Burst Pipe in the Kitchen? Here’s What to Do Right Now

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: April 22, 2024

When a kitchen sink pipe bursts, it always catches you off guard. It’s a mess that demands immediate attention.

What can you do right now to get things under control and minimize the damage?

Start by being prepared for this soggy home disaster before it drenches kitchen cabinets and floors. We can help.

ServiceMaster by Zaba has more than 85 years of combined experience restoring water-damaged interiors. Let us put that expertise to work for you with this proactive guide to burst pipes in the kitchen.

Before You Get Started

  • Turn off your kitchen’s electricity supply at the breaker box.
  • Close the burst pipe’s shutoff valve at the lower end of the pipe break.
  • Open both sink taps, and let them run to drain excess water.
  • If the burst pipe is under the floor, turn off your home’s main water supply.

How to Handle a Burst Water Pipe in the Kitchen

kitchen leak

1. Mop Up What You Can

Shutting down the electricity and water makes it safer to come and go in the kitchen. However, wet floors are potential hazards, so wear non-slip shoes. Mop up as much as possible, or soak up the water with dry towels or newspapers.

2. Call a Licensed Plumber

The water damage from a ruptured pipe spreads quickly. Typically, It’s not a situation you can manage by yourself. Call a licensed plumbing professional, and explain that you’re dealing with an emergency.

3. Contact Your Insurance Agent

Most homeowners insurance policies cover the damage caused by a burst pipe. Contact your agent, outline the situation, and confirm your coverage. Tell your agent you need to schedule an adjuster’s inspection as soon as possible.

4. Call a Certified Water Damage Company

Burst kitchen pipes result in obvious damage, but the water permeates drywall, cabinets and baseboards. Mold growth sets in, migrating through walls and floors.

A certified water damage company, like ServiceMaster by Zaba, offers 24/7 emergency cleanup services that mitigate the damage and stop it from spreading.

5. Apply a Temporary Fix

If you’re comfortable with DIY repairs, there are several ways to manage the problem until the plumber arrives.

Insider Tip: Before working on a cold water line, be sure your home’s main water supply is turned off. If you’re repairing a hot water pipe, turn off the water heater’s cold water shutoff valve.

  • Wrap the Pipe – For a temporary fix, dig out an old garden hose. Cut a piece 10 inches longer than the pipe’s rupture, and slice it in half lengthwise. Secure it around the burst pipe with hose clamps at each end and over the pipe break.

Insider Tip: This low-tech fix will hold most leaks until your plumber can make permanent repairs.

  • Tape the Break – Use a coarse file to roughen the pipe surface. Wearing protective gloves, apply moistened fiberglass pipe tape centered over the break. Tightly wrap the pipe using the entire tape roll. If necessary, add another roll to create a half-inch thick seal around the break.

Insider Tip: Always let the tape set for 30 minutes before turning the water back on.

  • Plug the Leak – This repair job also requires scratching the pipe surface and wearing protective gloves. Multipurpose repair putty sets up in about five minutes, so work quickly. Cut a length of putty, and knead it according to product instructions. Apply it to the pipe surface, firmly pressing a plug into splits or holes.

Insider Tip: Let the putty cure for 30 to 45 minutes before turning the water back on.

  • Use a Sleeve Clamp – A sleeve clamp is a good choice for burst pipe repair because it’s easy to work with. Wrap the pipe leak with gasket material, apply the clamp’s two sleeve sections to the break, and tighten the connecting screws.

Insider Tip: You can buy sleeve clamps in different sizes at home improvement stores.

  • Replace the Line – While this fix requires more time under the sink than other pipe repair methods, it’s permanent when done correctly. Start by detaching the broken pipe’s fitting at the shutoff valve. Detach its upper-end fitting, and remove the damaged line.

    Replace it with a flexible supply line running from the faucet connection back to the supply valve. Slowly turn the supply valve back on to check for leaks around the connections, and gently tighten as needed.

Insider Tip: Braided metal and solid copper pipes can be difficult to work with, so you may want to wait and let your plumber take care of the job.

How to Clean Up After a Kitchen Pipe Bursts

kitchen pipe bursts restoration

You have the situation under control. The restoration teams are on the way. It’s still important to start the drying process as soon as possible. These tips can help.

  • Run several fans 24/7 to create strong crosscurrents of air.
  • Speed up drying in lower cabinets and walls by leaving doors open.
  • Don’t open windows unless outside humidity is very low.

Drying out soaked kitchen walls, cabinets and floors isn’t a DIY project. Our restoration professionals use advanced structural drying techniques that minimize the risk of mold and mildew growth. Homeowners insurance usually covers this type of water damage cleanup and mitigation.

We’re Always Ready

The next time you’re at the hardware store, pick up a few pipe repair products just in case. Check your home toolbox to be sure you have everything you need to handle a burst pipe in the kitchen. Bookmark our post, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from being prepared.

If you need a professional fix for burst pipe water damage, give us a call here at ServiceMaster by Zaba. We’re Chicago’s restoration experts, and we’re always ready for anything.

What causes a burst pipe in the kitchen?

If pipes and fittings aren’t secured, fluctuating water pressure causes them to move, and that weakens joints. Corrosion buildup inside a pipe can narrow the water flow and result in damaging pressure. Winter temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst.

How much does it cost to fix a burst kitchen pipe?

DIY repair kits cost between $10 and $30. A plumber can cost as little as $150 or as much as $850 depending on the size of the job. A restoration contractor can handle many burst pipe repairs in addition to cleaning up the resulting water damage.

Are tenants responsible for burst kitchen pipes?

Most landlords carry insurance that covers plumbing repairs and the cost of property water damage and cleanup. Tenants are responsible for their personal belongings. It’s always a good idea to carry renters insurance.

Can a clogged sink cause a pipe to burst?

Yes. As clogs accumulate in the sink’s drain pipe, they reduce the flow of water, causing pressure buildup inside the pipe. Over time, the pipe can crack or burst. Keeping sink drains clog-free can help head off burst pipe water damage.