If you have a sudden plumbing emergency it can be stressful but the first advice you should remember is do not panic. A methodical approach can help to reduce any water damage to your home.

One of the most common issues you can experience is having to deal with a burst pipe. Water can be flowing everywhere and you need to act quickly. The first action should take is to turn off the stop cocks, this will stop the flow of water and allow you to focus upon the source of the burst pipe. To turn off the stopcock you need to know where they are so this should be your first action after reading this article.

If turning off the relevant stopcock does not stop the flow of water it may be coming from your storage tank. In this situation switch off your central heating system and electrical immersion heaters, if you heat water with a coal fire then allow this to die down. These actions will reduce your need for cold water within your heating system. The next action is to switch on all your cold water taps and allow the main water tank to drain out through your normal drainage system. At this point the burst pipe should have stopped leaking although of course it will still be broken.

If water has been flowing onto any electrical equipment make sure that you stay clear of this and consider switching off the electrical fuses so that you do not expose anyone to the risk of electrocution from the water. Do not tough the appliance or the switch. At this point you can take a deep breath, relax somewhat and then pick up the telephone and call in Dyno plumbing so that they can help you to repair the leak and deal with any associated issues.

The frozen pipe presents a different problem in that you may not experience a leak till the frozen ice has thawed. Accordingly, first priority is to check whether the pipe is merely frozen and preventing the flow of water or if it is frozen with a crack or burst which will allow water to flow out into your house when the pipe is warmed. If the latter – call in an expert plumber.

If you want to thaw the pipe yourself and are confident that it has not split or burst and that you are only dealing with a problem stopping the flow of water you can start to slowly thaw the pipe. The hairdryer is good for this although be very careful that upon thawing the pipe you do not uncover a split and allow water to spill all over an electrical hairdryer which of course could expose you to the risk of electrocution. Using an alternative source of heat such as a warm water bottle is also a possible approach. You should thaw the end nearest the tap and ensure that the tap is open to allow any water to flow out as it changes from ice to liquid. Once the frozen pipe has been thoroughly warm you should see a small amount of water flowing; and this point close off the water taps in your house and then check for any leaks.

If you see that the pipe has split before taking this action, switch off your water supply at the stopcock and empty your water tank to ensure that you do not get a leak in the pie when it thaws. This advice is very pertinent and opening your other cold water taps can help to empty your water reserves before you move to thaw the pipe. Of course at this point you might decide to call in a professional plumber to deal with the situation for you.

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