What to Do If Your Main Water Line is Broken

Water Line is Broken

Your main water line delivers water to every faucet and appliance in your home, so it’s important to recognize the signs of a broken water main and know what to do if it breaks.

Although main water lines typically run underground beneath roads, they can cause serious damage to your home if they break, and they need to be fixed as soon as possible.

What Causes a Main Water Line Break?

A water main can break at any time, but it’s more likely to happen in the winter. When the ground freezes and thaws, the soil shifts, which can cause stress to underground pipes.

Breaks can also be caused by construction and the age of the pipes. In areas with very old pipes, the materials can eventually become brittle.

Signs of Main Line Breakdown

The most obvious sign of a water main break is water spewing out of the ground. But there are other signs, including ones you may see in your home.


Signs can include:

  • Silt, rust, sludge, or other debris coming from your home’s water supply
  • Water in your basement or crawl space
  • Wet or damp carpet, cabinets, walls, or ceilings
  • Foul-smelling water 
  • Unexplained mushy or wet spots in your yard
  • Frequently clogging drains
  • Hissing or bubbling sounds coming from your pipes
  • Low water pressure
  • Foundation cracks
  • Increased water bills


What To Do After You Notice a Broken Main Water Line

Report the Break to Your Utility

Utilities monitor water pressure and leaks, but they usually find out about water main breaks when a resident reports it. Most water authorities have a hotline where you can report breaks, and some have online tools you can use as well.

You should store the number of your utility’s hotline in your phone and call immediately when you notice a break. If you lodge a complaint, be sure to keep a record of the complaint number for future reference.

Don’t Walk or Drive Through Standing Water

If water is more than a few inches deep or it’s flowing quickly, do not walk or drive through it. Less than a foot of water can cause damage to a vehicle, and a foot of water can make a vehicle float. You shouldn’t walk through water for two reasons. One, the water could contain sewage or other contaminants, and two, the water could conceal a sinkhole on the road.


Contact a Plumber

If you notice any of the signs of a broken water main, contacting a professional plumber is the best way to ensure the break is repaired properly and prevent a break from occurring in the future. Plumbers can repair a broken water supply line, provide regular inspections and proactive maintenance, and upgrade old pipes if necessary.

Additionally, once the water main repair is completed, sediment or debris may flush through your pipes. If you suspect any leaks, clogs, or other issues, an emergency plumber can address them.

Contact Stephens Plumbing for Broken Water Main Repair

Addressing even a small water line leak right away will help prevent more extensive damage. Our licensed plumbers can handle everything from small, mysterious leaks to major water line problems.

When you need water line repair, installation, and replacement services, contact us to schedule an appointment—our emergency plumbers are available 24/7 to tackle all your urgent water line issues.