Dealing with a Chicago Water Main Break? 3 Simple Steps to Take Now

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: February 29, 2024

What happens when a water main breaks in Chicago?

If you’re asking this question, you’re likely the owner of a flooded home. While this can be a very scary situation, it doesn’t have to mean disaster for your space or belongings. The secret is simply knowing what to do after a water main break.

By understanding the steps required for flood clean up, you can protect your belongings and help ensure your house reclaims quickly and easily once the water main is repaired.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Causes a City of Chicago Water Main Break?

If you live in Chicago, you might be wondering what causes water lines to break. Shouldn’t city workers be able to avoid them? What is large and powerful enough to break such a major line?

The answer is simple: many things.

From poorly-executed construction to extremely cold temperatures, shifting earth, and aging infrastructure, water main breaks have many causes. Recent Chicago broken water main issues, for example, were caused by frigid temperatures and outdated infrastructure.

While city governments are typically very careful to avoid such issues, they do happen, and they can be catastrophic when they occur.

How Long Does it Take to Fix a Water Main Break?

When a water main break occurs, everyone wants it fixed as quickly as possible. After all, broken water lines can cause homes and sidewalks to flood, not to mention rendering roads and other public transit systems useless, or causing millions of dollars of damage.

Unfortunately, they’re not always easy or fast to fix. Repair times can be interrupted by cold weather, freezing, ice damming, and many other complicating factors.

Who is Responsible for the Damages?

Again, this depends in large part on where the break occurs, what caused it, and how much damage it creates. In some places, city governments will not pay for the damages associated with a water main break, even if it’s their fault.

As such, it’s essential for homeowners to have an insurance policy that offers flood coverage. Not only does this ensure protection in the event that a water main does break, but it also gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re covered, no matter what.

If you have any questions about your policy’s coverage, contact your insurance company and ask, “Is a broken water main covered by my homeowners’ insurance?”

When a Chicago Water Main Breaks: 3 Steps to Take

If a water line breaks in your neighborhood, do you know what to do? Follow these steps to protect your home and your belongings:

1. Flush Your Pipes

First things first: flush your pipes. One of the first symptoms of a break is sludge, silt, and debris in your home’s water line. If you don’t flush these things out, they can contaminate your drinking and daily use water.

The most effective way to do this is to open a large tap while keeping all the other taps in the home closed. A great option is to turn the bathtub on, full-bore, and keep other faucets turned off. Run the tap until the water is clear and you’re not hearing hissing or spitting noises, both of which are symptoms of air in the line.

If you turn on a large tap but there is no water, contact your local Water and Sewer Commission to find out whether they’ve turned off the water to your home. If not, you may have a blockage that needs professional attention.

2. Check Your Homeowners Policy

Again, not all homeowners’ insurance covers water main breaks. To find out whether or not yours does, you’ll have to read the fine print of your contract or get in touch with your insurance agent. In many cases, you’ll find that the city government won’t pay for damage caused to your plumbing system by a water main break.

This leaves you to shoulder the burden of repairs. With this in mind, check your current policy for coverage options, and start making a plan to pay for damages.

3. Hire Water Damage Restoration Services

If the main break flooded your home, you’ll want to bring in water damage restoration specialists as quickly as possible. The faster these people can get to work in your home, the less likely you are to suffer from mold, mildew, or irreparable damage.

Dealing with Water Damage in Chicago? We Can Help

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While broken water lines can wreak havoc on your home, they don’t have to spell complete disaster. When you learn to recognize the early signs of a break (sludge, silt, and debris in your home’s water supply) and take action after a break has occurred (opening taps and contacting your local water damage specialists), you’ll be better able to protect your belongings and help your home recover.  

Contact ServiceMaster by Zaba today: 773-647-1985