The vast majority of people wouldn’t know how to fix a burst pipe. It can seem like one of the most daunting household tasks, as if it’s left too long or not mended correctly, it can cause vast amounts of water damage which can be costly and dangerous, especially if water seeps into areas with lots of wiring or gets into any wooden structural elements of the house. That’s why it’s useful to know how to tackle a burst pipe so that you can sort it out as soon as it happens.
Firstly, find the main water supply and turn it off using the stopcock. Although this means you won’t be able to use any water in the house until it’s back on, it will at least stop water from spraying out of the burst pipe once you have drained the system of the remaining water. Turn on all your cold taps and flush your toilet to do this.
Then, turn off the hot water system. Any water heaters such as immersion heaters or central heating should be switched off, and the hot taps should be left to run dry. This ensures that the entire water system in your house is shut off. Make sure the electricity is off to avoid any nasty electrocution accidents, but do not touch any electrical equipment if there is any chance it might have got wet.
If you are in any doubt about how to fix the pipe properly, call a professional plumber to help you deal with the burst pipe. You can minimize water damage by putting a bucket or absorbent material under the leak to catch the water and confine it to as small an area as possible. Repairing the pipe yourself will involve some degree of plumbing knowledge, and you will need to buy replacement parts as soon as possible from a DIY shop.
Once the leak has been fixed, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. They could help you with everything from the cost of replacing the carpet to any infrastructural damage caused by the leaking water to repairing ceilings which have been affected by water seeping through from the floor above. Make sure you have lots of high quality photographs of the affected area, including contextual wide shots and close ups, and take measurements of the most significantly affected areas. This ensures your claim will be processed quickly and efficiently, leaving you free to plan how you will redecorate.
Carl Elder is a property claims management consultant who offers his advice to homeowners on the best ways in which to deal with building repairs and associated insurance claims