While flooding and storm damage are obvious causes of water damage, frozen and corroded or burst pipes may be less evident but still lead to costly damage for homeowners.
What are the odds your home will suffer from water damage caused by burst pipes?
Well, you may be in for a shock. In Los Angeles alone, aging pipes frequently freeze, crack, or burst open with incidents occurring two to three times every day.
Given that the city is on the west coast, where the climate tends to be relatively warm, this may seem quite surprising.
Plumbing supply system failures actually result in 48% more water loss when compared with the second leading cause of water supply loss, which is system material failures.
The cost of these failures is approximately $5,092 per incident, after accounting for the insurance deductible. So, what’s the answer?
Leaks can run, but they can’t hid
While it may sound like an easy issue to fix, a busted water pipe can lead to chaos but If you find yourself dealing with one – don’t panic! Just take these steps to address the problem:
Locate the pipe
Locating the leak is not enough, you must also find its source. To do this:
- Listen to the sound of spraying or dripping water. It will be easier to identify if the cracked pipe is outside and not within the ceiling or behind a wall.
- Look for dampness on the surface. Leaks and burst pipes can cause the paint to peel off. If you discover water pooling on the ground, it is likely that the source of the leak is nearby.
Look around and you will find the location of the pipe. You can take steps to prevent damage if the area is accessible.
Some simple but effective options include placing a bucket nearby to collect dripping water or applying tape to the damaged area.
Turn off the main water connection
Cutting off the water supply is important because it will prevent flooding and also save water.
However, do not make the mistake of turning off the main water supply before you find the location of the burst pipe.
It can be very difficult to find the fault if there is no water in the pipes. However, if you cannot identify the damaged pipe, or if you’re losing water very quickly, then you may turn off the main supply and call a professional plumber or a Los Angeles plumbing contractor such as Mr. Speedy Plumbing & Rooter Inc, who is experienced to deal with it.
The main shut-off stockpot is generally installed on the main line.
However, check if there are small valves, nearby taps, and other appliances that use water and need to be switched off. Understanding your home’s piping network will save you headaches down the line.
If you live in a complex then you may not have access to the main supply line. In such a scenario, contact the manager and ask for the water supply to be disconnected until the problem is resolved.
You may also have to drain the pipes to ensure there is no residue left. The easiest way to do that is to flush the toilets and open all hot and cold water faucets. Plus turn off the heating system.
There will be no leaks once all the water in the pipes has drained.
Note: consider turning off the electricity to be on the safe side. Leaks behind the walls or ceiling can lead to shocks and sparks.
Using electrical appliances when in such conditions can also be very risky. Call 911 or fire department if you see a fire.
Get in touch with your insurance company
Your insurance company can be of great help in this regard if your policy covers water damage.
It is critical to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible because delays can be costly.
They will send an agent to look at the damage and start the claims process. You should also document the scene as it can help speed up the procedure.
Take note of the damage and record evidence in the form of pictures and videos.
This is important to increase your chances of reaching a favorable settlement.
The insurance company may ask for proofs and may also have some questions so make sure to take notes of the damage. You must also keep handy all receipts for any repairs as the company may require them.
Get rid of the mess
Clean the area once you have documented the pipes in need of repair. Do not let water sit for long as it can cause further damage and also put your claim at risk.
You can use a mop to dry the floor. A dry-wet vacuum can also do the job. Make sure to reach every corner to remove the risk of mold formation.
Here are a few things you can do to dry furniture and other items in the room:
- Use a dehumidifier
- Turn up the heat
- Use fans to improve air circulation
- Open windows
You can also hire a professional restoration company to remove water and secure the area.
Solve the problems
You can solve minor problems like small cracks and damaged parts that you can replace yourself, but you will want to hire an expert plumber if it is a major issue, and maybe even an electrician if the damage is close to wiring and power sockets.
Take steps to reduce the risk
It’s important to take preventive measures so that you do not have to deal with your home’s piping issues in the future.
Make sure the pipe is properly installed, the pressure is bearable, and there is no water expansion or freezing.
Follow these tips to reduce the risk:
· Use the heating system to prevent water from freezing in the pipes. Running the thermostat at 15C (59F) for a few hours every day will do the trick.
- Drain the pipes if you are leaving the property unattended for a few days.
- Insulate pipes by using foam or pipe lagging. This is a useful technique for preventing water from freezing in cold environments.
- Leave hatches or loft doors open during winter to improve the flow of air. This can also be effective in preventing water from freezing.
Most importantly, do not let water freeze in the pipes. If you see such signs, use hot water to thaw it or call a professional for help.
Water losses through pipe leaks
Every year, thousands of people in the United States are faced with the challenge of dealing with burst pipes.
In California, unrepaired water pipe leaks are responsible for not only a significant quantity of water loss in distribution systems but also in households where water pipes continue to age and crack but go unaddressed.
Likewise, if the fault is in the sewage system, you may be put at risk from contact with harmful microorganisms, garbage, and pollution.
To tackle this kind of issue and to avoid costly mistakes, it is recommended you engage a professionally trained plumber or a skilled sewage contractor who will have detailed knowledge about sewage systems.