A busted water pipe can be one of the most chaotic plumbing problems for any household. If it is not properly dealt with, you are likely to incur a lot of damage and financial loss. In fact, if you have a pipe burst in house what to do next can make the difference between a minor inconvenience and total disaster.
Acting quickly and following the right steps can reduce destruction to your home and save you from having to spend a lot of money on repairs. Here are the steps you can take to improve the situation when facing this type of plumbing emergency.
Locate the Burst Pipe
Locating the busted pipe is the first thing you need to do so that you’ll know what needs fixing. Pipe bursts that happen indoors are often very easy to spot. Pools of water will form all over the floor where the pipe burst has taken place. If the leak is behind a wall or within the ceiling, you will notice dampness in such areas. To pinpoint the where the problem is, keep your ears open for the sound of dripping or spraying water.
If the affected area is easily accessible, you can apply a quick fix to reduce flooding. Measures you can take may include anything like setting up a bucket to capture dripping water or even applying tape to the affected pipe. For gushing pipe bursts and those behind walls or ceilings, it might be best to shut off the water supply immediately, which brings us to the next course of action.
Turn off the Main Water Connection
Cutting off the water supply to your home will prevent the burst pipe from creating a bigger flooding problem. It is important for everyone in the family to know the location of the water shut-off stockpot in case of emergencies. Normally, you will find it on the main service line connecting to your house. If you don’t have control over a building’s water supply such as an apartment complex, make sure to contact the property manager.
Once you turn off the main water supply, you need to drain your plumbing system of any residual water that may continue to leak through the broken pipe. Open all cold-water faucets and flush the toilets. Turn off your heating system as well and drain out all hot water Leaking will stop once there is no more water inside the pipes and other plumbing fixtures.
As an added safety measure, turn off the electrical supply to the affected area, especially if there are outlets close by. This will prevent shocks by electrical current that may be flowing through the water.
Call Your Insurer
If your homeowner’s insurance policy offers coverage for water damage, contact your insurer right away to begin the claims process. Your insurance company will send an agent to assess the damage. Meanwhile, make sure to document the disaster to increase your chances of getting a successful settlement. Record as much evidence as possible about the damage. Take pictures or videos of any damaged furnishings, appliances and property structures. Make notes about how the damaged happened. Your insurer might also require receipts of any replacements or repairs made due to damage caused by the busted water pipe.
Clean up the Mess
Clean excess water as soon as possible while you document any immediate damage. The faster you remove pools of water from the floor, the less damage you will incur. Move any of your personal items away from the affected area. Use a mop and bucket to dry the floor. A dry-wet vacuum can speed things up in case the amount of water is significant.
In severe cases, a busted pipe can cause water to seep into wall insulation, the ceiling or floorboards. You need to dry affected rooms because any unseen water can create a mold problem. A few DIY measures to take include turning up the heat, increasing air circulation with fans, or using a dehumidifier. Alternatively, get professional help. A water-damage restoration company can use commercial air movers to remove water off carpets, insulation, furniture, floors, and drywall.
Fix the Pipe Burst
Next, asses the pipe burst to determine if you are dealing with a minor or major plumbing problem. It is possible to patch up small cracks on a busted pipe and save money in the process. This simply requires cutting out the damaged section of the pipe and replacing it with another piece. However, if you don’t have the skills or tools for this job, make sure to call an expert plumber.
A trained and licensed plumber will not only fix the pipe burst but also check the rest of your plumbing fixtures for potential problems. You should also call a certified electrician if water found its way to power sockets and wiring. Remember, keep receipts and details of all repairs if you intend to claim your home insurance for any damage caused by a busted water pipe.
Take Prevention Measures
Water freezing and expansion is by far one of the most common reasons why pipes burst. If you reside in an area that experiences extremely cold weather, here are a few tips to prevent pipes from bursting in the first place.
•Keep your central heating system or thermostat at 59F (15 degrees centigrade) for a few hours each day when you are away from home.
•If you will be away on vacation over winter, drain the plumbing system completely before leaving.
•Use pipe lagging or foam to keep any exposed pipes insulated. Make sure to do this for pipes installed in unheated areas like your basement, loft or garage.
•On extremely cold days, leave loft doors and hatches open. This will allow warmer air to circulate the roof and crawl spaces to prevent freezing of any pipes channeled through such areas.
•Frozen water can block pipes, resulting in faucets that refuse to run or a toilet tank that is not filling up. If you notice such signs, try to locate the frozen pipe and thaw it with hot air from a hairdryer. Alternatively, call a professional to fix the problem and prevent it from becoming a full-blown pipe burst.
If you have successfully restored your home to its original state or fixed a burst pipe on your own, congratulations! Be sure to run the cold water, then the hot water; and don’t forget to flush the toilets before normal usage begins.
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