What Should You Do When a Pipe Bursts?
A burst pipe is one of the most stressful home disasters. Going from relaxing at home to suddenly having water pouring everywhere can be extremely panic-inducing. While a burst pipe can cause a lot of damage, there's no need to get overwhelmed. Being prepared and acting fast will minimize damage and put you on the path to repair. Any time you have a burst pipe, all you need to do is follow these steps.
Get Everyone to a Safe Location
In most cases, a burst pipe is merely an inconvenience. A slightly dampened wall or small puddle isn't a major danger. However, if there is any flooding and it comes in contact with any electrical wires or electronics, there is a risk of electrocution. Therefore, the absolute first thing you should do is make sure everyone is safe. Avoid wading around in the water to find the leak or standing in pools of water. Remove children or pets from the area and shut it off.
Once the flooded area is empty, you can go ahead with shutting down your water main and other damage prevention measures around the house. However, to be safe, you may want to also stop by your breaker panel and turn off the power to the area before going back in.
Turn Off Your Water Main and Drain Your Faucets
When a water pipe bursts, it's important to act fast. Every second that you leave the water on, more water can gush into the area. Therefore, as soon as you've dealt with basic safety, you need to find your water main and shut it off. Ideally, you should already know where your water main valve is and be able to sprint straight to it.
If you don't know where it is, there is no need to panic though. The water main valve is usually somewhere around the perimeter of the house. It's often outside, but if you have a basement, it may be indoors near your basement ceiling. The valve will look like a handle on a pipe, and it is often red or blue. To shut off your water, either rotate the straight lever to be perpendicular to the pipe or rotate the round knob clockwise until it won't turn anymore.
Once you close the valve, more water won't be entering your plumbing system. However, residual pressure can still push more water out of the broken pipe. To quickly relieve pressure, go around the house and open all faucets. Drain the cold water first and then begin draining the hot water. This will drain the leftover water into your sinks and tubs, so it won't end up leaking further. Draining faucets can be done simultaneously with shutting off the water main, so if you have a second person in the house, you can ask them to do this while you go outside to adjust the water main valve.
Schedule Repairs With an Emergency Plumber
Since you can't turn your water back on until you fix the broken pipe, it's something you need to repair as soon as possible. A burst pipe is a big enough problem that you can't DIY it. Trying to wrap some waterproof tape around it or do another simple fix yourself will just lead to more leaks and water damage. Instead, you'll need a professional to come out to your home and actually replace the broken section of the pipe.
Burst pipes are a big enough issue that they qualify as a plumbing emergency. Even if your regular plumber is closed, you can find emergency plumbers willing to discuss the situation and provide repairs as quickly as possible. This usually is not the type of plumbing issue where you can wait a week or two for your plumber's schedule to free up. Fortunately, this problem is usually very quick to repair. Once your plumber arrives, they can often solve the problem on the same day.
Take Clear Photos of the Area and Document Damage
Before you start repairing and cleaning everything up, try to go ahead and document the damage. This is very helpful for dealing with your insurance company. When you have a clear list of how your home was harmed by the water pipe, it is easier to get funds for replacing items and fixing the pipes.
Start by taking photos or videos of the areas where the damage occurred. Make sure to check on the other side of any walls, ceilings, or floors near the damage, because flooding can cause widespread issues. After documenting it visually, try to make a list of everything that was harmed by the flood. This is especially important if you want the insurance company to replace it, so be sure to list anything that was potentially damaged. Make sure you're as detailed as possible and include brand names, model numbers, and other specifics.
Dry Up Everything As Soon As Possible
While you are waiting on your plumber to fix the problem, you can go ahead with the cleanup. Drying up all the leaked water quickly can help prevent further damage from happening. The longer you wait, the more issues you're likely to have. In addition to floors, cabinets, and walls warping, you can also end up with dangerous mold and mildew.
There are a lot of basic things you can do to dry things such as removing puddles with a mop or some rags. You can also turn your heat on and position fans near the area to begin drying it up. If any belongings got wet, such as furniture or clothes, try to wring out water and put them in the sun to dry. However, keep in mind that there is only so much you can do to dry your home by hand. In cases of serious flooding, it might be worthwhile to get professional assistance. Flood remediators have special equipment that can dry up your home more effectively.
Keep It From Happening Again
After your burst pipe is fixed, it's wise to take a few preventative measures. Depending on what caused your pipe to break, other pipes in your system might be at risk. Therefore, it is a good idea to talk to your plumber about what went wrong with the pipe and discuss ways to fix it.
If your burst pipe was corroded, it's likely that other pipes in your home are also corroded. Having a professional out to examine your pipes and let you know if others need repair is essential. If the pipe broke due to freezing temperatures, it's a sign the pipes in your home aren't staying warm enough. You may need to insulate other pipes to avoid future breaks.
Any time you have a plumbing problem, Apex Plumbing Pros is happy to assist you. Our team of highly-trained professionals provides plumbing repairs, installations, and maintenance throughout the Columbus region. We can also assist you with your air conditioners, heaters, drains, and sewer systems. To find out more about our services, call Apex Plumbing Pros today.