Burst Water Main? Do This While Waiting For the Plumber

Daniel Paul
April 29, 2022

When a water main bursts, you might become overwhelmed in an instant. Water is splattering everywhere, causing havoc on your property and fueling your terror. With a bit of forethought and planning ahead of time, you can avoid fear and manage a water main rupture with confidence.

Before we go into the proper response strategy for water main breaks, you should know your top priority: CALL THE PLUMBER! Calling a plumber is your first line of protection against significant water main damage.

Now that expert assistance is on its way; you may begin implementing your action plan to deal with your ruptured water main emergency. Your initial idea and plan of action should be to "turn off the water to the home."

1. Find the Main Water Shut Off Valve

You must identify where the main water shut-off valve for your house is and turn it off; this will stop water from flowing into your home and help control the damage. Water main shut off valves, and main water cut-off valves are typically located in your basement, garage, or possibly outside your house.

Generally, you have to turn the water main shut-off valve clockwise to close it. Sometimes the water main shut off valve is a gate valve, and you can lift the lever to close it.

If you are unsure where your main water shut off valve is, or are unsure how to turn it off, consult with your neighbours, or call your local water utility and ask for assistance.

2. Drain All the Faucets

Pipes usually rupture due to a sudden increase in pressure. This can happen in the winter when water freezes within a pipe and continues to freeze and expand, increasing the water pressure between the ice blockage and the closed faucet at the end.

You can release the pressure by opening the faucet's taps to avoid future difficulties. This will allow any water that is still within them to drain. Keep the faucets open until the plumber arrives and makes any required repairs.

3. Take Photos

Now that the issue has been contained, begin photographing the incident and documenting any damage to your house and goods. And don't get rid of anything just yet. When you call your insurance provider, you'll want as much proof as possible on your side.

4. Start Tidying Up

If you're fortunate enough to know where the leak is coming from, start wiping up surplus water to avoid mould and mildew with your handy mop and bucket.

5. Take Preventative Measures

The most common cause of burst water mains is frozen pipes. The significant expense of replacing major water lines will push you to keep your pipes from freezing. Taking a few additional measures now will save you time, frustration, and money afterwards.

  • Allow warm air to reach the pipes to prevent them from freezing.
  • When you're not at home, ensure sure the temperature stays above freezing.
  • Pipe sleeves or heat tape can be used to insulate exposed pipes from the cold.
  • Hire a skilled plumber to inspect your pipes for pinhole leaks, leading to frozen pipes. It's challenging to find and repair tiny leaks


You've read this far and now have the tools to handle a burst water main, and are most likely not panicking quite as much. At this point, you know what to do if you have a burst water main in your home: call your plumber, find the main water shut off valve, drain all the faucets, and take photos before cleaning up the mess.

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