Pipe Bursts: Here’s How You Can Save Yourself From ‘Troubled Waters’

It can be a worst nightmare for any house owner to experience the difficult situation a burst pipe can create. If you have experienced this once, you would never wish for it the second time. It is heart breaking.

Although pipe bursts can happen in any setup, it is more likely to happen in old structures. Its likelihood depends on how the pipes are insulated and their location. If your pipes aren’t insulated, they’re more susceptible to leaking or bursting. If the pipe burst happens underground, you may not encounter immediate problem, as the leaking water will keep percolating in the ground beneath.

What are the signs of a pipe bursts?

Many home owners cannot detect pipe bursts until they see water flooding in their houses. But why should you wait for this situation, when there are other signs to identify and locate the pipe burst.

These are the common signs of a pipe burst and knowing these signs early can keep you away from ‘troubled waters’!

01. Water Pressure Problems:

Faucet Water Pressure Problem

When the water pressure in the taps dip, it is a sign of the trouble that is looming large.  Low pressure in the taps indicates a problem as a pipe burst affects water flow in the pipes. If your pipes have burst, water will be diverted to the hole rather than the faucet – which lowers your water’s pressure.

02. Wall Stains:

Wall Stains Due to Burst Pipe

Stains mostly occur for various reasons. However, large stains on the walls usually indicate that your pipes have issues. In most cases, those stains indicate where the pipe had burst. Wall stains are the most helpful as they lead you to the location where burst might have happened or is about to happen.

03. Puddles:


Does the puddle significantly grow when you turn on the water? If yes, then there’s a likelihood of a burst in the pipes. Mostly, small leaks indicate a burst. In this case, follow the water source to identify where the pipe is leaking from.

04. Water Odor and Discoloration:

Water Discoloration in Faucet

If you notice discolored water flowing from the faucet, it is a signal of pipe leak. Sometimes, brownish water indicates that your pipes have rust. Leaking also adds odor. How? When your pipes have leaks, it is tough for the plumbing system to push sewage into the mainline hence causing the foul odor.

05. Increased Water Bill:

Are you wondering why your water bills are suddenly higher, though there are no changes in water usage. That is a clear sign that your pipes are leaking.

06. Defect in Water Meter:

If you notice that your water meter is constantly running even though you’re not using the water, it is another sign of a pipe burst.

What Should You Do When A Pipe Bursts?

Burst Water Pipes

Imagine coming back home after a hectic day only to find that almost everything in your house is floating! What would you do to save the situation? Call a plumber? But, the situation would have gone worse by the time the plumber arrives.

Well, this is when you pull up your socks and get working. When a pipe bursts, follow the steps below to save your home from water damage;

01. Stop the Water Supply:

Close Water Main Valve

If you suspect that the pipe has broken, run to the water main and turn off the stop tap. Check it under the kitchen or where your main supply pipe links to your house. You should always ensure that every member in your family can locate it in case of emergencies.

02. Drain Faucets:

Drain Faucets

After you have switched off the main water valve, drain all the pipes by running cold water from all the faucets. Also, ensure that you flush every toilet at least once. Then, shut the water heater off and go back to each faucet. Run the hot water to drain the water supply. The leak will automatically stop as there will be no more supply of water.

03. Locate the Broken Pipe:

Locate Broken Water Pipe

To prevent further damage, try to locate the spot where the pipe had burst. The burst location will determine what you’ll have to do next. If it is a small crack, you can first patch it up to fix the issue for a while. However, if the burst has occurred on the main water pipe, repair it carefully regardless of the size or cause of break.

If the leaking had occurred for quite some time, enter the house carefully. Pay much attention to the ceilings- if they appear to have bulged, it is an indication that they’re holding a load of water and can cave in anytime.

04. Repair the Burst Pipe:

Fixing a crack or rupture in non-main pipes is a cakewalk.  For small cracks and water breaks repair, follow the guidelines below;


  • An extra-long length of ordinary garden hose
  • 2 or 3 hose clamps


  • Measure the crack and cut the garden hose approximately ten inches longer than the cracked length.
  • Slice the garden hose to enable it to slip over the burst or crack in the water pipe.
  • Hold the hose portion using hose clamps over the cracked area and compress it tightly.
  • Turn on the water to test your repair. If it is still leaking, repeat the process meticulously, until the leaking stops.

For a large break, use a hacksaw to cut the cracked portion of pipe. Make sure you cut it on either sides of the rupture an inch larger and replace it with a hose pipe following the above procedure.

05. Submit an Insurance Claim:

Immediately after ensuring that your home is safe, contact your insurance company to start your homeowner insurance claim. For further line of action, your insurance agent will guide you. The agent will  visit to evaluate the damage.

While waiting for the insurance agent, it would be very important to document the damages using a digital video camera or digital camera.

How To Prevent Pipes from Bursting?

The best way of preventing the bursting of pipes in your home is to be mindful of your plumbing system by practicing 5 steps as listed below:

01. Install Heat Tape – Heat tapes help in warming the pipes during cold weather. When installed, it would stop pipe burst caused by freezing.

02. Leave Your Cabinet Doors Open – Always ensure that you leave open the cabinet doors to allow warm air to enter the cabinet.

03. Check Your Home’s Temperature – You should ensure that temperature does not dip below 32 0 F (00 C) in any area of your home, where the water pipes are located.

04. Keep Water Faucets Running – During extremely cold weather, always have one or two faucets running slowly. The water flowing through the system would prevent the lines from freezing.

05. Seal Leaks That Allow Cold Air In Your Home – Check the spaces around dryer vents, pipes, and electrical wiring as to whether there are leaks and seal them as they allow cold air into your home. A small opening in your home will allow enough cold air that can cause frozen pipes.

Have you ever experienced a pipe burst in your home? If yes, how did you handle it? Please share your experience in the comment box below.

On a concluding remark, of course, when a pipe bursts, knowing what to do ahead of time can help you to avoid costly repairs. After dealing with the burst pipe repair and water leak cleanup to restore the glory of your home, you must need to take additional precautions to safeguard it from future harm.

Likewise, if your pipes are frozen then what should do? Read here to know-

Image Courtesy: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 6, Image 9

Author Bio

Fidelis Kinai – Fidelis Muti possess a bachelor’s in English and Journalism and have over four years of professional experienced writing and proofreading materials for print and online platforms, including newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, and social media accounts. He also have over three years of experience as a marketing assistant and social media manager.

He is versatile and diligent and will produce exemplary content within time to meet your deadline.

He can deliver most work within 2-3 days; rush orders are accepted whenever possible. He is based in the Kenya but travel often and work for clients all over the world.

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