When a pipe bursts, your first priority is naturally to stop the flow of water and repair the underlying issue. Unfortunately, burst pipes are far more than simple plumbing problems. Once you've fixed the broken section of piping and restored your home's plumbing, you'll still need to contend with the potential for severe water damage.
After resolving the issue, it's time to determine just how badly your home has suffered. Fortunately, you can do some of this assessment on your own and then move on to call a professional if necessary. Follow these three steps to determine the severity of water damage after any plumbing incident so that you can take appropriate action.
1. Dry Pooling Water
Drying the area is necessary to evaluate any remaining damage thoroughly. If possible, use a shop vacuum to clean up pooling water and run a dehumidifier to dry the area. Note that you should only attempt this on your own if you know that the water is clean. If the leak occurred in a black water pipe (such as a toilet drain pipe), you will need a professional to clean the area safely.
While cleaning, be sure to use towels to dry any water that may have pooled under cabinets or in other hard-to-reach areas. The more thoroughly you can remove water from walls, floors, or ceilings, the easier it will be to determine if long-lasting damage is present.
2. Check for Saturated Areas
Some areas may be harder to dry than others. For example, water can soak through a carpet to the underlayment and become trapped against the floor below. If this occurs, moisture can remain near the subfloor, causing additional damage and leading to rot or mold growth. You should remove and dry area rugs or floor mats, but soaked carpets will likely need professional attention.
One of the greatest dangers from water damage is moisture that remains trapped or hidden. It's critical to determine at this point if areas that you cannot reach may still be wet. If so, a water damage restoration service can help you understand your best options to dry and repair the impacted area.
3. Contact a Repair Specialist
If any water remains, or if you suspect that moisture may have made its way into hidden areas, then you should contact a water damage restoration professional as soon as possible. The longer water remains trapped, the more severe the damage may become. Mold can also take hold and spread quickly, potentially making its way to otherwise unaffected areas of your home.
By quickly contacting a specialist service, you may be able to restore affected walls, ceilings, or floors without replacement. An experienced company can also help you evaluate the damage to furniture or other possessions so you can decide what to repair or replace. Preventing water from remaining in place for too long can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs.