Leaky pipes are unfortunately quite common in the winter. The freezing and thawing of water in the pipes causes them to expand, which may force a pipe to burst open. Other factors can contribute to leaky pipes too, of course, such as corrosion or other means of excess pressure on the pipes.
For the most part, a homeowner is not most concerned with how a leak happened. It’s important to know whether corrosion indicates your pipes are in need of replacement, but the first thing you want to know is how to stop the leak and get things under control.
Shutoff the Water
First, it’s important that everyone in the home knows where the plumbing shutoff valves are throughout the home, so that they can shut off the water whenever there are signs of a leak. You may suspect a pipe is leaking because of a sudden plunge in water pressure, signs of mold and mildew, or a puddle of water right in front of you.
If the leak is limited to a particular fixture, or the pipe that leads there, look for a local water shutoff valve that controls that area. There are individual shutoff valves located by toilets and under most sinks. Otherwise, you’ll have to use the whole-house water shutoff valve, located somewhere near the water meter of your home.
Call an Emergency Plumber
Now, your best bet is to reach out to a plumber. Several plumbers offer 24-hour emergency services, and many people are surprised to learn this. However, it makes a lot of sense: a plumbing problem won’t wait overnight to do damage!
Remember, the longer you let a leak go on, the worse it can damage walls, framing, and other important parts of the structure of your home. Call an emergency plumber you trust and get the issue solved ASAP.
Cut through the Wall If Necessary
Signs that a water pipe may be leaking behind a wall in your home is not something you should ignore. You might notice the wall is darker in one part of a room, especially a kitchen or bathroom or a room located directly underneath a bathroom. You may see signs of mold or mildew, or notice the wall is soft to the touch.
In this case, you want to pin down the leak so you can get it under control ASAP. And that usually means cutting through the wall. Don’t be afraid to chip through the wall to get at a leak. The damage is minimal compared to the damage that may be done to beams if you let the issue go on.
Find a Temporary Solution
While you wait for a permanent solution from a plumber, you may want to take temporary measures to get the leak under control. As we’ve mentioned, shutting off the water is the first step. Beyond this, you might be able to get a seal in place so you can turn the water back on for the time being.
Some homeowners have pipe clamps on hand, which can be used in combination with rubber tubing, or even a piece of an inner tube or a garden hose, to temporarily stop a leak. And while we don’t recommend this for any extended period of time, you might try sticking something into the leak, like a pencil tip, and wrapping electrical tape around it. Just be sure to call in a plumber as soon as you can!
You can find a qualified 24-hour emergency plumber in Verona, NJ when you call MarGo Plumbing Heating Cooling Inc. any time!