Water Main Repair

Water enters your house through a residential water main which runs from your water meter into your home. Also called the main incoming water line, the water main provides water throughout your home.

Water mains may be installed above or below ground depending on how close the water meter is to your home. Both underground and aboveground water mains can clog or break, but above ground pipes are most at risk because they are subject to possibly freezing temperatures and damage from storms.

To ensure you get the most life possible out of your water main, make sure to schedule yearly inspections with Cooper’s Water.

Underground Water Main Repair

Problems with underground water mains are difficult to detect because you can’t see the water main. However, there are some signs of issues that are easily detectable.

For example, floods in your yard or basement often indicate that either your water main or sewage main has burst. Additionally, if your toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and other plumbing appliances experience decreased water pressure at the same time, there may be a leak in the water main. If the leak is severe, you may lose the ability to use any of your plumbing.

Repairing or replacing an underground water main requires extensive work. First, the ground around the pipe will have to be excavated to assess the damage. They may be able to repair the water main if the damage is minor, but severe damage will require the water main to be replaced.

Aboveground Water Main Repair

Water mains installed above the ground are at greater risk of leaks and breaks than underground water mains. 

During heavy storms, aboveground water mains may be struck by large debris such as tree branches. Additionally, the chance of an aboveground water man freezing is much greater than an underground water main.

On the other hand, repairing above ground water mains is much simpler. Because the water main is visible and accessible, all repairs and replacements of the water, it is much easier to locate the damage and repair or replace the pipes. It’s also much more inexpensive.

In either case, both aboveground and underground water mains should be inspected yearly in order to detect any problems before they lead to breaks or leaks.

Click or Call 317-870-7773 to Schedule A Water Main Inspection

Broken & Frozen Water Line Repairs

One of the most frequent causes of a water main break is when water inside the pipe freezes. The water then expands, placing excessive pressure on the inside of the pipe. This strain eventually causes the pipe to crack, then break, and finally burst.

Frozen Incoming Water Lines 

Aboveground water mains are more likely to freeze than those installed underground. This is because underground water mains are buried beneath the frost line, thus preventing the water inside the pipe from freezing when temperatures drop. 

 Aboveground water mains, on the other hand, are not only above the frost line, they are exposed to possibly cold and frigid air, which makes the possibility of water freezing even greater. 

Other incoming water lines which split from the main line may also be at risk of freezing if they are beneath the frost line. This is especially common in unheated basements.

Pex vs. Metal Pipes

If an incoming water line does freeze, it does not necessarily mean that the pipe will break. Modern water lines are often constructed using pex, which can expand if the water inside freezes. This expansion prevents the pipe from breaking. To unfreeze the water, you can use a space heater to warm the pipe.

However, many incoming water lines are still constructed with copper, brass, stainless steel, cast iron, or other metal pipes, as are many residential water mains. When copper freezes, it is not able to expand in the same way as pex and will be much more likely to break.

Repairing and Replacing Broken Water Lines

When a pipe breaks, whether from freezing temperatures or other causes, the broken pipe will need to be repaired. When performing repairs on a water line, plumbers will shut off the incoming water to your home, drain the lines, and then repair damaged pipes if possible.

If the damage is too severe to be repaired, sections of damaged pipe will be removed and new sections of piping will be installed.

Prevent Frozen Water Lines with Heat Tracing Cables

One way to reduce the chance of freezing water lines is to keep every faucet open during the cold months. You don’t need to allow the water to stream out of the faucet; rather, you want to turn the faucets on so that the water drips out slowly. The stream of moving water within the pipes can help prevent freezing.

A more effective method, however, is heat tracing. This process involves using a heated cable, heat tape, or other heated device to keep the pipes warm. 

To install a heated cable, first locate any incoming water lines that may be exposed to freezing temperatures, including the water main. Then, wrap the cable around the pipes and plug it in. The heat created from the cable will ensure that your pipes stay warm and that no incoming water lines freeze.

If you’re unsure which pipes you need heat tracing, contact Coopers Water & Plumbing. They’ll be able to locate any pipes below the frost line and even install the heat cable for you.

Click or Call 317-870-7773 to Repair a Frozen Pipe