The dangers of a burst pipe


How to deal with a burst pipe. 

With the colder seasons approaching, it is vital to be aware of the potential threat of a burst pipe – the risk of which dramatically increases in cold weather.

What causes a burst pipe?

The primary cause of a burst pipe is low temperatures.

This is because, during cold and freezing conditions, water in exposed pipes will freeze and then expand, which leads to a build-up of high pressure that ruptures the pipe and can cause flooding.

Flooding can also occur when frozen water thaws and leaks from pipes or appliances like radiators and boilers.

Potential Damages

The biggest threat of a burst pipe is damage from flooding, as the build-up of water can be substantial and cause considerable damage to your home.

This can include breakages to your personal belongings and staining your furniture or even lead to damp and mould growth, which can threaten your health and well-being.

Naturally,  this can be upsetting and cause emotional distress, particularly if your belongings and sentimental items are damaged or destroyed.


Luckily, there are several things you can do to stop this from happening:

Insulate your pipes

Insulating your pipes will help prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting.

If you find a frozen pipe at ground level that is easily accessible, you could try to thaw it out.

However, be very careful with this.

If you are unsure, always contact a professional.

Turn off your water main

When leaving your home over winter or if you have another property left unattended, we recommend turning the water off at the main stopcock.

These are typically located downstairs, by your gas meter or under your kitchen sink.

Up to 9600 litres of water (the equivalent of 48 bathtubs) can build up in a single day, so turning off the water at the mains can significantly reduce the risk of a burst pipe.

Drain your taps

There will still be a lot of water in pipes and tanks, so just turning off the water won’t suffice.

Therefore, if leaving your property unoccupied for an extended period, draining down the heating system and shutting off your water supply can better prevent burst pipes.

If you are going to do this, we recommend getting advice from a heating engineer or plumber on how to do so safely.

Service your boiler

Getting your boiler serviced annually can avoid breakdowns during cold spells.

Therefore, your property doesn’t reach cold enough temperatures for pipes to freeze.

Shut off outside water sources

External water sources like garden taps can cause burst pipes as they are more exposed to the elements and cold temperatures.

Who to call in the event of a burst pipe

Don’t know what to do next? We do.

If a pipe does burst in your home, the best thing to do is to act quickly and turn off the water supply and any electrical items, including your water heating system, in case of flooding.

Should the worst happen, and the cold weather or a burst pipe cause flooding in your home, we will deal with the aftermath and restoration.

Call 0845 762 6828 for emergencies or find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business for expert restoration from flooding and trauma damage.