Signs of a Broken Pipe

A repair man fixing a pipe with the words, Broken Pipe

Imagine you are walking into your kitchen to start your day. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful morning. As you groggily make your way to start your coffee, you step into a puddle of water. Panic sets in. You immediately think, is it a broken pipe? Read more to learn about the causes and symptoms of a broken pipe and how to handle the situation properly.

What Causes a Broken Pipe?

With the remaining winter months being some of the coldest, there is still plenty of opportunity for freezing temperatures, which can lead to bursting pipes. The last thing you want to do is miss the warning signs that a pipe is broken. However, the weather is not the only cause of a broken pipe.


Freezing temperatures can cause the water in pipes to freeze, and water molecules expand as they freeze. Once the ice starts expanding, the remaining water creates pressure by pushing towards the faucet. This will eventually lead to a burst pipe.

Blocked Pipes

Blocked or clogged pipes can occur after minerals in the pipe build up over time. A clogged pipe will experience increased pressure, leading to the eventual rupture of the pipe. Alternatively, a block in the pipe can be caused by construction in the area that allowed sand to enter the pipes. Routine maintenance is an effective way to prevent this from happening.

Aging Pipes

Plumber in a kitchen fixing a stopped up sink drainPipes are strong and built to last, but over time, they corrode and break down. If you live in an older home, low pH causes the rate of corrosion to increase. Low pH means the water is more acidic and will slowly strip away at any material with which it comes in contact.

Galvanized pipes are susceptible to corrosion because the galvanized coating erodes with time. This exposes the iron in the pipe to water, which then creates rust. The diameter of the pipe will decrease as time goes by, leading to a burst.

Tree Roots in Pipes

Although rare, mature trees that are close to water or sewer lines can cause a blockage in the pipes, creating a rupture. The roots grow towards the pipes because they hold water, nutrients, and oxygen, which attract the roots. All the roots need to find is an opening in the pipe, like a crack or leak, and they slowly find their way in, blocking the flow of water.

Broken Pipe Symptoms

Now that we’ve gone over the causes of a broken pipe, what are the warning signs?

High Water Bills

If nothing has changed in your household and you notice an increase in your monthly water bill, it’s possible you could have a broken pipe. It could also be a running toilet or slowly dripping pipe; however, you should consult a professional.

Rumbling Near Your Main Water Line

There is cause for concern if you are hearing rumbling sounds coming from the water main, other than when someone turns on the shower or flushes a toilet. Also known as a water hammer, it’s a change in the flow rate of the water, which can be caused by a blockage, creating a banging or rumbling sound. The blockage could lead to a broken pipe at any time.

Grinding Sound

A grinding or banging sound likely means you have a loose pipe somewhere. No matter how secure, the vibrations of fluids running through the pipes can loosen them from where they were initially installed. If not addressed, this can create points of tension and friction, which leads to breaks.

Unpleasant Odor

If you start to notice a bad smell coming from any drain in your home, the smell may be coming from sewage and dirty water that isn’t adequately transported due to a clog, leak, or break.

Water Accumulation

Any standing water beneath a sink, basement, or near your main water line is a bad sign of a bigger issue. You will need to contact a plumbing professional to fix the problem as soon as possible.

Water Damage on Drywall or Ceiling

Wet rings on the ceiling or any noticeable water damage should be addressed right away. Not only is it a possible sign of a broken pipe, but water damage can also disintegrate your drywall or ceiling.

Poor Water Pressure

A plumber loosens a pipe under a sink with a pair of channel lock pliersLow water pressure when washing your hands or doing laundry is a telltale sign that there is an issue, and a professional should be contacted right away.

Poor Water Quality

Water from the faucets that are suddenly brown, foggy, or has a foul odor indicates that there is corrosion, and the pipes might need to be replaced as a preventive measure. A professional plumber can help you decide what piping material would be best for your home. 

How Do I Fix a Broken Pipe?

A broken pipe is definitely not something you should try to fix on your own. If any of these warning signs are present in your home, it is time to call an experienced professional who has the equipment and knowledge to properly fix the problem. At HEB Plumbing & Drain – Kathlyn Smith, we provide exceptional leak detection and repair services in Bedford, TX and the surrounding cities. You can rest assured knowing that The Plumbing Lady will get the job done. Call us today to schedule an appointment!