The water pipes in your house are integral to a functioning, comfortable home. A broken water pipe is a serious issue. Fortunately, there are things you can do to control the damage and manage the situation.
Causes of a Broken Water Pipe
A water pipe can break for several reasons depending on the environment you live in, type of pipe, and circumstances.
The most common cause of broken pipes is freezing. If you live in a colder climate, this could happen. When water freezes it increases in volume by 9% and the pressure in the pipes can go from 40 psi to 40,000 psi. Clearly, this could be detrimental to the pipes. Water freezing causes quick expansion, which puts stress on the pipes and could lead them to crack or weaken. When water thaws, it will leak out the cracks. Other changes in water pressure can also cause breakage. Another common cause of broken water pipes is age.
Depending on the material, water pipes can last anywhere from 70-100 years. But the older they get, the more susceptible they are to weakening and corroding. Older pipes coming into contact with another material could speed up the corrosion process as well. PVC pipes can become brittle with age, while copper is prone to corrosion and stress over time. Something that could also potentially break water pipes is when they move. They may move from construction or the house settling. Moving can stress the fixed pipe which may lead to a leak or burst pipe.
How Much Water Could Leak into Your House from a Broken Pipe?
The amount of water that leaks depend on how big the break in a pipe is. If it is just a minor crack, water will slowly leak out. This isn’t as serious as a full broken pipe, but it can still cause significant damage to your home. Burst pipes can leak up to 10 gallons of water per minute. The amount of water leaked also depends on what appliance is involved. The water line to your refrigerator can leak ½ to 1 gallon per minute depending on water pressure. One toilet supply line may leak 2-3 gallons a minute and a washing machine hose will leak up to 10-12 gallons per minute.
Read More: What is a Furnace Flue Pipe? Tips & Insights
5 Things to Do When Your Water Pipe is Broken
A broken water pipe is a stressful and serious issue. Here are 5 things you can do immediately to manage the situation and minimize the damage:
1.) Turn the Water Off
Doing this first is imperative; everything else can wait. You need to deactivate the water supply to stop the flow of water and prevent more water from leaking into your home. Shutting off the water could potentially save you thousands in water damage repairs. Locating the water shutoff valve depends on the climate you live in. For colder climates, the valves are usually inside, such as in the basement. For houses in milder weather, the shutoff valves will probably be outside—either attached to an exterior wall or in an underground box with a removable lid.
2.) Open A Faucet
The next thing to do is to open a faucet or turn on a sink. This will relieve any remaining water pressure in the pipes and ensure a full-shut down.
3.) Get Rid of the Water
The quicker you get rid of the water, the less water damage and mold there could be. Use a mop and a shop vacuum to help get clean up the water. Use towels to dry everything the best you can.
4.) Open Doors
If the cause of a broken pipe is freezing, turn on the heat and open up the cabinet, vanity, and closet doors. This will help the heat better get to the pipes under the sink and in the walls so that the water thaws faster.
5.) Cut and Remove the Damaged Pipe
Once you have shut off the water and drained the damaged water pipe, you can begin to fix the issue. Cut out the damaged section of the pipe with a pipe cutter, ensuring that you also cut one inch extra on each side of the damage. Once you get rid of the broken part of the pipe, you may begin repairs.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix A Broken Water Pipe?
A broken water pipe is no joke and can cost anywhere from $150 to $2,000. The national average cost for it is $500, with an average range of $200-$1,000.
Various Cost Factors of Broken Water Pipes
Many different factors go into the price of repair for a broken water pipe. The first thing that will affect the price is where the damaged pipe is located. If it is in a room where it is exposed or easily accessible from a dropped ceiling panel or wall panel, it will be significantly cheaper than a pipe requiring opening drywall to access. Breaking through concrete to get to a pipe will also prove costly.
Labor also affects the cost of fixing a damaged pipe. The price of labor depends on the area you live in and the plumbing company you pick. Plumbers may charge an hourly rate of anywhere from $45-$200 an hour. A big chunk of cost in repair services does go to labor, accessing the pipe, and making the repairs. If you’re looking at the average cost of repairs of $500, $300-$400 is usually for labor while the rest is for materials.
Water Line Repair & Replacement Services
Although a broken water pipe is a serious problem, leave the worrying to us. For over more than 40 years, WM Henderson has been providing dependable plumbing repair services to keep your home running smoothly. Our team offers trustworthy repair and installation services for malfunctioning water heaters, clogged drains, and inefficient sump pumps. We’ll take care of that broken pipe for you—or anything else you may need—efficiently and professionally. Contact us today and see what we can do for you!