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What to Do When a Pipe Bursts – Your Water Cleanup Checklist

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After a pipe has burst inside a home, it’s not enough to simply mop up the water and dry off walls and other surfaces. Floodwaters are absorbed by drywall, carpet and its underlying padding, wood framing, and other surfaces rather quickly, softening those materials and increasing the risk of mold growth.

To ensure your home is clean and safe from water damage, note a quick water cleanup checklist to consider if a pipe should burst in your home.

1. Shut off all the water!

Every homeowner should know the location of all the water valves in their home, and especially the main valve that controls the flow of water into the house.

It’s vital that you shut off that main valve, as one burst pipe might indicate that other pipes in the home are at risk of freezing and then bursting.

Shutting off the main valve also ensures there won’t be any more water coming through the broken pipe, even if someone in the home should turn on a tap, flush a toilet, and so on.

You’ll then avoid having even more water to clean and will avoid putting undue pressure on that broken pipe and its adjoining connectors.

2. Add ventilation

It’s vital that you increase ventilation in any area affected by a burst pipe, to dry standing water and remove bacteria and other irritants.

In a basement, you might aim fans up the stairs and open windows along the first floor of the home.

In other areas of the home, be sure you aim fans away from the area of the burst pipe and open as many windows as possible.

Turn on the bathroom fan and hood vent over the stove, even if these are far from the flooded area, as every bit of added ventilation in the home will dry that flood and keep air fresh!

3. Use a heavy-duty wet/dry vacuum or sump pump

If a pipe has burst over your home’s carpeting, never use your standard household vacuum cleaner to extract that water. A household vacuum is not strong enough to remove water underneath carpet fibers and along the underlying padding. Excess water is also damaging to a vacuum’s filter, bag, belts, and other parts.

Many home improvement stores rent heavy-duty wet/dry vacuums that are designed to remove standing water, and which are strong enough to extract water from tall fibers and underlying padding. A rented sump pump can also remove standing water from basements, kitchens, laundry rooms, and areas with tile flooring.

4. Clean the drywall and concrete

Once you’ve removed all the standing water possible, it’s vital that you clean the materials affected by the flood. Water moving through plumbing pipes often contains lots of bacteria and other contaminants, and water absorbed by wood framework and a home’s drywall can lead to eventual mold growth, as said.

24/7 Water Damage Charlotte is one of the best restoration companies in Charlotte NC and their water damage experts recommend a diluted bleach cleaning solution, which you can spray along drywall and baseboards. Use diluted bleach solutions on concrete flooring and floor tiles as well, ensuring you rinse it thoroughly and remove all traces of the solution.

5. Keep dehumidifiers running

Even after you’ve extracted all visible water with a heavy-duty wet/dry vacuum or sump pump, it’s advisable to keep dehumidifiers running in the flooded area for several days after cleanup. A dehumidifier removes residual water and ensures that carpets, carpet padding, drywall, wood framework, insulation behind walls, subflooring, and all other materials are dried properly and thoroughly.

A high-quality dehumidifier can also note the overall humidity in a room, allowing you to decide when it can be shut off. Otherwise, simply check how long it takes the tank of the dehumidifier to fill; as you notice the tank filling more slowly, you’ll know that the area is free of all residual water.

6. Call on the professionals

For large floods that require more than a wet/dry vacuum or sump pump, or if you notice layers of silt and other residues clinging to walls and floors after you’ve extracted floodwaters, call on a professional water damage cleanup company. They will ensure all water is removed and all debris cleaned completely.

A plumber should also replace the burst pipe, so he or she can check connections and look for other damaged pipes and fixtures. A professional plumber also ensures that other pipes are not in danger of bursting and that your home’s plumbing is safe for use.