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    Burst pipe

    Summary: Learn how to repair a burst pipe, what to do if you find a leak and how to repair a damaged pipe.

    The two main causes of a burst pipe are frozen pipelines and DIY accidents such as hammering a nail into a wall containing water pipes. To avoid rupturing a pipe by accidentally hammering a nail or drilling a hole through it, purchase a pipe detector from a DIY store. They are inexpensive and can prevent very problematic accidents.

    Found a burst pipe

    • A burst pipe is a serious situation in a house. It can cause extensive water damage to the structure of the building and the electrical systems/wiring.
    • You must immediately turn off the water supply when you find a leak. Do this by turning off the isolation valve or stop valve.
    • Once the water has been turned off, drain the water system by turning on all the cold taps. If you notice the leak early, place a bucket under the leak to collect the water. In situations where the ceiling has starting to bulge due to the water leakage, puncture a hole in the ceiling to allow the water through and relieve the ceiling structure.
    • Turn off the water heating systems, whether this is central heating, immersion heater or any other system.
    • Once the water heating system has shut down, drain the water from the hot taps.
    • It is important that you turn off the electrics if water has leaked anywhere near your electric wires or appliances. Be careful not to touch any of them as they will be highly dangerous.
    • Electrical wiring damaged by water is extremely dangerous and will need to be fixed by a professional.

    Repairing a burst pipe

    • A compression joint can be fitted onto the pipe where the burst has occurred. A compression joint is a small stretch of pipe which replaces the damaged section. It is permanently fitted to the original pipe by two joints at either end. The joints are made water tight using a brass ring known as an olive, which tightens the new joints.
    • To do this you need to cut out the damaged section of pipe using a pipe cutter or a hacksaw. File down both the new edges to remove the burrs. See How to cut pipes.
    • Attach the compression couplers or joints to the two ends of the original pipe. Position the new piece of pipe and screw the nuts to secure it in place using a spanner. Do not tighten the nuts too much or the pipe will become distorted.
    • Another option, which is a slightly easier, is to repair a damaged section of pipe using a push fit repair system. Push fit repair coupling is readymade, flexible stretch of piping. It is simply slotted onto either end of the original pipe once the damaged section has been removed.

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