Few home crises can strike fear in the heart of a homeowner as instantaneously as a pipe burst. If you're home when it happens, this mini-explosion can literally jolt you off a chair. And if you walk into your home after the pipe has already blown apart, the sound of surging water can make your stomach lurch with anxiety.
If these descriptions sounds dramatic, then you probably have never experienced a pipe burst. As with all home crises, it's enormously helpful to know how to respond to a pipe burst before one occurs so that you do not injure yourself or your family members or unwittingly make the damage worse.
Let Experts in Your Home lead you through the response steps while you're in a calm frame of mind. The Experts want to be there to provide the plumbing help you need. Here's what to do when a pipe bursts:
Put Safety First
- Turn off the water at the main valve. You will stop further water damage right then and there (a momentary bright spot because you'll know that things can only get better from here.)
- Assess the burst and the surrounding area to the best of your ability. If the pipe burst has occurred on an upper level, see if the water has already moved (or can move) to a lower level.
- Turn off the electricity to the affected regions of your home. You cannot be “too safe” with this step; the combination of water and electricity can cause shocks, electrocution and even death. So if you're uncertain, shut down all the power.
- Take photographs of the damage. Naturally, you want to get to work. But take a few minutes to take pictures or take pictures as you work. You will need them when you submit an insurance claim.
Remove Saturated Items
- Call for plumbing help if you need it, whether it be from the Experts or, for a leak contained to one room, a neighbor or friend. Without trying to alarm you, understand that you are now in a contest against the clock since mold can develop in as little as 24 hours.
- Open the windows for ventilation. If you still have electricity, turn on fans to get air circulating and reduce odors.
- Remove anything and everything that has been touched by water, including rugs, furniture and books. Get these wet items out of the house – don't just set them aside – so that you don't create more work for yourself later. Place wet items on a tarp in your garage or on the lawn.
Remove the Water
- Use a wet vac to start removing the water. Depending on how much water has accumulated, this step could take a while; emptying the vac takes time, too. Keep at it until your efforts literally come up dry.
- Tend to wood flooring before carpet since it is now susceptible to warping. Check your flooring warranty for emergency care instructions. At the least, wood floors should be dried out thoroughly with fans.
- Pull back sections of waterlogged carpet and padding and train a high-powered fan on the area to dry it out.
- Run a dehumidifier to draw moisture out of the air.
Stem the Damage
- Clean vinyl floors with soap and water. If you fear mold or mildew growth, use bleach, too. Fill a 1-gallon bucket of water and clean ceramic tile with 1 cup of white vinegar and stone tile with 1 tablespoon of Murphy Oil Soap.
- Check your drywall for water damage. If the seams are still intact, the drywall should be fine. If the seams have swelled or separated, you will need more than plumbing help from the Experts; you will need new drywall, too.
Count on Experts In Your Home to repair the pipe that burst – the source of all this anxiety. In addition to plumbers, the Experts' team includes electricians, carpenters and some of the most meticulous cleaning professionals in the business. We'll restore peace, quiet and safety to your home, just like home experts should.
Experts In Your Home has been serving the North State’s construction, remodeling and maintenance needs for over 30 years and provides home painting, heating & air conditioning, plumbing, electrical services & more for your home or business in the communities of Chico, Paradise, Magalia, Durham, Oroville, Red Bluff, Corning & Orland, California.