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How to Repair a Burst Pipe: 5 Effective Steps

When a pipe bursts, it quickly spreads water damage throughout the house. Should you call a plumber or fix it yourself?

With the right gear on hand, you can repair a burst pipe.

For more than 27 years, ServiceMaster of Lake Shore has provided restoration services for Chicago homeowners. Based on that experience, we share this overview covering how to fix a pipe that’s burst.

Before You Get Started

  • Turn off the water supply to your home at the main shut-off valve.
  • Reduce water pressure by opening up faucets adjacent to the ruptured pipe.
  • Use buckets and towels to catch water as it drains from the break.
  • Assess the situation, and determine if it’s a job you can handle.
  • If the damage is severe and spreading fast, call a plumber right away.
  • If you decide on a temporary DIY fix, call a plumber about permanent repairs.
  • Start the water damage claim process with a call to your insurance company.

5 Ways to Repair a Burst Pipe

repairing a burst pipe

1. Our Top Recommendation – Push-Connect Fitting

Supplies – This universal fitting allows you to replace a removed section of damaged pipe without soldering.

The Fix – Cut and remove the burst pipe length with a pipe cutter. Insert and secure the fitting, pushing it into place. The fitting’s internal mechanism clicks and locks into the open ends of the cut pipe.

Power Tip: If you use the fitting to repair a copper pipe, sand down any burrs on the cut ends first so that they don’t damage the fitting’s O-rings.

2. Fast But Temporary – Silicone Tape

Supplies – Self-adhesive waterproof silicone tape is a quick temporary fix for small cracks in pipes.

The Fix – Wrap a 6- to 8-inch strip of silicone tape around the pipe break several times. Pull it tight, and then repeat with a second strip.

Power Tip: Give the second length of tape a good stretch as you wrap it so that it creates a tight seal.

3. Easy and Affordable – Hose or C-Clamp

Supplies – This temporary repair uses a rubber gasket and a hose clamp or a C-clamp.

The Fix – Secure a rubber gasket over the damaged pipe with an adjustable hose clamp. Position the clamp directly over the center of the break. You can also secure the gasket with a flat piece of wood held in place with a C-clamp.

Power Tip: Restoration pro Diana Rodriguez-Zaba adds, “Keep in mind that pressure from a flat wood block against a round pipe surface is only effective on a narrow crack.

4. Versatile and Durable – Epoxy Putty

Supplies – Epoxy putty is a clay-like compound that can be used on all types of wet or dry pipe surfaces.

The Fix – Wear latex gloves as you knead the putty resin and hardener together. Apply the mixture to the pipe surface, working it into the damaged length so that it seals the crack. Let the putty cure for several hours.

Power Tip: Don’t substitute plumber’s putty for this type of repair; plumber’s putty is designed to stop water from seeping around drains, taps and sinks.

5. Pipe-Specific Fix – Split-Sleeve Clamp

Supplies – This two-piece metal repair clamp kit fits around the pipe, securing a rubber gasket into place.

The Fix – Wrap the damaged pipe with the gasket that comes with the repair kit. Fit the two semicircular metal sleeves over the gasket, and then secure in place with a screwdriver.

Power Tip: Some sleeve clamp kits are designed for specific types of pipe, so check the product’s label and instructions before you buy.

How to Address Water Damage

Typically, a pipe burst soaks adjacent walls and floors. A ruptured pipe in the attic can cause a ceiling collapse below the break. Mold begins to spread through water-damaged materials within 24 hours of the plumbing emergency.

Don’t take any chances. Once you’ve made the repairs, make several important phone calls that can mitigate losses from secondary damages.

  • Call your homeowners insurance carrier, and start the water damage claim process.
  • Take pictures to document damaged interiors, contents and personal belongings.
  • Call a licensed plumber, and arrange for permanent repairs to the burst pipe.
  • Bring in certified water damage specialists, like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore.

How to Prevent Pipes From Bursting

Once you’ve been through the aggravation of DIY burst pipe repair, it’s a situation you hope never happens again. Reduce the risk with these simple strategies.

  • Keep the thermostat turned up several degrees higher than usual during a hard freeze.
  • If you plan on being away during a freeze, set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When outside temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, let your faucets drip.
  • Circulate warm air around pipes under sinks by opening cabinet doors.
  • Don’t forget to check the condition of pipes in the attic and the basement.
  • Double-check and upgrade interior and exterior pipe insulation before winter sets in.
  • Have your home’s water system inspected by a licensed plumber once a year.

Need Burst Pipe Water Damage Cleanup in Chicago, IL or the Suburbs? We Can Help!

water damage restoration chicago

Whether you fix it yourself or hire a plumber, a ruptured pipe leaves behind extensive damage. Let us take care of everything with specialized mitigation and restoration expertise.

Our professional burst pipe water damage cleanup services include mold removal and Category 3 water remediation. We can even assist with filing your water damage insurance claim.

ServiceMaster of Lake Shore stands ready to help now and all year round: 312-707-8597.

Helpful Resources

Frozen Pipe Prevention Tips – Red Cross

Mold and Your Health – EPA

How to Manage Common Leaks – EPA


Why do pipes burst?

When pipes are affected by frigid temperatures for extended hours, the extreme cold freezes the water in place. As the ice accumulates and forms a blockage, it exerts pressure on the pipe material that causes it to burst.

How long does it take to repair a burst pipe?

Once you locate the burst pipe, repairs can take as little as half an hour or as long as several hours. It depends on the type of repair and the size of the rupture.

How much does it cost to repair a burst pipe?

The average cost of burst pipe repair is $500. Expect to pay between $150 and $250 per linear foot for most repairs. Complicated repairs and extensive plumbing system damage can impact those figures.

Can duct tape fix a burst pipe?

Yes, but duct tape is a temporary fix. It’s not recommended for a burst or leak larger than a pinhole. Plan on making permanent repairs as soon as possible, or call a plumber.

What happens if you leave a burst pipe?

A burst pipe causes extensive damage to structural materials, including drywall, wood framing and flooring. This type of water damage spreads quickly, can impact the entire plumbing system and result in a major water bill.