Flood! The Right Way to Deal with Plumbing Leaks and Flooding in Sacramento Homes
It may be winter, but there’s one thing that makes a homeowner sweat no matter what the time of year: a major water leak in their house! This is a worst-case plumbing scenario for many, and the problem with large plumbing leaks is that they can be overwhelming, especially in the first few minutes. But those first minutes are where actions matter most, and can make a huge difference in how much damage is done by the leak! The good news is that after today, you’ll know exactly what to do in this situation.
First Things First
The most important thing is to immediately turn off the water that’s causing the flood. In most cases, that means turn off the water at the main. If you know where that is, you know what to do–and we recommend knowing where your water main is! Your water main will be by your water meter, attached to an outside wall of the house. There will be a pipe that comes up from the ground and goes into the meter; the valve closest to the ground is what you want to turn off. Tighten it all the way until you can’t hear any water running through the pipe. Now that you know where your main should be, go on outside and have a look. Locating it ahead of time may save you thousands of dollars in damages later.[1. https://www.safeco.com/homeowners-insurance/do-more/what-to-do-after-a-major-water-leak-or-flood]
Once the main is off, you will want to call a plumber. That’s the next step in fixing the problem. They’ll show up and help get things under control as well as offer repair and replacement services needed to fix everything the right way. Plumbers are also great at answering questions and offering advice when it comes to water leaks of all kinds.
Depending on the extent and location of the water leak, you may want to retrieve important items that could be damaged by the flood. For example, if a bathroom flooded upstairs it might be a good idea to remove things from the rooms below in case the water comes through the drywall ceiling. Of course, only do so if it’s safe!
On a similar note, be careful using electricity when dealing with plumbing leaks. Water is often hard to detect and can end up in some pretty unusual areas that you wouldn’t expect. If in doubt, don’t turn on any electric devices that could have been affected by the leak–including light switches!
Sneaky Plumbing Leaks
Most major water leaks in the home are pretty easy to detect–in fact, we’ll wager they’re hard to ignore! Similarly, pipe breaks under the garden or yard are evident from wet, soft spots that almost always occur as a result. All that said, we’ve seen very serious leaks that nobody knew about for years.
One example that comes to mind was a client who was having their home remodeled. During the remodel process one of the carpenters had to cut a hole through the concrete slab to anchor something in the dirt below. To his surprise, he discovered that there was practically a lake under the house–imagine a sheet of cardboard over a bucket of water instead of solid ground! We came to fix the problem–it turned out that a water pipe had been leaking under the house for years. The water carried off the dirt, resulting in a large hole under part of the house. Thankfully we were able to fix the leak before major structural damage occurred!
This just goes to illustrate our point that sometimes the most serious plumbing leaks may go undetected. You’ll never see it, and even the water bill may not tell you what’s going on–although the water meter might. It’s yet another reason why having a plumber inspect your home once in awhile is a great idea!
Cleanup and Repair
Cleanup is often left to the homeowner. But there are excellent cleaning services available for these situations, as well as contractors who can repair damage to drywall and anything else that’s affected. The most important thing is to get everything dry as soon as possible. After mopping the water up, dry everything out using fans. It will take longer than you think, so leave the fans going a day after you think you need to. This is key to preventing mold and mildew growth as well as advanced water staining and damage.
If you’re planning on filing an insurance claim, don’t toss anything that was damaged and keep all the receipts related to the incident and cleanup. Similarly, take pictures if you can of the whole process–from the initial flood to damaged items to the cleanup.
Other than hiring the right plumber, there’s not much you can personally do about repair. Be sure to probe about the cause of any leaks–if there are underlying problems with the plumbing, you can bet you’ll be dealing with similar leaks in the future! A good plumbing contractor will know the difference between a one-time issue and a symptom of a larger problem! And of course, if you’re concerned about plumbing leaks in your home, the best time to call is now. Why wait for a problem to arise if you can prevent it ahead of time? No mess, no headache–just solid plumbing service.