What to Do If a Pipe Bursts

What to Do If a Pipe Bursts


When it comes to plumbing issues, one problem most people want to avoid – at all costs – is a burst pipe. Along with causing a huge mess and requiring expensive repairs, a burst pipe can also cause a lot of damage. While this is true, there are a few “quick fixes” a homeowner can implement to help mitigate the damage until a plumber can arrive. Keep reading to learn what these steps and tips are.

Shut the Water Off

When water freezes, it is going to expand by approximately nine percent. This expansion has a lot of force behind it. The pressure inside the pipes can go from just 40 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI) to more than 40K psi. There is no pipe that will be able to contain that much pressure. As a result, the pipe will break open.

The break can occur where the ice forms; however, it will more likely occur where the water pressure encounters a weak spot in the affected pipe. This may be just a few inches from the pipe up to a few feet from the frozen area. It may also be necessary to turn off electricity, but this is usually dependent on where the leak occurred. It is a good idea to shut the water off – no matter where the leak occurred. Be sure to find the shutoff valve to know where to go when a problem occurs. The water should remain off until a plumber is called and provides plumbing repairs.

Open Faucets in the House

Once the water main has been shut off, open the faucets in the home. By doing this, it is possible to relieve the pressure that may still be in the pipes.

Get in Touch with a Plumber

Unless a homeowner feels like they can tackle the broken pipe alone, they will have to call a plumber eventually. However, there are a few things that can be done before contacting a plumber. These things will help to reduce the overall impact of the broken pipe.

Start Eliminating the Water in the Home

Grab a mop, some towels, buckets, and a wet-dry vac to begin eliminating the water that has come out of the pipes. It is best to make sure this water is eliminated before it soaks into everything in the house. Also, cleaning everything up quickly is going to reduce the development of mold. It is also a good idea to learn how to prevent the pipes from freezing, to begin with, so that a burst pipe does not occur again in the future. While a homeowner is at it, they can look up tips to prevent issues with their home’s sewer system, too.

Turn the Heat Up

It is a good idea to set up fans to blow some heat into rooms that feel cold. Also, keep the door to the garage closed. If there is minimal water flow, be sure to heat up the pipes that are most vulnerable. These are the ones that are located close to the home’s exterior walls, or in crawl spaces or basements. In most cases, using a hairdryer will help with this. Also, make sure to leave the faucet open while heat is being applied. As the ice melts, the flow of the water is going to grow. It may be a good idea to get new or more insulation in the walls to prevent frozen pipes in the future.

Open Doors Around the House

If there are exposed pipes in pantries or closets, it is a good idea to leave the doors open. Also, open the doors of cabinets or under vanities so that warm air can make it to the pipes under the sinks in the home. Insulating the home’s garage can be extremely beneficial when it comes to reducing overall heat loss.

Place Rubber Over the Leak Area

Placing a put of rubber over the leak is something that should be done along with putting a clamp on the pipe that is broken. Remember, installing insulation before winter arrives can also prevent this issue.

Add a Wood Block before Adding the Clamp

If someone is in a hurry and they do not have the tools needed to stop the leak altogether, it is possible to improvise by adding a new block of wood over the rubber before the clamp is fastened. The wood is going to spread out the pressure and then keep the pipe from completely collapsing.

Get a C-Clamp

Once the rubber and wood are in place, add a C-clamp over the rubber. This is going to provide a temporary seal over the leak.

Remove the Damaged Part of the Pipe

If someone has some plumbing skills, they may be able to take the next step in the process alone. This involves removing the damaged part of the pipe. Be sure to shut off the main water supply valve. Then drain the water line that is damaged and use the pipe cutter to remove the pipe that extends approximately one inch past each side of the damaged pipe area. The first step of this is to hold the pipe in the cutter’s jaw and then tighten the cutter’s screw. Be sure to rotate the cutter in the proper direction until the pipe snaps.

Replace the Pipe

Remember, if someone does not know what to do, these two steps are best left to the pros. However, once the damaged part of the pipe, it is possible to replace the damaged area.

Don’t Wait to Take Action When a Pipe Bursts

If a homeowner is dealing with a burst pipe, they need to take action right away. With the tips and information here, it is possible to handle the situation before it gets too serious. The longer a homeowner takes to act and repair a burst pipe, the more issues that will arise. Being informed and knowing what needs to be done to handle this problem will pay off in the long run.

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