When a water main breaks there are many concerns that go through a homeowner’s mind. Am I insured? How bad is the damage? How do I fix this mess? Well there is a lot to think about when a water line breaks. The first thing to know however is how to get the right people notified of the problem. If a water main breaks on the street that is the city’s responsibility to fix it; However when a line breaks on your property it is your responsibility to fix it. There are 2 ways to know there is problem with your water main:
- Your water bill has increase dramatically.
- Your lawn looks like a swamp.
So What Causes the Problem?
There are a lot of reasons pipes break, but the main ones are:
- The material of the pipe. Some pipes aren’t good for long time use and break just from the daily use.
- The soil under the pipe eroded. The sudden loss of support can damage a pipe line.
- The pipe corroded. An older pipe that hasn’t been connected with modern bonding agents. This allows for corrosion to form in and on the pipe.
- The pipe is too old. Most pipes have a lifetime of 60 years, but that is just an estimate.
- Lastly it could be vandalism or just an accident when a work crew was doing road work or building projects.
How do I Fix the Problem?
Well the first thing to keep in mind is that repairing a broken water line is dirty and time consuming work. If you aren’t up for that type of work, then call in a professional crew to fix the damage. If you don’t mind getting dirty here are the steps to do the repair yourself.
- Start by following the water to the source. Most the time this is shown with a puddle. Just start digging through the puddle.
- Dig down till you find the pipe or the water becomes too much.
- If the water gets in the way get a plastic cup you don’t mind tossing when you finish and bail some of the water out to make a clearer path for digging.
- When you reach the pipe begin scooping the water out to find the leak.
- Turn off the water supply and replace the section that is damaged.
As you can see calling a professional is probably the smarter move. It is also a good idea to contact your city to inform them of the problem. Don’t forget about you insurance company too. Either one may be able to help you find a professional who is experienced with the work. Broken water mains are a headache, but with the right tools and people it can be manageable.