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Useful Tips for Handling Broken Water Lines

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Broken pipe spraying water

There are few things more disturbing to a homeowner than water bubbling from the slab or walls of his or her home. When you see water where there should be none, it’s often a sign of a broken pipe that was compromised by environmental forces, freezing temperatures, corrosion, or excessive pressure. Regardless of the cause of the leak, however, you need to make a quick water line repair, even if it’s only temporary, while you await professional help from a licensed plumber.

When you experience a water main leak, the first thing you should do is call an emergency plumber who can provide an expedited response to provide water main repair in Sacramento. After all, even if you have a little plumbing knowledge, a plumber is better equipped with the right tools and experience to get your problem resolved quickly to minimize the amount of time you spend waterless. In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to make sure that the damage done by the broken water line doesn’t increase exponentially. Keep reading for a few tips you can use to handle broken water lines.

Follow These Tips for Handling Broken Water Lines

Turn Off Water

This may seem like an obvious first step, but it’s a critical one that bears mentioning. If the leaking pipe is downstream from a shut-off valve, you may be able to quick stem the flow from the leak by closing the valve. For example, if the leaking pipe is under your sink between the wall and the fixture, simply turn the valve off there.

However, that isn’t always the case, as a pipe in a wall or crawlspace probably won’t be serviced by a dedicated shut-off valve. Therefore, your best bet is to turn water off to the entire house by turning it off at the meter. That will immediately prevent additional water from flowing out of the leak and prevent further damage to structural elements like studs and sheetrock. You may also want to open another spigot away from the leak to divert some of the flow away from the leaking pipe.

Expose the Leak

You may be able to provide a temporary fix to the pipe with some rudimentary tools that most homeowners should have on hand. But first, you must find the leak’s origin and determine its severity. If the leak is in the wall, exposing it will involve cutting out a patch of drywall where the leak is located to view the pipe.

If the leak is in an attic or crawlspace, it may be easier to find and assess the leak. Leaks that are between the meter and house underground will need to be uncovered before they can be evaluated and repaired, so break out the shovel and get to work.

Woman on phone looking under sink at leaking pipe

Patch the Leak

In some cases, especially in those cases where an emergency plumber isn’t available or if other factors prevent immediate attention from a professional, you may be able to perform a temporary patch that will hold you over until a more permanent repair can be made.

Once you locate the leak and expose it, you may be able to use a pipe clamp to prevent water leakage for a short time. A pipe clamp is a metal clamp, usually lined with a sleeve made of a pliable material such as rubber, which can be locked down over a leak to prevent the free flow of water.

If you don’t have a pipe clamp, you can make an emergency one out of a piece of rubber hose or innertube and a couple of hose clamps. Don’t count on those fixes to last for long, but they may allow you to continue using water in your household until a plumber can make a permanent repair.

If you experience a water leak, the best first step is to contact a professional plumber. However, you can control the amount of damage done by turning off your water supply and exposing the leak in the meantime. To learn more about how you should handle a broken water line, contact Bullseye Leak Detection at (916) 760-8944.

Your Water Supply Line and the Facts to Know

How much do you know about your water main line? Do you know where it’s located on your property, what its job is, and how to tell if there’s a leak? If not, then keep reading. These are things that all homeowners should know about their water supply line and how to find quality water main repair in Sacramento.

What Is a Water Main?

Your water main or water supply line is the pipe that connects your home to the city’s water supply. The main water distribution line from the city will typically run under the street, and each home’s water main connects the property to that distribution line. This line directs the water to your home while running your water usage through a metering device for billing purposes. Once it reaches your home, the water supply branches off into all of the water-using appliances and plumbing fixtures in your home, including toilets, faucets, showers, washing machines, water heaters, and more.

Without your water main, you would not have easily accessible water in your home, so it’s incredibly important to understand how this pipe works and how to tell if it’s in need of service, repairs, or replacement.

Water Main Repair Sacramento

Where Is It Located?

Your water main line primarily runs underground, so finding its exact location is a bit difficult. However, one good starting place is your emergency shutoff valve. This valve shuts off the flow from your water main line, thereby disconnecting your home from the city water supply. So, if you know where your emergency shutoff valve is—and you really should know this in case of an emergency—you’ve located at least part of your water main line. From there, you should be able to get an idea of where the main line runs under your property.

It’s also worth noting that your water main line will typically run right up to your water heater. However, it splits off into separate hot and cold service lines once it reaches this point. Your water main line only supplies cold water, so any hot water you use must first be directed through and heated by your water heater. Of course, at this point, it’s no longer considered your water main line since it’s been divided into smaller service lines. But it’s still worth knowing that your main line typically ends close to the water heater. This point, in combination with the location of the emergency shutoff valve, can help you visualize the location of your main line and how it connects to the public distribution line in the street.

What Materials Are Used?

Many materials can be used for water supply lines, just as many different materials can be used for the pipes within your home. The approved materials for water mains in Sacramento are ductile iron and polyvinyl chloride. However, because these pipes connect to the city’s distribution pipe, there are more regulations regarding the permitted materials for water main lines. Of course, you typically don’t have to worry about this when buying a home, as the pipe is already installed beneath your home. However, it’s a good thing to keep in mind if you ever need to replace your water main line.

How Do You Know If It’s Leaking?

As we already mentioned, your water main line runs underneath your property, so how can you tell if there’s a leak? Here are a few key signs to watch out for:

  • Puddles on your property – Though you won’t get obvious water marks in your home, you might notice puddles on your property without a clear source. Look for soggy patches of grass or persistent wet marks on your concrete.
  • Low water pressure – If your main water source leaks, you’re not going to get much water pressure to any of the fixtures in your home. So if you have low water pressure throughout your household, the likely culprit is the water main.
  • Hissing or bubbling pipes – Your pipes should not sound like a witch’s cauldron. You likely have a leak if you hear hissing or bubbling coming from your pipes. A leak in the water main can allow air into your home’s pipes, which accounts for those bubbling sounds.
  • Discolored water – One big problem with water main leaks is that the leak allows dirt to get into your water supply because the pipe is underground. Sudden discoloration of your water usually indicates a supply line leak—and a sign you should not drink that water.

Best Plumbers in Sacramento

If you notice the signs of a water main leak, it’s important that you not turn to your average household plumber. Only the best plumbers in Sacramento have the knowledge, tools, and experience to handle repairing or replacing a water main line.

Water Main Problems and How We Can Help

When you turn on a faucet in your home, the water flows almost instantaneously. It’s a modern convenience that most of us take for granted, but there’s one pipe that is constantly working to ensure that water is always waiting for you. Your water main line is responsible for bringing that water to you from the city, and if something goes wrong with it, you can find yourself with some severe problems on your hands. Keep reading to learn the most common kinds of water main troubles and plumbing repair in Sacramento.

What Is Your Water Main?

Before we get into the common issues with water main lines, let’s talk about precisely what and what portion of it you’re responsible for. As we’ve already mentioned, the water main is the pipe that brings water from the city’s water supply to your home. The city’s water main runs down your street, and an individual service line runs from that pipe to your home. These pipes are buried several feet underground to help protect them.

An issue with any part of the water main can cause problems for your home. However, you are only responsible for repairing issues in the pipe that’s located on your property. So, the public water main remains the city’s responsibility, as does the portion of your service line located on public property. But if an issue arises in the pipe on your side of the property line, you’ll be the one who has to get it fixed.

Now, let’s discuss the issues most likely to arise on your side of the line.

Plumbing Services Sacramento

Leaks in Pipe Joints

All pipes (including your water main) are made up of multiple pieces. The pieces of pipe are carefully connected to ensure they remain water-tight, but the fact remains that every joint between pipes is a weak spot in the line. Leaks are much more likely to develop in these spots than in the piping itself. As water rushes through the pipe, it will vibrate slightly, resulting in a slight loosening of the joints year after year. Eventually, water can begin to leak through these joints.

If you notice wet spots in your yard, it could be a sign that your water main is leaking. We can pinpoint the exact location of the leak, then dig up and repair the leaking joint quickly so that you’re no longer paying to put a puddle in your grass.

Holes and Breaks

As we stated earlier, water mains are buried underground to help protect them from several factors, including freezing weather and potential damage from outside sources. But it is still possible for these pipes to become damaged over time. Again, the movement of water through the pipe can cause it to vibrate; if a hard surface is nearby, such as a concrete slab or a large rock, the pipe will rub at a high rate of speed against this surface.

Over time, it can wear down the pipe, and the pressure of the water inside can result in a leak or even burst through the weakened area. A hole in your pipe—even a small one—can also allow dirt and other contaminants into your water supply. It is a health hazard, so it’s important to get these issues fixed right away.

If your water main is leaking, you’ll likely notice a drop in water pressure in your home, while your water bill will rise. You could also see those puddles in your yard that we mentioned in the previous section, and you might notice discoloration in your water if dirt is getting into the pipe. We can pinpoint where the leak is located in the water main to avoid digging up your whole yard and then quickly replace the damaged section.

Plumbing Sacramento

Total Failure

Plumbing can last for decades, and your water main is no different. However, if the water main is old enough (typically, more than 50 years old) and you’ve had persistent issues with your water supply, then a simple repair likely won’t do the trick. It’s a better idea to replace the entire pipe to prevent more issues in the future.

While this might sound like a huge ordeal, we can make the process quick and relatively painless through trenchless water main replacement. It minimizes the damage to your property while giving you a new, reliable supply line for your home’s water.

If your water main is giving you trouble, contact the best plumbers in Sacramento—the ones found here at Bullseye Leak Detection!

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