What to Do After a Water Pipe Burst

By Alex
February 24, 2022

Imagine the worst thing that could happen in your home. Most people put things like fires or damage from natural disasters high on the list.

What about a water pipe burst?

Now, that’s a surprise no one enjoys, especially during the colder months. Even if a pipe burst catches you off guard, you can’t let the shock prevent you from taking action.


Speed is key! To help you keep your composure, we’ve put together a brief guide to what to do when a pipe bursts. Keep it handy in case you ever have pipe problems.

How Can You Be Sure You Have a Burst Pipe?

We can’t name names, but several insurance companies and probably a few plumbers have some amusing commercials showing what happens when a pipe bursts. It’s funny to watch the gushing from a ceiling, but it’s not always so dramatic.

Your first evidence of a water pipe burst may be more subtle than a river of water running through your home.

Less obvious signs include:

  • Seeping water
  • Mold development
  • Unexplained increase in water bills
  • Reduced water pressure
  • No water flowing

Moisture seeping into carpet and ceilings aren’t always immediately noticeable. It could be several days, even weeks before you notice. Mold often develops in areas of your home where you don’t spend much time, meaning you might not see it until it’s too late.

As subtle as the signs may be, ignoring them could result in significant damage to your home.

Also Read: Why Dry Out is the Most Important Step in Water Damage Restoration

Why Do Pipes Burst in the First Place?

If you live in an area with bone-chilling winters, the answer to this question may seem obvious. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, pipes are at risk of freezing. A frozen pipe may burst—but not always.

Location (indoors vs. outdoors), insulation, and pipe material all play a role.

Beyond freezing temperatures, other things contribute to pipe issues, including: 

  • Corrosion
  • Tree roots
  • High water pressure
  • Clogs
  • Shifting soil

While you can’t control most of these, routine plumbing maintenance can help prevent damage to your pipes, which, in turn, helps avoid pipe problems.

What to Do When a Water Pipe Bursts

When you realize you have a burst pipe, shut off the water. Long before you have a pipe issue, you should locate your home’s main water supply and the valve that shuts it off.

Not all homes have the main water shut-off valve in the same place, so it may take some sleuthing to find yours.

After you shut the water off, open a faucet. Doing this relieves any water pressure left in the pipes.

Once you stop the water from gushing out of the burst pipe, you’ll want to call a plumber.

Immediate cleanup is vital! Having a working sump pump can also help. Click for more information on how a sump pump helps prevent water damage. 

Now You Can Manage a Water Pipe Burst in Your Home

While it’s not anything to look forward to, you do have some tools now to help you avoid panic and damage to your home should you have a water pipe burst in the future.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, or need more help with a home maintenance question, check out the other posts we’ve put together for readers just like you. 


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