You just turned on your kitchen faucet to find only a trickle of water. This is a major indicator of a frozen pipe, so you decide to go down to your basement to take a peek at your plumbing and find that your pipe is not only frozen but has burst! Now you have water flooding your basement - what do you do next?
Many times there will be warning signs BEFORE serious damage occurs from a burst pipe. It’s important to recognize these early warning signs so that you can intervene as soon as possible.
If you suspect a burst pipe, take immediate action to avoid extensive damage to your home.
1. Turn Off Your Main Water Supply
You want to locate the main water shut-off valve which is commonly found near the water heater. You will want to do this as soon as possible to minimize the amount of water damage that occurs.
It's important to note, that depending on the location and the size of the leak, you may also need to turn off your electricity. If you think that the leaking water has come into contact with any electrical sockets, or the fuse box, err on the side of caution and turn off your electricity.
2. Drain Your Faucets
After you shut off the main water supply, you should open the faucets in your home to drain the remaining water within your pipes. Draining your faucets will relieve pressure within the plumbing system and help prevent any additional frozen pipes. Then, you should flush all of the toilets within your home.
All leaks should stop once there is no longer water running from the faucets.
3. Locate The Burst Pipe
Now it is time to locate the burst pipe. If it appears that the pipe has been leaking for quite some time, be cautious when entering rooms. Make sure to look for bulging ceilings and other warning signs that water damage has already occurred.
If you are catching the leak early, then you can place a bucket under the pipe to catch the dripping water.
4. Contact A Local Plumber
Make sure to contact an expert to handle the repairs of a burst pipe as soon as possible. A licensed plumber will be able to assess the situation and determine if the pipe can be repaired or needs to be replaced.
If you suspect any damage to the electrical system, contact a licensed plumber.
5. Document The Damage
If the burst pipe has resulted in extensive damage, you should take photos of the affected areas. It is recommended to use a measuring tape to show how high the water is and then take photos at different angles to show where the damage has occurred. You will use these photos as documentation for an insurance claim.
Begin by drying any areas within your home that are wet. Drying immediately will prevent mold growth and long-term damage to your home.
If you have standing water, unplug any electronics before you start recovering belongings. When recovering items that have come into contact with water, prioritize things that are difficult to replace and/or expensive like important documents, photos, TVs, etc.
If you are filing an insurance claim, you should wipe down all of your personal items that have been damaged and keep them accessible until the insurance company can evaluate everything. You should file an insurance claim as soon as possible because if the water leak has occurred more than 72 hours prior, mold has had a chance to develop and you will likely have to get rid of everything damaged.
After you have cleaned up any standing water, open windows if the weather is permitting, turn on fans and space heaters to speed up the drying time.
Once all of the immediate cleanup and repairs have been completed and you have all of your insurance documentation, it's time to get rid of any items that have been ruined or are at risk of mold growth. This commonly includes carpeting, rugs, furniture, electronics, etc.
Most burst pipes can be prevented, thankfully. It’s crucial to properly winterize your home before freezing temperatures occur.
You can perform routine plumbing maintenance to ensure that your plumbing system remains in tip-top shape and to catch signs of a problem early.
In these frigid temperatures, it’s more important than ever to take action to prevent frozen pipes
If you experience a frozen or burst pipe, contact us The staff of Donovan WaterWorks is highly trained and experienced to quickly assess the issue and begin repairs to minimize damage to your home.