With the cold snap last week my husband that was helping with basic operations skipped over a task on his list that was vital to preventing pipes from freezing. This lead to a pipe bursting in our home and I realized odds are a lot of others are dealing with this.
This is not our first radio with burst pipes in our home. During the last deep freeze, we had a pipe burst in the 2nd-floor bathroom no one was using during the cold spell and leaving dripping was just not enough in that house with that cold.
After two situations with pipes bursting, I have way more experience in this situation than anyone wants to have but if you found this page on google I can help make it easier on you.
First things first turn the water off to your home
If the pipe that burst is attached to a faucet or other fixture and you can reach the shut-off valve you can simply shut it off at that point. This valve is normally found under your sink or along the intake for your toilet. If this valve gets stuck you can follow these directions to get the 1/4 turn valve unstuck.
If another pipe is involved quickly turn your water off at the source. There should be a valve near your water meter in your home. Turn this until the flow of water in your home has completely stopped.
Once your water is no longer flowing you can take a moment to think things through on how to fix the situation. Go down to your basement or crawl space if you have one and search for a valve as close as possible to the busted pipe.
If you are lucky this will allow you to then turn the water back on to the rest of your home without having to worry about water flowing through the pipe until it is fixed.
Examine the broken pipe.
After you have succeeded in getting the flow of water under control you need to get a good look at the pipe. If you own your own home this is the point you can do a bit of damage to find the issue. If you do not own your home you can simply call your landlord at this point and have them send someone to make the repairs.
If you own your own home remove any drywall that has been damaged around the burst pipe. This can feel a bit destructive but the soaked drywall will need to be replaced anyways to prevent mold.
After removing this chunk of wall you can then examine the situation. Small bursts can easily be fixed with some supplies from the hardware store to replace a small section of the pipe.
For larger burst pipes that do deeper into the wall with visible damage, you should skip the DIY if you do not have plumbing experience and call in a professional to help deal with the situation.
After the crisis has been adverted you will find that the clean-up is often worse than the pipe burst. You will need to take time to dry up the water as quickly and completely as possible.
Start by drying up what you can with towels, a shop vac, or other tools you may already have on hand. Then place fans or even a space heater facing the damage to help dry it out faster. The faster you dry up the mess the less risk of mold and other issues you face from water damage.