Water Leak – What should I do?

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I woke up to a water leak today. The water sprinkler main broke.
My house flooded. There was 2″ of water in my dining room and 6″ of water outside of the house. What should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? Read on to find out.

Water leak - what should I do?
Water leak flooding the house.

Water leaks happen for all sorts of reasons. Rain can cause water to flood into the house. Pipes can burst, toilets can overflow, there are all sorts of ways for water to end up in your house when it is not wanted.

The first thing to do when faced with a water leak is to stop the leaking. If there is a water valve close to the leak, turn this off. Toilets usually have valves under them that can turn off the water in case of an emergency leak. Faucets will sometimes have valves underneath them that can also turn off the leak. Your washing machine will have valves on the wall where the hoses hook up that can be used to turn off the water there.

If there is not a valve that controls the leak, you can turn off the main water line to the house. Locate the main water line to your house. Usually it is in the front yard right up next to the house. Turn the valve on this line completely off so that water no longer flows to the house. This will stop the leak, but also will cut off the water supply to the house. Keep this in mind when you are going to do dishes or use the toilet.

Now that the water leak is stopped, it is time to assess the damage. Was the water leak from a clean or dirty water source? Clean water is water straight from a broken pipe or overflowing tub. This is water that is safe to drink. Dirty water is everything else. Overflowing toilets and water coming in from outside is considered dirty water.

Once you have determined if the water was clean or dirty you can decide if you want to try to clean the water up yourself, or if you want to call in a company to clean up the water for you. For smaller leaks of clean water it is often easier to clean it up yourself. Larger leaks that cover a whole room or dirty water would need a professional to clean it up properly.

For smaller, clean water leaks you start by getting as much water out as possible. A shop vac like this one here is great for sucking up all sorts of things, including water from a leak. Use the shop vac slowly over areas that got wet. It works great for getting water out of carpets, upholstered furniture, and off of hard floors like vinyl or tile.

After you have as much water as possible removed from the area using a shop vac it may not be completely dry yet. You can use towels to blot or wipe up any remaining water. After blotting and drying, depending on how wet the area is you may want to setup fans to blow over the area and help it dry out even more.

For water leaks, there are four main steps to getting the water cleaned up. First, you want to stop the leak by turning off the water. Next, you will analyze the water leak. Is the water clean or is it dirty? Is the leak smaller or is it a large leak that covers a whole room? After you have determined the type and size of the leak you can decide if you want to call in a professional to dry out the leak or if you want to dry it yourself. The final step to treating a water leak is to dry the leak out, either by yourself or by hiring a professional to dry it for you.