Frozen Burst Pipes? How to Clean Up

Frozen burst pipes are an unfortunate side effect of cold Wisconsin winters. Broken and burst pipes do an enormous amount of damage and come with a long-list of clean-up tasks. Once the water and electricity have been turned off and the pipes are thawed, these frozen pipe clean-up tips can make that mess a distant memory and start the road to recovery.

How to Cleanup a Burst Pipe

Take pictures.

Taking photos may not be the first thought when pipes freeze and burst, but it’s an important part of cleaning up. Photos can become invaluable when working the insurance company; these photos offer evidence of damage to flooring, drywall, furniture, and other items. In addition to photos, other documents related to the damage and clean-up should also be kept and stored, including receipts and clean-up information.

Move wet items away from flooding.

The next step is to remove wet items and move them away from the water. ALWAYS turn the electricity off before proceeding into the water. When moving items, move them to an area where they can dry out without causing more damage, such as a tub or space with a cement or vinyl floor. Do not place wet items on a wood floor or porous tile; the moisture can damage these floors and cause further damage.

Some items may be too damaged to be dried out. These items should be disposed of immediately so mold doesn’t grow in the area. If any item is valuable, take pictures of the item for insurance.

Start drying items out.

Fans, dehumidifiers, wet/dry vacuums, and towels are an important part of frozen burst pipe clean up. Once the electricity is turned off, a wet/dry vacuum can be used to start removing standing water from the area. (If a wet/dry vac is not available, a bucket, container, or even shovel also works.) Towels can sop up any remaining moisture; wring towels out into a tub or sink frequently as water is removed.

Fans and dehumidifiers should also be set out in the damaged area as soon as possible. Don’t forget to empty the dehumidifier buckets as soon as they are full to keep the process moving smoothly.

Clean and disinfect the area.

Almost every item and surface in the area is going to need to be cleaned and disinfected. Some items can be laundered, such as curtains, blankets, and other items. Other items may need to be wiped down with a mild detergent or disinfectant, such as drywall (if not too wet) and hard surfaces. The area should also be ventilated with open windows (if possible, depending on the time of year) and baking soda can be sprinkled in the area to remove odors. Baking soda should not be applied to porous materials, such as wood furniture or flooring.

Repair the damage.

Frozen, burst pipes can be patched up, though this is only a temporary repair. The section of burst pipe should be replaced, and further steps taken to prevent this problem from ever happening again.

Contact companies that work with insurance.

There are local disaster recovery and cleaning companies that can assist with burst pipe cleanup and recovery. These experienced personnel can remove water and repair and replace damaged materials. They can also work directly with the insurance company and manage the project from start to finish.

Questions to Ask Cleanup Companies

Cleanup companies can take over the drying out, remediation, and repair process and completely restore the area. They can also work directly with the insurance company to expedite the process. When choosing a company after a frozen burst pipe, contact the cleaning company ask them the following questions:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Have you cleaned up and repaired frozen burst pipes before?
  • Can you work with the insurance company directly? Have you worked with my insurance company in the past?
  • When are you available to start?
  • How long do you expect the clean-up process to take?
  • Can you provide a free quote?

The right cleanup company can provide immediate and professional cleanup services, and take over the project for a stress-free and expedient experience. In essence, the end result will be like the pipe never burst.

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