What to Do After a Pipe Bursts

Published On: April 19, 20200 Comments on What to Do After a Pipe BurstsTags: Last Updated: February 11, 20244 min read

A burst pipe in your home can quickly result in thousands of dollars worth of damage. From flooded basements to ruined items, no homeowner ever wants to deal with a burst pipe. There are a few different reasons a pipe might burst. Cold temperatures can cause water to freeze and expand in pipes. Pipes can also develop weakened joints or become corroded over time. Sudden changes of water pressure can also cause problems.

What to Do After a Pipe Bursts

No matter what the reason, however, you’re going to want to respond quickly if you ever experience a burst pipe within your home. Here are the steps you’ll want to take.

Shut the water off

The very first you’re going to want to do is turn the water off. You should familiarize yourself with the main water shut-off valve in your house, long before you ever end up needing it. In most houses, this value is located in the basement or on an outside wall. Typically, it will take two or more full clockwise turns to get the water to shut off. Again, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the correct way to turn the valve off before you need to use it. Once the value is shut off, go around to the faucets of your house and turn them on. This will allow any water that is still in the pipes to start draining, which will relieve the pressure from the pipes. This is also a good opportunity to ensure that the water has been fully turned off.

Call a plumber and your insurance

Once you have successfully turned the water off, your next step is to start making phone calls. You’re going to need to contact a plumber and your insurance company. Unless you have prior plumbing experience, you’re going to want to call a plumber to start replacing the pipes. If the pipes aren’t replaced correctly, you could have another large problem on your hands further down the road. The plumber will also be able to assess your other pipes to make sure they’re in good condition. As for your insurance company, you’ll want to call them to see what (if any) damage they’re able to cover. Do this as soon as possible before you start having to pay to make plumbing and household repairs. Your insurance company may also need to see photos or the damage or even send someone to come assess the situation.

Get rid of water

Once the water is off and phone calls made, it is time to start removing the water. The faster you can get rid of the water, the better. If the water resulted in a standing flood, shut off the electricity before you enter the water. In the event of a flood, you’ll also want to wear a pair of rubber boots with good traction. If you have a sump pump in your basement, make sure that it is on to drain some of the water. Then, start getting rid of the water in whatever way you can. Small amounts of water can be absorbed with towels. Larger amounts might need to be removed with a shop vac. If you don’t have a shop vac, you can also get rid of larger amounts of water by scooping it up in buckets.

What to Do After a Pipe Bursts - water leaking

Take care of damage

The last step of the process is to start repairing the damage. This includes replacing floors, walls, and any furniture that was impacted. Water damage restoration takes time and money, but it isn’t something you’ll want to overlook. If the water damaged your floors or walls, and you choose not to get them to replace, you could be dealing with mold and mildew in the future. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you’re dealing with mold. Mold can cause severe health problems. Try to remove as many items from the area as possible, then put them outside so that they can dry in the sun. You may be able to salvage some of the items that got wet. However, if something like an upholstered couch got wet in the process, you’re going to want to replace the couch. Again, this helps reduce the possibility of mold.

Final thoughts

If you ever find yourself in a position where you have a burst pipe, turn the water off as quickly as possible. Then start taking the necessary steps to restore the damage. Also, make sure to familiarize yourself with the reasons why pipes burst, to help lower the chances of it happening.

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