What to do When a Pipe Bursts in Your Home

A burst pipe can be one of the most stressful incidents to happen inside your home, especially in the wintertime. Water expands when it freezes, causing pipes to be more susceptible to bursting and leaking. The end result can be significant water damage to walls, ceilings, floors and belongings so it’s crucial to act quickly. 

What should you do when a pipe bursts? 

Here are some helpful tips to minimize damage. 

Turn off the water source 

First and foremost, completely shut off the main water valve as soon as possible. This is likely located in your basement or utility room. If the leak reaches any electrical sockets or the fuse box, carefully turn off the electricity, too. Shutting off the water will help lessen any destruction upfront. If you live in an apartment and don’t have control over your building’s water supply, contact your property manager or landlord. 

Drain the faucets 

The next step is to open your faucets to drain any remaining water from the pipe system. You may also flush your toilets a few times as well. This helps further prevent pipes from freezing as well as relieves pressure. 

Log any damage 

It is highly recommended to take clear photos from various angles of any affected areas and accurately measure the depth of the water. This way, you have plenty of proof with which you can file an insurance claim. When in doubt, document everything.  

Clean up the mess 

Soak up puddles with a mop, towels and/or shop vacuum as quickly as possible – after you’ve already documented it, of course. This will help prevent mold and mildew from forming. Unless you have the skills to fix a burst pipe, it is a smart idea to call a plumber immediately so they can use their hardware on-site. You may also need to contact a water damage professional, especially if your floors, walls or ceilings are ruined. 

Turn on the heat and open doors 

Ice melts when it’s warmed up, which is why it’s key to keep your house nice and toasty in the instance of a burst pipe. Turn your thermostat up to at least 68ºF to help thaw the frozen pipes. Additionally, leave your interior doors open for at least a few hours to help promote airflow circulation. It is also recommended to open any cabinet doors so warmer air can reach the pipes under your sinks. 

Pipe bursts are common, but they can become burdensome when not tended to properly. Winterizing your home each year is crucial to help curb frozen pipes from bursting, but it’s best to be safe and know what to do in the worst-case scenario. Also, make sure you keep a home inventory up to date to document your belongings, help speed up the claim process as well as make sure you get the claim payment you deserve by not forgetting anything.    

In the event you have a loss, file a claim right away to get the claim process started immediately and ideally be approved promptly so you can receive your money when you need it most.  

To learn more about how to keep your home protected this winter, reach out to your local Rural Mutual agent