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Water damage can get costly very quickly so if a water pipe were to break, hopefully you are at home and not on a 14-day cruise. The average cost for a broken pipe and the resulting water damage is $5,000-$50,000 dollars, with the average insurance claim for such an event being $15,000! So what do you do if you have a broken water pipe in your home? Here are some steps you can take to reduce water damage while waiting for the emergency plumber to arrive:

Step 1

In order to limit the water damage, you have to limit the amount of water that comes into your home. The most crucial step of managing a broken pipe is to shut off the water at the main water valve. The main water valve isn’t always in the same spot in every home so I recommend you are familiar with its location before anything goes wrong.

Depending on where the leak is at and how much water has leaked, be sure there are no electrical outlets or products in the water before you go in or near it. Once you know the area is safe to enter, find the main water valve, turn it completely off before you do anything else. This valve is what allows water to flow from the city system, into your home. 

By turning off the valve, the water supply will be prevented from entering your home in the form of a leaking pipe or any other faucet or toilet. It is also recommended to flush all of the toilets and run your sinks until the water lines run dry. This will prevent any water that is in the system from flowing back to the point of the break.

Step 2

After you have contained the leak, it is time to start getting rid of the water that poured from the broken pipe. The quicker you can get the area dry, the less costly the damage will likely be. After you have the situation mostly under control, it is time to get on the phone.

Step 3

You will want to document the scene and anything damaged the best you can. The more documentation, the easier it will be to make an insurance claim. Also, by calling your insurance agent as early in the process as you can, they will be able to tell you what will be covered as well as recommend companies to help you get the pipes fixed.

We all would rather avoid a broken pipe issue if possible, so be sure to regularly inspect your pipes and faucets for any corrosion or leaks. If you don’t know what to look for, you might want to consider annually calling a plumber to come by and just make sure everything in your plumbing system is functioning properly. While it might seem like you are “paying for nothing”, a small annual inspection fee is way better than neglected pipes breaking!