Modern architecture offers beautifully constructed homes with advance systems of electrical and water fittings. A busted water main is like a nightmare to this ultra-modern design and structure.
Water main is the water line that connects the plumbing system of a home with the main (public) water supply. This system is provided to ensure adequate supply of water to all the households in a community.
Many people think that installing the best plumbing system is unlikely to present any trouble like a busted water main. But odds are that the main water line may quietly start leaking due to a number of reasons. If not responded timely, a leaking water main can damage the house and costs innumerous to the home owners.
How to Notice a Busted Water Main?
When water starts seeping through the lines, it gives alarming signals to the home owners. You must have observed cracks on the ceilings of some houses. That’s the most common indication that water is oozing out of some pipe line.
Photo by Tomwsulcer, from Wikimedia Commons
Not confined to the cracking lines on ceilings, a busted water main can be noticed through a number of other ways too. The most common being:
- Accumulation of water under sinks and floors
- Wet spots around toilets, tubs and sinks
- Water accumulation in yards
- Water in the street
- Ceilings with wet rings
- Cracks in the walls and ceilings
- Reduced water pressure
- Unpleasant odor
- High water bills
What Causes the Main Water Line to Bust?
The main water line supplies water to the residents through the pipe lines with adequate fittings. The water flows with pressure under these pipe lines. When the water line bursts, the water sprays out with a significant force.
There can be various reasons for main water line to burst. Natural wear and tear of the pipes is the most common one. A good quality pipe may last for around 60 years. But still it needs to be checked out for the natural wear and tear.
Another common reason is inappropriate fitting of the plumbing system. Poor quality pipes or improper fitting causes the water to spray out and cause much damage to the house and waste water.
While other community development work is carried out near your home, it may also cause rupture to the main line. Electrolysis is also one of the reasons. It attacks the copper pipes and results into unusual and unpleasant odor.
How to Fix a Busted Water Main?
Whatever is the reason for the water seepage, but it needs to be fixed up at earliest. Depending on the nature of the rupture, the water main needs to be repaired accordingly.
When water starts spraying out with a considerable force, the first thing needed is to look out for handy solutions to stop the water wastage. Such a quick fix can temporarily stop or at least slow down the leakage of water. This help is sufficient to give you enough time to call for some professional plumbing services.
Temporary Quick Fix
- Turn off the main water valve.
- Place some piece of rubber over the area where water is oozing out.
- Put a wooden block over the rubber.
- Place the C-clamp or Sleeve clamp, whichever is available, and tighten it up.
Permanently Fixing up the Busted Main
After quick fixes, it is definitely essential to resolve the issue permanently. In such a case, a proper repair kit is needed.
- Resin Permeated Fiberglass Tape
Without a hassle of calling for a professional help, this tape can help you get rid of the problem within few minutes. All you need to do is prepare the pipe surface, activate the tape with water and follow the application instructions. In no time your main pipe line will be repaired.
- SharkBite Fitting
For repairing copper pipes, SharkBite fitting is the best option. For holes less than 2 inches, a single clip coupling is enough. A hacksaw or rotary pipe cutter is required to cut out the damage piece of pipe. Make sure that the edges after cutting are smooth and de-burr. Slide the pipe into slip end of coupling.
If the hole is bigger than 2 inches, two straight couplings can be used. The couplings will be placed on each end of the pipe.
Photo by Kevin L Neff, from Wikimedia Commons
Sometimes, it is mandatory to use soldering in order to repair a damage of main pipe. For that purpose, following these steps can be helpful
- Shutting off the main valve
- Use pipe cutter to remove the damaged piece of pipe
- Remove the screw from the valve
- Cut the new copper pipe to the desired length
- Clean the originally fitted pipe with steel wool and also the valve
- Apply soldering flux on the outer side of the pipe and inside of the valve
- Heat up the pipe and the fitting at their connection point using a Propane torch
- Push the solder into the joint 2 inches where the valve connects to the pipe.
- Use the same soldering procedure to install new assembly to the water line.
- Turn on the main valve and check out for leaks.
Photo by Adam850 at English Wikipedia
Factors to consider while fixing up
Whatever method, you choose to repair the main water line, the following factors are important to consider:
- Previous history of water pipe damage and repair
- Age of the pipe
- Material of pipe
- Cost of installation
- Reputation of the professional plumbing contractors (if hired)
It is not mandatory to always have the water pipe repaired by yourself. It is likely to damage again, if the material or the process used in the previous repair was not appropriate.
If it seems essential to replace the entire water line from your home to the main supply, it is advisable to go ahead timely to save any further losses.