Being prepared to protect your home against a sudden burst pipe can save you thousands of Rands in damage. The following tips will slow or stop pipe leaks long enough to get hold of an emergency plumber. However, you may have to wait until the lockdown is over.
The first thing you should do is switch off the water supply. You might find this valve where yourwater supply enters your home or in the valve box on the pavement.
To temporarily stop a pinhole pipe leak on a water pipe, you need to seal the pipe at the leak point. If you have self-tapping screws you may need to widen the hole. Using a small piece of rubber or plastic pipe as a washer screw the self-tapper into the hole.
If you don’t have one or can’t “borrow” one from appliances in your home! Alternatively, wrap electrical or duct tape around the pipe a few times. In addition, if the pipe leak is on a PVC or galvanised waste pipe, almost any type of tape can be used as a temporary fix.
We can’t all afford to call a plumber for every small plumbing issue or blockage. Therefore, it pays to know a few plumbing basics.
Get to know your home’s plumbing from water into the house to sewerage out. You should be able to tackle most minor plumbing repairs yourself. You will need some basic tools.
What to do in case of a plumbing emergency
Do you know the location of your shutoff valve? (Do you know what a shutoff valve is?)
A shutoff valve (stopcock) turns off the water supply, either to your home or to a fitting in the home. In addition, look for the main shutoff valve on the property boundary at the water meter or where the water supply enters your home. Turn this off in the event of a plumbing emergency.
Keep the area around the shutoff valve clean, for ease of access. Grease the shutoff valve from time to time to ensure that it does not seize up.
Blockages in the home
A sink or shower drain blockage is fairly easy to unblock.
Most frequently the blockage is in the u-trap behind, or under the sink. Undo the fastener and remove the pipe to get to the blockage.
Do not use caustic soda to remove blockages!
Shower blockages and smells are fairly common. A buildup of hair causes a shower drain to block. Most drain caps are fairly easy to remove. They either clip or screw into the shower floor. Once the cap is off, remove any blockage. Run the shower on hot for a minute or so to clean out the drain.
Plumbing blockages outside the home
Look at the plumbing pipes outside your home. You will see that pipes have a small, medium or large inspection cap (eye). Open this cap to check for blockages that have not been cleared by cleaning out the drain, or u-trap. Use a hosepipe to flush the pipe out after the blockage has been removed.
Remove the grated cover at the gulleys and check for blockages if a plumbing drain outside your home is smelly. Use a drain auger, or cut off a piece of hosepipe to loosen a blockage.
To check the flow, you should know where your rodding eyes and/or manhole drainage covers are. If caught early, you can resolve the problem by flushing out with a hosepipe.
Safety first when drilling into walls
When drilling into walls, in a bathroom or kitchen, take care not to hit a plumbing pipe or electrical conduit. Rather use an electronic multi-detector to locate electrical cables and water pipes. They are a lot cheaper than getting a plumber to repair the pipe. Remember, the hole in the wall will need fixing as well!