are wet.   Turn the water off at the main shutoff valve, this will shut off the water supply to the house.  Be sure that everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is, as well as to open and close it.

frozen pipesA reliable plumbing company will always notify the homeowner of where their shutoff valve is but in most homes, the shutoff valve should be located near your property line, in the “curb box.” Sometimes, the other major shutoff valve will be located in the home adjacent to the water meter. If you can’t find the shutoff valve, turn the water off at the water meter.  After taking all safety precautions and stabalizing the situation, contact a local emergency plumber as soon as possible.  Many plumbers are available for emergency plumbing services 24 hours a day, and can easily attend to your burst pipe emergency.

If you have homeowners’ insurance, your company will cover the water leak but will need to inspect the damage before it pays for costs. So if you are a homeowner, make only temporary repairs at first. Contact your insurance company before you make any permanent and more expensive repairs.  Since not all plumbers are experienced in these matters, rely on one that provides emergency plumbing services on a regular basis and has a diamond certified rating, they will be able to assist you through this stressful time and get your household back in order.

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