What to Do After a Pipe Bursts
Burst pipes are unfortunately very common out here in Western New York. Blame the winters – the force of water freezing and expanding can very often be more than an old pipe can bear.
If one of your pipes burst, you should stop reading this blog post and call a plumber. Once you’ve done that, try the following to reduce and mitigate any further damage.
Switch off your water supply.
Hopefully you know offhand where your water main is, and you can access it safely. Go find it and shut it off the prevent the flow of more water into your home.
Not sure where your water main is? Usually, it’s somewhere near your water heater in your basement, or tucked away in a crawl space. If it’s external, it may be under a metal lid close to the street.
If safe and necessary, turn off the electricity.
If you can safely access your electrical shutoff, turn that off too to prevent accidentally introducing electricity to the water that’s pooled up.
Drain your faucets.
Just because your water main is off doesn’t mean that all of the water is out of your pipes. To prevent further leaks, you need to drain your faucets, especially the cold water that’s still flowing through your system. Drain your cold taps and flush your toilets a few times. Not only does this reduce the flow of further water, but it also prevents any more water from freezing and bursting your pipes and relieves existing pressure.
After the cold water is clear, you should also turn off your boiler and heating system and drain your hot taps as well.
Warm up your pipes.
Once the water is out of your taps, consider switching the heat back on and turning it up. Warming up the pipes will help to prevent any further freezing and bursting. If you can’t switch on the heat for whatever reason, a hair dryer aimed at the pipe that burst is good in a pinch.
You’ll want to get as much documentation as possible for your insurance company if you plan to file a claim. Take as many pictures as you can of the area where the leak occurred.
The faster that you start to mitigate water damage and remove excess water, the better chance you have of keeping your restoration bill down and avoiding permanent damage. Move whatever contents you can to a safe, dry place that’s out of the way. If there are big pieces of furniture that you can’t move from wet carpet, put wood blocks or foil between the legs and the floor. Mop up or blot as much water as you can.
Call a cleanup and restoration professional.
While there’s lots you can do on your own after a pipe bursts, you can’t do it all. Call the restoration professionals at SERVPRO of West Seneca/Lancaster when you need us – we’re here to help!