How to stop a flash flood inside the walls of your home

Measures to help you minimize the potential water damage
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Water  started flowing out of the ceiling lamps, the heating vents and the floor
moldings in the first floor and the basement.  Water started to covering the first floor
and the basement. My wife and I started running looking for an open faucet or an
obvious leak. We checked all the logical places: bathrooms, toilets without finding a
reason for the flood.  On the second floor, your could hear a river flowing inside the
walls of my home. Obviously, a pipe had burst inside the walls in the second floor. At
this point my kids were in the basement standing on top of the pool table.
My home suffers water damage

To prevent further water damage to the house, it was imperative to stop the water
flow from the local utility. I dashed out of the house looking for the main valve coming
from the city water.  To make matters worse the outside temperature was 25 F and I
could not see very well in the dark.  You learn very quickly how hard it is to turn a
valve buried in the mud when your fingers are freezing and it is the middle of the
night. It took me 15 minutes to shut off the flow of water to the house.

Water had flowed for about 30 minutes inside the walls causing damage to the
ceiling and the walls. We spent the next 4 hours drying out the floors and throwing out
items that had been damaged by the water. We realize how lucky we were that we at
home when the pipe ruptured. I do not even want to think what the water damage
would have been if this incident had happened during our vacation.

The next day after cutting a couple of big holes in the ceiling , the plumber quickly
located and repaired the broken pipe. Obviously, the plumber was just the first
expense to repair our house. I called a  water damage restoration company to help
evaluate the damage to my house.
                                      Preventive Measures

I started thinking what lessons could I learned from this experience. How can I help other
people to minimize the damage caused by water leaks. I came up with the following lessons:

  • To stop the flow of water as soon as possible, you will need to know the location of the
    master valve inside your home. If you do not know where it is,  call the builder or ask a
    local plumber. If I had know this fact, the water damage to my house would been
    significantly minimized.

  • In case you have problems shutting off the water from the main water valve in your
    home, you will need to learn how to shut off the water coming from the city.

  • Make sure that you have a working flashlight at home. It will make things a lot simpler
    during any emergencies..

  • Add your plumber to the list of emergency numbers

  • Add your insurance agents to the list of important numbers

  • If you are planning to leave your home for an extended period of time, you might want to
    close the master valve in your home.

Obviously there is no way to prevent a pipe from rupturing. However, if the water flow is
stopped within minutes, the damage to your home will be greatly reduced.
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Lamp filled with water
Ceiling Lamp filled with
Water from the flash flood
Water damage by burst pipe
The burst pipe that
flooded my home
Light bulb filled with water
Light bulb filled with
water