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What Are The Signs Of A Burst Pipe

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  • 02-05-2023
What Are The Signs Of A Burst Pipe

Have you ben asking: what are the signs of a burst pipe? This article looks at how to know if your pipe is burst and what to do about a broken pipe. PPP Plumbing Services offer local general plumbing for Norwich and Norfolk. Find out more about dealing with burst pipes.

How Do You Know Your Pipe Burst?

Most people tend to only worry about the condition of their plumbing when they sense a problem arising, and sometimes this problem may be a burst pipe, releasing sewage, water, and naturally occurring gases.

Yet it can be challenging to assess what the root of your plumbing issue is, and whether or not it is the result of busted water pipes near tension points. Burst pipework isn't the dramatic event that many perceive it to be, it is typically subtle and unnoticeable, especially when underground or hidden behind walls.

Here are some of the key or obvious signs to look out for that imply the plumbing problem must be addressed by professionals. 

 Increased Water Bills

If you uncover that your water pressure is dramatically fluctuating, and there is less and less water appearing from your taps than ever, yet your water bill is skyrocketing, this is one of the signs of a burst pipe or leaking pipework system. 

Standing water is gradually drained from your pipes before you have the opportunity to utilise your appliances.

Additionally, if you notice that your water pressure is consistent throughout all household or property fixtures, yet your water bills remain unusually high, the best option is to get in immediate contact with a professional plumber or local engineer. 

You want to ensure you address the problem as quickly as possible before it becomes to too big to deal with. 

What Are The Signs Of A Burst Pipe? General Plumbing Norwich and Norfolk

 Water Marks

Another sign that your pipes may have burst is if you begin noticing watermarks across your walls, ceilings, and various surfaces. Spots that are coated with water stains are often much darker, cooler and squishy in texture when touched due to excess moisture in the air.

You may notice wall coverings, like paint, wallpaper, or pipe cover plates, begin expanding due to the amount of water they have absorbed from your burst pipes.

Often, in cases with prominent watermarks, damaged pipes are buried and located underneath plaster boards or cement, which means the costs of repair would be incredibly expensive for yourself and your insurance company. 

Whilst this may be the case, repair work is a wise investment, as otherwise, you may find your building or household subject to significant structural damage. 

 Foul Odours

Microorganisms are known to thrive in areas with a frequent, consistent water supply, which is why you may discover significant growth whenever pipes burst.

Such microorganisms are foul-smelling and tend to release funky odours like rotten eggs that are incredibly noticeable when you are close-by infected areas.

Through locating the source of such strong scents, you can successfully uncover the damp areas of your home and the damaged aspects of your pipework system. 

 Puddle Formation 

A puddle is one of the clearest signs of a small or large leak inside or outside your home; however, if puddles begin forming away from the source, this is another sign that your pipes may have burst. 

When water begins leaking from burst pipes, you may find that any affected areas with exposed pipework are where puddles typically form, such as beneath your sinks or adjacent cabinets.

We recommend getting in touch with an engineer or licensed plumber as soon as possible as these slow leaks could trickle across your home into areas such as the kitchen and cause flooding.

Investigate your property for other potential puddles, and ensure there aren't any leaky pipes occurring above live wires or electrical devices. 

Puddle Formation - What Are The Signs Of A Burst Pipe?

 Water Leaking Sounds

Suppose everything in your home or building is turned off, such as the showers, taps, and other appliances that provide a main water supply, yet you can hear dripping sounds. It can often be challenging to assess the whereabouts of the gurgling noises, so if you cannot locate it immediately, this may be a sign of damaged pipework.

The dripping water from your pipes will create puddles, so if you follow the puddles or trace the sound you may be able to find the source.

On the other hand, if your water pipes are making noises like sound like clanging, this isn't always an indication of a problem, it sometimes may be the sound of hot water flowing throughout your central heating system, so in this case, there is no need to begin tearing down the walls and repairing the plumbing.

However, if you need the problem diagnosed, we encourage you to contact a professional to identify the problem. 

 Fungi & Algae Growth

Fungi, such as mushrooms and mould, are more likely to grow in dark, damp locations; meaning you may find that fungal growth may exist inside pipework or underneath sinks and this is a massive indicator of damage. The water is obtained by the fungi from the burst pipe, and this is what allows it to grow.

You can also find algae grow in predominantly damp areas or areas with a lack of any air conditioner, yet require plenty of sunlight to efficiently develop, so you may not discover it growing under your sinks.

On the other hand, if you have wet surfaces or walls throughout your home or property, then algae may thrive. Fungi and algae grow in different colours to the surfaces they attach onto, so it is relatively easy to spot when they are growing on damaged pipes or indoors.

Such growth is a bad sign that your plumbing system has been faulty for so long that visible organisms have begun flourishing on them like a breeding ground, so contact professionals immediately. 

 Fluctuating Water Pressure

Before it can reach the designated exit point or tap, you'll find that water will escape bursting pipes from holes created by further damage.

The lack of water flowing through the same exit point will mean that once it arrives at the tap, it will have lost a significant amount of pressure.

You'll often find that this does not affect the functionality of your fixtures, yet they may send out water at a lower pressure, or much less water than anticipated.

If the damage is severe, you may experience little to no water coming from your taps.

Accompanied by fluctuating water pressure is the sound of water leaking, so if you notice both of these signs at once, we recommend contacting a professional to help repair the issues. 

Fluctuating Water Pressure - What Are The Signs Of A Burst Pipe?

 Contaminated Water

Burst pipes can spray out significant amounts of water if neglected, which, in turn, prevents many microorganisms and pollutants from contaminating the water inside before it reaches the major fixtures and tap appliances inside your property.

Yet, there are numerous pipes throughout a household or building that may only hold water until an appliance is being used, meaning if there is contamination, it will easily be picked up with the turning on of a tap.

When water isn't turned on or is leaking out of your existing pipes, you'll find that they are at dangerous risk of picking up microorganisms, rust particles and dirt. As water passes through, it will collect such particles, carrying them down to your fixtures, resulting in discoloured water with a brownish tint.

Contaminated water is a giant risk that can cause plenty of damage to someone's health and well-being, which is why it should never be consumed. 

What to Do About a Broken Pipe

Here are three keys steps to follow when confronted with issues, such as broken or burst pipes:

 Shut Off the Water

For those with a burst pipe in their home, the first step is to shut off the water supply, as this will ensure you mitigate the problem, preventing extensive water damage from incurring. You're likely to find your shut-off valve for the mains supply in your basement, near your water heater, or in a crawl space.

Turning off your water will help reduce the level of pressure inside your existing pipework system, and, if you suspect your pipes have burst due to the cold winter weather, it will prevent further frozen pipes. 

 Shut Off Electric

According to the size or extremity of your leak, we would encourage home or property owners to shut off the electricity immediately.

Those suspecting the leaking sewage water may come into contact with close-by fuse boxes or electricals, must take such precautions, and in the event that your electricals or cables have already been affected, call a professional.

All members of the household or individuals inside the building must steer clear of any exposed wires, water puddles and electric devices. 

What To Do About A Broken Pipe - General Plumbing Norwich and Norfolk

 Call a Professional Plumber

We highly recommend your last port-of-call be getting in contact with a qualified professional that can accurately identify and fix a broken pipe.

Search for the best quality professionals in your local area to help avoid serious damage to your domestic or commercial property. 

How long does it take to fix a burst water pipe?

The answers to such questions vary depending on the circumstances, meaning there's no practice that fits every scenario. You'll find that the length of time it takes a professional engineer to repair a burst pipe depends on the following factors:

  1. The condition and extent of your pipe's corrosion, the more complex, the longer it will take.
  2. If you have a collapsed pipe, this may take longer to repair, especially if you are close to sewer lines.
  3. If there are pests inside your property or piping, such as birds or rodents.
  4. A puncture in your external pipes from a tree root will make the process more complex and longer.

Through hiring and accepting professional help with your faulty or burst pipework, you'll often find that they can successfully solve the issues in a number of hours. 

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