What to do When Your Pipes Burst!
Water Pipes Burst, Leak or Break For a Number of Reasons
Oftentimes the pipes have aged, and the joints no longer seal properly. Or perhaps, you have been impacted by a freeze resulting in severe damage to your plumbing. Regardless of the reason, water damage can be devastating to both the home and homeowner.
Many leaks occur with no warning, and even with warning they are difficult to mitigate. If your home has suffered from water damage, here are a few steps to follow to get your home and life back on track.
Turn off Utilities
Before you do anything else, make sure to turn off both water and electricity at the main hub or switch. The water line is often near the street under a black box or near the AC unit. Electricity can be turned off at the breaker usually found in the garage, side of the house or utility room. If you cannot find the on/off switch or value call the respective utility provider or consult a neighbor for help. If you have recently purchased the home, consider reaching out to the previous owner for guidance.
Do not walk into a home that has flooded or suffered from a water leak with the electricity on and do not touch any electrical switches, outlets or cables until you have been cleared by an electrician. Even a small amount of water should be treated as dangerous.
File an Insurance Claim
Once you have ensured the home is safe to enter, you may go in to inspect the damage. Take pictures and record video from multiple angles. Keep in mind that the full extent of the damage may not be visible.
Call your insurance company or file a claim online. Keep in mind during natural disasters and storm events it may take 2-3 days to hear back and a week or longer to meet with an adjuster. Ask what information they need and what you can do before they arrive. This will differ based on insurance company and plan.
Call a Contractor
As soon as you know there is damage from burst water pipes, call a contractor, plumber and/or electrician. As a rule of thumb, call at least three tradesmen and compare bids. You can also ask for references, reviews and testimonials to help ensure that the provider chosen will complete the work correctly.
Be sure to keep in mind any rules laid out by your insurance company regarding who you can use and what work they will cover. Your insurance company may require all contractors and tradesman to be licensed, have certain credentials, be bonded, insured and so on.
In the case of widespread weather events, like hurricanes and winter storms, expect service shortages and delays. Share the pictures you have taken with the contractor so they know what damage to expect and can bring the proper tools and materials on the first visit. This will help to reduce lag time for repairs. Keep all invoices and receipts for your records and to share with your insurance company. After repair work has been done, it is wise to have it inspected to make sure all work is up to code.
Clean Up What You Can
While you wait for a professional, you can begin the superficial clean up. Make sure you have pictures of the damage and that your insurance company does not need the scene preserved before picking up.
Once you have been cleared to clean, start by removing debris like fallen drywall, insulation, wood and pipe. Be sure to use proper safety equipment like gloves and eye protection.
If the water has been present for an extended period of time, wear a mask to prevent the inhalation of mold spores.
Once you have cleaned up the loose stuff, pull up any damp carpet, carpet pads and begin to cut out the affected drywall.
If the water has dried, you will be able to see discoloration on the ceiling and or walls. Water wicks so be sure to cut more than what appears to be impacted.
If you have tile flooring, you can simply mop it with a disinfectant solution. If the flooring is wood or otherwise absorbs the water, you will likely need to replace it.
More Cleaning Tips When Water Pipes Burst
Wash clothing and bedding that is impacted as soon as possible. You can lay out items on tarps or plastic table clothes to dry until they can be cleaned. Avoid layering items to prevent molding.
You can also use tarps or plastic sheeting to cover open holes in the walls or ceiling.
Once you have been cleared to turn on the electricity you can set up a Dehumidifier to help pull extra moisture out of the air, walls, and flooring.
While cleaning you may determine that the damage incurred is extensive or more than you want to hassle with.
If that is the case, give Flash Realty Solutions a call or simply submit an online inquiry. We can purchase your home in its current condition, even if that means there is standing water, broken pipes and holes in the ceiling or walls.
As always, we do not charge a commission and cover typical closing costs. You can also keep any money from the insurance settlement to use towards your new arrangements.