If you've ever had a water leak in your home, you know that a minor inconvenience can quickly become an expensive lesson. Fortunately, a minor water leak doesn't have to become a full-blown disaster. Here are tips to help you stop the flood in your home, before major damage and expenses accumulate.
Stop the Flow
Although it may seem obvious, the first step is to locate the leak and turn off the water at its source. Locate all of the shutoff valves in your home and turn off the water. If you cannot determine where the water is coming from, you may need to shut off water to the whole house. If your home is serviced by a well, the shutoff can typically be found on the house side of the pressure tank. If your home has a water meter, the whole-house shutoff often can be found near the meter itself. If not, it may be an in-ground valve covered by a metal plate. If you do not know where your whole-house shutoff is, it may be wise to contact your water utility or a licensed plumber to find out before you are faced with a flood emergency. If your dishwasher is leaking, the first place to look is under the sink. If you can't find the valve under the sink and you have a basement, look between the ceiling beams just below the appliance. Is the water leak coming from your toilet? The shutoff valve is typically an oval-shaped handle underneath the toilet tank. If your clothes washer is the source of the leak, the shutoff valves are generally located where the lines that supply your house meet the washer hoses. If your roof is leaking, cover the roof with a tarp to prevent water damage in your home. If you can't stop the water flow, call a licensed plumber immediately.
Dispose of Water
Get water removed from your home as soon as possible. Although you might be tempted to use a water vacuum and do the job yourself, many homeowners opt to use a professional water removal service. Once the water has been removed, make sure you open up windows and doors to allow your home to air out and dry. Although visible water will be removed, it's important to address any trapped or hidden water. Hidden water can cause a mold problem, which can present health hazards. Your insurance company may be able to refer you to a disaster recovery company who can identify problem areas and remove the water quickly and efficiently.
Safeguard Your Valuables
Protect your computer equipment, important paperwork and any valuables to prevent them from being damaged. Move valuable items to a dry room or put items in storage if necessary. Be sure to keep important documents such as medical records readily accessible in case of a medical emergency.
Document the Damage
Document any water damage caused by the water leak and take photos. Talk to your insurance agent to determine the type of coverage you have. Is there a deductible? Should you wait for an adjuster before making any repairs? Does your policy require you to take steps to keep damage from getting worse before an adjuster arrives? Does your policy reimburse you for staying in a hotel if your home is uninhabitable? Regardless of your coverage, provide your agent with an accurate assessment of the damage and repairs needed.
Prevent Future Leaks
If you've had a water leak, it's wise to have your plumbing inspected. Call a professional who can inspect your plumbing and make necessary repairs. If any problems are identified, get a quote so you can budget for repairs. If you have plumbing questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.