Have you recently experienced a burst pipe in your home? If so, you’re likely dealing with standing water, flooding, and property damage.
Don’t worry, though. You’re not alone.
Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we restore Chicago homes after pipes burst all the time, so we understand what it takes to reclaim space, even after severe water damage.
In this guide, we’re going to share our top tips for effective broken pipe flood cleanup and provide the information you need to get your space back to normal.
Proper cleaning and drying are critical after a burst pipe. Start by removing saturated items and soaking up standing water. Next, ventilate and dehumidify the space, and contact a restoration company for further evaluation and professional cleaning services.
How to Stay Safe After a Burst Pipe
Burst pipes can create inches of standing water throughout your home, and safety is always the top priority.
To prevent electrocution, unplug any nearby electrical appliances to prevent electrocution, or shut off your home’s main power breaker.
If the floodwater is highly contaminated due to a burst sewage pipe or similar disaster, avoid the area entirely and contact a flood damage repair professional immediately.
If water is still pouring into the affected area, shut off your home’s water main. If you can identify the source of the water, shut off the water supply to the sink, toilet, or affected appliance.
The Gear and Equipment You’ll Need
Before you start cleaning, gather these supplies:
- Tall, waterproof rubber boots
- Durable, waterproof rubber gloves
- A few 5-gallon bucket
- Clean towels and rags
- A mop
- A wet-dry vacuum
- Desiccant products (if using)
- A dehumidifier and standing fans
You may also want to wear a mask during the cleanup process in case mold or mildew spores are present in the affected area.
5 Steps to Clean Up Water Damage After a Burst Pipe
Follow these steps to ensure effective, streamlined, and safe water damage cleanup:
1. Document the damage
Before you begin the cleanup process, use your phone’s camera to document the flood damage.
Take photos of the belongings, furniture, areas affected by the flooding, the source of the flooding (paying particular attention to the appliance, pipe, or region of the home the water came from), and any additional damage you notice as you begin cleaning up the space.
These photos will be important when you file an insurance claim.
2. Remove affected items
To create a clean working environment, remove soaked carpets, furniture, personal belongings, and other items from the flooded area.
Depending on the extent of the water damage and how much moisture these items absorbed, they may or may not be salvageable.
If it’s possible to clean the items, do so as soon as you remove them from the affected area. Wash or bleach hard surface items, and launder textiles if possible.
3. Remove standing water
Next, you’ll need to remove as much standing water from the floor as possible. If the leak was minimal, you might be able to use towels and a mop to soak up the moisture.
If the burst pipe caused extensive damage, you might need to use a wet-dry shop vac to remove water or rent a pump from a local hardware or home improvement store.
4. Promote ventilation and airflow
After a burst pipe incident, it’s critical to promote airflow in the affected area.
The reason is simple: you need to start drying the area and get ahead of mold and mildew before they start.
Mold spores love damp, humid environments, and mold growth can start on moist surfaces just 24-48 hours after a water damage event.
With this in mind, do everything you can to promote airflow in the flooded area. We recommend opening doors and windows to encourage a cross-breeze and bringing in standing fans.
Turn the fans to their highest setting and allow them to run for as long as possible to ventilate the area adequately.
5. Dehumidify the space
Once you’ve cleaned up standing water and created airflow and ventilation, you’ll need to dehumidify the affected area.
You can purchase or rent portable dehumidifiers at your local home improvement store. The dehumidifier should be placed in the area most affected by the burst pipe and allowed to run for hours.
As it runs, it will remove moisture from the air and surroundings, helping to dry things faster than ventilation and fans alone. Be sure to keep an eye on the dehumidifier and empty any water it collects as soon as the unit is full.
In addition to purchasing a dehumidifier, you can buy a desiccant product to pull moisture from walls or flooring.
These products are available in various formulas and are easy to find at a hardware or home improvement store.
When to Contact a Restoration Company After a Burst Pipe
Above, we provided five proven steps to clean up an area after a burst pipe, but the job doesn’t end there.
Even if the flood damage looked minimal and you were able to remove the standing water yourself, we strongly recommend contacting a local restoration company after any burst pipe incident.
1. The water damage could be worse than it looks
Homes are made of porous building materials that absorb water quickly. Because of this, even a tiny leak can distribute water through, under, and behind building materials, leading to hidden water damage and eventual mold and mildew formation.
Additionally, one burst pipe in the house could mean you’re at risk for other burst pipes in other areas of your plumbing.
Contacting a restoration company serves several purposes, then: flood damage cleanup experts can evaluate the affected area, help you clean up the remaining water, if needed, and check for hidden water damage that could cause problems down the road.
2. Water damage restoration experts can replace ruined materials
The team will also be able to replace damaged building materials like flooring and drywall and make sure you’re not on the verge of suffering another burst pipe somewhere else in the home.
While most restoration companies don’t provide plumbing services, the team will help you connect with a skilled, qualified, experienced plumber who can fix your burst pipe and make any other needed plumbing repairs to your home.
3. The team will clean and sanitize the area
Finally, and possibly most importantly, the team will be able to provide proper sanitization and mold prevention services. As we mentioned, mold and mildew can form rapidly after flooding.
Unless you remove all the water, the contaminants it carried, and any mold and mildew spores that may be present, your home is at risk of developing mold down the road.
Unfortunately, sanitizing an area using store-bought cleaning supplies can be difficult or impossible.
When you work with a professional restoration company, though, you can rest assured knowing the team has the equipment, supplies, and commercial-grade solutions needed to remove all traces of contamination and mold from your home, creating a safe, comfortable space for you and your family.
What About Filing an Insurance Claim?
You’ll need to file an insurance claim after a burst pipe. Fortunately, your homeowner’s insurance will likely cover some of the damage. While slow leaks or leaks caused by deferred home maintenance usually aren’t covered, most policies do cover catastrophic damage from burst pipes.
If you’re unsure where to begin, you’re not alone.
Another benefit of working with a trusted water damage restoration professional is that the team can help you navigate this complex process.
Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore in Chicago, IL we’ll work with you to put together your claim, communicate with your insurance company, and make sure you’re not missing critical documentation or paperwork.
All in all, we make filing an insurance claim just a little less stressful and complicated.
House Flooded Due to a Burst Pipe in Your Chicago Home? We Can Help!
Don’t struggle through the aftermath of a burst pipe on your own! Let the team here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore help you restore your home.
Our qualified burst pipe water damage restoration experts will work with you to reclaim your space, stop mold and mildew in their tracks, and replace any building materials damaged by the floodwater.