Among the last words you'll want to hear in the middle of a deep freeze during the winter are: "A pipe broke and the basement's flooding!" You need to act swiftly to stop the flow of water out of the pipe, and protect your appliances, furniture, and stored items from water damage. Here are 4 things you should do right away when a water pipe breaks and floods your basement.
Shut Off Water
Each water pipe should have its own shut-off valve somewhere on the pipe. If you don't know where the valve is exactly located, go to the main shut off valve by the water meter and shut the water off for the whole house (or, if you are using a pump to draw water from a well, shut the pump off).
Search for the shut-off valve on the broken water line after you have stopped the water from pouring out of the crack in the pipe and turn it off.
Inspect the other water pipes in the basement for bulging or cracking. If the other pipes appear okay, turn the main water supply back on. You should also crack open the faucets around the house so water trickles out of them – this will usually prevent any other pipes from freezing.
Call the Plumber
Call the plumber right away. A prolonged deep freeze can be a stressful times for plumbers. Remember, you are not alone. If your pipes are freezing and bursting, then you can be sure it is probably happening all over the region, and plumbers are rushing to help as many people as they can as quickly as they can.
The sooner you get on the list of people your plumber will be helping, the sooner they will be able to respond to your house.
Check Floor Drains and Sump Pump
You want to check your floor drains and sump pump to make sure they are free of debris and working well. Draining the water out of your basement as quickly as possible reduces the risk of damage to your belongings in the basement.
Set up Fans
Set up fans right after the water drains out of the basement. You'll want to start circulating air in the basement to increase the evaporation rate of the water. If your furnace is still running, turn up the furnace to heat the basement to help increase the rate of evaporation.
Move your furnishings and belongings into the middle of the floor increase the amount of airflow around them. This will help to dry them out faster than if they stayed in a place with reduced air flow.
Get as many belongings off of the floor as possible. Take any stored items like pictures and clothing and bring them upstairs. Take the belongings out of wet boxes and spread them out over the kitchen table, floor, and furniture so each item can dry individually. Some things, like pictures, will stick together and be ruined if they dry while piled on top of one another.
Talk with a plumber like Plumb Pros Plumbing Heating & Drains for more help with dealing with broken pipes and similar issues.