What To Do When Your Pipes Burst?
It’s a dreaded emergency water cleanup scenario we all assume we’ll never experience until it’s too late. Whether it’s stemming from a frozen Minnesotan winter day or it’s been years since a maintenance checkup, the odds of encountering a burst-pipe catastrophe are higher than you would imagine. Reports indicate that 14,000 Americans experience a water damage emergency every day, accumulating upwards of $13 billion in annual water damage and removal costs.
While you never know when a disaster like this may strike, knowing what to do in the fleeting moments after a pipe has burst can prevent further water damage from taking a drastic toll on your home. Being prepared for this worst-case scenario may also save you hundreds of dollars in pipe burst cleanup costs.
Let’s take a step-by-step look at what you need to do when your pipes burst while you’re waiting for emergency water cleanup assistance.
Preliminary Steps: How to Avoid Burst Pipes
Before we get into what should be done in the immediate aftermath of a burst pipe, it’s important to understand all the ways you can try to avoid this plumbing dilemma entirely.
Here are four essential tips for preventing burst pipes:
1. Drain Your Pipes
Turn on all the cold faucets in your house, then flush the toilets until all the water is out of the pipes. Next, turn off the water heater and turn on all the hot water faucets until water is out of the pipes. This will help prevent any frozen pipes from bursting in the winter.
2. Keep The Heat On
Proper heat insulation throughout the winter will reduce the chances of experiencing frozen or expanded pipes, which can cause a burst. This specifically applies to colder areas of your home where pipes are present, such as the basement.
3. Insulate Your Plumbing
Wrapping your pipes with anything from fiberglass or foam rubber sleeves to industrial tape or self-seal rubber will keep them warm and insulated when it’s below freezing outside.
4. Leave Interior Doors Open
Allowing warm air to circulate throughout your house can be as easy as leaving any hallway, cabinet, or pantry doors open throughout the winter.
Performing this burst pipe prevention checklist before the temperature starts to drastically drop will vastly decrease the odds of experiencing any broken pipes or ruptured plumbing.
Things to Do About a Burst Pipe
Step 1: Turn Off The Water Source
Once you’ve determined you have a burst pipe on your hands, you need to shut the water off immediately. If you’re unaware of where your main water valve is located, more often than not, you will find it in your basement, under the kitchen sink, or within close proximity of wherever the primary service pipe connects to your house, such as a water heater unit.
There are usually two types of valve designs for a water valve: a gate valve or a ball valve.
- Gate water valves are supposed to be left either fully open or completely closed, which means they might be difficult to close if they haven’t been touched in a while, so try to have a wrench or curb key handy if you can.
- Ball water valves are equipped with a little handle that will shut off your water supply when turned clockwise until it’s at a right angle to the pipe. Once the water has been shut off, it’s highly recommended that you shut off your electricity as well to avoid potential high voltage surges as well as preventing electrical sockets or equipment being damaged.
Knowing exactly where your main water valve is located is essential knowledge for anyone living in your place of residence. To avoid wasting time trying to locate the valve, get familiar with its location, and consider labeling it with a “Main Water Shut Off” tag that will immediately inform anyone from roommates to plumbers of where the main water valve is located.
You can also look into investing in smart valves, which can automatically shut off your water supply in the event of an emergency. Smart valves are controlled by your smartphone, even if you’re not inside your home.
Step 2: Call for Help & Start Documenting for Insurance Purposes
After you’ve located the main water valve and shut off the water supply, you’ll want to immediately contact a water restoration company for help, as well as begin the documentation process for filing an insurance claim. At Kiser Construction, we offer 24-hour emergency restoration services in the event of a pipe-burst catastrophe or other water damage emergency.
Once you’ve secured some water damage restoration assistance, it’s time to start preparing for the impending insurance procedures.
Take Photos of Everything
Begin by taking pictures of the burst pipe, as well as everywhere and everything that’s been affected by water damage. After you’ve taken pictures of anything that could be of relevance to filing an insurance claim, start documenting the damage so you have a written account of the incident. The less evidence and information you can provide to your insurance company, the less likely you’ll be able to receive full compensation or coverage for any damage restoration services you’ll need.
Contact Your Insurance Company
When you’ve documented all the ins and outs of the incident, it’s time to call your insurance company to begin determining what will all be covered. Most home insurance plans will cover any burst-pipe incidents, but you’ll want to confirm that right away with your insurance agent before handing over your documentation.
Ultimately, your insurance company will send over a claims adjuster, who will access the damage and review your documentation to officially determine what caused the burst pipe, if there are any pre-existing housing issues that would rebuke coverage, and the extent of the property damage. Once all that information has been processed and evaluated, your insurance company will issue their final quote to provide compensation for repair and replacement costs.
Don’t Worry, We Help With Insurance
Dealing with insurance companies can often prove to be a taxing process. This is why Kiser Construction offers insurance assistance to streamline the process. We’ll collaborate with your insurance company to confirm you’re getting the proper amount of coverage you need to handle this situation.
When you utilize our insurance assistance services, we will engage in the following mediation processes:
- Initiating the water mitigation procedure to dry out your home, remove damaged items and materials, and salvage or disinfect any damaged furnishings or materials.
- Provide assistance in the documentation process to ensure all necessary evidence is collected to hand over to the insurance company.
- Commence the drying process by installing, operating, and monitoring our mitigation equipment until water removal and restoration is complete.
- Collaborating with the insurance claims adjuster during their inspection process until an itemized loss list, coverage quote, and projected restoration timeline is agreed upon.
We will do our absolute best to negotiate with your insurance provider to maximize your insurance claim, all the while keeping you updated and in the loop throughout our dealings with your insurance company.
Step 3: Repair the Pipe
When the insurance procedure has been initiated, it’s time to finally start fixing the root of the problem. If you’re a Kiser Construction customer, we will take care of providing you with professional plumbing services that will begin addressing and repairing a burst pipe as soon as possible.
We’ll start off by drafting up a blueprint of a water map so we can officially determine the source of the water leakage. From then on, we’ll also handle the rest of the water restoration process, from water removal, to structural drying, to assessing your home for any potential hazardous conditions, such as mold or microbes exposure.
DIY Pipe Repair
If you’re persistent on taking a DIY approach for this project, then let’s review a few general guidelines for repairing a minor crack on a burst pipe on your own:
- Measure the size of the crack or break in the pipe.
- Equip yourself with a garden hose and several hose clamps or grips.
- Cut the hose at least ten inches longer than the size of the crack and slip it over the fractured area of the burst pipe.
- Apply the clamps or grips to the newly hose-covered area and secure the hose as tight as it will go.
- Test the repair job by turning the water back on and seeing if there’s any water leakage from the newly installed hose.
- If water leakage is apparent or the burst pipe needs to be fully repaired or replaced, wait until your plumbing provider has arrived to go any further and potentially avoid additional damage.
Again, unless you have experience with pipe maintenance and you have the necessary repair equipment assembled, it’s recommended to let your restoration contractor work out all the burst pipe repair, assembly, and installation procedures.
Step 4: Clean Up & Water Restoration
The second you’ve shut your water off should be when the cleanup and water restoration process begins. While it will be your water restoration company’s job to begin all item and water removal procedures, if you’re up for it, remove any belongings you deem important from flooded or dampened areas and set them aside in waterproof containers.
When all essential items, materials, and appliances that have been damaged have been removed from its immediate area, the water restoration process can officially commence. Kiser Construction’s water restoration process will initiate as follows:
Utilizing various heavy-duty pumps and vacuums, we will immediately remove any standing water present so further damage or mold growth is prevented.
Drywall Or Flooring Removal
If any drywall or flooring has been damaged beyond repair, we will quickly remove it and work toward installing replacement materials.
When all water and damaged material has been evacuated, we will carry out our dry-out process by using high-powered dehumidifiers, fans, and other restoration equipment to eliminate any excess moisture.
Once the area is dry and clean, we’ll begin repairing and replacing any property damage, such as ceilings, appliances, furnishings, drywall, flooring, etc.
Remember, if you want something to be saved or covered by insurance, you’ll want to immediately salvage it the best you can. This can include anything from substantial appliances or equipment to essential documents or papers. The more items you save and document, the more likely they’ll be covered and replaced.
Contact Kiser Construction for 24/7 Pipe Burst Cleanup in the Twin Cities
Time is something you can’t afford to lose when you’re dealing with a burst pipe. If you want immediate water damage restoration aid, insurance policy assistance, as well as removal, drying, and repair or replacement services, contact Kiser Construction for immediate cleanup and restoration help, or give us a call at 763-633-2010 to speak with a restoration specialist who can answer any questions or concerns.
You can also call our emergency hotline at 612-518-8852 for any urgent and immediate solutions!