Cyclone Contracting Blog

What do I do if a pipe freezes or bursts this winter?

Posted by Jeremy Nichols on Jan 22, 2016 11:39:29 AM


In our last blog post, we covered how to prevent pipes in your home from freezing and bursting. Today, we’ll talk about what to do in case your pipes do freeze or burst. Hopefully you'll never have to experience this kind of plumbing emergency, but it’s always good to be prepared in case you do.

What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze

If you turn on the faucet and nothing happens, or only a slight drip of water comes out, your pipes could be frozen. First, close your main shutoff valve so you don’t have extra water flowing into your pipes. If extra water tries to squeeze through an already frozen pipe, enough pressure could build up inside the pipe that it could burst. Once the main shutoff is closed, turn your faucet on. This will keep the tap open so any water that hasn’t frozen or that thaws can escape. This will also help the frozen water inside your pipes begin to thaw. Keep your faucet on until you have a normal, full pressure stream of water coming out.

If simply keeping your faucet on until you have full water pressure doesn’t thaw your pipes, you can try warming your pipes with a hair dryer, hot water bottle, heating pad, warm rag, or space heater. Keep your faucet turned on the entire time so pressure can be released, otherwise your pipe could burst. NEVER use a candle or open flame to thaw your pipes. If you aren’t comfortable thawing your pipes on your own, contact your plumber to assist you. It’s always better to let a professional handle a situation that you aren’t comfortable with.

Once your frozen pipe is thawed, implement the instructions we discussed in “How to Prevent Frozen Pipes in the Winter.”

What to Do if Your Pipes Burst

If a pipe bursts, quickly and immediately close the main shutoff valve in your home to prevent more water from entering your plumbing system (and spilling out of the hole in your pipe). Hundreds of gallons of water could potentially escape from even a very small crack in a pipe and quickly cause extensive damage to a home. You should also shut off electricity in the affected part of your home to avoid shocking, electrocution, and fire. After your shutoff valve is closed, turn on the tap nearest to the burst pipe to release the water, pressure, and steam that’s trapped in that pipe. Grab buckets and towels to try to protect your home from the water spilling from your pipe. Next, call an emergency service plumber! Have the number of a good, trustworthy plumber on hand at all times, such as posted to the refrigerator or programmed into your cell phone (or both), so in an emergency such is this you'll be prepared.


Call Cyclone Contracting for Ames area emergency plumbing services!

If you live in or around Ames or Story County and run into a plumbing emergency, such as frozen or burst pipes, give us a call! We’ll send one of our professional plumbers out promptly to deal with the problem. Our number is 515-203-3353. If you have a non-emergency, you can either call us or shoot us an email at, and we’ll get back to you soon!

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Topics: ames plumbing, ames emergency plumber, ames emergency plumbing