Safe Approaches To Dealing With A Burst Pipe When Shut-Off Valves Are Damaged

Water runs through plumbing systems at high pressure. To avoid massive flooding, a burst basement pipe cannot be replaced until the pressurized water running into the house is stopped. The main interior and exterior shut-off valves are designed to shut off the water. When both are damaged, however, only a plumber who is capable of handling disastrous emergency situations can keep the situation from becoming worse.

Problems with the Shut-Off Valves

Exterior shut-off valves are located underneath the sidewalk and require a lengthy plumber's valve wrench to turn off. Even with a special wrench, the exterior valve may be too damaged to turn. As a fail-safe, plumbing lines come with a primary interior shut-off valve to cut water at the point it enters the home. The main interior shut-off valve can be turned off by hand, provided it is in good condition. When the interior shut-off valve is showing signs of major corrosion, it is best to avoid touching it, much less turning the knob. If the rusted valve breaks, then a massive amount of water is going to come out at tremendously high pressure. The new calamity could end up being far worse and harder to fix than the one found elsewhere in the plumbing system.

If the valves are damaged, the situation is now very serious since there is no way to stop the water. Calling an emergency plumber is the only option available.

Risks with Allowing the Water to Flow

Basements with floor drains do provide a means in which the water can escape. Homeowners who thinks a pipe bursting around midnight can wait until the next day for repairs, however, would be making a huge error in judgment. Assuming all the water will safely run down the drain overlooks the potential that:

  • The drain will clog and back up, leading to one foot or more of water in the basement.
  • Massive water damage could be inflicted to the floor and/or walls.
  • The uncontrolled water could cause an electrical fire.

For these reasons and more, contacting an emergency plumbing service is the best strategy.

Benefits of Conveying Proper Information

When calling the emergency plumber, make sure to inform the person taking the call that the interior and exterior valves are damaged. Those who do not know the exterior valve is damaged should tell the operator to assume it is. This way, the plumbing crew knows to bring additional specialty tools to shut off the water. There are ways to plug the burst pipe to seal off the flow of water. Doing so provides a temporary solution until the exterior valve can be fixed. Once the exterior valve is repaired, the burst pipe can be replaced.