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What to do if you hit a water pipe

(And how to pre-plan to avoid disaster)

Summer is a great time for a bit of DIY and sorting all those jobs around the house you’ve been meaning to get around to for ages. Whether it’s a simple job like putting a picture up or something a bit more involved like putting up shelves or mounting a TV to the wall, then one thing you’ll definitely want to avoid is hitting a water pipe.

While we’d never doubt that your DIY skills are anything less than spectacular, things can (and do) go wrong and something as urgent as banging a nail through a water pipe will always benefit from a bit of pre-planning so that you can deal with it quickly in the immediate aftermath.

Before you start drilling or hammering

It’s hard to know what lies behind a wall so it’s always a good idea to use a stud finder before you start to help you locate pipes, wiring and studs. This gives you the best chance of avoiding anything you don’t want to hit but they’re not infallible so it’s still best to be prepared for the worst happening.

Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail – or so the saying goes, and it’s true in this case. Get a few things ready in advance and you’ll really be grateful for your foresight should things not go as hoped. Firstly, make sure you know where the stop tap is, that it’s easily accessible and that it turns easily (if this is not the case it might be worth considering installing a Sure Stop). Secondly, keep a bucket to hand so you can act fast if you do cause a leak.

In the event of a leak

If you are unfortunate enough to hit a pipe then knowing what to do in the first few minutes could really save your skin.

Firstly, position the bucket you have ready to catch the leak and go to the stop tap you’ve already located and turn the water supply off.

Then, open up any other water outlets lower than the leak. This will help drain the pipes faster.

If the pipe is on the hot water or heating system then switch the boiler off and isolate the power supply to the boiler: the leak would eventually cause the pressure to drop on a combi-boiler which could cause problems.

Call a plumber

Doing all the above will vastly minimise damage but of course, the leak itself will need dealing with and that will require a plumber. If your DIY disaster occurs during standard office hours then happy days, most plumbing firms will be able to come out and deal with the problem. However, sod’s law usually dictates that things don’t work like that and it could be in the evening or, most likely for home improvements, on a weekend (like this customer!). You will, therefore, need the services of an emergency plumber who operates around the clock.

If that does happen, we can help you. We operate a 24 hour, 7 day a week emergency service (we can also help you out during normal office hours as well!). Just call 0800 032 6478, any time of the day.

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