As a homeowner, you rely on your home’s plumbing at all times. You expect it to provide you with a steady supply of fresh water and that means your pipes need to be in good shape.
Unfortunately, leaks and damage can happen without warning and even small drips can end up wasting as many as 3,000 gallons of water each year!
When you have a burst pipe, you risk letting hundreds of gallons of water damage your home in just a few hours. So, what should you do if a pipe in your house bursts wide open? Here are a few steps you need to take immediately.
Turn off the Water Supply
The first thing you need to do as soon as you realize you have a burst pipe is to turn the water supply off. This means finding the water main shut-off point and turning the valve.
In most homes, the water shut-off valve will be next to your water heater or in the basement. Check by your water heater first. You should see a small nozzle with a lever-style switch on top.
Turn the lever to the off position immediately. This will reduce the risk of severe water damage throughout your house.
If you’re not sure where the shut-off valve is, call your plumber as soon as you can.
Drain the Faucets and Taps
Turning off the water isn’t enough to stop the leak. You also need to drain the water out of your pipes to keep water damage at bay.
Open up the taps in each sink and turn the showerheads on. Leave them open until the water drains out completely.
Once the taps stop dripping, you can turn them off again.
This will keep the water from leaking throughout your house. Even better, it can reduce the severity of the water damage your home suffers.
Identify Where the Burst Pipe Is
With water no longer running through your pipes, you’ll want to identify where the burst pipe is. Look for concentrated pooling of water in your basement, crawlspace, or under sinks in your home.
Once you find it, document the damage. Take pictures of the rupture, the pooling water, and any other signs of home water damage in the structure.
You may also want to write down a description of what happened. This can help give your plumber a better understanding of the situation. And if you file an insurance claim, your insurance agent may want to use the description when they start processing your claim.
Soak up What You Can
After you document the extent of the damage, you can and should start cleaning up what you can. Use towels or a mop to soak up water on the floor.
If the water came from a freshwater pipe, all you’ll need to do is help the area dry out. But if the water came from a backflow device or sewer line in your home, you’ll want to call an experienced cleanup crew.
Dealing with gray or black water on your own isn’t just tough. It’s potentially hazardous to your health.
Hiring a professional cleanup crew is the only way to make sure the contaminants, bacteria, and pathogens in the wastewater get removed completely. If you’re not sure who to talk to, look for flood cleanup companies or sewage cleanup companies.
They’ll be able to guide you through the best way to stay safe until they arrive. And once they’re there, they can guide you through what to do after a flood of water from your burst pipe makes your home less pristine.
Start Circulating the Air
Once you clear away the water and any contaminants, you’ll want to help your home dry out. The best way to do that is to circulate the air inside.
If you have fans, turn them on and run them in each room that got damaged by the burst pipe. Do this until the flooring, walls, and any upholstered surfaces are dry to the touch.
If you don’t have fans on-hand, head to your nearest hardware store. They should have fans that you can rent for a few days.
Call a Plumber
The best way to deal with a burst pipe is to call a plumber as soon as you can. They’ll be able to identify the causes of burst pipes in your home and find ways to prevent them in the future.
Even better, they’ll be able to fix the damage completely, so you won’t have to worry about leaks being an issue in the future.
File a Homeowners’ Insurance Claim
If the damage from the burst pipe isn’t serious, you won’t have to do anything other than let your plumber make the necessary repairs. However, if there’s serious water damage, you’ll want to file an insurance claim.
Call your insurance agent and let them know what happened. They’ll tell you what types of documentation they need to proceed with the claim.
Then, they’ll send an adjuster out to assess the damage and give you a settlement offer.
Get Legal Help if Needed
It’s important to note that the insurance agency may not pay you what you need to fix the damage completely. If you’re unhappy with the settlement amount or your insurance agency just isn’t getting back to you fast enough, don’t ignore it.
Instead, get help from an attorney. Residential property damage lawyers can represent you with your insurance company so you can get the settlement you deserve and make the repairs to your house.
Don’t Let a Burst Pipe Disrupt Your Life
It’s perfectly normal for homeowners to experience a frozen or burst pipe at some point in their lives. But that doesn’t mean the water damage should keep you from enjoying your home.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to take care of the problem quickly. Just make sure to call a plumber as soon as you know there’s a problem. The sooner you do, the sooner they’ll be able to make the necessary repairs.
For more tips to help you maintain your house and keep everything working well, check out our latest posts.