Burst Water Pipe in Home - What to Do | Emergency Plumber
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Has a water pipe burst in your house? Here’s what to do

There are several contributing factors to why pipes burst in your house. We take a look at what to do when the unfortunate happens.

Is it an emergency? Then you need to call an emergency plumber

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What causes a burst water pipe?

There are several reasons a water pipe might burst in your house, and what to do about each of them depends on the underlying cause. For example, cold weather, wear and tear, and blockages are all potential issues that lead to burst pipes.

Why does a water pipe burst when it freezes?

So, why do water pipes burst in winter? When the temperature drops, frost can coat the exposed pipes and limit the water flowing from your pipes to a trickle. After the pipes warm up and thaw, the sudden change in temperature can lead to them cracking or bursting. This is due to the expansion and deflation of the pipes, which leads to damage.

Take a look at our guide on how to prevent pipes from freezing.

Repairing a burst water pipe

To avoid your home flooding, knowing how to fix a burst water pipe will limit the number of expensive repairs you need. However, to prevent your pipes from leaking or bursting in the first place, it’s worth taking a few steps to prepare your home.

  • Snugly insulate your existing pipes and taps with external pipe lagging.
  • Leave a trickle of water running through your taps with an unheated supply.
  • Fix any pre-existing leaks before the winter months start.
  • Drain your system entirely if you’re planning to go away for a long period of time to stop water collecting and freezing.

How do you fix a burst water pipe?

Follow the next steps if your pipes burst and you need a quick fix.

  1. Look for pre-existing drips coming from your pipes, especially in colder places like lofts or garages.
  2. Locate your stop tap, which is often in the cupboard under your kitchen sink, and turn it clockwise to cut off your water supply.
  3. Turn off your heating and open all your taps to quickly drain the system.
  4. Switch off your electricity at the mains if there’s water near any electric supply.
  5. Use old towels or a bunch of robust kitchen rolls to soak up any excess water.
  6. Check your home insurance to see if it covers burst pipes.
  7. Call a plumber to come and fix your burst pipes.

Read this blog to learn more about getting your home winter ready.

How do you fix a burst water pipe yourself?

If you’re the DIY sort, you might want to fix your pipes yourself. If you’re able to locate the leak, you’ll need some pipe cutters, a repair kit, pliers, solder, an adjustable pipe wrench, and some know-how. Some quick and easy fixes include:

  • Epoxy putty to temporarily stop leaks.
  • Fibreglass tape and polyurethane resin for a more durable patch-up job (can combine with epoxy putty).
  • Clamps with sleeves.

To fit clamps and sleeves, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your mains water supply and dry out the pipe before you work on it by turning off all the faucets.
  2. Make sure you’ve chosen the right pipe material.
  3. Measure your exterior pipe’s diameter using a pipe wrench (measure the distance from one jaw to the other).
  4. Use a metallic file to smooth any rough edges around your burst pipe.
  5. Centre the rubber sleeve over the burst.
  6. Make sure the seam is facing the opposite direction to the burst.
  7. Place the metallic clamps around the rubber sleeve.
  8. Tighten the clamps’ screws with a screwdriver.
  9. Open the water supply to check for leaks – repeat process or adjust as necessary.

One of the longer-lasting ways to repair your pipes yourself is to use slip coupling with compression capabilities. Just make sure its diameter is equal to the external pipe you’re fixing. You’ll then need to know how to fit and solder the temporary fix. Any mistakes will result in the pipe bursting again, so if you’re at all unsure, hire a professional.

NB: Most DIY fixes are temporary, so it’s always worth hiring a professional regardless. They’ll offer a more permanent and long-lasting solution, such as a full pipe replacement.


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How much does it cost to fix a burst water pipe?

Most plumber charge a call-out fee, which averages £270 for the day. some may also offer a flat rate of around £300 for leaking pipe repairs.

Read our blog: How much does it cost to repair a leaking water pipe? for more information on how much a burst water pipe repair might set you back.


What to do with a burst water pipe outside your house?

The process of fixing a burst pipe outside your house is similar to the process of fixing one inside it. Use an emergency repair kit or call in a professional to help ensure a permanent solution.

Burst water pipe and who to call

You’ll need to call a plumber with a speciality in fixing burst pipes to come and undertake repairs for you. Alternatively, call your insurance company who’ll be able to advise on the best next steps.

Who is responsible for burst water pipes?

Most burst pipes are your responsibility to fix. Anything that sits on your property within your boundary is your responsibility – unless there’s an issue with the drains or mains supply that’s got nothing to do with you.

What happens if a pipe freezes and bursts?

When water turns into a solid via the freezing process, the volume expands by 9%. Therefore, when it happens within a closed pipe, the ice displaces the water and increases its pressure exponentially, leading to a burst pipe over time.

How long can pipes be frozen before they burst?

It doesn’t take long for frozen pipes to burst unless the expanding ice can push water through the faucets. Therefore, burst pipes can happen within 6 hours.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, there’s more where this came from. Read our blog for more how-tos, expert advice and inspiration.

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