As temperatures dip this winter, the last thing you want is to wake up to frozen and burst pipes in your home. Weak, old, and uninsulated water pipes are the most vulnerable. A burst pipe will set you back hundreds of dollars or more in repairs and water damage cleanup.
While water damage resulting from a burst pipe in a home is often covered by home insurance, dealing with the aftermath and filing a claim can be a real hassle. You can avoid the stress and frustrations associated with burst pipes in Washington, D.C., by taking decisive steps.
What’s Behind Frozen and Burst Pipes?
Your water pipes will burst due to the effects of freezing and expanding water, a phenomenon that exerts pressure and stress. It happens in winter when the temperature of the air around the pipe dips and the water inside transfers its heat.
As heat escapes, water temperatures fall to below 32°F and freeze. Pressure will mount to a pipe where the pipe won’t be able to contain it and that’s when it will burst. Most pipes tend to burst or rupture at their weakest points, like at the joints or uninsulated sections.
Minimizing Frozen and Burst Pipe Damage
A burst pipe can cause your home to fill up with water quickly. In case a pipe bursts, shut off the main valve to prevent additional water from flowing into your home and damaging your property. Run your faucet to relieve pressure off the plumbing lines. Do the following as well:
Once the water in the pipes thaws and starts to flow, try to find the leaks. Go down into the crawl space or up the attic and listen for leaks. Inspect the piping that runs through both areas. Identifying and arresting leaks can avert costly water repairs and damage.
Call Your Plumber
A frozen and burst pipe can cause serious water damage and set the stage for secondary problems like mold. To prevent this from happening, contact your local plumber to assess and fix the damage.
Thaw the Pipe
If water isn’t flowing through the piping or coming out of your faucet, warm up the connecting pipe using a hairdryer. Start from the taps and then move to the rest of the piping.
Turn off Your HVAC
Cool the interior of your home using the air conditioner. Once it’s cool, raise up the temperatures by running the heater. This will help increase moisture saturation. Next, run the air conditioner again to clear the air of moisture.
Shut off Electricity
Electrocution and power outages are hazardous, especially after a pipe bursts. They are usually a sign of damage to your electrical system. Shutting off the power from the main supply will avert the risk of electric shock or fire.
Slow Down Water Leaks
Once you figure out the source of leaks, take some plumbing tape or a dry rag and wrap it around the piping to slow down the dripping. Even the smallest leaks can ruin your floor and damage the drywall in your home.
Take Stock of the Damage
Document the extent of water damage around your home and use it to file a claim with your home insurer. Take photos of the water damage, particularly that in the walls, floor, ceiling, and your personal items. Contact your agent after doing so.
Clear Excess Water
Water on your floor shouldn’t linger for more than a couple of hours. Otherwise, it’s going to create problems and foster mold/mildew growth. So, mop it up as soon as you can.
Protect Your Belongings
Move your basement furniture, carpets, appliances, and clothing away from the areas with water to a drier room or part of the home.
Heat up Your Home
If your pipes burst from cold weather, you may want to turn up the heat and adjust the thermostat. At the very least, open up cabinet doors to let warm air circulate.
Take Preventative Steps
Once you fix the burst pipes, do these things to avert a recurrence next winter:
- Leave the heater on when you’re away.
- Install a sump pump to eject water that collects on the basement floor.
- Maintain consistent indoor temperatures, preferably 55°F or thereabouts.
- Insulate any exposed water pipes that turn through the attic, basement, or crawl space.
- Seal up drywall cracks and gaps to keep out freezing air.
- Leave the kitchen faucet to drip. It will stop the pipes from freezing and bursting.
- Insulate the attic, basement, or crawl space to prevent heat loss.
A burst pipe is a threat to your home, which is why you have to take proactive measures to prevent it. Contact JES Foundation Repair to request a free waterproofing inspection and quote today!