I’ve put a nail through a water pipe! What do I do?

We’ve all done it. Got distracted during DIY, slipped and drawn in the wrong place, measured incorrectly but what do you do when you accidently put a nail through a pipe?

To be honest the best offence is a good defence. An odd analogy I know but still applicable here… knowing how to best avoid putting a nail through a pipe is your best bet.

In order to avoid putting a nail through a pipe you need to understand where the pipes are in your house. Our engineers have told us that the most common complaint involving piercing pipes with nails is when customers are laying floorboards. In this case you should place the nail approximately 10 – 20 mm from the edge of the floor boards rather than the middle. However there are situations this doesn’t apply, such as if the joists have been incorrectly cut. A more reliable method of detection is to use a pipe detector (this is only reliable if your pipes aren’t’ plastic – you need to check this before you start).

Too late! The nails already there… now what do I do?

Call an emergency plumber, although if you feel you can tackle the plumbing yourself you can follow these steps…

  • Stop water coming into the pipe (This can be done using the main stop cock or depending on which pipe is damaged you may be able to use a gate valve).
  • You should also tie up the float operating valve so that when water drains out of the storage tank it won’t refill.
  • Drain the hot and cold water as well as the central heating system.
  • Cut out the section of pipe that has been damaged and fit a new piece of pipe (sometimes it is possible to simply join the pipes together).

Good luck and happy DIYing.

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