Plumbing 101 Guide: What To Do When You Have A Burst Pipe in Vancouver, BC

Unexpected burst pipes can be disastrous for Vancouver homeowners, especially when they're not noticed until water damage slowly seeps through the drywall, causing ceilings to sag and ruining subfloors. In more extreme cases, that damaged line could flood bathrooms, basements, or even backyards. That's when you know the biggest damage has already taken place. But these are not the only things to expect from burst pipes. Vancouver, BC, property owners need to take immediate action to save what they can when they see the signs of damaged plumbing lines.

While many issues can cause burst pipes, it's important to react fast upon the slightest telltale sign. For example, if you have a leaky shower head but you're not investigating whether the problem lies in the valve cartridge or behind the wall, you are at high risk of water damage. If you suspect something is wrong, you can count on your local Vancouver plumber to make it right. Whether you need information about burst pipes or immediate emergency services, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Vancouver, BC, is fully geared up and ready to stop you from losing your precious water.

Signs Of A Burst Pipe

From discoloured water stains to other moisture problems—if you detect any warning signs that indicate there’s an issue with your plumbing system, your first step should be to turn off your water supply and check the meter. Signs of a pipe bursting in your home may seem insidious at first, but they can actually take their toll faster than you think, depending on the severity of the damage.

Here are the most common signs to watch out for:

Unstable Water Pressure

The most obvious warning sign for a broken water line is a sudden drop in pressure or complete disruption of your overall supply line. If that issue affects only a single fixture, your burst pipe is likely along the line connecting your main to that fixture. If your entire home is affected, you may have a broken water main.

Discoloured Walls

Do you have water stains on your walls? If your roof system, siding, and gutters don't show signs of water damage on the exterior, your interior pipe system could be damaged. Because most plumbing lines run behind walls, watermarks on drywall are often signs of a nasty leak or pipe burst. Vancouver, BC, property owners who spot growing moisture stains should turn off their supply lines and make an appointment with a professional plumber.


Standing water near plumbing fixtures (such as under the sink or by the toilet) may seem harmless at first, but that puddle could indicate there are underlying issues that need immediate attention. We recommend checking the nearby fixture for any faults or issues, such as damage to your toilet tank or drips coming from the P-trap under your sink.

Contaminated Water

If burst pipes go unnoticed, they could develop rust and eventually send rust particles into your water along with other contaminants. If your water is discoloured or has any kind of visible contamination, consider calling a plumbing professional. It would be best to complete an inspection—and any repairs that might be necessary to rid your home of that dirty water.

Musty Smells and Foul Odors

Pay attention to the smells in your house because smelly water could also indicate a burst pipe. If you smell rotten eggs, do not wait to call a professional. That foul odor could be a sign of a sewage leak somewhere nearby. Musty smells from growing moisture are also a common sign of water escaping from a damaged line somewhere in your home.


Any visible leaks are a clear sign of plumbing damage. If they develop in older lines, it's also possible that there may be more serious damage somewhere further along that line, such as a burst pipe. If you suspect you have a leak, our team can use advanced detection equipment to find it and fix it.

Sewer Line Backup

The most significant sign of a burst or broken sewer line is a sewage backup. Don't hesitate to call a plumber if you ever see black sludge seeping up out of your drains. Your sewer line may be suffering from a clog instead of damage, but you'll need help from a qualified expert in either case.

Increased Water Bill

If your water usage habits haven't changed, but your bill has increased significantly, there might be something wrong with your supply lines, such as a leaking or burst pipe. Vancouver, BC, homeowners can trust our experienced plumbing team to perform a thorough inspection that will determine if there is undetected damage and complete any repairs that may be necessary. They'll also be able to give you preventative maintenance tips to avoid having this problem again in the future.

Common Causes of Busted Pipes

If your pipes have busted, you will be immediately aware, either by your walls suddenly smelling funky or your water pressure being lower than usual. Burst pipes aren't always due to the lack of maintenance but also due to poor installation and other issues. Watching out for these potential causes will help you plan ahead a lot better.


Clogs are some of the most unpleasant nuisances homeowners have to deal with, especially when the quick at-home methods, such as plunging or snaking, don't solve the problem. A clogged toilet is the most common and noticeable as it's closely connected to the main drain. But if your secondary drains (shower, tub, or sink) are gurgling or exuding sewer gas smells, that's another sign that you could have a clogged main drain. Since increased pressure can cause a burst or leaky pipe, it's important to call your local plumber immediately for any Vancouver clogged drain issues.

Pro Tip: Before a specialist arrives to provide plumbing service, you can help your main drain release some pressure by unscrewing the cap of your sewer cleanout, which is often located in the lowest area in your home or outside your property. If water is spilling out, it's most likely a main drain clog that caused your burst pipe. Vancouver, BC homeowners with a leaking sewer cleanout, may also need to call a certified plumbing professional for sewer cleaning services.

Frozen Pipes

Interior and exterior pipes that aren't adequately insulated can burst when exposed to cold weather in Vancouver. Not all frozen pipes burst—it's often the water pressure that flows through them in a rush while they're highly sensitive that causes damage—but it's still a good idea to call a plumber if your indoor or outdoor pipes freeze so that they can perform an inspection and complete any necessary repairs before that ice turns back into water and shoots out of the side of your water line.

Pro Tip: Before Vancouver’s winter months hit, clear your hose bib (or outdoor faucet) and garden hose, and make sure to drain every last drop of water. Most supply lines will start to freeze when temperatures reach just -6 °C. You can also check whether any non-heated pipes require insulation or covers to prevent freezing.


Not only does corrosion trigger buildup and clogs, but it's also one of the leading causes of pipe bursts. Vancouver, BC homes with aging cast-iron pipes are most susceptible to these issues. They require more maintenance and monitoring to avoid any problems. Corroded pipes will only deteriorate further and make your water unsafe for consumption, so it's best to replace them before they burst.

Pro Tip: If you live in an old house in Vancouver with metal pipes, we recommend scheduling regular check-ups and drain cleaning services to help extend your system's lifespan. Although cast iron can last up to 100 years, it highly depends on weather and soil conditions. If you're unsure whether you have cast iron pipes or if you need routine maintenance for your older plumbing system, a local plumbing company can provide an inspection to determine your plumbing needs.

Soil Shifting

Soil can shift naturally over time or as a result of external forces in Vancouver like heavy rain or nearby construction. This is an example of a problem that can often go undetected because when your home settles due to shifting soil, you won't always know if it has affected your buried lines—or damaged lines may be overshadowed by more obvious structural damage.

Damage from homes settling gradually in Vancouver is often minimal, but the damage caused by external forces can be much more serious. If you have built a new home and notice uneven floors or cracks in the wall a few years later, your house is likely settling. We recommend consulting a foundation specialist to inspect the interior and a certified plumber to look at the plumbing system that's under your slab, just to make sure there isn't any undetected damage.

What Should You Do If You Have a Burst Pipe in Vancouver, BC?

Step 1: Shut Off Your Water

If you don't know where your home's main shut-off valve is, now is the time to locate it. During any plumbing emergency, the first thing you should do is close that valve. This is the best way to prevent water damage caused by a burst pipe. Vancouver, BC, property owners can also help reduce damage by cleaning up puddles, as long as there are no outlets nearby and it is safe to do so.

Step 2: Seal It Temporarily

If you have any dirty rags or towels, you can use them to seal the affected pipe temporarily. Ideally, you have some epoxy putty, plumber’s tape, silicone tape, or patch and clamp kits that you can use.

Step 3: Call Your Plumber

The most important thing to do now is to call your local plumber, who will come with their professional tools for pipe repair. The sooner you contact your local plumbers for emergency repair services, the fewer problems you will encounter.

Additional Precautions:

Your plumber may ask you to do a few other things while you wait for them to arrive. Depending on the severity of your problem, you may need to call BC Hydro and ask for your home's power to be shut off. If possible and safe, continue to clean the affected areas of your home, using towels, rags, or even a shop vac to remove excess water.

Do not go near if you suspect that water may have come in contact with electrical wires or your fuse box. Wait for your power to be shut off and for professionals to arrive. You should also avoid any backed-up sewage or liquid waste, as it contains toxic gas.

What Do I Need for Pipe Repair in Vancouver?

There are different repair techniques used for different situations. Fixing an issue with pipes under your sink requires methods that are different from those used when fixing an issue with the waste or water lines inside your walls. Fixing buried mains is another step above those hidden lines in terms of complexity.

Generally, you should check for damaged joints or fittings when you have a burst pipe. Vancouver, BC homeowners, can often do this themselves. If the damage affects the exposed lines under the sink or in a utility room, then the repair process may be as simple as cutting away the damaged section and replacing it.

If your problem is related to less accessible lines, it may be necessary to dig in your yard or cut away sections of drywall. We also offer trenchless sewer line repairs that fix burst mains without the need to excavate your property.

Who is Liable for Pipes Bursting?

Unfortunately, anything that happens on your property is your responsibility. That includes a burst pipe. Vancouver, BC property owners can rest assured that the team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing will do their best to offer you cost-effective, long-term solutions to ensure you’re safe. The City of Vancouver, or your specific nearby municipal government, is merely responsible for fixing any issues with public lines.

There is an additional stipulation for liability as well. In Vancouver, the city will not take responsibility for damage that has been caused by prior work. That means if you do any digging, construction, or other work that affects public systems, you may be held responsible and charged for repairs completed by the city.

Vancouver Sewer Line Clogs:

It's important to note that liability rules differ slightly for blockages and backups, where city crews look at what caused the issue rather than where it's located. That means that people living in Vancouver are also responsible for what they flush into public lines—and any resulting sewer line blockages.

Public Vs. Private Lines: What's the Difference?

Public sewer and water mains are the lines that connect municipal systems to your private property in Vancouver. That includes everything leading up to the shut-off valve at the edge of your property. Private lines are everything inside your property line. Essentially, everything beyond that public shut-off valve, including all underground systems. If a broken pipe sits underneath your property in Vancouver, it's your responsibility to fix that burst before it gets worse.

How To Prevent a Bursting-Pipe Emergency?

  • React early to telltale warning signs
  • Ensure your plumbing and your home are properly insulated
  • Ensure your home's temperature does not fall below 0°C
  • Open your taps slightly during a severe cold snap
  • Open the cabinet doors below your sinks during colder days
  • Disconnect your garden hose from your outdoor faucet
  • Schedule routine check-ups with your local plumber

Do You Need Pipe Repair In Vancouver, BC?

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Vancouver, BC is always ready to answer your call. We use high-end technology for our plumbing solutions and are available 24/7 for emergency services. Our expert plumbers can provide a wide range of services to meet your needs, including Vancouver sewer line repair and other types of Vancouver plumbing repairs for burst pipes.

Give us a call at (604) 433-5555 to chat with our dedicated customer service representative or schedule an appointment for Vancouver burst pipe repairs.