What to do when a pipe bursts

If you’re reading this, you’re likely looking at a large puddle of water somewhere in your home. While leaking water heaters, clogged sewer lines, or heavy rainfall cause some residential flooding, a broken water pipe is often the most common cause. Freezing temperatures or other malfunctions in water pipes, connections, or valves can cause cracks to form, so could have water pouring down your walls and ceilings or pooling in your basement within minutes

1. Disconnect your electric power

Make sure the electrical systems in your home are turned off to prevent electrocution. Do not wade into standing water with the power on. If your path to your breaker box is blocked by water, look for a main shut-off on the outside of your home or call an electrician.

2. Shut off the water

Stop water flow to the pipe. If necessary, locate and turn off the main water shutoff for the home.

3. Save whatever you can from the damage zone

Water damage is almost instantaneous, but you may still be able to remove some of the items from the floor. For example, if you keep any boxes or documents on your basement floor (never a good idea, but too late now!), try removing any items to the top that may not yet be soaked.

4. Call Your Insurance Company

Your water damage is most likely to be covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy. Calling your insurer to let them know about the situation is the first step in starting the claims process. To make sure that your claim is successful, ask your insurer if the claims adjuster needs to visit your home to document the damage before you begin the cleaning and repair process, or if your photos of the damage are sufficient.

5: Document everything

No matter what your insurer suggests, it’s still a good idea to properly record all of your home’s water damage to help with your insurance claim. Just take pictures and videos with your phone and take note of everything that the water has touched, including your belongings and the foundation of your house.

6: Call Your Local Water Damage Company

At this point, most homeowners enlist the help of a water cleanup specialist to address the mess. You want a company that will respond quickly (within a few hours, max) and begin cleaning before mold starts to grow. We begin assessing conditions immediately and have advanced drying equipment. Once we are on the site, we will handle every aspect of the water extraction and drying process as well as perform any necessary repairs.

While you can’t prevent winter from happening, there are things you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing. While it may seem contrary to logic, letting the water drip from a faucet often helps prevent pipes from freezing. Keeping the thermostat the same temperature day and night is another helpful tip. For the long tern, add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces.

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