What to Do When You Discover a Pipe Burst in Your Home

All homes are susceptible to the negative consequences of pipe bursts. While you may not know when this plumbing issue will occur, it’s important to be familiar with the various steps to take when this problem occurs. To prevent damage to your wood flooring, carpets, tile, and drywall during this type of emergency, we recommend becoming familiar with the location of the water shut-off valve in your home. 

The last thing you want to do during a water pipe burst is search for the shut-off valve. When it comes to preventing damage to your property, there are not available seconds to waste. We recommend performing the following steps to quickly and safely stop a pipe leak and prevent costly repairs.

Steps to Take When You Find a Burst Water Pipe

1.) Turn Off the Main Water Supply

If you suspect a water line leak or a burst water pipe, the first step you should take is deactivating the water supply to prevent damage to belongings such as electronics, glassware, flooring, and furniture.

To deactivate the water supply, you will need to find the main water shut-off wave on the interior of your home. A majority of shut-off valves will be installed on the boundary of your house near the street. This is the area that receives the incoming water supply from the local area. Once you locate the valve, turn the handle to the off position.

Straight Handle Water Shut-Off Valves

This type of water shut-off valve features a straight metal knob that is able to be moved in a single direction. If the water supply in the home in on, this straight knob will be in a parallel position to the water line. To deactivate the water supply, pull the handle in the opposite direction. To confirm the water is off, walk to the closest sink or fixture and turn it on. The water supply should be cut off after a couple of seconds.

Circular Water Shut-Off Valves

If your home was built with circular water shut-off valves, rotate the handle in a clockwise position to deactivate the water in your house. To receive assistance, give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or schedule an appointment online. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers water line installation, maintenance, and repair services to homes in Jacksonville and other locations in Florida.

Once you are finished adjusting the water shut-off valve, you will need to remove the water from the pipes behind your walls. We recommend turning on each of the sinks in your home. In addition, flush each of the toilets a couple of times to flush the water lines. Next, you should shut the water heater off and navigate to each of the sinks in your home to ensure the warm water supply is cut off. The leaking water from the pipe burst will stop once all of the pipes are drained.

2.) Find the Damaged Pipe

Conduct a walkthrough of the home to determine the exact location of the water pipe burst. Once you find the damaged pipe, find and inspect the crack or damaged pipe joint to gain an understanding of the issue. If the burst happened under the kitchen sink, we recommend driving to the hardware store to purchase and install a new pipe.

If the breakage is located on a large water pipe behind the walls, we recommend contacting a professional to receive assistance with a water line repair, installation, or tune-up. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers repiping services near you in Jacksonville, Florida. Give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 to receive support with this emergency plumbing issue.

3.) Fix the Burst Water Pipe

If the leak is located on an internal pipe under a sink, fixture, or appliance, you may be able to patch the hole or crack to prevent additional water leakage. Industrial tap may also be used to eliminate minor breakages in water lines. For severe water pipe bursts, we recommend purchasing a new pipe to prevent further damage. 

Types of pipes that are able to be used under sinks and appliances include PEX, PVC, ABS, and copper. Your local hardware store will supply each of these pipes and more for residential plumbing systems. While it may be easy to repair or replace sewer or water lines under a sink or appliance, the process can be more challenging for main water lines behind walls or ceilings.

For all types of ruptures behind your walls and ceilings, contact a professional to perform a water line repair or repiping. This type of project requires advanced tools, equipment, and expertise to perform. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers water line installation, maintenance, and replacement services in Jacksonville and other areas of Florida. Give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or fill out our Appointment Form to receive immediate assistance with a repiping issue.

4.) Contact Your Insurance Company

Once you have repaired the pipe burst or contacted a local plumber, we recommend calling your insurance company to submit a homeowners insurance claim. Your local insurance representative will travel to your property to inspect the damage to your walls, ceilings, floors, hardware, appliances, furniture, and more.

Additionally, we recommend grabbing a camera to take photos of the damage around the home. It is always helpful to have proof of all damaged assets to ensure you are able to make a case against the insurance company if they refuse to cover something.

Why Do Water Pipes Burst?

From freezing temperatures, corrosion, tree roots, to environmental changes, there are a variety of reasons a pipe may burst in your home. To prevent damage to the furniture and appliances in your home, it’s important to be aware of the various causes of pipe bursts to ensure you are able to detect and combat the issue. Keep reading to learn more about why water pipe bursts occur in homes.

Water Line Corrosion

Most types of plumbing pipes are engineered to perform flawlessly for decades. However, the pipes in your home will not last forever. As a water line reaches the end of its lifespan, you may begin to notice signs of corrosion such as odd tasting water. Discolored water is another indicator of a corroded water line.

Water pipes are also susceptible to mineral build-up from your water supply. Over time, this issue will cause a decrease in water pressure and pipe bursts. If you have old galvanized iron pipes behind your walls, the minerals from hard water will cause the galvanized layer of the pipe to deteriorate over time. 

Once this layer of the pipe is gone, the iron pipes can cause health consequences such as illnesses from lead. To avoid a burst water pipe and illnesses, give our team a call by phone at (904) 724-2455. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers water line repair, installation, and replacement services to homes in Jacksonville and other areas of Florida.

Cold Temperatures

The most common cause of pipe bursts is frigid temperatures throughout the winter season. When the outdoor temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat supply from your exterior water lines is pushed to the outdoor air. This causes the water in the pipes behind your exterior walls to freeze. As the water is converted to ice, the pressure in the pipes is increased to an unsafe level. 

In moderate scenarios, a frozen pipe will halt the flow of water to your plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, shower heads, fixtures, and water hoses. In severe situations, the formation of ice will cause a pipe burst to occur behind the drywall of your home. A burst water pipe has the potential to cause damage to the drywall, flooring, furniture, electronics, appliances, and hardware in your house.

You may be wondering why ice causes the pressure in pipes to increase. This is because ice has a large volume when compared to water. As a result, the water in your pipes becomes larger as it is transformed into ice. Pipe bursts in houses are common at pipe joints. However, a breakage may also form on the exterior of a pipe if the pressure is high enough.

Other Common Causes of Water Pipe Bursts

Another common cause of water pipe bursts is the intrusion of tree roots in the local plumbing system. When the water lines below your house become older, it is not uncommon for small leaks to form on pipe walls or joints. Since tree roots are attracted to water, they will begin to migrate to the area of the leak. Once the tree roots have reached the leaking pipe, they will grow around the exterior wall. Since the pipes aren’t designed to handle the excess pressure from the tree roots, they will eventually burst.

A less common cause of pipe bursts is environmental changes. If there is a construction project occurring near your home, this can lead to the shifting of soil. Once the weight of the soil becomes too heavy for the plumbing line to withstand, this may cause a water pipe burst under the house. Give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 to receive help with a repiping project.

Trustworthy Repiping & Water Line Repair Services

The emergency plumbers at Bill Fenwick Plumbing are able to replace all types of pipes throughout your home. Since 1969 we’ve proudly provided plumbing services to homes in Jacksonville and other locations of Florida. From water line repair, water heater installation, gas line maintenance, to sump pump repair, there is no issue too big or small for our team. Give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or book an appointment online to receive help.