What To Do If A Pipe Bursts In Your Commercial Building

A burst pipe in a commercial building can cause damage on a grander scale compared to a pipe that bursts in a residential home. Protect your business by learning what to do if a pipe bursts in your commercial building.


The best remedy for a burst pipe is not to have one happen at all. Make sure pipes in unheated or outdoor areas are adequately insulated. Inspect pipes regularly for cracks and small leaks, and don’t ignore them. Small leaks can waste hundreds of gallons of water, and if left undiscovered, destroy carpets, floors, drywall, and electronic equipment.

Quick Response

It’s critical to address a burst pipe immediately. Know where your water shut off valves, electrical box and water heaters are before an emergency. In case of a burst pipe, shut off the water and the electricity to any affected part of the building. Turn on faucets and flush toilets to drain pipes and relieve pressure. If hot water is leaking, turn off the valve of the water heater and any hot water heating systems to keep them from running while empty, as this could damage the systems. Remove electronics and other furnishings that are in danger of water damage and evacuate affected tenants until the problem is resolved. Part of your disaster recovery plan should include a list of licensed commercial plumbing contractors who can service your building. Call the commercial plumber on your list that can provide emergency response.

Document Everything

Damage from burst pipes is usually covered by insurance as an unexpected, catastrophic occurrence. When it is safe to do so (i.e., electricity is shut off from any part of the building with electrical fixtures or outlets in danger of contacting water), take pictures of the damage. Be specific when talking to your insurance company—a burst pipe isn’t a flood, and referring to it as a flood might trigger a rejection of a claim. If your commercial property suffers a burst pipe, be clear that the damage came from the pipe failure, not a weather event or other type of flood.

Your insurance company should help you find a reputable water damage cleanup and restoration company, but always double-check reviews, licenses, and experience. Get several quotes and document all contracts and agreements with any repair business you may hire. Get estimates from a few licensed commercial plumbers. Be aware, however, that your insurance may cover cleanup but not repair of the pipe. As such, read the fine print of your policy and be ready to discuss what will be covered before your pay for repairs.

Commercial property owners need mitigation of water damage, repair, and restoration to be completed fast, so tenants can get back to business quickly. But don’t let speed compromise safety. Make sure that the cleanup is adequate to prevent mold from developing. Also, be sure that pipes are repaired and any damage to electrical systems is finished before turning the water back on and allowing tenants to return.

For all your commercial plumbing needs, contact Fletcher’s Plumbing & Contracting, Inc. today!