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10 Warning Signs of a Burst Water Pipe in Chicago

When temperatures drop, water can freeze and cause pipes to burst. Bursts and leaks can also happen due to high water pressure or corrosion.

A damaged water pipe often results in a plumbing bill and a mess to clean up. At ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, one of the things we specialize in is water damage cleanup and restoration.

We see burst water pipes regularly. We have a process for cleaning up the water, drying the area, and preventing issues like mold growth. We can also clean rugs and upholstery if needed.

Identifying a burst water pipe isn’t always easy, especially if the pipe is behind a wall or in another area you can’t see. Here are some common warning signs of a burst pipe to look for.

What Happens When a Pipe Bursts in Your Chicago Home?

frozen pipe burst

A burst pipe will cause water to leak and pool in your home. Depending on how much water pools in your home, you might have to deal with water damage and other issues.

It can be an issue if you don’t notice the leak right away since humidity levels will go up, and mold will likely appear. Plus, a burst pipe can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. When a pipe burst at the Yorktown Apartment complex in Lombard, IL, 275 residents found themselves without heat or hot water.

How Do I Know if a Pipe Burst in My Chicago Home?

It’s important to keep an eye out for any changes that affect your plumbing system since they could indicate that you need to call a plumber. Here are some common signs that there is a burst water pipe somewhere on your property:

Standing Water

Finding a puddle of standing water in your home is one of the most common signs of a burst pipe. Puddles will typically form near the area with the leak and can appear underneath a sink, close to appliances, in your bathroom, or in your basement.

However, a burst pipe won’t always result in a noticeable water puddle since water can leak in a hidden area or seep into the ground.


If a pipe that runs behind a wall bursts, it will often result in watermarks. You might see discolored spots and stains appear on your walls or ceiling. These spots can look yellow, brown, or black. You may feel that the area is damp when you touch it, and the material might feel soft to the touch if there is extensive water damage.

Problems With Water Pressure

Different things can cause low water pressure. Before assuming there is a burst pipe in your home, you should rule out other causes, like a failing pressure regulator or a corrosion buildup in the pipes.

However, a sudden drop in water pressure can indicate a burst or leaking pipe.

Changes to Your Water

The Chicago plumbing code calls for using insulation so there is no direct contact between buried pipes and the earth.

However, if you have an old plumbing system or pipes with damaged insulation, dirt could get into your plumbing system through a buried pipe that bursts or leaks. You might see changes to your water, including an odd smell and a yellow or brown coloration.

Unpleasant Smell

A burst sewer pipe can cause sewage to leak, which is a health hazard. One of the common signs you will notice is an unpleasant smell in or around your home. People often compare sewage smells to gas or rotten eggs.

Because sewage is an excellent fertilizer, you may notice a spot in your yard where vegetation grows faster.

How to Tell if a Pipe Burst Underground

A leaking supply or sewage line will cause water to seep into the ground and soften it. Depending on how deep the pipe is, you might be able to feel that the ground is soft in a specific spot. If water keeps leaking for a few days or weeks, an indentation might appear.

Check the Foundation of Your Home

As explained above, a leaking or burst pipe can make the ground softer and cause an indentation to appear. Eventually, the indentation will turn into a hole, and the ground might shift, which can cause cracks to appear in the foundation of your home.

You should also check the foundation of your home for another reason. While small movements in the ground are normal, a major shift can cause damage to your foundation and plumbing system. If you see some foundation damage, the same ground movement that caused these new cracks may have damaged your plumbing system.

Unusual Noises

If there is a burst pipe inside your home, you might be able to hear the water dripping. You might also hear banging noises since a hole in a pipe will cause air bubbles to enter your water line, which can cause unusual noises.

A humming noise is another thing to watch out for. Humming noises usually indicate high pressure in your plumbing system. It’s best to keep the water pressure between 45 and 80 PSI. If the water pressure is too high, pipes will be more likely to burst.

Mold and Humidity

A burst pipe means that humidity will build up and create the perfect conditions for mold to appear. You might notice an unpleasant musty smell or feel the humidity in the air. Your home might feel colder than usual due to the increased humidity.

If mold develops, you will probably see dark spots on your walls and ceiling. You might notice that your wallpaper is peeling or see the grout in your bathroom turn dark.

Some mold species can produce a toxin called mycotoxin. If this toxin is present in the air you breathe, you might develop respiratory symptoms.

Don’t wait if you suspect there is mold in your home. Our certified mold specialists can perform a thorough cleanup.

Your Water Bill

For Chicago residents, 1,000 gallons of water cost around $4. While your water bill can vary depending on the size of your family, the average family uses a little over 300 gallons a day or around 9,000 gallons a month.

If your water bill seems high or increases sharply, you might have a burst pipe. Note that your water bill can indicate a plumbing problem only if you have a metered bill. Chicago residents with non-metered bills pay a fixed rate that doesn’t reflect their actual water consumption.

How to Deal with a Burst Water Pipe

burst pipe chicago

If there is a burst or leaking pipe in your home, you need to take action right away:

  • Turn off the water supply to stop the water from leaking.
  • Drain your plumbing system by turning the faucets on and flushing the toilet a few times. This will reduce the pressure in the system and can prevent further damage.
  • A plumber can install a repair sleeve as a temporary solution or perform more extensive repairs by replacing the damaged pipe.
  • If the leak is small, you might be able to fix it yourself by using a piece of rubber and a wooden block. However, it’s best to have a professional address the issue.
  • Clean up as much of the standing water as you can and let some air in to help the area dry. However, if you suspect that a sewage line has burst, it’s best not to go near the area since sewage is a health hazard.

Dealing with Water Damage from a Burst Pipe in Chicago or Suburbs? We Can Help!

If you notice any signs of a burst pipe, don’t wait. Water damage will worsen if you wait, and you may deal with complications like mold and mildew.

While you’ll need to call a plumber to have the burst pipe fixed, we can help with cleaning. Our professionals have extensive experience with water damage cleanup and restoration, and burst pipes are something they deal with regularly. They will assess the extent of the damage, remove any standing water, repair the water damage, and perform additional cleaning services as needed.

Do you have a burst pipe in your home? Get in touch with us to schedule a cleanup! (312) 707-8597