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How to Tell if a Pipe Has Burst

How to Tell if a Pipe Has Burst in Your Home

A burst pipe is an emergency plumbing situation. There's no doubt about it. That’s why it’s important to be able to recognize when you have a burst pipe, and it’s important to find out quickly. Burst pipes can cause massive pools of running water, resulting in huge amounts of water damage to your home if left unchecked.

While the results may be obvious, not all signs of a broken pipe are as blatant, so before you run into this problem (or if you believe you could have a burst pipe already needs to be addressed) it’s important to learn how to tell if a pipe has burst.

Signs a Pipe has Burst

As a homeowner, it's important to know how to tell if a pipe burst and recognize the signs. Learning how to tell if a pipe burst can save you from a lot of expensive water damage repairs. Not all of these automatically indicate that your pipe has definitely burst, but they are important signs that your plumbing may need professional attention. 

Water Pressure Fluctuates

Pay attention to your water pressure. If there isn’t any water or if the water pressure fluctuates, this is a clear sign that your water is going somewhere else. So if you’re washing your hands or standing in the shower and you notice a drastic drop in pressure, you may have a burst pipe.

Water has a Brownish Tint

If the water running from your faucet is brownish, don’t drink it. A brownish tint to your water could mean you have rust in your pipes, that your pipes are corroded, or that there are some other contaminants in your water. If this is the case, your pipes could be so corroded that they’re about to burst or there could even be a burst pipe letting in contaminated water.

Wet Stains on Walls

How to tell if you have a burst pipe: look to your walls. Discoloration on your walls or ceiling is an immediate red flag since it’s a clear sign that there is water in your home where it shouldn’t be. Water discoloration on the ceiling could mean you have a burst pipe leading to an upstairs bathroom, while stains on the walls usually means a pipe running through your wall is leaking in some way. Either way, it needs to be addressed by a professional.

Pipes Smell

If your pipe has burst because of a clog, then the backup that’s built up in the pipes can cause a foul smell. Since the only place for that smell to escape is back up, that smell can come up through your kitchen, bathrooms, or anywhere else you have a water supply line.

Your Water Bill Goes Up

Your wallet may know how to tell if a pipe has burst. If your water bill spikes without any significant increase in your water usage, that’s a clear sign that an excess of water is heading somewhere. Have your pipes checked by a professional plumber to see what’s caused the spike in your water bill.

What to do if You Notice a Pipe has Burst

When you realize that you have a burst pipe, here are the immediate steps you should follow:

  • Shut off your water
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Contact a plumbing professional
  • Document the damage (with photos if possible)
  • Clean up water and allow things to dry out

How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing or Bursting

To help protect your pipes from freezing and bursting in the wintertime, it’s important to drain any water from all exterior water supply lines. Close any valves supplying water to exterior hoses, then open up the exterior valves so any water can drain out. Keep your attics and basements insulated to keep the temperatures safe around your piping. Insulate hot and cold water pipe lines. Consider relocating any exposed pipes to help increase the protection from freezing temperatures.

Call John C. Flood for Water and Sewer Pipe Repairs

Now that you know how to tell if a pipe burst, you’re better prepared to react to the situation quickly and appropriately. Turning your water off immediately and calling in John C. Flood for an emergency plumbing appointment can help save you from severe water damages. Don’t wait for the flooding to get bad. Get your plumbing repaired right away.