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There are few things in the realm of plumbing problems that are as panic inducing as a water main breaking. A “leak” or a small hole is one things, but a break… gallons per minute of water gushing everywhere, and no end in sight.
It’s doubtful that you are going through that, as you read this. Hopefully you are reading this so you will know what to do if you ever have a water line break. If you are reading this because you have one, and had your water turned off, and are wondering what to do next, this article should be helpful to you as well.
That said, let’s break this up into sections, starting with…
How to Prevent Water Line Breaks
Knowing how to prevent a broken water line can be the best defense. Here are some things that can help:
Know your material – Know what your water line is made out of. Your two best options are copper and schedule 80 PVC. Galvanized pipes rust, and will eventually leak, and maybe even burst under some conditions. Schedule 40 PVC (white PVC) can get brittle, become easy to break, and is notorious for the joints coming unglued. At Gogo Rooter, we prefer copper, because we think it is the best material available for water mainlines, but schedule 80 PVC can be a good option as well.
Winterize your pipes – Properly protecting your pipes from freezing, and bursting is cheap and pretty much mandatory for any homeowner.
Know where your water main is – Knowing where your line runs from the house to the meter, as well as how deep it is, is important if you plan on doing any digging (like landscaping). Maybe a shovel won’t break a copper pipe, but it could break pvc or corroded galvi pipes. A pick will put a hole in just about anything, as will an iron fence stake, or anything else pointy.
What to Do if You Have a Break
Be prepared – This actually falls somewhere between the last section and this one, but it is very important. As a homeowner, you should always know all of the places to shut off your water. In the case of a water main break, it will be at the meter. Know where your meter is, and how to shut it off. Most often, you will need a meter wrench to turn it off. They are available at just about any home improvement store for very little money.
Make sure you can turn your meter off. In the case of a main water line break, it is the only way to stop the water, and it could take upwards of an hour or more for the water company to get there to do it for you. That could be as much as 480 gallons of water (or more) spewing all over your property.
Know your repair options – Look at the “know your material” section above. If you have a galvanized line, you may have little choice but to replace the entire water main. If you have PVC, you can probably repair it, but you should look at why it broke. Is there a chance of it happening again? Should you upgrade your line for better piece of mind? Look at why the pipe broke, and what the best thing method might be to keep it from happening again, and go with that.
Get a professional – Do not settle for a handyman neighbor who is willing to replace your water line for a few hundred dollars. There are so many things that can be done incorrectly when replacing a water main. Not getting a professional will leave you with future headaches and a front lawn that looks terrible.
If you want the job done correctly, and covered under a full, no hassle warranty, your choice is clear. Gogo Rooter Plumbing will get the job done, at a reasonable price, using quality materials, expert craftsmanship, and without leaving your lawn looking like you buried a bunch of garden gnomes.