If you own a summer cottage, then you're probably excited to take a vacation. Nothing is more relaxing then escaping from the city and getting away to the country. However, sometimes you are met with unexpected problems. You're not always at your cottage, so you never know what problem is awaiting you. What if you have you have your pipes burst?
Here is what you should do if you find that your pipes bust. Some things you can do yourself, for others you should contact an emergency plumber:
First Things First: Turn Off The Water
The first thing you are going to want to do is turn off the water. You will do this by going to the main water valve and turning it off. You should know the location of the water shut off valve ahead of time, but in case you don't, here is a good primer on how to locate it.
You should also turn off the electricity in the house. You should head to the circuit breakers and flip them off. Some people recommend shutting off the electricity to the section of the home where the pipe burst, but it is a good precaution to turn off all the electricity until you locate the area. You don't want electricity running in an area where there is flooded water. So, its wise to be cautious and shut off the entire house.
Find The Leak
Is it a bust pipe, or is it a bad gasket? Maybe you left the water running the last time you left the house? You shouldn't assume the pipes burst until you check out the situation. Is there water anywhere near a sink? If so, you need to check the gaskets under the sink. It might be a case of a dry gasket. If, on the other hand, there is water in a bedroom, or somewhere away from a sink, then you have to consider that the pipes burst.
Of course, don't rule out a leaky roof. If the water is in the center of the room, away from the walls, then you might be dealing with a leaky roof. The hole in the roof need not be large in order to cause a significant puddle of water; it might not even be visible to the naked eye.
The one distinction to be made is if you have a two-story cottage. If this is the case, then a pipe that burst on the second floor could have flooded the center of a room on the first floor.
If you can eliminate a roof leak and a faulty gasket, then you are likely dealing with a burst pipe.
Do You Have Access To The Pipes?
The best cast scenario is if your pipes are exposed in crawlspaces. If this is the case, you can pinpoint the exact location of the problem. You will still want to contact a plumber, but at least you can point them to the exact location of the problem. You should look for any dampness on the floor, or any separation between the pipes. You can also run your hand over the pipe and check to see if there is a crack or split on the surface.
Call In The Plumber
Pipes burst due to extreme cold water. It doesn't matter how bad the damage, you should not attempt to fix it yourself. Even if the pipes are intact and are simply disconnected from each other, you don't want to try and fix this on your own.
The pipes are either going to be copper or PVC. If they are copper, then they will need to be "sweated" and then soldered back together. This requires specialized tools such as a propane torch, not to mention expert skill. PVC pipes don't require sweating and soldering, but they are still complicated. If the fittings are secured too tight, they can break the pipes. If the fittings are attached too loose, you will have a slow leak. So, it is best to contact a emergency plumber or a residential plumbing repair service and have them come out and handle the problem.