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Plumbing Emergencies

Water problems can quickly shift from being small to becoming calamitous. For a closer look at your home's plumbing and how it works, take a look through our entire Plumbing section.

What to do for a Leaking or Ruptured Pipe
The leaking or broken pipe will have to be replaced, but until you have the time to do it yourself or find a pro ready to make repairs, you can perform a temporary fix to help stave off more serious problems:

1. Turn off your home's main water valve immediately.

2. Place a bucket beneath the leaking pipe.

3. If you can find the hole in a leaking pipe, insert a sharp pencil into the hole and break off the tip.

4. Dry the pipe as much as possible and tightly wrap electrical tape around the area, extending at least 3-6 inches on either side. Concentrate on covering the pipe with a smooth layer of gapless tape rather than over-wrapping.

5. Cut a section of garden hose lengthwise and wrap it around the affected area, so that the solid area of the hose is against the leak and secure it in place with pipe clamps. If you need to, you can use locking pliers. You can also use heavy rubber matting if no hose is available.

6. Replace the affected pipe as soon as possible.

This fix should enable you to turn on your main valve for a little while if needed—just remember to turn off the local shut-off valve. If the affected pipe is within a wall, ceiling or floor (you will know if you see signs of water damage, such as water spots or flooding), then shut off your home's main water valve and call a professional.

Hammer Have a plumbing emergency? Get the help you need in our plumbing forum