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What to Do When a Pipe Bursts in Your Home

What to Do When a Pipe Bursts in Your Home

Has a pipe burst in your home? Don’t fret! Unfortunately, this is a part of owning a house, and you are certainly not alone.

Of all household calamities, a burst pipe is certainly no joke. This issue can cause financial, structural, and ongoing problems as well as panic and stress. Knowing what to do before it happens is a sure-fire way to recognize the signs beforehand and handle any plumbing emergency when it happens.

Read on to find out the indicators, fixes, and answers to some of your frequently asked questions!

Common Signs of a Burst Pipe

While it is sometimes apparent that a pipe has burst, at other times, the signs of this problem can be subtler or even invisible! Read on for the common signs of a burst pipe.

Discolored or Leaking Water

When you have a leak, one thing that is a good bet is discolored or leaking water. However, these two problems may be a symptom of another similar problem, so it’s essential to know what you are looking for to determine if it’s a common leak or a burst pipe.

While some discolored water might point to a chemical issue in your water, the one to watch for a potential burst pipe is red. Water with a red tinge indicates rust present in the water supply, which could well be the reason your pipe has burst.

As for a water leak, be sure that you are dealing with a burst pipe and not a regular leak. A minor leak in your pipe will likely create small puddles, while a burst pipe will leave large puddles, wall stains, and more prominent areas of damage.

Unusual Noises

Unfortunately, a burst pipe might not be visible at all. As many residential pipes are out of sight, you might have to use your ears when it feels like something is wrong with your plumbing.

The first sign of a broken pipe comes from unusual sounds from the pipe itself. When water flows through a broken pipe, it makes more shifting noises than usual, recognizable as loud thumps or clangs.

Another audible indication of a leak is the sound of dripping water, especially in areas far from bathrooms or fixtures.

Strangely High Water Bills

If you receive a suspiciously high water bill, it’s likely not the water company ripping you off! Instead, this probably has something to do with a leak left unattended. You might find that this problem persists and even worsens over time.

Water bills spike when an unnoticed leak continues to draw wasted water through your damaged pipe. Leaking pipes are one of the leading causes of water wastage in the U.S. According to the EPA, household leaks account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water lost each year.

Unfortunately, this is not the only way your burst pipe could cause your bills to increase. When a pipe bursts, it draws pressure from your total plumbing, meaning that your water pressure decreases. You’ll need more water to access your usual amenities. Imagine an imaginary person has a secret shower running 24-7!

4 Things to Do When a Pipe Bursts

When a pipe has burst, you might feel overwhelmed quickly. But don’t panic. When dealt with quickly and carefully, this issue can find a swift resolution, but only if you already have an idea of what to do.

1. Turn Off Your Water

When noticing a burst pipe, the first thing you should always do is to shut off your house’s water main completely. Your shut-off valve will be somewhere in clear sight and is usually bright and well indicated. Turn the valve tightly until it is switched off, and then check by testing some of your plumbed amenities to be sure.

Remember that some amenities, such as your faucets, will take some time to drain, as there is already some water backed up. Be sure to drain them completely. It will help release some pressure on your pipes.

2. Contact a Plumber

If you do not have plumbing experience, it is best to contact a professional. Changing a pipe is not a project for amateur DIY enthusiasts. Small leaks are manageable for an inexperienced handyman, but a serious problem like a burst pipe requires expertise that could require some complicated steps to fix your issue. You also want a professional inspection to ensure that you’ve identified the whole scope of the issue rather than a small part.

If you want to take on the job yourself, ensure that once you’ve fixed the pipe, you have a good grasp on the extent of the damage. You’ll want to look out for any signs of mildew and mold that might be left behind. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with a new kind of issue!

3. Let in Warm Air

While you wait for your plumber or work on replacing that broken pipe, you should ensure that fresh and preferably warm air is circulating through your home. Airflow is essential for several reasons, and while easy to forget, it may save you time and money down the line.

Open Window

When a major leak creates dampness and water damage, it isn’t long before mold begins to spread. The fungus might be sporing deep inside the wood, and once it’s in, it’s almost impossible to remove.

Another good reason for creating air circulation is that your burst pipe may have occurred because of frozen water or cold plumbing. These issues can improve by allowing warmer air to flow and thaw the pipes.

Read more: What causes air in water pipes

Burst Pipe Prevention Tips

Once you have dealt with a broken pipe, you will not want a repeat of this incident. Luckily, preventative steps can help avoid this next time before an issue arises.

Insulate Pipes for Winter

Most issues related to a burst pipe are due to harsh winters and frozen water. As the colder months come in, try adding insulation around your plumbing. Even something simple like an old newspaper will make a difference and may keep the water inside from reaching the dangerous freezing point.

Deal With Leaks

One of the best prevention methods involves detecting and plugging up any leaks before they cause more trouble. Leak repairs will help you prevent more major incidents, and they could save you money and protect your home from slow water damage.

Try to listen out for any telltale trickling noises and sudden dips in water pressure to detect leaks at their source.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have concerns? We cover some of your most frequently asked questions about tackling broken pipes in your home.

Should I Contact My Insurance Company?

If you have homeowners insurance, you will most likely have coverage for sudden and accidental water damage issues to your home. This kind of accident constitutes usual home wear and tear, and as they are common problems, you should not be afraid to report it.

Ensure that your insurance agent knows that this issue was sudden and not easily preventable. Your policy may not cover something like a slow leak or lack of maintenance, so be sure that you fully understand the situation and policy before filing a claim.

Can You Fix a Burst Pipe on Your Own?

While fixing a leak or a minor issue with your plumbing is achievable with some basic knowledge, a major issue like a broken pipe is not. Fixing or replacing the pipe is one thing, but taking on the job yourself could create problems that are not easy to fix.

Structural damage from water in your home or mold growth from a burst pipe can lead to financial issues later and even health concerns for you and your family. Giving the job over to a trained professional may be the best solution.


A broken pipe is bad enough, but the damage may not yet be over. After a major leak, you want to be sure your home is safe.

Thankfully, here at All Dry USA, we have you covered, from leak detection to water damage issues! We bring over ten years of experience to your home and always get the job done right, so you can rest at ease knowing your home is in safe hands.

To find out more, check out our services to book your next job!


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