What to Do if Your Water Pipe Bursts



A burst water pipe can quickly become an expensive cleanup and repair if left unchecked. While there are some steps you can take to prevent pipe bursts, sometimes life surprises you. If you're confronted with water damage and broken pipes, here are the steps you should follow to limit commercial water damage and cleanup.

What Causes a Busted Water Pipe?

If you see water damage from broken pipes, you'll want to look for the cause. Spending money on commercial water remediation is essential once pipes burst, but you need to understand why your pipes burst in the first place so you can prevent it from happening again. There are several reasons your commercial building's lines may have failed, including:

Water Pressure

Clogs are one of the leading causes of water pressure problems in pipes. If a pipe gets blocked, the water pressure builds up inside. Eventually, the pipes will burst due to the force of the water, sending water all over your building. The water will cause significant damage to your space, and the strength of the pipes bursting can damage pipes, faucets, toilets and fixtures.


When temperatures are above freezing, water can freely move through your pipes. However, once it becomes cold enough to freeze, your pipes might be in danger of bursting. When the water in your pipes freezes solid, it expands. This expansion strains the pipes and can cause them to burst at their weak points, which are typically the joints.


Corrosion is usually only a problem in older commercial buildings, as pipes used to be made from galvanized iron or copper. Over time, minerals inside the water wear away the galvanized coating on these older pipes. Once this coating is gone, the pipe metal begins to rust. When the rust becomes too extensive or concentrated, the pipes fail.

Loose Clips and Brackets

Have you ever noticed an unusual knocking sound coming from your pipes? It might be the result of loose brackets and clips. These brackets and clips hold your pipes in place. If they become loose, the pipes will start to move around as water moves through them. Your pipes will fail if you don't secure or replace these clips and brackets.


Steps for Starting Commercial Water Damage Restoration

You'll need to act quickly if you've found yourself with burst pipes and some severe water leakage. The faster you respond to the damage and reach out for help, the sooner you can get everything fixed, and the less expensive the job will be. You should have a plan in place so that you know exactly what to do in the event of commercial water damage.

To help you stay prepared, here are the steps you need to take if your pipes burst:

  1. Shut off the electricity: Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Turn off the power in the impacted area so any live wires, outlets and plugs avoid coming into contact with the leaks.
  2. Find the leak: Before you can shut off your water, you need to find the source of the leak. Once you know where it's coming from, you can shut off the right valves and show professionals where they need to work. Sometimes, leaks are easy to spot — you might find the source quickly by following the water. However, if the pipe bursts in the walls, you'll have to track the damage to try and pinpoint the source.
  3. Shut off the water: After finding the leak, you need to shut off your water main — this prevents more water from leaking and damaging your building.
  4. Catch the water: Once the water is shut off, you'll still have to deal with the water in the pipes, as it'll continue to leak out from the damaged pipes. If you can, contain any water still leaking out with waterproof buckets or containers. The more water you catch, the less severe the damage will be.
  5. Contact insurance: Let your insurance company know you have commercial water damage as soon as possible. Take photos of all damage, which will help when you file your claim.
  6. Call for professional help: Once you've contained the leak, it's time to seek professional help. Getting a professional commercial restoration is the best way to minimize damage and ensure your business is up and running as soon as possible. An expert service will have commercial tools to handle your issue, no matter the category of water damage you've experienced. They'll work quickly and efficiently to restore your space.

How to Prevent Pipes From Bursting

Whether your pipes recently burst and you want to avoid it happening again, or you want to make sure you catch problems before leaks happen, there are steps you can take. Here are some preventative measures to help protect your pipes and business from future issues:

  • Keep the heat running: Don't let your business's indoor temperature get below 40 degrees Fahrenheit — if your heat turns off and the water inside your pipes freezes, they'll be more likely to burst. In the event of extreme cold, keep your faucets running slightly. The constant movement will help keep the water from settling in the pipes and freezing.
  • Replace old pipes: Have your pipes evaluated — if they're too old, you might need to replace them. Newer pipes won't fail like copper and galvanized iron pipes, and you'll have to perform fewer repairs.
  • Clear drainage: Regularly check and clear all gutters, downspouts, scuppers and drains. Make sure they're kept clear of any blockages. If you notice reduced water pressure in one part of your building, you'll want to check for a block in the pipe. Clear it to prevent bursting pipes.
  • Perform required maintenance: Ensure your building follows all the necessary maintenance schedules. Regular maintenance saves you money on expensive damages and keeps your facility running efficiently.

Let ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park Handle Commercial Water Damage Cleanup

A burst pipe can happen at any time, catching you off guard and temporarily putting your business out of commission. If you want quick, effective commercial water damage response, turn to ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park.

We offer 24/7 response services — no matter when you call us, we'll send our expert team to evaluate, clean, sanitize and deodorize the affected area. We have the training and equipment to safely restore your commercial building and reduce your losses.

If you're in Chicago, Illinois, and need water, fire or mold remediation, contact us today.


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