The prospect of returning home to burst pipes and a water leak is enough to make any homeowner scared. However, for many, it is an awful reality. Do you know what to do if a pipe in your house bursts? I discuss some critical, time-sensitive first steps.
Learn how to spot the indicators of a broken water pipe, what to do if one bursts in your home, and how to keep your pipes from freezing in the first place by following the tips I outline below.
SYMPTOMS OF A BUSTED WATER PIPE
A burst water pipe can sometimes give off warning indications before causing major harm. Keep an eye out for the following signs of a pipe burst:
- Water pressure that fluctuates.
- Water that is discolored, rusty, and has an odd odor.
- Behind the walls, pipes are clunking.
- Your water bill has unexpectedly increased.
- Under your sinks, puddles are forming.
If you see the indicators of a burst pipe, you must act quick to minimize the damage.
ACTIONS TO TAKE IN THE EVENT OF A PIPE BURST
Drain the Faucets and Turn Off the Water
When you discover a busted pipe, the first thing you should do is turn off the water. The sooner you can do this, the better your chances of preventing water damage. Your main water shut-off valve is most likely placed near your water heater, in a crawl space, or in your basement.
After you’ve turned off the water, open your faucets to drain any lingering cold water in your pipes. This will relieve pressure in your pipe system and may assist avoid the freezing of subsequent regions. After that, flush every toilet in the house. Any leaks should stop after water is no longer running from the taps.
You may also need to turn off your electricity, depending on the magnitude and location of the leak. This is a critical precaution to take if you fear the leaked water has come into touch with any electrical outlets or your fuse box.
Determine the location of the burst pipe
The next step is to determine where the pipe has burst. If it looks to have been leaking for some time, use caution while entering rooms. Look for bulging ceilings and other evidence of water damage. Place a bucket underneath the leak to catch dripping water if you discover it early enough.
Seek professional assistance
Call in the professionals as soon as possible to manage the repairs. Hire a skilled plumber to repair or replace any burst pipes, and an electrician to repair or replace any damage to your electrical system.
The average homeowner spends between $1,000 and $4,000 on burst pipe repair and cleanup, according to HomeAdvisor, however rates might vary depending on location, the degree of the damage, and whether or not emergency after-hours service is required.
Take pictures of any damage so you may file an insurance claim
If the damage from your burst pipe appears to be extensive, you should begin photographing the impacted areas right once and continue to do so throughout the process. Take a close-up shot of anything that’s damaged, including water lines and water-damaged items.
Place a measuring tape to demonstrate how high the water is, then back up and take shots from various angles to show the portions of your property that have been damaged.” They also propose temporarily turning the water back on so you can film the leak.
You normally have a three-day window after water damage before bacteria spreads and mold begins to form, so it’s critical to make a claim as soon as you find the leak. If you’re having difficulties figuring out what your homeowners’ insurance policy covers, contact a public adjuster in your region. They’ll normally give you a free policy review so you know what to expect before filing an insurance claim.
If your home has been flooded due to a burst pipe, it’s critical to dry the affected areas as soon as possible. The longer water remains, the more likely mold will grow and more serious, long-term damage may occur.
AFTER A WATER LEAK, HOW DO YOU CLEAN UP?
Important Objects Should Be Recovered
If there is standing water in any room, you should immediately disconnect any gadgets before attempting to salvage valuables. Prioritize objects that are the most difficult to replace or the most expensive when recovering items that have come into contact with water, such as vital documents, family heirlooms, laptops, and televisions.
Any Wet Areas Should Be Dried
Including drenched carpets and furniture, remove all you can from the afflicted areas.
If your power has been turned off or the standing water is shallow, you can dry the damaged areas with old towels, mops, and buckets. If the burst pipe has flooded your house a few inches or more, you’ll need to utilize a submersible pump or a wet/dry vac. These are available for rent or purchase at your local hardware shop or Home Depot.
Open windows (weather allowing) and set up fans and space heaters to speed up the drying process after standing water has been cleaned up. Stephanie Corona of ClaimsMate advises against using your air conditioner to dry up a flood since microbes can enter your ducting and cause extra damage.
Additional cleanup efforts are likely to be required if your basement has been flooded by burst pipes.Items that have been ruined should be discarded.
It’s time to get rid of everything that’s been harmed or is at risk of growing mold once the emergency cleanup and repairs are completed and you’ve completed all of your insurance paperwork. The following are important elements to get rid of:
- Submerged carpeting, rugs, and drywall
- Items made of cloth or upholstered furniture that haven’t been washed and dried in the last 48 hours.
- Electronics that have been submerged in water and have been harmed.
If you have any doubts about an item’s safety, consult an expert to ensure that none of the items you’re conserving are susceptible to mold or bacteria growth. Consider renting a dumpster to dispose of your rubbish if you have a lot to get rid of once you start cleaning up.
Disinfect and take preventative measures to avoid mold growth
Everything that has been in contact with the water leak must be thoroughly dried, cleaned, and disinfected. Depending on the extent of the water damage in your property, you may want to consider hiring mold prevention and repair experts at this stage.
These professionals are equipped with the necessary equipment to detect moisture behind walls and beneath flooring, ensuring that the home is free of mold and water damage.
HOW CAN I KEEP MY PIPES FROM FREEZING?
The Most Common Causes of Burst Water Pipes
- Frostbite, most commonly as a result of exposure to extreme cold and a lack of insulation.
- The movement of unsecured pipes, known as water hammer, weakens pipe joints.
- High or variable water pressure problems
- Rust and hard water corrosion have weakened the pipe walls.
Any homeowner would naturally want to avoid the stressful (and often costly) experience of having a burst pipe flood their property. So, what can you do to avoid your pipes freezing and bursting again in the future?
The following are some of the most effective preventative measures:
- When the weather begins to turn cold, drain outside hoses.
- In unheated areas with pipes, such as the garage, an unfinished basement, or the attic, add insulation.
- Using foam tubing to insulate the pipes. (Pro tip: Self-sealing insulation is available at home improvement stores for easy DIY installation.)
- Maintaining a constant setting on your thermostat and never allowing the temperature in your home to fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When the temperature drops below freezing, let cold water trickle from your faucets.
- If you suspect a frozen pipe, use a hair drier or a space heater to thaw it before it explodes.
Summary: How to handle a burst pipe in your home
The prospect of returning home to burst pipes and a water leak is enough to make any homeowner scared. However, for many, it is an awful reality. Do you know what to do if a pipe in your house bursts? To share these critical, time-sensitive first steps, we interviewed industry experts in plumbing, repair, and insurance claims.
If you have any questions about How to handle a burst pipe in your home contact me today.