How Broken Plumbing Pipes Can Be Repaired

A broken water pipe can happen for a number of reasons. The pipes in your home might be old, or they might burst due to freezing or accidental damage. Pipes can also break in natural disasters. Whatever the cause, a broken water pipe is a plumbing emergency. When a pipe spews water at full force into your house, major damage can be done quickly. Turn off the water supply immediately and then consider your options. It's a good idea to let a plumber repair a broken pipe because the repaired area will be under pressure when the water is turned back on and if repairs aren't done properly, the pipe will burst again. Here are some suggestions for pipe repair services for different piping materials.

PVC Pipes

PVC pipes are among the easiest to repair. The broken area can be cut out and new pipe put in. PVC pipe is easy to cut through and the new pipe can be adhered with pipe cement. The cement forms a strong waterproof connection between pieces of plastic pipe so no leaks will occur even under high pressure. The cement hardens quickly, so if it isn't lined up just right, the pipe will need to be cut out so you can start over. Begin with smooth, even edges of pipe so they join together and then cover them with the primer and cement to form a tight seal.

Copper Pipes

Copper pipes can be repaired in a similar manner except instead of using cement, the sections of pipe are joined together by soldering. Unless you have experience in soldering and working with copper, this is probably best left to a plumber. Soldering plumbing pipes is tricky work and it can even be dangerous. The water must be completely drained from the pipe first or steam might be created that can burn you. Also, the pipes have to be prepped well. They must be clean and dry so they fit together perfectly. The broken area is cut out and the sides smoothed down. Next, the new section of copper is inserted and joined to the pipe with solder.

Steel Pipes

Steel pipes are threaded together, so replacing a damaged area is as simple as removing a section of pipe and replacing it with new pipe. While the procedure is simple, it isn't easy as a DIY project. Steel pipes are often frozen together at the threads and special tools are needed to twist them apart and put the new pipe in. A plumber has the necessary equipment for working with steel pipes when they need to be replaced. You might be able to stop a leak temporarily with a pipe clamp, but you don't want to put off permanent repairs or the pipe might break again.

Before repairs are undertaken, you'll want to discuss with the plumber why the pipe burst. If it is due to old age, then your home is at risk of future problems with broken pipes and you may need to have your home repiped to reduce the risk of costly water damage.