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A burst pipe or malfunctioning washing machine, dishwasher or other water-using appliance can escalate into serious damage to your home unless you move quickly. Following this plan will help you minimize damage in a household flooding situation.
1. Turn Off Your Water
It’s vital to understand how to turn off your water. Depending upon where the leak that’s threatening your home is occurring, there are three places to turn off the water supply:
() The main line valve where the water supply line enters your home
() The valves located underneath sink, toilet and other fixtures
() The water meter box near your property line in front of your home.
To close these valves, turn clockwise. Turning counterclockwise actually has the potential to damage the valves.
2. Stop the Water Flow
In order to empty your pipes, turn off your water heating system and then turn on the hot and cold taps, and flush your toilets. This will drain your water supply system. Once there is no more water flowing from your taps, the leak should stop.
3. Turn Off the Electrical Power in the Flooded Area
Water and electricity do not mix. Turn off the main electrical supply unit in the flooded portion of your home. Do not try to turn off or unplug electrical appliances individually. You risk getting severely shocked.
4. Locate the Source of the Leak
When a pipe bursts, the source of the leak is obvious. Other times, though, it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact source of a leak. Water can travel long distances between the point where it initially leaked from a pipe to the point where you notice it. But finding the leak is essential in order to prevent further damage to your property.
The most reliable if time consuming way to pinpoint the source of a leak involves turning the water supply back on so it’s just a trickle. Then dry off all pipes and joints carefully with a paper towel. Turn on the appliance or fixture you suspect is responsible for the leak. Take a dry piece of paper towel and wipe each joint and pipe. The spot that wets your dry paper towel is the spot where the leak is.
If the leak arises from a tiny crack, patching that crack may take care of the problem temporarily. Any leak in a main water supply, though, is a critical leak. Unless you’re a plumber by trade, it’s probably best to have the leak dealt with professionally.
It’s also best to engage an electrician to replace any damaged electrical wiring, and a professional water damage restoration company to remove any standing water from your home. Improper water removal techniques can leave pockets of water that are not in plain view where spores can develop into molds.
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