5 mins read

Pipe Burst in the Cold Weather? Here’s What to Do Next

One of the biggest concerns for homeowners as the weather gets frigid is a burst pipe, which can cause expensive damage to their homes in virtually countless ways. While there are definitely steps to take to avoid such an issue altogether, no method is necessarily surefire, and that means it’s important to know how to identify a burst pipe and what to do when you know you’ve got one on your hands.

Key Signs of a Burst Pipe

Although the damage a burst pipe can cause is something you will inevitably notice in due time, it’s not always immediately obvious when a pipe breaks in your home. Ensure that you can act as fast as possible when a broken pipe does occur by keeping an eye out for these telltale signs:

  • Unusual water pressure: A burst pipe will often cause strange fluctuations in your home’s water pressure. Should you turn the sink on to find that the water is hardly dribbling out, only for it to come spraying out like a firehose moments later, a burst pipe may be the reason.
  • Strange noises. You’re likely familiar with the sound water makes as it runs through the plumbing in your walls. However, if you notice an entirely different sound coming from the same areas, it may not be business as usual, so reach out to your plumber immediately.
  • Contaminated water. The breakage in the pipe will allow outside elements in, which can alter the water’s appearance, scent, and taste. Discolored, foul-smelling, or odd-tasting water is always a cause for concern and is often a sign of a broken pipe.
  • Mold issues. Mold thrives on standing moisture and darkness, two things that will be abundant in the walls of your home if a pipe happens to burst. If you start noticing a lot of mold growth or musty smells, a plumbing issue may be to blame.
  • Puddling water. Finding water anywhere it shouldn’t be throughout your home should be an immediate red flag, and if you find it pooling beneath a sink, that can be a sign of a burst pipe.

Elevated Water Bills

If you notice a sudden spike in your bill when you haven’t changed your use patterns, a leak inside your walls may be the culprit.


What to Do When a Pipe Bursts

Acting quickly and effectively is crucial to mitigating the damage a burst pipe does to your home. Make sure to follow these tips:

  1. Shut off the water: Reducing the potential damage as much as possible requires first finding your water main and shutting it off as soon as possible.
  2. Open faucets: Once the water main is closed off, go around your home and turn all your faucets on; doing so reduces pressure in the pipes and releases any leftover water.
  3. Contact your plumber and insurance provider: Ultimately, fixing a burst pipe is not a job you can handle on your own, so contact your plumber and let them know about the issue, then start cleaning up what you can as you await their arrival. You’ll also want to contact your insurance provider now, especially if any damages are widespread.

The Burst Pipe Repair Process

There are some variables when it comes to fixing a burst pipe, but in general, you can expect your plumber to go through the following process when they arrive at your house:

  1. Locate the burst pipe: Some pipes are easy to spot and simple to access, while others can take some significant work; simply locating the pipe can be one of the biggest factors in how long it takes to fix it.
  2. Assess the damage: Once your plumber gets to the root of the problem, they can assess the situation to determine the best potential fix. Sometimes, a little epoxy or a rubber gasket will be enough to do the trick, but in others, a replacement pipe will be needed.
  3. Remediation of collateral damage: The pipe itself isn’t always the only thing that needs repair; should there be water damage, mold issues, electric damage, or anything similar, your plumber will be able to assess the situation and determine a solution.

Don’t Hesitate When a Pipe Bursts

Time is of the essence when a burst pipe damages your home, so if you think you’re dealing with one, follow these tips and reach out to a plumber as soon as possible.