pipe that bursts

How to Handle a Pipe That Bursts

Learn how to handle a pipe that bursts

A pipe that bursts is one of the last things any homeowner wants to deal with. But, when the water is spraying, there’s no choice but to take quick action. So, let us show you what you should do when a pipe in your home bursts.

Step 1: Shut Off the Main Water Valve

Your first concern when a pipe bursts should be to minimize water damage. The first thing to do is to shut off the source of the water to reduce flooding. Most commonly, the main valve is found in the basement.

Step 2: Drain the Water From the Pipes

Your next step must be to drain the remaining water from the pipes to prevent further pipes from bursting and reduce pressure in the burst pipe. To do this, flush each toilet and run the cold water in all of the home’s faucets.

Step 3: Disable and Drain the Hot Water

First, turn off the hot water heater itself. Next, turn on the hot water at every faucet in your home to let it drain.

Step 4: Locate the Burst Pipe

A large hole probably won’t be difficult to locate, but sometimes leaks in smaller pipes can be a hassle to find. Signs of the location of the leak include sagging sections of the ceiling, puddling water, or a buildup of water under a faucet fixture.

Once located, check if it is still leaking. If so, try to contain the water with a bucket or other container.

Step 5: Contact a Plumber

Now that you have succeeded in mitigating the damage, it’s time to call a plumber. Many will work outside of regular business hours for emergency repairs. Not only can this get your home’s plumbing back to functional condition quickly, but many plumbers also guarantee their work. So, if the problem returns, they will come back free of charge.

Attempting to solve the problem on your own can take days of work and potentially not even be successful. Burst pipes also often result in micro-cracks that can rupture and cause even more damage.

Step 6: Document All Damages

Once the emergency is under control, it is time to document any and all damages for your insurance company. First of all, photograph the damage to your home as well as to any of your personal possessions.

Make sure to photograph the burst pipe as well as the water buildup and surrounding area. Remember not to throw anything away just in case your insurance company wants to see it before covering the damages.

Step 7: Clean Up Any Water

Standing water caused by the leak should be removed quickly. This will help prevent dangerous slips and falls as well as mold growth. How difficult cleanup may be and whether or not professional cleaning services will be needed depending on the size of the leak.

The first thing to do is to get the water up, either with a mop and bucket or, if possible, a shop vacuum. For water behind the walls or ceiling, you can use dehumidifiers or fans to accelerate the drying.

Step 8: Preventing Future Problems

After repairing the leak and submitting your insurance claim, it’s time to consider what steps you can take to prevent this from happening again.

First, winterizing your home with more or better insulation can help prevent pipes from reaching freezing temperatures. For exposed pipes that are the most vulnerable, it is worth investing in pipe sleeves and heat tape. Finally, opening cabinet doors can help allow warm air to circulate and keep your pipes warmer.


A burst pipe can be a stressful and downright frightening experience, but don’t worry: with a cool head and some work, you can make it through this. Just follow these steps and you can minimize water damage, make a claim with your insurance company, and get your life back on track.

Contact First Service Plumbing and Drains today!

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