What to Do When a Water Pipe Bursts
Aside from natural disasters and catastrophes, burst pipes are low on the list of desired homeowner experiences. If a home has weak pipes, winter is a particularly dangerous time for homeowners. In the freezing months of winter water freezes, expands, and exerts incredible force on pipes. If a pipe is weak, it will not be able to handle this amount of pressure.
If your pipes burst, the first thing you should do is contact experts, like All Dry USA. Professional services will be necessary to repair the pipe, address any water damage, and aid in preventative measures for the future.
While waiting for consultation services to arrive, there are a few steps you can take to limit water damage.
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Shut Off Water Main
If a pipe bursts, the water supply needs to be shut down. If you suspect the water reached electrical sockets or a fuse box, go ahead and turn off the electricity. You need to locate the water main shut-off valve. It is often close to the water heater, in the basement, or crawl space. If it is not inside, you can normally locate it on your property under a metal lid, often near the street.
After shutting down the water, turn on the faucets. Start with cold taps in order to drain any remaining water. This includes flushing toilets multiple times. It limits the chance of remaining water causing another burst pipe after freezing. It also alleviates any pressure in the pipe.
Drain Hot Taps with the Heat Off
The next step is to turn off the water boiler and heating system. Release all the water from the hot taps as well.
Warm It Up
Now that all the water is removed from the pipes, you can turn the heat back on. Warm up the home by turning heat on and turning up the thermostat. If you know where the leak or burst pipe is, try directing a hair dryer on it. The goal is to warm the pipes up so any remaining frozen water is melted. At the very least, open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate.
Document the Damage
Now that the emergency is contained, you need to document the damage. This involves capturing photos of damage to the home or possessions. Document water, wet possessions, the pipe itself, and anything else that is relevant. Do not throw damaged items away. You will need this as evidence when working with your insurance company.
While waiting for a plumber, start cleaning. You can only do this step if you have been able to locate the leak. This is the best way to get ahead of any potential mold or mildew, caused by water. Once this starts to spread it is hard to contain. You could be at risk of serious health issues.
After working with insurance and a plumber to assess and repair damage, consider taking preventative steps for the future. After experiencing one burst pipe, it is probably not an experience worth repeating. Protecting your home is possible with the right steps. You can winterize your home with added insulation. This helps the pipes avoid reaching that freezing point in the cold months.
You can also purchase pipe sleeves and heat tape for any exposed pipes. Exposed pipes, like those under the bathroom sink or kitchen sink, are more prone to freeze. Protecting them with added insulation can help protect your home.
You should also look for pinhole leaks. These are small micro-leaks that often turn into a bigger problem when left unattended. Pipes should also be able to breathe. Open cabinet doors so warm air can circulate. If you leave for an extended period of time, take steps to ensure your home remains above 32 degrees.
Once a plumber from All Dry USA has helped you recover from the ordeal of a burst pipe, the work is on you. To prevent another burst step, you need to follow the steps listed above. To ensure the original burst pipe does not cause residual damage, you must keep an eye out for potential issues. This includes any signs of mold or mildew growth in the house. Leaks can hide behind walls and in tight spaces. While state-of-the-art equipment often removes all of this, you can never be too sure.
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