Rusty burst pipe squirting water at high pressure
Plumbing

A Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do After a Frozen Pipe Burst

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Are you contending with a frozen pipe burst? The good news is that the ice may melt away on its own over time.

However, it can be harder to find the burst pipe, especially if it’s behind a wall. While waiting for the plumber, shut off the water in your home, clean up where necessary, and plug the leak (if possible).

The best way to solve the issue is to contact an emergency plumbing service. The best emergency plumbers offer services on the weekends.

This article will show you the best way to deal with a burst frozen pipe. Read further to know more.

Recognize the Warning Signs

The most obvious sign is that water won’t flow when you turn on the valve. Turn on the hot and cold water lines to see if they’re working. Plus, flush the toilet to see if it functions properly.

You may also notice dripping water. If the water is leaking, you may notice a smell. Also, look for water spots and stains on the walls or ceiling. Strange noises may also occur, such as whistling or clanking noises.

Further, you may see bulged areas within exposed pipes. If the pipes are exposed to the elements, you may notice frost as well.

Turn Off the Water

Since water expands, turn off the water in your home to avoid further damage. When ice forms within the pipes, the pressure can expand from 40 psi to as much as 40,000 psi. This intense pressure usually causes a pipe rupture.

Note: If you’re still unsure about a pipe burst, check the water meter. If the meter moves while the water is off, you’re contending with a burst pipe.

You may also want to shut off your electricity, as leaking water may seep into electrical circuits. Then, leave the faucets open to relieve the pressure within the pipes.

Contact a Plumber

After mitigating the problem, contact an emergency plumber immediately. Many plumbers will accommodate visits during off-hours. The benefits of hiring a plumber include:

Guaranteed work: Professional plumbers guarantee their work, which means they’ll return in the future if they didn’t fix the problem the first time. You could spend hours or days trying to fix a ruptured pipe.

Saved time: You won’t have to go through the hassle of finding the ruptured pipe. Also, the broken pipe may be located in an inaccessible area.

Latest equipment: Plumbers have the latest plumbing tools and equipment that most residents don’t have.

Further, plumbers can provide the best tips on thawing a frozen pipe.

Clean Up the Water

You may have standing water in your home and not know it. A pipe burst is more likely to occur in unheated parts of the home.

Garages, basements, and attics are common places where pipes can freeze.

As you wait for the plumber, you should clean up pools of water for the following reasons:

  • Cleaning up the water will make the plumber’s job much easier.
  • Water pools can lead to slips and falls.
  • Water can pose a fire hazard if it leaks near electrical outlets.
  • Water can cause wood rot.
  • Excess water can cause mold and/or mildew to form.

You can start by mopping up water pools with a mop and bucket. Also, you can clean up the water with towels or rags. If you have a shop vacuum, use it to suck away the water.

If you have water leaking behind the walls or ceiling, use a dehumidifier to eliminate the excess water. You can also use a ceiling or heavy-duty fan to dry the area.

Professionals normally have heavy-duty fans. Your plumber may provide the necessary tools and equipment needed to dry an inaccessible area. If you don’t have fans or a dehumidifier, you can open the windows to air out the place.

Heating the Area

For ceiling fans, turn the fan on a reverse setting to foster heat instead of cold air. Additionally, you can use a portable heater to heat a particular area. This is especially important in areas that don’t receive as much heat.

Note: In many cases, the ice within pipes will melt on its own during the daytime.

Further, hairdryers are useful if you know the area that harbors the broken pipe. Leave the faucet on as you apply the heat to foster better airflow.

Stopping the Leak

If you’re dealing with a heavy leak, you can apply rubber over the exposed area to mitigate the damage. This is a good option as you wait for the plumber. Clamps are useful as well. There are times when clamps and rubber will be useful.

Apply a block of wood over the rubber before adding the clamp. The wood will spread out the pressure evenly and prevent further damage.

This plan is a great alternative if you don’t have many tools at your disposal. Ensure that you’re using a C-clamp. This method is a great temporary solution until the plumber arrives.

Dealing with a Frozen Pipe Burst

To deal with a frozen pipe burst effectively, shut off your water and electricity. Shutting off the electricity will prevent electrical hazards. Turning off the water will prevent excess pressure from building up.

You should call a plumber immediately, especially if you don’t know the origin of the burst pipe. In the meantime, you can clean up the spilled water or plug the leak if you can find it.

Interested in reading more? Read more on our blog to learn more about other home improvement topics.

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