When the mercury drops below freezing, your home becomes susceptible to a host of problems, not the least of which is frozen pipes. When a frozen pipe turns into your worst nightmare—a massive burst pipe spewing water—turn off the water and electricity (if the water is coming into contact with electrical appliances), thaw your pipes (we found good directions on how here) and call a plumber for repair. But what do you do after the plumber has repaired your burst pipe? What do you do about the drywall damage, wet floors, and soaked belongings?
Document the damage.
Take pictures of the flooded area and damaged pipes for insurance.
Start drying out your home.
Turn off the power if the water is coming into contact with electrical components. Use a wet vac and towels to clean up the water. Don’t pull up a tacked-down carpet unless you intend to replace it because the carpet can shrink as it dries out. Plug in fans and dehumidifiers if you can do so safely without risk of electrocution.
Move your wet items to a dry area.
Move items to a dry area where they can dry out without doing any damage. For example, if you have a wooden table that is damp or wet, move it to your dry, warm basement where you can put fans to dry it out. Do not move your table to an area where there are wooden floors that could damage or warp from the moisture.
Contact your home insurance.
Call your home insurance company to find out if frozen pipes and the resulting damage is covered under your home insurance policy. Keep receipts of any expenses incurred during your clean-up and careful records of items that were ruined or damaged in the water. If your insurance company needs to send a representative out to survey the damage, make sure you don’t make any major repairs to the area until the representative has visited.
Fix the cause of the frozen pipes.
Once you have things squared away with your insurance company, fix the cause of the frozen pipes. You may have a problem with insufficient insulation or need to relocate your exposed pipes to prevent the problem—and all the mess—from happening again.
Call a cleaning service.
This may sound like an odd suggestion, but if the damage from your burst pipe(s) is severe, you’re going to need professional help to make repairs, clean up the water, and prevent any mold from creeping up in the affected area of your home. Don’t just call any cleaning service; call a cleaning service with experience with water clean-up. These cleaning companies have all the expertise you need, experience working directly with insurance companies, and the knowledge to make the repairs (drywall repair, floor replacement, etc.) to get your home looking better than it did before you had the frozen pipe.