Do you have a water pipe that froze and then leaked water into your home? Are you wondering how to best handle the small flood that resulted? In order to minimize the damage as much as possible, it's important that you act fast. Once you get the water shut off, here are some steps you need to take as soon as possible.
Turn off the electricity: Until you have a professional inspection, it's not possible to determine at a glance whether the water has leaked onto any live electrical circuit. Because of this, the first step to any water damage cleanup is to turn off the electricity so that an electrician can determine whether or not it's safe to use the power. This is especially important if the pipe burst in your attic or in the upper floors of your home. It may have run down between your walls, potentially resulting in dangerous short circuits if the power is left running.
Shut off the gas: If you have a gas-powered furnace, stove or water heater, you may need to have the gas shut off at the mains right away. Depending on where the water ended up inside and how high it got, it may have extinguished your appliances' pilot lights. If your appliances are newer and have electronic ignition systems instead of pilot lights, the moisture could still have damaged these systems. When your home is already flooded with water, the last thing you want to have to worry about in the middle of your water damage cleanup process is a stray spark causing an explosion. So that you don't accidentally make things worse in your haste, get to a safe place and dial 911 to report a possible gas leak. Once the situation is under control, you'll be able to return to your home and proceed with the cleanup.
Open doors and windows: If it's still below freezing outside, you may understandably be reluctant to open your home to such temperatures. Unfortunately, the warm environment of your home plus the moisture from the burst pipe is a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Once mold and mildew start to form, you may have no choice but to completely replace parts of your walls and flooring that are otherwise undamaged. Opening your doors and windows a tiny bit will allow some of the excess moisture inside to escape. It will also help to cool down the interior of your home, which will help to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. For assistance, talk to a water damage cleanup professional.