A burst pipe is a nightmare scenario for any homeowner. The thought of a broken pipe and water rushing through your home is enough to keep you up at night. Deep winter freezes and old, brittle galvanized piping make it a harsh possibility. But what do you do about a burst pipe before the plumber arrives?
Having a plan for any emergency is the best way to face them. Not only will it provide you with clear steps for mitigation damage, but it will also keep you calm in the face of calamity. You may even sleep better at night.
What to Do First When a Pipe Bursts
Whether it’s old, corroded pipes, or a sudden deep freeze, you don’t care what caused the break. You simply just want to know what to do about a burst pipe before the water takes away everything you own. Fair enough.
The following steps will help to prevent even more damage before the plumber arrives.
1. Turn off the water to the main
Your home connects to the public utility system’s main supply lines. You’ll find shutoff valves near your water meter. The meter and shut off is likely inside or protected to prevent it from freezing in the winter.
You may also find a main valve leading to the meter and one from the meter to the home. Examine your setup now – they vary from home to home – and learn how to shut off the water.
If you’re confused, tell your water utility company to send a technician by to walk you through the process. If you need a special tool to do so, make sure you purchase one and have it handy.
2. Turn off the main breaker
If it appears that the flood has reached your electrical system, you should turn off the whole-house breaker at the panel. This will prevent accidental electrocution and possible death while you deal with the emergency.
3. Open faucets
Open faucets to help relieve any water pressure remaining in the pipes. This helps reduce the chance that other weak spots in the pipes aren’t blown out by water pressure.
4. Call your plumber
Like finding the water main, don’t wait until an emergency before identifying a plumber that offers emergency services.
5. Remove water
Prevent further damage and mold growth by removing the water. If you have electricity, a shop vac is a handy tool for the job. Otherwise, a mop and bucket and shop rags work well, too.
6. Apply heat
If the pipes have frozen, warm them up to prevent more breakage. If the electricity is on, turn on the heat and use fans to blow warmth into any unheated rooms.
Open up cabinet and closet doors to allow heat to reach pipes below sinks and in utility closets.
7. Document the damage
Grab your phone and document the damage for your insurance company as soon as possible.
8. Salvage belongings
Remove any furnishings or personal goods at risk of damage somewhere safe and dry.
9. Apply air
Once the pipes have been defrosted, use those fans to help dry out any wet floors, walls, and fixtures.
If the weather is warm and dry, open windows and doors to help circulate fresh air and speed drying. The faster your home is dried out, the less chance of mold and mildew occurring.
During the summer, a burst pipe may be caused by corrosion. In this case, if your electricity can be used safely, running your air conditioner helps dry out your home.
10. Assess the damage
While it’s still fresh in your mind, further assess the damage and take any additional photographs. Make a list of damage to property and possessions.
11. Contact your insurance company
The sooner you start your claim, the quicker it will be resolved.
Hopefully, your emergency plumber has arrived and will be able to provide further information you’ll need for your insurance claim.
Now that you know what to do about a burst pipe before the plumber arrives, make sure you’re waiting for the best possible emergency plumber in the local area.Make an appointment today with the plumbing pros at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Pleasantville. Our licensed technicians are standing by for any emergency. We’ll also inspect your system and offer advice on how to prevent this nightmare scenario from ever happening to you.