A pipe bursting is an emergency that needs instant attention to minimize the damage it can cause. Burst pipes happen most often during the cold months, but can potentially occur during any time of the year. The water from a burst pipe can cause serious damage to not only your possessions and home’s structure, but also to you and your family’s health in the form of bacteria and mold growth. This article covers have to deal with a clean water pipe that has burst to encourage the most favorable outcome.
What Causes a Burst Pipe?
Before we discuss the most effective steps to take when handling a burst pipe emergency, it’s useful to know the potential causes of burst pipes so you can possibly prevent the situation from occurring in the first place. Pipes most often burst due to frozen water inside of them. This can be prevented by ensuring that your water pipes are properly insulated. During extra cold nights, you can allow a small amount of water to drip from each faucet, which will keep the lines moving.
Steps to Treat a Burst Pipe Emergency
#1. Turn Off the Water
As soon as you realize that a pipe has burst, immediately hurry to the water shut off valve to the entire house and shut it off. This is usually located very close to the water meter. By shutting this off fast, you contain the amount of water that can leak.
#2. Drain the Remaining Water from the System
Once the main valve is shut off, you need to remove the remaining water in the lines in a controlled manner to stop the leak. Turn all of the faucets in the home on, both sinks and bathtubs, running cold then warm water until they run dry. Shut off the hot water system if it is accessible.
#3. Turn Off the Power
If a room still has power on and contains standing water, do not risk stepping inside if there’s any way that the water could have a charge. There are no visible signs when water contains voltage that is strong enough to injure or kill a person. If you can reach the circuit breaker, shut off the power to the entire area until the standing water has been pumped out or otherwise removed. Once you are sure it is safe to return and the power is off, unplug any items that were standing in the water.
#4. Assess the Situation
Pinpoint the spot where the pipe burst. Usually it is behind a wall, but it can also be directly in the basement. This will need to be replaced by a plumbing professional in most cases. Your plumbing system has multiple shut off valves, one located near each sink, one by your washing machine, and one behind or in the basement ceiling underneath your refrigerator. If you need running water for the rest of the house, you can shut off the valve closest to the burst pipe and then turn the main water valve back on. This is also a useful way to test where the burst pipe is located if you haven’t been able to find it otherwise.
#5. Minimize Damage
While you are waiting for a professional cleanup company, do as much as you can to minimize further damage. The goal is to remove as much water and moisture as you can from the affected area as fast as possible. It only takes a few hours for damage to begin to set in in the form of bacteria and mold growth. If weather allows, open every window in the area and run fans at each entry point to move air through. Use whatever you have handy, including towels, microfiber cloths, buckets, large sponges, and mops, to pull up as much water as you can. If you have a wet/dry vac, it can be of great assistance. Lift anything made of fabric, such as curtains or rugs, and place it in a bathtub or outside. Remove any saturated cardboard and take it out of the area. Haul any belongings, especially those that are valuable, made of paper products, or fragile, to a dry location. If you have a dehumidifier, you can run that to remove additional moisture, attached to an extension cord if the power is still shut off.
If you’re dealing with a burst pipe, call RestorePro ASAP to get the help you need. Our damage restoration services can assist you in returning your property and belongings to their previous condition. RestorePro offers top-of-the-line procedures and products to ensure that we are able to do everything we can to get the job done.
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