What to do about frozen and burst pipes

Freezing temperatures outside can mean frozen pipes inside.

Frozen water in pipes causes water pressure to build up between the ice blockage and the closed faucet at the end of a pipe. Once the pressure builds, water pipes can burst at their weakest point.
Frozen and burst pipes can lead to expensive home or business plumbing repairs and water damage clean up.

burst pipe Philadelphia PA
Water damage in a Philadelphia warehouse from a burst pipe


Water damage clean up is often the biggest cost resulting from a burst pipe, especially if the flooding continues for any length of time.

Act now to prevent cold weather from taking a bite out of your home plumbing and your wallet this winter!


know where your water main shut off valve is
Prevent water damage from frozen and burst pipes. Know where your water main shut off valve is for your building

 First and most important: Make sure everyone in your home or business knows where the water main shut-off valve is and how to turn it off and on!
• If you have pipes that are at risk of freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep the pipes from freezing. The cost of this little bit of extra water is low compared to the cost of replacement and clean up after pipes burst!
• Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to let the warm air from the room help keep pipes from freezing.
• Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes and joints.
• Open the cold water faucet nearest the frozen pipe. This relieves the pressure and allows the ice to expand down the length of the pipe reducing the chance of breakage.
• If your pipe is frozen, but has not burst, you can apply heat to it by either warming the air around the pipe or applying heat to the pipe itself. It is important that the water be shut off before attempting to thaw frozen water lines or meters.
• If you decide to thaw your pipe with heat, proceed with caution
• A hair dryer, space heater, steam, or exhaust from a vacuum cleaner work well. But, if the pipe bursts as the water thaws, the electrical appliance you are using could get wet causing danger of electrocution. Never attempt to thaw a pipe with an open flame like a kerosene heater – the danger of fire is too great!
Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

water main shut off valves
Old or corroded valves on water mains need to be treated with care

• Shut off the water at the main immediately!
• If you have no water at all in your house, there is a possibility that the water meter is frozen. Oftentimes, the pipe freezes at the point where it comes out of the ground under your house, so check this first.
Remember: With any kind of water damage in the home or business, time is of the essence! Drying your home or commercial building in three days or less prevents growth of toxic mold.

For assistance with clean up after water damage from frozen and/or burst pipes in the Greater Philadelphia region, call in the experts of PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services at 877-750-7876. We’ll get you clean, dry, and sanitized quickly so no mold will grow!