A pipe burst: where to go and how to fix a leak

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Plumb­ing in every apart­ment is no longer a lux­u­ry, and we take it for grant­ed that this sys­tem must be in good work­ing order. Yes, minor break­downs hap­pen from time to time — for exam­ple, the faucet will start to drip or the flush in the toi­let will leak. But what if the prob­lem takes on a larg­er scale — a pipe has seri­ous­ly burst?

A water pipe break can hap­pen not only on the street (where acci­dents, by the way, most­ly hap­pen under­ground, so only employ­ees of ser­vice orga­ni­za­tions can quick­ly detect it), but also direct­ly in the house. In this case, the main thing is not to pan­ic and take all nec­es­sary mea­sures in a time­ly man­ner.

Pipe break

A pipe burst: where to go and how to fix a leak

Where to go

Where should you urgent­ly call if a water pipe breaks in the house?

When a water sup­ply break­through is real­ly large and it is impos­si­ble to make repairs on your own due to lack of time, skills and / or spe­cial mate­ri­als, you can call rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the plumb­ing ser­vices. More­over, the choice of orga­ni­za­tion depends on the day of the week and time of day.

Work­ing hours on a week­day? Then you should call the ZhES (hous­ing main­te­nance ser­vice). Its num­ber should be in the infor­ma­tion table at the entrance or on the web­site of the man­ag­ing orga­ni­za­tion.

Did the water break occur at night or on one of the weekends/holidays? It is nec­es­sary to call emer­gency work­ers (emer­gency ser­vice of the water util­i­ty unit assigned to the dis­trict).

It is best to find out in advance the phone num­bers of the hous­ing and emer­gency ser­vices and enter them in your phone book.

Infor­ma­tion board at the entrance

What to do if a pipe burst in the house

If at the time of a water fail­ure the room is sev­er­al peo­ple, it is rec­om­mend­ed to imme­di­ate­ly dis­trib­ute respon­si­bil­i­ties: one calls the plumbers, and the oth­er at this time tries to elim­i­nate the cause and con­se­quences of the acci­dent.

  1. The first step is to sub­sti­tute any con­tain­er under the jet so that water does not pour onto the floor. It can be a buck­et, a basin, a saucepan — any­thing that will hold a suf­fi­cient­ly large amount of liq­uid for the dura­tion of the trou­bleshoot­ing. Peri­od­i­cal­ly, con­tain­ers must be emp­tied;
  2. Next, close the water sup­ply valve to the stop. It is locat­ed either in an apart­ment near the water meters, or in the base­ment of the house (in this case, you will need the keys to the base­ment). It should be tak­en into account that if you turn off the tap in the base­ment, every­one who lives in the entrance will lose access to water;
  3. After mak­ing sure that the water has stopped flow­ing, you need to start col­lect­ing it from the floor as soon as pos­si­ble. For this, any con­ve­nient means is used: a floor cloth, sponge, etc.

It is bet­ter to make a dupli­cate of the keys to the base­ment of the house in advance, so that lat­er you do not waste pre­cious time search­ing for them.

Now you need to seal the leak. To do this, you will need the fol­low­ing tools:

  • a piece of rub­ber (a piece of a tube from a bicy­cle, a clean­ing glove) or oth­er sim­i­lar mate­r­i­al that does not allow mois­ture to pass through and is capa­ble of stretch­ing;
  • two screw (worm) clamps or wire;
  • a strip of thick fab­ric or a sheet of tin (for exam­ple, cut from a beer can);
  • wrench or screw­driv­er for clamp.

It is advis­able to always have sev­er­al clamps at home. They are quite inex­pen­sive, but their use will help you save a lot of mon­ey.

The action plan is:

  1. Wrap rub­ber or sim­i­lar mate­r­i­al around the leak as tight­ly as pos­si­ble. With ten­sion and, prefer­ably, in sev­er­al lay­ers;
  2. Fas­ten the wind­ing to the stop with clamps or wire;
  3. Wrap the struc­ture with a piece of fab­ric pre­pared in advance or a strip of tin and secure. In the case of tin­plate, the edges of the strip should be con­nect­ed with a pair of screws or screws and nuts of suit­able size;
  4. For addi­tion­al mois­ture insu­la­tion, it is rec­om­mend­ed to use a wide adhe­sive tape or cling film.
Seal­ing the pipe with rub­ber and clamps

Epoxy resin and an ordi­nary med­ical ban­dage (or oth­er fab­ric) can serve as a replace­ment for these mate­ri­als. You just need to stir the resin, as indi­cat­ed on the pack­age, and soak the ban­dage with the mix­ture. After that, with a wide over­lap, wrap the ban­dage around the leak with as many turns as pos­si­ble and apply resin from above. Repeat sev­er­al times.

Also, a spe­cial mate­r­i­al called “cold weld­ing” can be applied direct­ly to the leak site. It can even be used in water — but you need to be extreme­ly care­ful if it is hot water: get­ting burned in this case is a mat­ter of a cou­ple of sec­onds.

Such an “ambu­lance” will help the pipe hold out until the arrival of pro­fes­sion­al plumbers. Although it hap­pens that such tem­po­rary mea­sures help not for a day or two, but for sev­er­al months.

Expert opin­ion

Niko­lai, pub­lic util­i­ty work­er:

“Not every­one at home has a sup­ply of clamps. In prin­ci­ple, any tight­en­ing mate­r­i­al is suit­able for a tem­po­rary patch: you can use a clothes­line, wire, and even an ordi­nary med­ical tourni­quet. Some use rags and tape. But in order for the adhe­sive tape to hold firm­ly, you need to thor­ough­ly degrease the sur­face — for exam­ple, with gaso­line or ace­tone. Did you stop the leak? It remains to call and wait for the arrival of the plumber.

Who is responsible for the accident

It is this ques­tion — who is to blame, who should repair the com­mu­ni­ca­tions thor­ough­ly and com­pen­sate for pos­si­ble dam­age from a leak — that aris­es sharply imme­di­ate­ly after the acci­dent is stopped.

In pri­vate cot­tages, all inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions are clear­ly the sphere of inter­ests and respon­si­bil­i­ty of the own­er of the house. As for pipes on and off the site, those respon­si­ble for their repair and main­te­nance are usu­al­ly pre­scribed in an agree­ment with the own­er of the net­works (for exam­ple, a city water util­i­ty or a spe­cial­ized pri­vate com­pa­ny).

Flood­ing of the apart­ment

But what if a pipe burst in a city apart­ment?

There are two options:

  1. If a pipe break occurred on the ris­er or in the inter­val from it to the first tap in the apart­ment, then you need to con­tact the man­age­ment com­pa­ny of the house. Com­mon house prop­er­ty is the zone of their respon­si­bil­i­ty, and their duty will be to elim­i­nate the break­through and its con­se­quences;
  2. In oth­er cas­es, the own­er of the apart­ment is ful­ly respon­si­ble. There­fore, pre­ven­tive main­te­nance of pipes must be tak­en seri­ous­ly.

If it hap­pened that a water pipe burst and flood­ed the neigh­bors, it will be nec­es­sary to estab­lish the cost of the dam­age caused. There are sev­er­al ways to do this:

  1. Togeth­er with the vic­tims, cal­cu­late the mar­ket val­ue of the dam­aged items and, by mutu­al agree­ment of the par­ties, pay this amount. It is imper­a­tive to draw up an act that indi­cates the amount of dam­age caused or a method for deter­min­ing its val­ue. After agree­ing on the fig­ure, an annex is made to the act, which indi­cates that both par­ties agree on this amount. If at the time of draw­ing up the annex to the act the entire amount has been paid, you can also indi­cate there that the mon­ey was trans­ferred to the vic­tim and the par­ties no longer have claims against each oth­er. Or you will have to demand a receipt from the neigh­bor that he received mon­ey in com­pen­sa­tion;
  2. Togeth­er with the par­ty affect­ed by the flood, you can deter­mine the nec­es­sary mate­ri­als and their quan­ti­ty for inde­pen­dent pur­chase, repair, restora­tion and replace­ment of things lost and dam­aged dur­ing the flood­ing of the apart­ment.

If it is not pos­si­ble to find a com­mon lan­guage with neigh­bors, the amount of dam­age can be deter­mined in one of the fol­low­ing ways:

  • Hire an inde­pen­dent expert. Pay­ment for his ser­vices will need to be nego­ti­at­ed with the vic­tims: either both par­ties “throw off”, or only one of them pays. If some­one does not agree with the expert’s assess­ment, anoth­er can be hired; Oth­er­wise, you will need to apply to the court;
  • Go to court. If the neigh­bors can­not agree on the amount of dam­age, an opin­ion from an inde­pen­dent par­ty is required. All kinds of evi­dence should be pre­pared: these can be pho­tographs of the apart­ment, tes­ti­monies, a writ­ten act, oth­er avail­able doc­u­men­ta­tion — every­thing that will help the court to assess the loss­es from flood­ing as ful­ly as pos­si­ble.
Crack in the pipe

Expert advice

Vitaly, lawyer:

“It is imper­a­tive to call rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the oper­at­ing orga­ni­za­tion to draw up the act. They must show up. If they don’t go, you need to write a telegram in which, in the form of a request, it is indi­cat­ed where and when you need to come to draw up an act on the fact of a break in a water sup­ply pipe (hot or cold). By the time the act is drawn up, you need to bring a cou­ple of wit­ness­es (rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the injured par­ty can also act as such). The act should indi­cate the time and place of the acci­dent, a descrip­tion of the pipe and dam­age (ceil­ing paint peeled off, wall­pa­per dam­aged on an area of ​​so many square meters, etc.). After replac­ing the pipe, the dis­man­tled dam­aged sec­tion must be saved. If the neigh­bors are flood­ed and you have to go to court, then this pipe frag­ment may be need­ed to estab­lish the cause of the acci­dent.

You need to make sure that the pho­to / video, if pos­si­ble, con­tains the fol­low­ing data:

  1. Cor­rect time and date. If these are snap­shots, then this data should be dis­played on each of them;
  2. Loca­tion infor­ma­tion would be help­ful. Mod­ern devices have the func­tion of deter­min­ing geolo­ca­tion — you can use it;
  3. If this is a video, then you need to turn on the micro­phone and com­ment on every­thing that hap­pens in the frame;
  4. Be sure to rent a room as a whole;
  5. Spe­cif­ic dam­age is tak­en in close-up: wet wall­pa­per, swollen floor, equip­ment flood­ed with water;
  6. Be sure to cap­ture the pipe break itself close-up and along with the rest of the room.

Prevention of water pipe breaks

If you want to avoid wast­ing mon­ey, time and effort to elim­i­nate the con­se­quences of a water acci­dent, the most effec­tive thing is to pre­vent its occur­rence. To do this, you need to time­ly check the con­di­tion of the water pipes in the house.

Rust on the pipe

What should you def­i­nite­ly pay close atten­tion to?

  1. Rust. This is per­haps the most impor­tant cause of cracks in water sup­ply sys­tems. If brown streaks are found on the pipe, peel­ing of paint — it should be under­stood that cor­ro­sion has tak­en over and will cause trou­ble soon­er or lat­er. And sim­ple paint­ing is unlike­ly to help here — the process has already begun;
  2. Grad­ual depres­sur­iza­tion. Some­times the joints between parts of the pipeline do not fit snug­ly enough to each oth­er. If it is noticed that mois­ture accu­mu­lates in these places, smudges are vis­i­ble, then depres­sur­iza­tion occurs;
  3. Water ham­mer is a surge in water pres­sure in pipes. This can hap­pen both through the fault of pub­lic util­i­ties, due to improp­er main­te­nance of the pipeline, and through the fault of the con­sumer of ser­vices — due to ille­gal changes in the water sup­ply sys­tem that have not been coor­di­nat­ed with pub­lic util­i­ties.

The best way to pre­vent a seri­ous acci­dent is not to try to fix a small leak your­self by apply­ing a tire or cold weld­ing, but to turn to pro­fes­sion­als. Replac­ing pipes before they break is much more effi­cient and prof­itable than after it.

An exam­ple of fix­ing a leak in a pipe:

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