First up, don’t panic. We’re going to quickly take you through your emergency steps to deal with a burst pipe. We’ll then, more leisurely, move on to what to do next.
Your immediate action should be to shut off the water coming through the pipe. Locate your stopcock and switch the water off at the mains. This stops any more water coming through the pipe and allows you to get a handle on this.
You need to turn the stopcock in an anti-clockwise direction. The water may continue flowing for a while. To speed up this process (and draw it away from the problem pipe) open all cold taps and flush the toilet a few times.
If you are unsure where your stopcock may be, check under the kitchen sink. This is the most common location. Other locations include the garage or the pavement outside your home.
The main causes of burst pipes are either a DIY session gone wrong, or a frozen pipe due to a cold snap. They can cause immense amounts of damage and disruption.
Once you’ve got the water off, what should you do next to minimise the damage?
Take some immediate steps to prevent the water from travelling further, and to clean up as much water as you can. Close the surrounding doors and block the bottom of the doors with towels while you scoop up as much standing water as possible.
As long as electrical appliances aren’t submerged, remove them and place them away from the water area.
Remove all soft furnishings, including rugs and carpets, to allow the area to fully dry. Don’t throw these out though, as they will be needed to fully assess your insurance claim. If the weather permits, open all doors and windows.
Following immediate cleanup and to prevent any further damage your next step should be to contact your household insurer. They will advise on the next steps you should take to ensure your home insurance policy is valid and pays out.
You’ll then need to contact a plumber. Many home insurance providers allow you to contact a plumber of your choice in order to fix the pipe. Indeed, many house insurance policies cover the damage caused by the leak, but they don’t pay for the fix to the pipe. You’ll need to arrange for the burst pipe to be fixed before you can begin putting your house back in order.
We strongly recommend that you call a Gas Safe engineer who can safely assess the problem and fix it in the most appropriate way. They can safely get your water back on again.
One day you’ll laugh at this home disaster, but that’s not why we recommend taking photos. Take photos so that you have a clear record of the damage so that you can liaise appropriately with your insurer.
Burst pipes are far from fun anywhere except in sitcoms. You should take preventative measures to ensure you’re not next on the list of house insurance claim statistics.
Water freezing is the main culprit behind burst pipes. Always ensure you have sufficient lagging and insulation. If temperatures outside are due to drop below freezing, make sure your heating thermostat is set to a minimum of 15 degrees Celsius, for several hours each day. This is particularly important if you are away from home.
If you’ve had a burst pipe, or are concerned about your boiler system in anyway, call us on 0333 939 0161 and we’ll help.