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How quickly will your house fill when you get a burst pipe?

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. A burst water pipe.
So when a pipe bursts in your home, how much water is actually flooding in?
Well, that depends on a couple of factors:

  • the size of the pipe
  • the length of time it flows

If you’re lucky, you may actually be there to turn off the water – at that point a mop and bucket should be the most essential of tools you’ll need. But if you’re not around and the leak is left unattended, then not only will you have some serious damage to contend with, but your water bill will no doubt have rocketed!
Here are the average water flow rates based on typical municipal water pipes:

  • ½ inch pipe = 50 gallons (or 227 litres) per minute
  • ¾ inch pipe = 110 gallons (or 500 litres) per minute
  • 1 inch pipe = 210 gallons (or 955 litres) per minute
  • 2 inch pipe = 850 gallons (or 3,864 litres) per minute
  • 3 inch pipe = 1,900 gallons (or 8,638 litres) per minute
  • 4 inch pipe = 3,400 gallons (or 15,457 litres) per minute

To give you an idea of size and scope, a 24 foot above-ground round pool, 5 foot deep, contains approximately 16,000 gallons of water. With a typical two inch pipe for sprinklers that breaks, you could fill a pool in about 20 minutes. If your standard half inch pipe breaks on the way to work, nine hours later you can have up to 27,000 gallons pass through your property – that’s nearly two 16,000 gallon swimming pools!
If a 4 inch pipe breaks, you don’t want to be anywhere near it when it does, because it most likely will shake the property and sound like an explosion!!
So check your pipes regularly and when you leave home for extended periods of time, such as a holiday, then don’t take the risk – shut off the main water supply. And during the winter – make usre you drain your lines as well!

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