When a water pipe bursts, it can cause severe water damage to your property and valuables. Knowing exactly what to do when a water pipe bursts, is what we’ll be focusing on in this article as well as insurance coverage for potential damage caused.
Water Pipe Burst – what to do
1. Turn off your water main
Locate your water main shut off valve and switch it to off. Turning off your water main is the first and most important step, as this will prevent any more water flooding into your property. There’s no standard location for a water valve so knowing the location of yours before a water pipe bursts, will save you precious time in the event of such a plumbing emergency.
If you have a home with a basement or crawlspace, your water main shut off valve is probably located on an interior wall near the front of the house. If your home does not have a crawlspace or basement and was built on a slab – your water shut off valve may be located in your garage.
If the water main cannot be located anywhere inside your home, the next place to look is at the front of your property near the street. Look for a cement cover labeled “water”. You should be able to lift this cover and find your water meter and the shut off valve in there.
2. Turn off all electrical appliances near the flooded area.
Only if it is safe to do so, make sure all electrical appliances near the area of the flooding are turned off. This includes ceiling fans and any light fixtures. If you think the flooding from a water pipe burst has reached an electrical socket or fuse box, it may be a good idea to turn off the power in your home completely.
3. Drain your faucets
To relieve pressure from your burst pipe (especially if the water pipe burst was caused by pipes freezing) drain the remaining cold water from your faucets by turning the cold taps on. If you are able to do so, turn off your water heater and then drain your hot taps as well. Flushing the toilet a few times will drain any leftover water as well.
4. Call a plumber
Now that your water main is off, no more water is bursting into your home and any immediate hazards have been addressed, it’s a good time to call a professional plumber.
Here at VIP Drain services we are serving all of Orange County and are trained, professionals are ready 24/7 for your plumbing emergencies!
5. Take lots of photos
As you wait for your plumber, now is the time to document and photograph everything. Take as many clear photos of damage done to your property and if possible the burst water pipe as well. Photograph any damage done to the interior and exterior walls, ceilings, floors as well as your personal property. This will come in handy, should you decide to file a claim with your insurance company.
Document the exact time you found the water pipe burst, any circumstances relating to the event and make a list of everything that was damaged and collect as much evidence as possible.
6. Contain the flooding
Once you have all the information and photos taken, it’s time to start cleaning up as much water as you can. If flooding has reached any cabinets or closets, open all doors to allow air flow. In the case of severe water damage you may need to hire a contractor who will mitigate the water damage or, in other words, dry your house down. It’s a good idea to contact your homeowners insurance first and ask for their recommendation as some contractors may take advantage of your situation and overcharge for their work, leaving you with an outstanding balance to pay out of pocket.
Water Pipe Burst and Insurance Coverage
Typically, insurance will not pay for the actual repair of the water pipes that burst, so any plumber fee and repair costs will be your responsibility. However, most insurance will pay for water damage done by a sudden and accidental pipe burst. This would include water damage done to ceilings, walls, furniture, flooring and so on.
It’s also important to understand that insurance companies are unlikely to pay in the case of your negligence. So if you are out of town and decide to turn your heat off during winter season which results in your pipes freezing and bursting – you’ll be on your own as most insurance companies will classify that as negligence on your part. That’s why it’s so important for homeowners to understand their plumbing system and take good care of it. You can find more burst pipe repair insurance claim tips in our previous article.