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What To Do When Frozen Pipes Burst

Water expanding as it freezes in pipes can quickly create enough pressure to burst them. This not only risks leaving you without hot water but also leads to a challenging clean-up and expensive repairs. So let’s find out what you can do when your frozen pipes burst. But first, how do you tell if a frozen pipe has burst in your building?

Recommended reading: How to prevent your pipe from freezing

How to tell if a frozen pipe has burst

Early detection of a burst pipe might help to prevent damage that can run out of control and lead to unnecessary costs. So, follow these steps to find any burst pipe when you suspect there might be one:

1. Inspect the inside of the Building

When checking for a burst pipe, inspect areas with a lot of plumbing like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, as well as less insulated places such as basements, attics, garages, and crawl spaces. Look for signs like dripping water, puddles, water stains on ceilings, walls, or floors, and any visible pipes showing frost, condensation, or bulging.

2. Test Faucets and Toilets

To check for a burst pipe, turn on all the faucets to see if the water is running normally. If it’s just a slow drip or there’s no water, this might mean the pipe is frozen or has burst. Also, try flushing your toilets to see if they’re working right. Any trouble flushing or odd changes in the water level in the bowl can point to a problem. Lastly, keep an eye out for any discoloration or weird smells in the water, as these could be signs of issues with your pipes.

3. Monitor the Water Meter

Check for movement in the water meter. If all water fixtures are turned off but the water meter still shows movement, this suggests water is flowing somewhere it shouldn’t be, possibly due to a burst pipe.

4. Inspect the Exterior of the Building

To detect a burst underground pipe, look for unusual water accumulations, like pools or wet patches in your yard or along exterior walls. Also, watch for sudden sinkholes or dips in the ground, as these can signal a burst water line beneath the surface.

Recommended reading: What to do when your pipes freeze

Steps To Handle Frozen Pipes That Burst

If your frozen pipes burst, acting quickly to minimize water damage and potential hazards is crucial. Here’s what you should do:

1. Shut off the water supply 

Immediately turn off the main water supply to your house. This will stop the flow of water and prevent further flooding and damage. Everyone in your household needs to know where the main shut-off valve is located and how to operate it.

2. Turn off the Electricity

If the burst pipe is near electrical outlets or appliances, turn off the electricity at the main breaker. Water and electricity can create a dangerous situation, so it’s vital to eliminate the risk of electrical shock.

3. Drain the Faucets 

After the main water is shut off, open all the faucets in your home to drain the remaining cold water from the system. This also helps to relieve any remaining pressure in the pipes.

4. Document the Damage

Take photos and make a list of any damage caused by the burst pipe. This will be important for insurance claims. Include everything that was damaged, such as floors, walls, furniture, and personal items.

5. Start Cleaning Up 

Begin mopping up the water as soon as possible to prevent mold and further water damage. If the flooding is extensive, you may need to hire a professional water damage restoration service.

6. Contact Your Insurance Company 

Inform your home insurance company about the incident. Please provide them with damage documentation and follow their guidance on the claims process.

7. Prevent Mold Growth 

After the initial cleanup, keep an eye out for mold growth in the affected areas. Mold can develop quickly in damp environments. If you spot signs of mold, you may need to contact a professional to address it.

8. Contact a Plumber

Call a professional plumber immediately. A burst pipe can cause significant damage to your home’s structure and require professional repair. The plumber will be able to fix the pipe and advise on any other necessary steps.

Call a Professional Plumber if Needed

If you have any problems with your plumbing during the cold months that are beyond you, it’s important to call a professional plumber immediately. At Vossler Plumbing Company, we have the experience and expertise to handle all of your winter plumbing needs. We offer a wide range of services, including pipe repair, drain cleaning, leak detection, and more. 

We are available 24/7 for emergency plumbing repairs. So, if you have any plumbing problems this winter, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 346-712-0050 to make a request.

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