My Water Main Broke, What Do I Do?

If your water main broke, or you suspect it may be; what do you do? There might be water gushing all over the property or in the street right in front of your home. It can cause a lot of panic, with a lot of overwhelming thoughts about what to do first. Time is of the essence, the longer you wait, the more damage that can be occurring.

Your water main is the pipe that carries water from the source into your home. Just like anything else, the water main is subject to breaking.

What Causes a Water Main Break?

water main broke

There are a few different things that can cause a broken water main. The biggest reason is weather changes; especially if the changes occur quickly. If there has been no wet weather for a while, and suddenly there is a lot of wet weather, it can cause the ground to shift. This shift may leave the water main unsupported which can cause a broken water main. Other things that can cause a water main to break are soil conditions, if your water pressure is too high, and eventual corrosion of the pipe.

How to Know the Water Main is Broken

water main being installed

There are a few different signs to be aware of to help you make sure that your water main is broken. The first is a sudden water pressure drop in your whole home. If you notice the water pressure drop off suddenly in just one faucet then it is likely not your water main. That would be an issue with a pipe going to that specific fixture.

Water gushing from the ground is a sure sign that your water main broke. Sometimes it looks like a fountain has erupted in your yard or on the street. Other times it could be smaller amounts bubbling up.

broken water main

Another sign is if your foundation is cracked. This could be due to all the extra water that is sitting around. This can also be from other things, and not just your water main. If this is your only sign, then you may want to contact a professional to find out why it is cracking.

There are also a few different other signs that your water main broke.

What to Do When Your Water Main is Broken

water main broke

The first step if you notice the signs we mentioned above is to call your water company, especially if it is erupting in the street. They should send out a crew to assess the damage and maybe even help fix it.

While you are waiting for them to come out and assess the damage, make sure you document what is going on. Not only pictures or videos of where the water is coming out, but all the damage from it. This is super important for insurance purposes, it can help with any sort of claim. We also suggest that you keep any sort of receipts or documents a utility company or a plumber gives you.

fixing a pipe

After the water utility comes or while they come, it may also be wise to call a plumber. They can help with any effects that a water main can cause and may even need to fix the water main.

What to Do After the Break

Just because the water main has been fixed, does not mean that there aren’t things to do to make sure your water is safe. A broken water main and the fix can cause contaminants to get into your water supply. You will likely need to follow the same procedures as a boil water advisory until these things are finished.

Flush Your Pipes

copper pipes

After a water main break, you will need to flush the pipes in your home. To do this, turn on all fixtures in your home. It is best to start with the ones closest to the water main and work your way out and up. Run using cold water for about 15 minutes or until all the water is clear.


change your fridge filters after a mian break

If your fridge has an in-door water dispenser, that will also need to be flushed until the water runs clear. After the water is clear, we highly recommend you change your water filter. This will help ensure that after your water main breaks, there are no contaminants in the water. We also recommend this if you have an ice maker. We suggest dumping all the ice out, letting the tray fill up once, and dumping that as well. After that, change the filter and clean the tray.

Along with your fridge filter, if you have a whole home filter or any other filters attached to fixtures replace those as well. This should be done after any sort of flushing.

Dishwasher and Washing Machine

run a few empty dishwasher cycles after a water main break

The last thing to do is to run a few empty, water-only cycles on your washing machine and dishwasher. We generally recommend two. After the second one, run another one still empty but with detergent or some sort of machine-specific cleaner.

Final Thoughts

Your water main breaking can be a stressful circumstance, especially if you have never dealt with it before. It is important to act quickly because it can cause serious water damage in your home. Water damage that is left untreated can cause health issues and structural damage. It is also generally more expensive to fix the longer you wait. That goes for water main breaking as well. The first two things to do are call your water utility company and 1-Tom-Plumber.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need a plumber. 1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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