Things You Should Do When Fixing a Burst Pipe in Your Home

Plumbing

Not everyone has a knack for fixing things inside their home. Some people are blessed with natural handyman instincts and can easily figure out the correct way to do certain house repairs. Some repairs are simple enough–covering up holes in a wall, repainting walls or furniture stripped of their color over time or changing a lightbulb. But a burst pipe is something else. It’s the type of problem that endangers all other items within its vicinity. So, what can you do in this situation? How can you gauge whether a pipe has burst in your home?

What to Check

If you’re unsure whether a pipe has really burst in your house, look for these signs to confirm:

Signs Pointing to a Burst Pipe

● Water flow from your faucets or showers is inconsistent.

● Water may look red or orange with rust and has a distinct metallic or different smell.

● Strange metal or pipe noises can be heard coming from either within your walls or where you figure your water pipes are laid out.

● There’s a sudden increase in your monthly water bill.

● There’s an unknown source of puddles forming in random spots in your house or near your water sources (faucets, showers, toilet, bathtub, etc.).

Notable Tips to Handle a Burst Pipe

Once you notice some of the telling signs of a burst pipe, you must quickly figure out where it is located and resolve the problem. You can call for help, try fixing it, or even just minimize the damages yourself by following the tips we have compiled for you in order of priority.

Tip #1: Cut off Water Supply and Clear Your Pipes

Cutting off your water supply and clearing your pipes sounds challenging, but fear not, because it simply means you have to switch off your main water shut-off valve.

You will want to decrease the water damage a burst pipe can cause, so once you suspect its occurrence, turn off water flow from your main water shut-off valve.

Then, check your water pipes to locate the burst pipe or pipes and better assess the problem. Once investigated, clear your pipes of water by turning on all your faucets, showers, etc., and flushing your toilets to decrease the water pressure. Shutting the water valve at this point also prevents the water within your pipe system from freezing while you work on the burst pipe. Frozen water within other pipes may cause damage to the pipe that leads to another burst pipe later on, so it is best not to skip this tip!

This should stop any leaks you may have noticed. You might have to turn off your electricity if the source of the leak seems to be passing through any electrical wiring or sockets in your house.

This way, you can prevent damage to your electrical system and other hazards from occurring within the area of the source of the leak.

Where to Find Your Main Water Shut-Off Valve

Your main water shut-off valve controls the flow of water into your home. It may be located inside or outside your house–under your kitchen sink, close to your water heater, or inside your garage.

If the valve is nowhere inside your house, you can start following your water pipes in front of your house (along its foundation) to your water meter or along the front curb. The valve may also be in your basement or a crawl space beneath your house. Your main water shut-off valve handle or knob is usually colored red, green, and sometimes just plain metal.

Ensure you educate the members of your house on where to find the main water shut-off valve in case of emergencies like a burst pipe!

Tip #2: Investigate Where the Burst Pipe May Be

When you have cut off your water flow, the next thing you must do is find the location of the burst pipe.

Be careful when investigating because there is a possibility that the leak from the pipe has affected certain areas in your house, especially if it has gone unnoticed for some time. There could be water damage resulting in faulty electrical systems and ceiling, wall, or damage to the floors. So, watch where you’re walking and what you’re touching!

However, if you noticed the leak during its early stage, there’s not much to worry about. You can just mop up the puddle that’s begun to pool or put a container under the leak.

Tip #3: Call a Pro

While you may have the skills and intuition to repair the pipe yourself, it is always best to call a professional plumber to attend to the burst pipe. You may schedule service even if the problem seems minor or call an emergency plumbing service if the problem proves too complicated for you to solve yourself.

A professional plumber guarantees that your burst pipe will be repaired properly because they have the training for it. It’s also safe to assume they have had substantial experience in the quick detection of burst pipes, speeding up the repair.

A professional plumber can also advise you on other necessary steps you must take after having the burst pipe repaired. They can tell you if the water damage has spread to any other part of your house, which would mean that you need to call in an electrician or have a worker reconstruct any surface damage.

If you are worried about the cost of hiring a professional, think about the time and further costs it will save you in the long run if a pro does the work for you!

If the repairs have left you with debris and trash to clean up, check into The Woodlands Dumpster Rental for same-day trash trailer and dumpster delivery. Dumpster rentals can help with hassle-free cleanup and recycling.

Tip #4: File an Insurance Claim

The additional expenses you may incur in the repair of water damage can be a headache. So, if you have a homeowner's insurance policy, it could cover the expenses especially if the water damage is an unanticipated occurrence. A burst pipe definitely falls under this condition.

Be sure to document extreme damage to the areas that have been affected by the leak from the burst pipe. Take pictures of everything. And when we say everything, we mean every little detail. Take both close-up and zoomed-out photos, and ensure you provide a reference for the extent of the damage. Hold up a ruler, measuring tape, or other common household items beside the area to serve as an estimation. You can also take videos of the leak while the main water flow is still turned on.

Once you have filed an insurance claim, an insurance adjuster will pay you a visit to assess the damage, evaluate how much the repairs will cost, and determine whether their insurance company will cover them.

Problems with mold are usually not covered by a basic homeowners insurance policy, but you can upgrade your insurance so that it does. Mold grows depending on the conditions in their environment. You can expect it to appear between 1-3 days from the time your pipe bursts. Therefore, you must immediately file an insurance claim once you notice a leak brought about by a burst pipe. Even just calling a public adjuster and asking for advice on your insurance claim is a big help, and they don’t usually charge anything for simply checking the coverage of your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Tip #5: Cleanup Time

If the burst pipe caused major flooding from its leak, ensure you drain and dry the flooded area immediately. You want to prevent mold from forming, and for further water damage to occur. As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure." In this case, it saves you time and money!

Cleanup Process

In the event of flooding inside a room, the first thing you should do is ensure there are no electronics plugged into sockets or submerged in the water. Only when you are absolutely sure the area is safe can you begin retrieving other items that have been soaked in flood water, beginning with the most important ones. Take out the electronics first, then salvage the important items, such as the rare, collectible, or costly pieces. Of course, you must also remember to secure your personal belongings and trinkets.

Take out other items that have been wet such as furniture and rugs. Have them dry out in another room or outside under the sun. Be careful not to throw things away before your insurance adjuster comes by to assess the damage. You must present all the items that have been affected by the flooding so that they can properly insure them.

After salvaging all your things from a flooded room due to a burst pipe, the next thing to do is clean up and dry the area.

Depending on how deep the flooding is, you can mop it up using mops, towels, rags, or other old cloths available. Buckets come in handy if the flood is deep enough; you have to scoop water out before mopping. You can also rent or buy a wet/dry vacuum to quickly suck in dirt, dust, and even water spills. Submersible pumps are also available for rent or sale and are very efficient at drying out flooded areas.

When the flooding has been cleared and the area is mostly dry after mopping up the excess water, you can use fans, blowers, or space heaters (if available) to help dry the area and prevent mold growth. You can open windows to let fresh air in, and if the sun is out, that would be a great help, too. Having a dehumidifier is an advantage because it helps lessen moisture in the air, thus also preventing mold growth.

This next tip is more emotional than technical but no less important: Be ready for and open to the possibility of saying goodbye to some beloved items. However, as mentioned earlier, you should only start getting rid of items after an insurance adjuster has completed their assessment. This precautionary measure ensures that you have documented the items you have lost due to the bursting of a pipe in your home and that you will be covered for your losses.

Disposable items usually consist of things that cannot be washed and dried within two days. For instance, you may have carpets, rugs, cushions, stuffed furniture, and other heavy cloth items that are hard to wash. You also have to consider electronics that got wet, such as your television, microwave, etc. Just because they are dry and still in one piece doesn't mean they aren’t damaged.

Considering all the items you possibly have to throw away, you can look into emergency dumpster rentals to make waste cleanup easier.

Finally, you should thoroughly clean and disinfect all the items you had saved from the flooding. Making sure everything is clean and dry is an important step in preventing mold. You can take the prevention of mold to a higher level by calling in professionals to aid you. They have special materials and tools that can identify areas within your home that are susceptible to condensation or are still damp. These professionals can efficiently get rid of the remaining moisture to prevent mold growth and further water damage.

Tip #6: Do Water Pipe System Maintenance

It’s always wise to do proper maintenance of your water pipes regularly to avoid experiencing burst pipes through frozen pipes, water pressure surges, intermittent water flow, and rusted pipes, among other causes. If your insurance company evaluates that you could have prevented the burst pipe incident from occurring, they could use that as grounds to deny you insurance coverage. Avoiding a burst pipe incident is so much better than getting overwhelmed by the situation and costs of repairs and cleanup.

There are a few things you can do to maintain or preserve the quality of your water pipe system. During the cold seasons, you can practice draining your pipes or letting the cold water flow continuously by allowing your faucets to run. You can do this intermittently or just let it drip throughout the day.

You can either add insulation to cold areas in your home or ensure that the temperature inside does not go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also use foam tubes to insulate the pipes themselves, to prevent frozen pipes. If you experience having a frozen pipe, you must immediately defrost it before it bursts from the pressure. You can use tools, such as a hair dryer or space heater, to defrost a frozen pipe.

Conclusion

If you suspect that a pipe has burst in your home, don’t hesitate to immediately act upon it. The quicker you have it checked and repaired, the more damage you can prevent.

A burst pipe usually shows signs such as inconsistent water flow, rust-colored water, distinct metallic or strange smell, clanging noises where you figure your water pipes are laid out, sudden increase in your monthly water bill, or puddles forming in random areas.

You must immediately find your main water shut-off valve and turn it off. Then clear your pipes of water by flushing your toilets and turning on all faucets to decrease water pressure and prevent freezing in the pipes. Ensure the members of your household know the location of the main water shut-off valve, from the get-go, for emergencies like a burst pipe!

If there is major flooding caused by the burst pipe, make sure you have removed all electronics from the flooded area before saving your things in the room.

If you have filed an insurance claim, after cleaning up and drying what you can, wait for the insurance adjuster to assess the damages before you throw anything away.

Keep in mind that it is always best to call in professional help–professional plumbers and electricians, to help you repair the burst pipe and other damages that may have been caused by the leak. Call your public insurance adjuster to help you recover your losses. Engaging the help of professionals saves you time and money in the long run.

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