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A Homeowner’s Guide to Fixing Burst Pipes like a Pro

A photo of a woman stressed out on the phone while the kitchen sink is overflowing with water behind her

Dealing with a burst pipe can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare, but having a solid plan in place can help prevent extensive damage and costly repairs. At Mainstream Electric, Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing, we’ve been serving Spokane, WA and Northern Idaho since 2000, earning thousands of 5-star reviews for our prompt, reliable service. With our 24/7 emergency response team, you can trust us to handle any plumbing disaster, no matter the time or severity.

When you encounter a burst pipe, the most crucial step is to call us immediately. Our experienced team will guide you through the necessary urgent actions to minimize damage while we’re on our way to restore your home quickly and efficiently. But, while you wait, here’s an eight-step guide on the immediate steps you should take if you face a burst pipe.

The first step in responding to a burst pipe is recognizing the signs. Here are some indications that you may have a burst pipe:

  • Dripping or spraying water from the ceiling, walls, or floors
  • A sudden decrease in water pressure
  • Unusual noises coming from the pipes, such as banging or hissing
  • Water stains on walls, floors, or ceilings
  • A musty smell in the affected area
  • Wet insulation or drywall

A burst pipe can lead to an unexpectedly high water bill, which may be from a leaky pipe. Additionally, if you experience unexplained puddles of water in your yard or garden, wet walls, or warm spots on your floor, these may be signs of a burst pipe or a slab leak. If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to act quickly to prevent further damage.

Shut off the Water Supply

The first thing you should do when you discover a burst pipe in your home is to shut off the water supply. Every home has a main water shutoff valve that you can use to stop the flow of water. In Spokane homes, this valve is typically located near the water meter or where the main water line enters your home. If you can’t find the main valve, contact your local water company for assistance.

Once you’ve located the main shutoff valve, turn it off by rotating it clockwise. This will stop the flow of water and prevent further damage to your home. It’s a good practice to familiarize yourself with the location of the main shutoff valve before an emergency occurs. Additionally, if your home is equipped with isolation valves on individual fixtures, like you water heater, you can turn these off to stop water flow to specific areas. This proactive step can save you time and prevent extensive water damage.

Turn off Electricity and Gas

If the burst pipe has caused flooding, there is a risk of electrical shock, especially if the water reaches your basement’s electrical outlets or appliances. If you can safely access your electrical panel, turn off the electricity to the affected area by flipping the circuit breaker. In homes here, the electrical panel is usually located in the basement, garage, or utility room. Be sure to avoid standing water when accessing the panel to prevent electrocution. If you’re unsure how to do this safely, it’s best to contact an electrician for assistance.

Additionally, if you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, turn off the main gas valve immediately and evacuate the property. In many Inland Washington homes, the gas valve is located near the gas meter, often on the side of the house or in the basement. Contact your gas company for assistance right away and call us to come repair it quickly. Gas leaks are extremely dangerous and can lead to explosions if not handled promptly and properly.

Drain the Faucets

After shutting off the water supply, open all the faucets in your home to drain any remaining water from the pipes. This will reduce the pressure on the burst pipe and prevent further damage. Be sure to flush the toilets as well to drain the water from the tank and bowl.

Additionally, if you have a hot water heater, turn it off and open the hot water faucets to drain the water from the system. This will help to prevent damage to your water heater and reduce the risk of additional leaks.

Locate the Burst Pipe

Once you’ve shut off the water supply and drained the faucets, it’s time to locate the burst pipe. Look for water stains, dampness, or unusual smells in the walls, floors, and ceilings. You can also listen for the sound of dripping or running water to help locate the source of the leak.

Sometimes, a burst pipe may be located in a hard-to-reach area, such as behind a wall or under a floor. In these situations, it’s necessary to carefully remove a section of drywall or flooring to access the damaged pipe. At Mainstream, our expert team is renowned for not only repairing the pipe quickly and efficiently but also for restoring the area to look as good as new. Our five-star reviews highlight our exceptional ability to seamlessly repair and restore drywall, pipes, and flooring, ensuring your home looks impeccable after the repairs are completed. Use caution to avoid causing additional damage to your property, and trust our skilled professionals to handle the job with precision and care.

Call the Professionals at Mainstream

Repairing a burst pipe is not a DIY project. It’s essential to call a professional plumber as soon as possible to repair the burst pipe and prevent further damage to your home. At Mainstream, we have over 24 years of experience serving Spokane Valley and the surrounding areas. Our team of licensed plumbers is available 24/7 to handle these emergencies, making us the most trusted company for homeowners.

Our experts have the specialized tools and expertise to locate and repair burst pipes safely and efficiently. Additionally, we can assess the overall condition of your plumbing system and recommend any necessary upgrades or replacements to prevent future bursts. With our professional advice, you can maintain your pipes and reduce the risk of similar incidents.

For reliable and prompt plumbing services, call Mainstream. Trust our experienced team to handle your plumbing emergencies and restore your home to its best condition.

Document the Damage

Before you start cleaning up, document the damage caused by the burst pipe. Take photos and videos of the affected areas and any damaged items. This will be useful for insurance purposes and will help you keep track of the damage and repairs.

Make a list of all damaged personal property and note the estimated value and age of each item. This detailed documentation can be critical when filing your insurance claim. Remember to save all receipts from repairs and cleaning, as they can be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Dry Out the Affected Areas

After the burst pipe has been repaired, it’s crucial to dry out the affected areas to prevent mold growth and further damage. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove standing water and open windows and doors to let fresh air in.

You can also use fans and dehumidifiers to help dry out the affected areas. If the damage is extensive, it’s best to contact a professional water damage restoration company for assistance. They have the tools and experience to effectively dry out your home and prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

Contact Your Insurance Company

If you have homeowner’s insurance, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the burst pipe and document the damage. Your policy may cover the cost of repairs and damages caused by the burst pipe.

Provide your insurance company with all the documentation you have collected. They may send an adjuster to assess the damage and determine the coverage. Keep open communication with your insurance representative and follow their instructions for the claims process.

Prevent Future Issues

The best way to avoid burst pipes is to take preventative maintenance steps for your plumbing system. By joining Mainstream’s Service Protection Plan program, you can ensure that these maintenance tasks are handled seasonally:

Additionally, consider installing water leak detection systems that can alert you to leaks before they become serious problems. Regularly updating your plumbing fixtures and being mindful of what goes down your drains can also help maintain the health of your plumbing system.

Facing a burst pipe can be daunting, but with the right steps, you can mitigate the damage and get your home back to normal. Remember to act quickly: shut off the water supply, turn off electricity and gas, and call Mainstream Electric, Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing immediately. Our licensed plumbers are available 24/7, ready to provide swift and efficient repair services.

Trust Mainstream, with over 24 years of experience and a reputation as the most trusted company for homeowners in Spokane Valley and the surrounding areas, to handle all your plumbing needs. Call us today!

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