Here’s What to Do If Your Pipe Bursts

Taking Precautions with Damaged Pipes

A burst pipe is one of the most common issues people face at home. While there can be a number of reasons why pipes burst in harsh climate conditions such as extremely cold temperatures.  Low to freezing temperatures can freeze the pipes, causing them to burst. Regardless of the type of pipes – whether they be metal or plastic, they can still expand or burst and cause water damage to your home.  A burst pipe also requires a significant amount of costs in repairs. This is why it’s important to take all the safety measures to prevent pipes from bursting.

Below are some frequently asked questions and helpful steps to take to safely solve any problems you may be experiencing with your pipes at home.  

Why Do Pipes Burst?

Typically, cold water causes your pipes to contract while frozen water causes pipes to expand.  This inconsistency causes weaknesses in some parts and can cause the pipe to break or burst. The pipe’s inability to withhold the water pressures inside it causes the damage such as expansion and breakage. 

Causes for burst pipes are, as mentioned above, frozen pipes and the movement (expanding and contracting) of pipes.  Corrosion and clogs are other common causes for pipe damage. 

How long before pipes burst?

The average time that damage can occur for a pipe in below freezing temperatures, is between 4 and 5 hours.  

Can pipes burst without water?

Even if you have shut off the main water supply, a pipe can be at risk for damage.  Specifically, if the temperature drops and the pipe has become frozen, it more than likely could become exposed to ice.  As water freezes, it expands – and pipes can become vulnerable to this.  Once cold air temperatures increase and ice melts, the pipes may move again, causing damage and the potential for leaks or breakage.  

What to Do When a Pipe Bursts:

If you experience a bursting water pipe in your home, you can do a  temporary emergency repair of the pipe to minimize and prevent further damage before a professional arrives.  These are quick and simple steps to take when repairing a pipe.

  • Turn off the main water supply
  • Contact a professional
  • Quickly remove and clean excess water to avoid further water damage.
  • Take pressure off pipes by draining the faucets
  • Circulate warm air in your home to slowly thaw pipes
  • Use a repair sleeve to temporarily cover the damaged area of the pipe

How long does it take to repair a broken pipe?

Depending upon the size and amount of damage to the pipes, repair can take several hours.  For a short fix, it could take approximately anywhere  from 2-4 hours.  

Do pipes make noise when they burst?

Pipes can make noise when they burst water.  Some reports are similar to that of a popping sound or (if you have metal pipes) possibly a loud clang of metal.  However, when the moment happens and it may not be able to have been heard at the time of the damage.  If you start to notice any noises or visible damage contact a restoration company for further inspection.   

How to Clean a Water Pipe Line:

Essentially, the purpose of cleaning out your water line is to simply break down corrosion and sediments inside the pipes such as rust, lime or calcium.  There are a few ways inexpensive ways to clean them out such as using a flushing kit,or  vinegar with baking soda and hot water.  You can also try to stay away from using heavy detergents when washing dishes and clothes, as these can leave chemical deposits in your water lines.  

How to Get Air Out of Cold Water Pipes:

If you’ve ever experienced water spitting out of your faucets, it is simply air trapped inside the water line. Typically, what causes air getting into water lines is routine maintenance work on the water system.  Briefly running water through your faucets can help with this. 

Air in pipes can also cause noises inside the wall when fixtures are used. Luckily there is no dier problem and the solution is easy enough for a homeowner to fix.  In just minutes, you can get rid of any air in your pipes; here’s what you can do to solve this issue:

  • Turn off water supply
  • Turn on faucets
    • start at the fixture closest to the main water supply 
    • open each hot and cold faucet about halfway to let the air out
  • Turn your water supply back on
  • turn off fixtures, faucets and appliances once water flows 
    • close them in the same order they were opened
  • The process can be repeated for toilets, showers, tubs, washing machine and dishwasher as well as water spigots outside the house.

What to Do When a Water Heater Bursts

It can be frustrating to experience a busted water heater. When properly functioning, the water heater should stop the flow of water when the tank gets full.  Yet, when the pipe bursts, the tank pushes water out of the tank and onto your floors, causing damage.  

It may not be that obvious or easy to detect.  But, if you find yourself having issues with your thermostat, you may want to check the water heater to make sure there are no issues. 

For your safety, it’s important to shut off the water supply and power supply.  Then, call a professional to solve the issue.  You can take photos of any damage you may have (for any possible insurance company claims) and safely clean up what you can before a specialist arrives.  

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing and Bursting:

Naturally, pipes that are constantly exposed to extreme weather conditions are more likely to freeze and burst. Keep this in mind and remember to always disconnect your shut off valves and turn them off before dropping temperature can take a toll on them. To minimize the risk, make sure you know where the shut off valve for your water is located and how you can safely operate it.  This alone already saves you huge costs in repair and prevents high levels of water damage.

Another thing you can do to make sure your pipes don’t burst is to keep them well insulated. Make sure you insulate your indoor pipes that may be residing in cold areas – like garages, attics, or basements, Proper insulation is important to keep pipes warm from the inside so they don’t freeze and expand. To further avoid pipes from freezing, you can also install a circulating pump that keeps the water temperature moderate and warn.

You should ensure that there is no water lying in the pipes as still water can freeze and impair the quality of the pipes. For this, you will need to maintain a small, steady flow of water in your water taps. Try to turn the tap on from time to time in order to avoid water build up in the pipes. Similarly, keep the water well insulated every time of the day to regulate the temperature in pipes even when it’s not in use.

It’s very apparent that freezing conditions are one of the most common reasons for burst pipes. Following the above-mentioned measures is a good way to ensure that your pipes don’t burst. Still, you should regularly check your pipes and the entire water lines of your home to ensure that your home plumbing system is working smoothly.

Who can I call when a water pipe bursts?

So many scenarios can play out when it comes to a damage to your pipes.  It may be a simple fix or it may require some professional assistance.  Most importantly, if you’re not as familiar with some of your home’s plumbing or how it all works, it’s better to call a professional. Burst pipes have to be dealt with as soon as possible to avoid further problems to your home. So, it’s a good idea to call an expert from Jenkins Restorations and get your problems fixed right away.

If you have had a pipe burst in your home, let Jenkins Restorations help you get your property and life, back to normal.

Call 888.450.6580