Burst pipe outside a property

Leak underground

Burst pipe outside a property, what’s the cause?

If you encounter a burst pipe outside a property.  Depending on the severity of the leak problems like this can often go unnoticed over an extended period.  Extreme cold weather would be the first thought that comes to mind when an outside leak occurs.  Garden taps and other pipework that are exposed to the outside are susceptible to this.  Pipework installed without adequately weather protection risk the possibility of freezing in server cold weather.

A burst pipe can occur underground, but it is very unlikely to be a result of extreme weather conditions.  During the 1963 UK suffered one of the coldest recorded winters on record, these extreme conditions lasted for serval months. Burst underground pipes were a manager problem at this time mainly due to the shallow depth of pipe installation at that time. Since then changes have been made to ensure adequate protection against the cold weather affecting underground pipework.  A min depth of  750mm  can found on most underground supply pipes as an upgrade since the cold winter of 1963.

Underground leaks – modernisation and improvements

If you suspect that you have a burst pipe outside of your property,  it can often be identified by damp patches on the ground in dry weather.  Depending on the severity leak it can also affect the water pressure and lead to an excessive wastage of water.  Higher than usual reading at the water meter can also be a sign of a leak.  Older properties are more susceptible to burst pipes occurring underground than a more modern building.

Over decades of a lead pipe being underground, the pipework is exposed to ground movement, wear and tear high-pressure and weather changes.  A slight crack or a pin hole leak can easily go unnoticed for a long period, of time until the thinning walls of the lead pipe inner core weaken significantly leading an high-pressure leak.

What can be done about an underground leak?

Several important factors to consider before embarking on repairs to an unground leak. Confirmation and location of the leak and also how many properties does the pipeline supply?  The location is vital because this type of work can be expensive and the cost of the repairs may not be solely the responsibility of one person.  An underground burst pipeline that supplies more than one property may be the responsibility of all the properties that are being supplied.

A damaged supply pipe below ground that is located before your water company’s mains shut off valve are generally a repair that is the responsibility of the property owner.  Before proceeding to hire a plumber to carry out the repairs, investigate all possible options with your local water supplier,  this may cut back on the cost.  Plumbers tackle outside leak as a standard part of the job,  but if the work requires going below ground then becomes specialised.   Accessing the damaged area can be a manager problem, depending on the surface the pipework lies beneath.  Some problematic  underground pipework is best remedied by a complete removed.

Most plumbers have the ability to resolve a burst pipe outside a property,  but if the repair requires going below ground it then become specialised.   Repairs of this type require special fittings with adaptable designs that can convert lead to copper or plastic to copper.

 

 

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