Walking into the kitchen or bathroom only to discover a puddle beneath the sink or on the floor is alarming at best. If the puddle is still growing larger, it is an emergency. A burst water supply pipe isn't something you can ignore until the regular business hours. The following can help you do the right thing during this emergency situation.
1. Turn of the Supply Valve
The first thing to do if you suspect a busted water supply line is to shut off the water main that feeds the broken line. If you can easily tell which line has burst, such as the line beneath your kitchen sink, you can shut off the supply valve for that line only. Typically this valve will be under the sink or on the floor behind the plumbing fixture. Turn it off completely. The good news is that your home, except for the affected fixtures on the specific supply line, will still have running water.
If water continues to flow, you may need to shut off the water main for the home. Water main valves are typically located where the main water supply enters the home. This can be in the basement, in a garage, or under a utility cover just outside your home. Other good places to look are near your hot water heater or near a utility sink. You will not have water in your home if you must shut down the main.
2. Drain the Faucet
Water can remain in the faucet line and continue to leak even after the main valve is closed. This can end up being quite a bit of water, depending upon the length of the line. Opening the cold water tap and letting the excess water drain out will prevent it from slowly leaking.
If you can see where the leak is coming from, you can further minimize the damage by placing a bucket beneath the leaking line. This way any water that does leak out as you empty the lines won't cause further water damage.
3. Begin Damage Control
Once the water is shut off and the flow is stopped, you need to perform some water damage control while you await the plumber. Open up cabinet doors, if applicable, so air can circulate and dry out the area more quickly. Use towels and mops to soak up excess water.
It's a good idea to bring in fans to help speed the drying process, if possible. Once dry, wipe all surfaces with a diluted bleach solution so that any mold spores are destroyed before they can begin to grow.
Don't wait to call a plumber, as there is no way to know how extensive the damage is along the line or in the walls. Call an emergency plumber to learn more.