A pipe has broken in your home and you have to scramble to remedy the problem as you call the professionals for help. This scenario is one of the biggest fears of homeowners and plays out all too often. Here’s what you can do to prevent a broken water line from causing havoc in your home.
First, you must know that preparation is key! You should familiarize yourself with where your main water shut off is inside your home. If you do not have a main water shutoff inside your home, call a plumber and have one installed. But in the meantime, if you don’t have one, know where your outside water shut off is located. You can call the utility company and they can tell or show you. The last thing you want to be doing is running around your yard in the middle of the night trying to remember where the shut off is after its buried in a foot of snow or covered in leaves, all while water is soaking your valuables inside your home! With water Time = Damage!
Also, when faced with a leak of this magnitude, make sure to avoid electric outlets or wiring near the leak. Keep in mind that water may be in inside a wall, thus dangerously close to electrical wiring. If possible, get to your home’s main breaker and shut off the power. This may seem like an extreme step, but if water has compromised electrical components in your home, you are preventing electrical fires.
Next, use a bucket or trash bin to catch any water. Doing this should buy you some time before you can fix the problem. Make sure the bucket is large enough to collect a substantial amount of water so you are not constantly on the move to empty it. It is also good practice to prevent water from doing harm to your flooring. If excess water finds its way under carpet or laminate flooring, you could have more repairs to make down the road. Lay large towels in the area of the leak so that water does not come in direct contact with the floor.
Now, you should turn off the water to your home. Some homes have shutoff valves that resemble garden hose faucet handles or large levers. If the leak is rather small and can be easily controlled before a plumber arrives, this step may not be completely necessary. Otherwise, find the shutoff and stop the flow to your home.
After the previous steps have been completed, if you are not a handyman yourself, it is wise to call a plumber to fix the pipe and restore your plumbing to working order. You can ask your plumber about ways to prevent future pipe bursts.
Finally, it is important to let the area air out. Open some windows and use a small box fan or two in the area of the leak to prevent mold. Dry the area with a towel and/or power vacuum and let the airflow do the rest.