Severe cold can inflict major damage to your home, and burst pipes can be the worst of all. The last few years have taught many people some harsh lessons about winter damage. If your pipes freeze and burst, you must take immediate action to limit the damage.
Visualize this: 250 gallons of water. It’s not something you want flooding your home, is it? Well, it’s about what one 1/8-inch crack in a house’s water pipe can leak in 24 hours. Burst pipes aren’t rare — they damage literally millions of homes each year. The best way to avoid the issue is to be prepared. If the worst happens anyway and a pipe bursts, you’ll need to move fast to safely halt further damage and ensure your home is properly repaired.
Know What to Do
- Assess the amount of water and probable location of the leak — it may be necessary to turn off the electricity to your home to avoid electrocution. Never touch a wet outlet, switch, or appliance.
- Turn off the house’s main water valve.
- If the leaked water is warm, it may be necessary to turn off the water valve to the water heater.
- If appropriate to the situation, place an appropriately sized container under the leak to catch the water.
- Turn on the faucets throughout the house to drain the water left in the system.
- Call a plumber immediately to help repair or replace the pipe.
- Call a water remediation company (e.g., ServPro®) immediately. This is important as it affects your insurance claim and helps prevent mold from growing in your wall space, under your floor, or between the floor and ceiling between stories. Your homeowners insurance policy may cover costs you incur with the remediation company.
- Take photos of the burst pipe and of all the damage to the house’s structure and your personal property for your insurance claim.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
Remember, fast action and accurate documentation will help you salvage the situation.