Frozen pipes have been a big issue in Massachusetts over these last few weeks. With temperatures so cold, and for so long, the potential for pipe bursts is naturally high. Pipes don’t always burst in the basement of homes. It can occur anywhere, including inside cabinets or within walls and floors/ceilings. It’s important to know what to do when a pipe bursts in your home so you can minimize the overall damage.
1. Shut Off the Water
The very first thing you should do if a pipe bursts in your home is to shut off the water main. The shutoff valve is normally located somewhere in your basement. This will prevent further water flow into your home. You may also want to turn off electrical power as an added safety precaution.
2. Take Photos/Video
Grab your phone and quickly take photos (and perhaps a video) of the damages. This can help with your homeowner’s insurance claim. Keep in mind that damages are normally not limited to the single space where the pipe burst occurred. Check all nearby rooms and levels of your home.
3. Remove the Water
When a pipe bursts in your home, the longer it remains, the more damage it will cause. Grab a wet-dry shop vac and remove as much water as you can. For extensive water build-up, you may need something stronger, such as a pump.
4. Dry Out the Space
You can do a few things to dry out the space after a pipe bursts in your home. First, run a dehumidifier to grab the moisture in the air and help dry out the space. The water tank in that system will fill up quickly, so consider running a water line to a drain instead of using the built-in tank. Fans can also be helpful. Next, remove items from the home that are water-damaged and will need to be thrown out anyway.
5. Contact Insurance Company
Contact your Massachusetts homeowner’s insurance company to file a claim. Send them your photos/videos and any other information they request. They will likely send an adjuster to your home to assess the damage. They will also provide you with instructions on how to get repairs completed and covered by your insurance policy.
6. Hire a Contractor
When a pipe bursts in your home, the damages can be quite extensive. You may not even realize the full extent of the damages given that some could be hidden within walls, ceilings, and floors. Damages to the structure and the potential for mold growth are your biggest concerns. It’s best to hire a contractor that specializes in water damage repairs. Make sure your contractor is thorough. Replace damaged materials rather than simply covering them up. A proper repair ensures that your home will be safe to live in and will retain its value.
More on What to Do If a Pipe Bursts In Your Home
It’s important to note that if you have extensive damages to your home due to a pipe bursting and being left undetected for an extended period of time, your home may not be safe to enter. You may need to contact the local fire and/or building department for assistance with turning off the water and electricity, along with evaluating the home’s structural integrity. Always use your common sense and take safety precautions. Lastly, please keep in mind that above are just some general suggestions. This information should not be construed as legal advice.