Burst Pipe in the Basement? Here’s What to Do Right Now

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 18, 2024

The signs of a broken water pipe aren’t always obvious. The leaks usually occur under a sink or behind the walls.

When a pipe bursts in the basement, you know it as soon as you head downstairs. You’re looking at a flooded floor that’s taking on water.

What should you do next?

Your 10-Step Action Plan When a Basement Pipe Bursts

It might be a corroded water pipe that finally ruptures. Winter weather can result in frozen pipes that burst. Regardless of the cause, you have to take care of basement flooding right away.

flood drying equipment in chicago home
Flood cleanup equipment

You need to solve the problem, minimize the damage and clean up the mess. These 10 steps can help.

1. Stop the Flow

First, turn off the water supply coming into your home at the main shutoff valve. Second, turn on all the inside faucets. This relieves pressure on pipes by draining water out of the system.

2. Turn Off the Electricity

Before you go downstairs, turn off the circuit breaker that controls electricity in the basement. Less than an inch of standing water on the floor can create a serious electrocution hazard.

3. Identify the Problem

Locate the burst water pipe, and determine what caused the break. If it’s behind a wall in a finished basement, you should see obvious signs of dampness in the paneling or drywall.

4. Patch the Pipe

The same DIY techniques that work on a burst pipe in the garage or under the sink should work down in the basement. The goal is to temporarily patch the pipe so that you can turn the water back on inside the house.

Leave final pipe repairs to a professional.

5. Call for Help

Call your insurance company, and explain the situation. Your homeowners policy should cover the water damage. Ask your agent to recommend a restoration contractor who takes care of pipe repairs and flooded basement cleanup like ServiceMaster by Zaba in Chicago, IL.

6. Move Things Out

Make room for cleanup by clearing out the basement. If the weather cooperates, set everything outside to dry. Document your losses with pictures of water-damaged items and belongings. Include photos of the flooded basement floor, wet walls and any affected appliances.

7. Clean Up Standing Water

Use a wet vac to remove standing water. If the flooding is deeper than a few inches, rent a submersible pump that can move large volumes of water. Run the vac or pump with an extension cord connected to a safe outlet upstairs.

8. Set Up Drying Equipment

Create cross-currents of constantly moving air by running large fans 24/7. A dehumidifier can speed up the drying process. If your basement has windows, leave them closed against outside humidity.

9. Carefully Check Walls

Finished basement walls often conceal water damage after flooding. Carefully check drywall and paneling for any signs of dampness. The materials wick up moisture from the wet floor, so be prepared to tear out water-damaged sections.

10. Head Off Mold Growth

A wet basement can take weeks to dry. That makes it an ideal environment for unhealthy fungal growth. Minimize mold in the basement by disinfecting surfaces with a combination of bleach and water solutions and fungicide products.

Let Professionals Do the Work

When faced with flooded basement cleanup, many homeowners call in an experienced restoration company. Trained technicians shoulder the hard work, so you quickly get your basement back to normal. These are just a few of the advantages professionals bring to the job.

chicago burst pipe basement cleanup team
Our team handles basement flooding cleanup every week here in Chicago, IL

Dealing with a Burst Basement Pipe in Chicago? We Can Help.

No one is ever really ready for a pipe burst in the basement. When it happens to you, you don’t have to take care of it by yourself. ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba provides expert emergency water damage restoration all across Chicago and the suburbs, and we take care of pipe repairs too.

We’re here for you 24/7 with expert water damage assessments. Just give us a call at 773-647-1985.

Does homeowners insurance cover basement flooding due to a burst pipe?

Your homeowners policy should cover water damage caused by burst pipes in the basement. If you aren’t sure, talk with your agent. He or she can review your policy and explain the details.

How much does it cost to clean up a flooded basement?

The only accurate way to determine the cost is through an on-site assessment. The best restoration companies offer water damage inspections free of charge.

How can I minimize the chance of burst pipes in the basement?

Regularly inspect pipes and connections that run through the basement. Keep an eye on trees and shrubs growing near the foundation. Make sure your sump pump stays in top operating condition.

Can a flood in the basement cause permanent damage?

If you don’t get it cleaned up right away, water in the basement can impact the floor and walls causing foundation damage. Extensive mold growth can easily spread up and through the entire house.