What to Do When a Burst Water Heater Causes Flood Damage
A burst water heater can cause significant water damage and must be immediately addressed. At Soil-Away we’ve responded to hundreds of flooded basements calls over the years due to failed hot water tanks. This article is designed to help you navigate the initial response to finding water bursting from your hot water tank. The goal is to minimize damages and recover as quickly as possible. If you need help, please call us at 603-641-6555.
Stopping the Flow of Water and Taking Safety Precautions
According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), a burst water heater is one of the top causes for residential water damage. In a properly functioning water heater, the water will stop once the tank is full. However, if the water is instead leaking into the home the flow will continue as the tank is unable to fill entirely because of the leak. This can mean a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Priority should be turning off the water to the heater as soon as the problem has been detected.
You can stop the water from filling up and continuously leaking out of the water heater by turning the water supply valve. There typically are two different kinds: gate-style valve and ball-style valve. A gate valve is a wheel which you’ll twist clockwise until it will no longer turn. A ball valve is a handle that you’ll turn 180 degrees to shut off the water supply. If the valves are broken, your home should have a master shutoff.
Another safety precaution is to turn off the power supply. Most hot water tanks are either electrical or gas. If it is electrical, it is a best practice to shut the power off at the breaker at your home’s electrical panel. If your tank is gas, there should be a dedicated gas shut off valve leading to the tank. Don’t do anything you are not comfortable with. There is nothing wrong with calling a licensed contractor for assistance. Safety first!
Now the Flooded Basement Cleanup Can Begin
After these initial safety steps have been taken, the real cleanup can begin. Don’t forget to take pictures of the scene to document for insurance. Start by removing any salvageable items from the water and extracting the standing water. Once you have addressed the immediate concerns surrounding the flood, you should contact your insurance company. An adjuster will likely come to assess the damage. The photos you took will help document the damage and assist with the insurance company’s assessment.
Once the insurance claim has been filed, you may consider calling in reinforcements. A restoration company, like Soil-Away, experienced in flood damage can help to restore your home to its pre-flood state. A professional restoration contractor will have the staff, training and equipment to properly cleanup and repair your basement to pre-loss condition. They will even be able to help with the insurance claim process to take stress off you.