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Preventing Burst Pipes: 14 Best Strategies for Recovery

Burst pipes

Burst pipes can be a homeowner’s nightmare. The damage they can cause is not only a hassle but also costly. 

Whether it’s due to freezing temperatures, aging pipes, or other factors, knowing how to prevent burst pipes and having strategies for recovery is essential. In this article, we’ll explore tips for preventing burst pipes and what to do if the worst happens.

Understanding the Causes

Before Prevention: Know the Culprits

Before we dive into prevention and recovery, it’s important to understand what causes pipes to burst. The primary culprits are freezing temperatures, old and corroded pipes, water pressure issues, and clogs. Pipes can burst when water freezes and expands, putting immense pressure on the pipe walls. This pressure can cause pipes to crack or rupture.

Preventive Measures

1. Insulate Your Pipes

Among the best ways to prevent pipes from freezing is to insulate them. You can purchase pipe insulation sleeves at your local hardware store and install them on exposed pipes. Pay special attention to pipes in unheated areas like crawl spaces, basements, and attics. Also, insulate pipes located near exterior walls. This simple step can help retain heat and prevent freezing.

2. Maintain a Consistent Temperature

Maintaining a consistent indoor temperature, even when you’re away from home, can help prevent burst pipes. It’s tempting to lower the heat when you’re not around to save on energy bills, but this can put your pipes at risk during cold weather. Set your thermostat to at least 55°F (13°C) when you’re not at home to ensure your pipes stay warm.

3. Drip Faucets

Letting your faucets drip a little can prevent pipe freezing. When water flows, the pipe is less likely to freeze. This small, continuous flow can be enough to keep your pipes from bursting. Focus on faucets located on exterior walls and those that receive little heat.

4. Seal Cracks and Leaks

Check for any cracks or leaks in your home’s exterior walls, windows, and doors. Use caulk or weather stripping to seal these gaps, as cold drafts can contribute to pipe freezing. A well-sealed home is not only energy-efficient but also less prone to burst pipes.

5. Disconnect and Drain Outdoor Hoses

Before winter sets in, disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses. Water left inside can freeze and expand, causing damage to the hose and, potentially, the connected indoor pipes. Store hoses in a dry, insulated area.

6. Consider Pipe Heating Cables

For particularly vulnerable pipes, such as those in crawl spaces or attics, pipe heating cables can be a lifesaver. These cables wrap around the pipes and provide a gentle, consistent heat source to prevent freezing. Installation can be a bit more involved, so you might want to consult a professional.

7. Regularly Maintain Your Heating System

A well-maintained heating system is crucial for preventing burst pipes. Schedule regular inspections and servicing of your furnace, boiler, or heat pump. A malfunctioning heating system can lead to freezing temperatures inside your home.

Recovery Strategies

Dealing with Burst Pipes

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, pipes still burst. When that happens, it’s important to act quickly to minimize damage. Here are the steps you can take when dealing with burst pipes:

1. Turn Off the Water

The moment you realize you have a burst pipe, locate your main water shutoff valve and turn it off. This will stop the water flow into your home and avoid getting further damage. Make sure everyone in your household knows the location of the shutoff valve.

2. Drain Faucets

After turning off the water, open all faucets in your home to drain the remaining water from the pipes. This will relieve the pressure inside the plumbing system and reduce the chances of more pipes bursting.

3. Call a Plumber

Burst pipes are not a DIY project, and you should call a licensed plumber as soon as possible. They have the expertise and equipment to assess the damage, make repairs, and ensure that everything is in working order.

4. Assess the Damage

While waiting for the plumber, assess the extent of the damage. Remove any items that might be in the path of leaking water and clean up standing water to prevent mold and mildew.

5. Contact Your Insurance Company

Reach out to your insurance company to report the burst pipes. Depending on your policy, you may be eligible for coverage for the repairs and any damage to your property.

6. Preventative Measures for the Future

Once your pipes are repaired, it’s time to think about preventing future incidents. Consider upgrading to more robust pipes or insulating your existing ones better. Regular maintenance can also go a long way in preventing future burst pipes.

7. Learn from the Experience

While it can be a stressful situation, experiencing burst pipes can be an opportunity to learn more about your home’s plumbing system and how to prevent future incidents. Take the lessons to heart and make the necessary changes to protect your property.


Preventing burst pipes is a crucial aspect of home maintenance, especially in regions with cold winters. By following these preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of burst pipes. 

In the unfortunate event that a pipe does burst, knowing how to respond swiftly and efficiently is equally important. Burst pipes can be a costly and stressful ordeal, but with the right strategies in place, you can minimize the damage and get your plumbing system back in working order. 

Remember, a little prevention can go a long way in keeping those pipes intact.


Louw Bros Plumbing: Your Trusted Partner for Comprehensive Plumbing Solutions

With branches in Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay, and Knysna, Louw Bros Plumbing offers a wide range of expert services, from leak detection and geyser installation to drainage maintenance and emergency repairs, ensuring the highest quality and customer satisfaction across South Africa.