9 Steps to Take When You Find a Burst Pipe

broken pipe

Burst pipes can be a common problem in the home, and nobody wants to deal with them. But if you’ve noticed the signs of a burst pipe – or it’s clearly obvious because you’ve got water gushing out of a wall, then it’s important to know what you should do in order to slow down the impact of the burst pipe and minimize damage to your home. If you find a burst pipe in your home, follow these steps to deal with it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Call a Plumber:

First of all, call a professional. Most plumbers like this Waldorf plumber offer an urgent service where they can come and deal with your burst pipe on the same day, often within a matter of hours. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, the best option is to prevent any further damage from occurring while you wait for a plumber to come and carry out the necessary repairs. Trying to fix the burst pipe yourself could result in even further damage being caused inadvertently if you don’t have the technical know-how to deal with it.

Turn Off the Water:

Turning off your water supply at the mains is the first thing you should do in response to a burst pipe. This will slow down and eventually shut off the supply of water to the leak, to minimize the amount of water damage that occurs. If you need to, you can place a bucket or tub underneath the leak to catch any remaining water. Find out where your water shutoff is located; it is typically underneath the sink in the kitchen, but all homes are different.

Switch off the Electric:

Look around the leak and determine whether you will need to turn off the electrical supply as well as the water. If the pipe has burst and is leaking near to electrical outlets or lighting, this could pose a huge fire hazard, so it’s best to switch off the electricity at the mains as well. if you have already noticed some damage to electrical outlets or lights as a result of the leak, you will need to call an electrician as well as a plumber to come and assess the damage and ensure that it is safe before you switch your electricity back on.

Open a Faucet:

Redirecting the flow of the water away from the burst pipe to somewhere that is more controlled can be a good way to minimize water damage. You can do this by switching on a faucet somewhere in your home, but be careful not to turn a tap on that is supplying water by the burst pipe. This will help to relieve any pressure in the pipes and prevent any further damage by emptying them of any water left after you shut off your supply.

Clean Up the Water:

Once you’ve slowed down or stopped the flow of water and have a plumber on the way, use this time to minimize any water damage in your home by cleaning up the water. Grab a mop, buckets, towels, and anything else that you need to soak the water up before it causes extensive damage to floors or soaks into other surfaces in your home. Cleaning up as quickly as possible will also help you reduce the chance of any mold forming.

Heat it Up:

If your burst pipe hasn’t caused an electrical issue and you are still able to turn the heating on in your home, warm it up as much as you can to try and dry up some of the water and get rid of the moisture. You can do this using your central heating system or use heat fans around the affected area. In the event of frozen pipes, it can also be useful to apply heat to vulnerable pipes in your home such as those in the basement or crawlspace with a tool like a hairdryer. You should leave the faucet open as you heat up the pipes as the water flow will increase as you melt any ice, and you will want the flow to the leak to be as reduced as much as possible.

Temporarily Seal the Leak:

If you have managed to slow down or stop the flow of water to the leak, you may be able to seal it temporarily until a plumber arrives. You can do this by placing a piece of rubber over the leak and using something to clamp the broken pipe. If you don’t have the right tools to do this, you can add a block of wood underneath the rubber in order to help spread the pressure and avoid the entire pipe collapsing before the plumber arrives.

Fix Water Damage:

Once the plumber has arrived and repaired the leak, it’s time to inspect your home for any water damage that it may have caused. Even if you’ve done a quick clean-up of the affected area, it’s worth going back for a more thorough look at the damage to make sure that more extensive repair work is not needed. Water damage to walls and floorboards especially can lead to further issues in the home such as mold and mildew that can pose a health hazard, so it might be worth getting a professional to clean the area.

Insulate the Pipes:

While insulation won’t fix your leak, it’s certainly worth looking into after a plumber has repaired the problem in order to prevent it from happening again. Good insulation around your pipes will keep them warm and prevent freezing over, which is the most common cause of burst pipes and water leaks in the home. A professional home insulation company will be able to help, or if you have DIY skills, you can set about insulating the pipes in your home yourself.

A burst pipe is commonly caused when pipes freeze over, and the pressure gets too much to handle. If you’re dealing with a burst pipe in your home, the first things to do are call a professional and make sure that the area is safe.


FAQs on What to Do When You Find a Burst Pipe

Q: Is a burst pipe an emergency?

A:  A damaged pipe may lead to significant damage to your household, and you should address the problem as fast as you can. Cold temperature and long freezing winters may cause your pipes to burst, so you should always prevent it from happening.

It’s mostly the pipes in the outer walls of the house and pipes in unheated areas that pose the highest risk of bursting from cold temperatures, so make sure that you take preventive measures.

Q: How pricey can fixing burst pipes be?

A: The damage caused by burst pipes may be severe, and fixing them could be very pricey. It’s the most important reason for which you should always avoid the damage in the first place. There are numerous tips for keeping the pipes in good shape, especially throughout the cold winters, so do due diligence about it.

Q: What’s the first thing to do when you find a frozen pipe?

A: The first thing to do when noticing a frozen pipe is making sure that it will not burst, so thawing it out is recommended.  It should be straightforward to identify a frozen pipe by turning on the taps and notice if the water presents some trickles or not.

If so, you may still call the plumber or attempt to thaw the pipe on your own.

Q: How to identify a frozen pipe that is about burst?

A: An affected pipe that will burst soon should present frost or ice; sometimes, the high pressure has also made it swollen. It’s a lot easier to handle an exposed pipe, as you may effortlessly put a heater close to the tube/use a hairdryer for thawing the ice. Wrapping electrical heat tape around the frozen pipe until it’s melted could also do the trick.

Q: What are the most common causes of pipes burst?

A: There are several causes for which pipes will burst, but some are more common than others. There are preventive measures to take for each of these causes so that you never have to deal with burst pipes. Frozen pipes, moving pipes, corrosion, and water pressure make the most typical causes for burst pipes.

Q: Why are freezing temperatures so damaging for pipes?

A: Due to freezing weather, the water will freeze, turns into ice, and eventually expand in the pipes. As the ice increases, it will cause pressure to build up in the pipes, making the pipes burst at some point. Even if it can happen with any type of pipe, weak joints in the piping pose a higher risk of bursting.

Q: Is it possible to reduce the risk of burst pipes from freezing?

A: Turning on faucets and allowing a constant flow of water is one of the most effortless ways to prevent burst pipes in the cold winter. You will have the water moving through the pipes, reducing the risk of pressure building up.

You may also insulate the exposed water pipes, as they’re more prone to freezing. Pipes made of foam make a great choice.

Q: What shall you do if a pipe bursts several times?

A: Sometimes, pipes burst repeatedly, so you should call in the plumber for rerouting the pipeline entirely. The problem typically happens in frigid climates, but you may find a permanent solution by moving the pipe to a southern wall, ending the problem. It’s a pricey solution, but it may be the only effective one.

Keep in mind always checking the thermometers in the house, making sure that no interior temperature drops below 55 F degrees.

Q: Why does water pressure causes pipes to burst?

A: When water pressure isn’t maintained at the proper level, a sudden rise of the pressure will make a pipe burst in toilets and pipes. More briefly put, when the pressure is very high, the pipe will fail to contain water, which translates into later burst.

Q: How to keep an eye on the water pressure?

A: Use a pressure gauge for checking the water pressure. You attach it to the tap, turning it on whenever necessary. The indicator gives a reading, and you should proceed accordingly. In terms of pounds per square inch (psi), the ideal water pressure ranges from 30 to 50psi, and it should never go over 60 psi.

Pressure reading at 60 psi or higher requires the attention of a professional plumber. He/she will come and mount a valve, reducing the pressure and the risk for bursts.

Q: Can you get insurance for pipe bursts?

A: Fixing pipes can get expensive, but you should avoid spending by having insurance. Take a look at your house insurance and see if it covers the damaged pipes. When it doesn’t, it’s better that you update the policy. It’s common for insurances to cover broken pipes, but not if you leave the pipes unfixed. Always make sure that you check the terms and conditions of the policy, before having some pipe burst.

Q: What’s the primary culprit of corroded pipes?

A: Pipes are supposed to take the long-time use, and many will handle use for decades with regular maintenance. But no pipe will last forever. Just because corrosion develops slowly, doesn’t mean that it’s not going to make a pipe burst at some point. Ph imbalance in the water may seem minor in the beginning, but it’s severely damaging for pipes after many years of use.

Q: What can you do if you have hard water?

A: For homeowners with hard water and galvanized iron as material for the pipes, the situation is very tricky. In time, the minerals in the hard water will damage the galvanized coating (which can also lead to poisoning) in time; the iron pipe will become exposed. It will be only a matter of time until iron will turn into rust (iron oxide), narrowing the pipe’s diameter. Water will be struggler to go through the pipe, and the pipe will burst or merely close, blocking the water flow.

Q: Can you get away with temporary fixes?

A: Temporary fixes will do for the weekend, but you should always have a permanent solution for your pipes. No matter which road you take, don’t buy any repair kits until you know the material and diameter of the pipes.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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