What to Do When a Pipe Bursts

Prism Specialties

What to Do When a Pipe Bursts Water pipes are located in areas that often go unnoticed in a home or building. So, when a pipe breaks, it may not be immediately noticed. Whether spotted or not, it quickly floods a space with gallons of water. This allows water to surge through the walls, damaging […]

What to Do When a Pipe Bursts

Water pipes are located in areas that often go unnoticed in a home or building. So, when a pipe breaks, it may not be immediately noticed. Whether spotted or not, it quickly floods a space with gallons of water. This allows water to surge through the walls, damaging the drywall, the floors, and any belongings it reaches.

If this happens, the best thing to do is deal with it quickly to mitigate further damage. Follow these tips on what to do if a pipe bursts and how to protect a home or business in the future.

What Happens When a Pipe Bursts?

When a water pipe bursts, water will immediately leak into the home. However, because most water pipes aren’t visible, the leak may go unnoticed at first. That’s why checking for signs of a leak around the home is important. Those signs include:

  • Puddles under the sink.
  • Light to dark brown stains on the ceiling.
  • Damp walls.
  • Dripping, whistling, or running water sounds coming from the walls or plumbing.
  • Discolored water coming out of faucets due to contamination from the break.
  • Musty odors around the home or coming from the plumbing.
  • Water isn’t draining or flowing properly out of faucets.

The longer the issue persists, the more damage will occur – starting with the plumbing, then the structural materials, and finally belongings and valuables that become exposed to the leak or standing water.

Steps to Take When a Pipe Bursts

When it comes to broken pipes, working quickly is important for preventing extensive damage. Here’s what to do as soon as a burst pipe is discovered:

  1. Close the main water valve. Turning off the water when a burst pipe is discovered will minimize the damage. It’s best to know the location of the main shut-off valve so that flooding water can be stopped quickly.
  2. Cut the power. Water conducts electricity, so turn off the main breaker – usually at the top of the service panel – before going near the flooded area. If it’s necessary to pass through water to get to the breaker, call the utility company to cut the power instead.
  3. Rescue valuables. When it’s safe to enter the flooded area, pull out any valuables – important documents, art, collectibles, etc. If documents can’t be dealt with immediately, put them in the freezer to prevent further damage and mold growth. Depending on the damage, consider professional restoration services.
  4. Remove as much water as possible. If possible, start clearing out any standing water by using a bucket, mop, or wet-dry vac. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to set in, so it’s important to get the space cleared and ventilated quickly to prevent further damage to the home and any belongings.
  5. Call professionals. Contact a certified plumber to repair the pipe, and restoration professionals to start clearing out any water and restoring the space.
  6. Contact insurance professionals. Contact an insurance agent to review and make a claim.
  7. Document damage. Take photos and videos of the damage so that an insurance adjuster can verify the claim and help cover the repairs and restoration. Documenting before anything is moved also provides a clearer picture to identify which items were in the affected area and may need to be treated for water damage or mold.

How to Clean a Flooded Basement from a Burst Pipe

If a flood results in water damage in a basement, all cleaning and restoration should be handled by a professional. Flood water from a burst pipe can still result in dangerous bacteria leaking into the home. Restoration professionals will safely remove the water, restore any affected drywall, carpeting, and structural materials, and ensure that the space is fully cleaned.

For any specialty items like electronics, textiles, collectibles, or documents, count on Prism Specialties to restore them. We’ll act quickly and efficiently to restore to pre-loss conditions. 

Related Content: How to Dry Wet Paper Before It’s Ruined Forever

Preventing Burst Pipes

Avoiding future burst pipes will protect homes and businesses from serious water damage. But before they can be prevented, it’s important to know why do water pipes burst in the first place?

  • Freezing weather. Insulated homes can experience frozen pipes when the weather hits 20°F for six to eight hours. Even if temperatures don’t drop this low, poor insulation can leave pipes vulnerable to bursting at temperatures as high as 32°F.
  • Corrosion. Often the result of hard water, corrosion wears down pipes until they can no longer hold the pressure of the water and burst.
  • Clogs. When water builds up behind clogs, the pressure can be too much for the pipes to hold and cause them to break.
  • Water pressure. High water pressure can also cause a pipe to rupture.
  • Shifting ground. Earthquakes and soil erosion are some ground-shifting circumstances that can affect plumbing. If the support around the pipes moves, it can put stress on one point and cause the pipe to break.

Stay proactive to prevent broken pipes and all the damage they bring by:

  • Insulating pipes and sealing air leaks. Add pipe insulation to pipes to heat them through cold seasons. Sealing leaks also prevent cold air from overcooling the pipes.
  • Dialing in water pressure. Pipes operate best with water pressure between 30 to 50 psi (pounds per square inch). Check the pressure by attaching a pressure gauge to the faucet. Open the water to find the reading. If the water pressure is 60 psi or higher, adjust it with the regulator next to the water meter.
  • Draining the pipes. Preparing a home or business for winter or a vacation? Drain the pipes to prevent coming back to a heartbreaking mess in the spring.
  • Adjusting the thermostat. Avoid pipes getting too cold by setting the temperature to around 55°F at the lowest. 
  • Keeping valuables safe in plastic tubs. The common cardboard storage box is prone to water damage, and basements, garages, and even attics are notorious for being damp, musty, and moldy. When storing collectibles, important or sentimental objects or documents, or other valuables, choose a container that can keep them safe.

Related Content: How to Floodproof a House or Business

Dealing with Water-Damaged Items from a Burst Pipe? Prism Can Help

Cleaning up from a broken pipe is even more daunting when valuables are damaged. Let the team at Prism Specialties restore damaged electronics, art, textiles, documents, and more. Call us at (888) 826-9429 or submit a claim online to get started.

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