According to Cost Helper, the average homeowner can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 or more to clean up the damage that occurs after a pipe bursts. Unfortunately, one of the most common causes of a burst pipe happens during the coldest time of the year. If you've ever suffered through a burst pipe, you know how important it is to act quickly. Here are a few tips to help you protect your home from the damage caused by a frozen pipe that has burst:
Turn off the Water Main and the Electricity
The worst-case scenario has happened: a pipe in your home has frozen and burst. The first thing you need to do is stop any more water from entering your home. This is accomplished by shutting off your water main, which is typically located at the main pipe that brings water into your home. That pipe is typically found in your basement.
Next, determine if it's prudent to cut off the electricity to the affected portion of the home. For example, if the pipe froze and burst in your kitchen and there is a lot of standing water, go ahead and shut off the power to the kitchen to prevent an accidental electrocution. Additionally, it's important to avoid using any electricity until the majority of the water is eliminated and the burst pipe is repaired or replaced.
The next step is to eliminate any remaining water that is in your pipes. To accomplish this, begin by turning on all the cold taps throughout your home. Next, shut off your water heater and turn on all the hot water taps throughout your home. Finally, flush all the toilets in your home.
Taking these steps will help remove the majority of water in your pipes, which will help prevent any further damage.
Contact a Plumber, Immediately
Even if you can locate the burst pipe and the damage isn't severe, it's important to contact an emergency plumber right away. In addition to helping you repair the damaged pipe, the plumber can also search for any additional burst or frozen pipes throughout your home and perform any necessary repairs.
If the plumber notices any damage to your wiring, call an electrician right away to repair the issue.
Get Rid of as Much Standing Water as Possible
As the plumber is working, go ahead and begin eliminating as much standing water as possible. However, before you begin, snap a few photos of the standing water, burst pipe, and any damage that has occurred. These pictures will prove invaluable when you file an insurance claim.
The easiest way to do this is to fill plastic cups, buckets, or whatever you can find and either toss the water outside or down the drain. If you have a shop-vac, you can easily eliminate small amounts of standing water and water that has soaked into your carpets.
While eliminating the water, ask another member of the family or a friend to begin salvaging some of your belongings. For example, if you have a photo album on a low shelf in the living room, go ahead and grab it before it is damaged by the water.
Finally, snap a few additional pictures of the aftermath of your clean-up. Go ahead and call your insurance company at this point. It is important to contact your insurance provider right away to begin the claims process. Remember, the faster you call the insurance company, the more quickly you can begin cleaning up the damage caused by your frozen pipe.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, you can still suffer from frozen pipes in winter. If you suffer a burst pipe, don't hesitate to contact an emergency plumber right away.