3 urgent steps for burst water pipes

frozen water pipeIt's colder than cold outside, and suddenly a frozen water pipe bursts inside your home. What do you do?

Act quickly to prevent further damage, and to ensure your safety.

  1. Turn off the main water valve. Ideally, you already know where it is. Often it's in the garage or near where the water main enters the home.

  2. If gushing water soaks a ceiling or wall with electrical outlets, turn off the circuit breaker for that section of the home. Water and electricity make a harmful pair.

  3. Call a plumber, and call your insurer. Then start mopping up water as best you can – mops, towels, a shop vacuum.

Your fourth step depends on the scope of your soggy mess. If it's a matter of mopping up a vinyl floor and wiping down furniture, follow our tips for "Water damage – what to do."

If water has badly flooded your home, soaking wall-to-wall carpet, hardwood floors, and drywall, you should call a professional restoration company that can quickly dehumidify the home to prevent mold and rot. Rely on referrals from trusted friends. In Washington, you can check out a contractor's license, bond, and any customer complaints on the state's website.

mop and bucket Personally, I had a good experience years ago with Servpro of Redmond after a burst washing-machine hose flooded our home.

If you're reading this and thinking, whew, glad that's not me, ask yourself: Where is the main shutoff valve? If you don't know, find it now, before trouble strikes.

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