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How to deal with a burst pipe

Pipes can burst at anytime - here's guidance from South London Heating Ltd on what you need to do before you call in the plumbers.

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, pipes can burst at anytime. If the worst does happen, South London Heating Ltd suggest that you take the following steps as soon as you discover the burst pipe, before you call a professional plumber:

Turn off the water supply

“Immediately turn off the water supply. To do this, you’ll need to locate the stopcock, and switch it off by turning it clockwise. Most stopcocks are under the kitchen sink, although some are in the front or back hall of the house or under the stairs. It’s always a good idea to find and test the stopcock when you move to a new house, so you’re prepared for such emergencies.

Drain the system

“Next, you’ll need to drain the system and empty the pipes of any water. To do this, you’ll need to turn on all cold-water taps and flush all toilets in the property. Once this is done, turn off your heating system or your gas boiler. Then drain all hot water taps in the same way as you did with the cold ones.

Power down

“If the leak is close to an electricity source, turn off the power at the mains immediately. Be careful: if the mains are wet, don’t touch them. Wait for your plumber to arrive.

Finally, “call a professional plumber to repair the pipe as soon as possible, and take him through the steps you’ve already taken.”

Whilst you’re waiting for your plumber to arrive

According to South London Heating Ltd, as long as your burst pipe is not located next to an electrical source, there are a number of things you can do whilst waiting for your plumber, which will help to prevent any further damage to the property:

“Tie a cloth or tape around the burst pipe and place a bowl if possible under the pipe. Remember, you will need to leave the water turned off until the plumber arrives.

“If the leak is coming through a ceiling, collect as much water as possible in a bucket. If the ceiling starts bulging, it may prove best to pierce the plaster with a small screwdriver to let the water through. Be careful, and call your plumber for advice prior to doing this.

“Clean all excess water away as soon as possible, to minimize the damage and move furniture and belongings away from the affected area.”

Following the steps outlined above, you should not only be able to minimise the damage caused to your property in the event of a burst pipe.

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