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.
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.
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.
We’re Here for You 24/7
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.