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What Do I Do if a Water Pipe Bursts in My Home? main
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What Do I Do if a Water Pipe Bursts in My Home?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Keep Calm and Assess the Situation When You Find a Burst Pipe

It’s a huge nightmare when a water pipe bursts. You have gallons of water gushing out of control while you are flustered and confused about what to do. How do you deal with a burst pipe already flooding your home when you don’t even know where it is?

Well, this article here will attempt to help you. Read on to find out the common causes of burst water pipes and what to do when it happens.

Fix Broken Pipe in Home

What Are the Common Causes of Burst Water Pipes?

A burst pipe in the house is indeed a big problem. But you can lessen your worries if you know what to do and act quickly before water damages your entire home. Part of knowing what to do is to learn about the possible causes of burst water pipes. This way, you can also prevent it from happening again.


One of the most common causes of water pipe bursts is low temperature. If the temperature drops just below 20 degrees, the water pipes are bound to freeze. When that happens, pressure builds up quite easily around the pipes and eventually leads to them bursting. This happens if the water sits still inside the tubes, which is why it’s a good trick to let your tap drip just a bit.

High Water Pressure

There doesn’t have to be a clog for pipes to explode. Anything that restricts the water’s flow causes pressure and when that happens, the pipes will likely burst. If not clogs, the pipe can burst due to high water pressure due to water being pumped over 60 psi. In this case, it is best to contact a reliable plumber.


Clogs are a big problem for pipes as well. Any blockage that keeps the water from moving through causes pressure to build up. As you know by now, water pressure can lead to a burst pipe. This means you need to be on the lookout for clogged pipes if you want to prevent damage caused by the burst water pipe.


Another serious cause of burst water pipes is corrosion. Water pipes deteriorate over time due to various reasons. Corroded pipes cannot handle water pressure. Sooner or later, this will lead to burst water pipes. This makes it a good idea to invest in durable materials to lower the risk of burst water pipes.

What to Do if a Water Pipe Bursts?

Now that you know what could cause a water pipe to burst, you’ll have some idea of how to prevent your pipes from rupturing. But what if they already exploded? In that case, we have here some tips and instructions on how to locate the burst pipe, minimize water damage, and deal with the issue at hand.

Shut off the Main Water Valve

As soon as you realize that your water pipe burst, shut off your house’s main water valve. You can use a meter key or turn it off by hand by turning the valve clockwise. It greatly helps if you found the water valve early on, before the pipe burst. This way, you will be able to prevent serious water damage.

If you don’t know where to look, below are the usual spots where the valve is located:

  • The basement
  • In a crawl space
  • Under the kitchen sink
  • Around the water furnace or heater
  • Near the sidewalk or curb
Plumbing Water Shut Off Valve Pipe Burst
Water shutoff valves can be located in a number of places inside and outside your home.

Contain the Water

If you see a specific area where the water is pooling up, it’s worth quickly putting down buckets, towels, blankets, etc. to help contain the water to a smaller area. If the water spreads quickly, it can damage other areas of your home and cost more to fix later. If the damage is inside a wall, it may be worth opening the sheet rock to access the pipe.

Plumbing Problem in Wall Pipe Damage Fix
It’s important to contain the water damage as much as possible.

Turn Off Your Electrical Panel

Before you start cleaning up the water, be sure that you turn off your electrical system. Burst pipes often happen in the basement, garage, or laundry room, which are also the usual places where the electrical panels are. This can be dangerous, so be careful when you head to the breaker box, or better yet, contact an electrician.

While broken or burst pipes can be a scary situation, the best thing you can do is stay calm and focus on helpful steps you can take in the moment. Turn off the water, call a plumber, start water containment, document for insurance, and clean up the mess.

Turn On a Sink Faucet

As you know by now, water pressure is one of the causes of burst water pipes. It will help lessen the damage by turning on a sink faucet anywhere in your house. This will relieve the pressure and drain the remaining water from the plumbing system.

Call a Professional Emergency Plumber

You may be tempted to fix the problem with the burst pipe on your own as someone experienced with a DIY repair. However, a burst pipe is when you need a pro. It’s time to call for an experienced plumber with the skills and tools to fix a burst water pipe behind a wall or in the basement, which likely involves replacing the pipes and more complicated repairs.

Document with Photos for Insurance

While you’re taking immediate response steps, you’ll also discover the damages and potential causes of the problem. Be sure to take plenty of pictures for future reference with your insurance company. Once the situation has stabilized, be sure to write detailed notes as well to describe what you’ve noticed.

Plumbing Water Problem In Wall Damage Repair
Consider unique tools like the Drain Shroom snake that connects to a household power drill.

Patch the Burst Pipe Temporarily

While you wait for the plumber to arrive, you may want to fix the burst pipe temporarily. You can patch it for now using different materials like a sleeve repair kit. This is another way you can minimize the water damage to your house.

Clean Up the Mess

Lastly, time to clean up all the mess. Besides drying the area, you also want to clean it up well so there won’t be mold and mildew growth. You will need to do some disinfecting to make sure the entire area is completely clean. Keep in mind that mold and mildew can lead to some health problems.

It is easy to feel frustrated and stressed when faced with the destruction that a burst pipe causes. Initially, you are unsure what to do. But if you take a minute to calm down and remember the instructions above, you can act quickly and prevent further damage.

Get Professional Pipe Repair Help

A burst pipe in the home can be a scary situation and it’s best to get professional help right away to avoid farther damage. Don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber using the phone number or form on this page.

Burst Pipe Plumbing FAQs

Where Do Pipes Typically Burst?

Exposed pipes are the most at risk of suddenly bursting. These are water pipes typically located outside of the building, which means it does not have insulation. They are also commonly found in unheated areas, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces. With that said, we recommend regularly checking the piping in these areas to avoid sudden water pipe bursts.

What Are Signs That Your Pipes Are Going to Burst?

Some of the common signs that a pipe is likely going to burst are water that is actively dripping. Also, look for signs of water leaking anywhere out of sight, like rings on the ceiling or damp drywall. Other signs you should be on the lookout for include whistling, clanking, or banging noises, as well as unusual odors. When you inspect the pipes, you should also look for bulging areas, condensation, or frost. All of these indicate a possibility of a water pipe bursting.

What Does it Sound When a Water Pipe is About to Burst?

Have you ever heard the sound made by a car backfiring? It’s a loud “popping” sound. When a pipe bursts, it will sound like this. Most property owners don’t really hear when the pipes burst. However, it is still good to know how it might sound so that when you happen to hear something like it, it doesn’t have to go unnoticed until your home is already to the point of flooding.

Do Water Pipes Burst for No Reason?

Water pipes don’t just burst without any reason, although it seems like that sometimes. There are several possible reasons for a water pipe to burst, and one of them is cold temperatures. The low temperature typically causes things to contract. But water freezes and the ice that forms has more volume. When this happens inside a pipe, the pressure increases as well. The pipes will burst in order for the pressure to escape.

Do Water Pipes Make Noise Before Bursting?

Pipes would sometimes make noise before they burst. It is common to hear metallic sounds like something rattling or clanging inside. You may also hear the sound of water, which happens because water shakes the pipe when it is about to burst. Water pipes are usually silent, so it is important to listen for any changes and take note when you notice signs that they might burst.

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