Winter is coming – What to do if your pipe bursts
Minnesota knows a thing or two about cold winters. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox experienced winters so cold the snow turned blue. The winds were so strong, the geese flew backward. While the geese don’t fly backward these days, the winters in Minnesota are still cold enough to cause the pipes in your plumbing to burst. If that happens, there are steps you can take to lessen the effects.
- Shut Off the Water
When water freezes, it expands by 9%. The increased pressure damages the weak areas of your pipes, causing them to burst. Use your shutoff valve to cut the pressure so no more water can leak. However, many shutoff valves are in the basement. If the basement has electrical appliances and is flooded, call a plumber instead of shutting the valve off yourself.
- Stay Away From Your Appliances
When pipes burst, they can affect the electricity throughout your home. Don’t unplug any appliances or flip any switches. If possible, get to your circuit breaker and turn the power off.
- Open a Faucet
Sometimes, a complicated problem has a simple solution. Paul Bunyan once stopped a rainstorm by blocking its source. While opening a faucet won’t stop the
leak, it will filter out the excess pressure, reducing the damage to the rest of your pipes.
- Get Rid of the Water
If the burst pipe has caused flooding, start clearing it away as soon as possible. Use mops and buckets. If you have power, use heat fans and vacuum cleaners that absorb water. By cleaning the flood quickly, you’ll save your floor from damage and prevent mold from forming.
Even if one pipe burst, others may also have frozen water in them. The most vulnerable pipes are in the basement or in crawl spaces, which tend to be coldest areas in your home. If you have safe access to these areas, warm the cold pipes with a heat fan or a hairdryer. The frozen water inside will melt and flow through an open faucet.
- Call a Plumber
When a pipe bursts behind a wall, the source of the leak can be hard to find. When replaced, some pipes need to be soldered together or require special tools for safe installation. While Paul Bunyan has the plumbing experience to handle this safely, not everyone does. After taking these precautions, contact an experienced plumber to ensure the pipes are replaced and the water flows through your home normally.
Like Paul Bunyan himself, our staff has the plumbing experience to fix your burst pipes. If you need us, we’re available at (612) 236-9052.