Burst Water Pipe In Home
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A Bloke

How To Dry Out A House After A Burst Pipe

I had some seriously bad luck with a house that I was looking to buy. First, the home surveyor’s report for the property found that it had spray foam insulation in the loft. I’ve written a separate article about spray foam insulation, but it basically meant that I couldn’t get a mortgage on the property.

The guy selling the house had all the spray foam removed. This, unfortunately, caused the second major problem, a mains water pipe in the loft bursting during some freezing weather. The mains pipe hadn’t been lagged (insulated) because the spray foam insulation had been protecting the pipe from freezing conditions.

Unfortunately for the seller, this was another problem for him to get sorted. I was kept in the loop on what was happening and had my own water flood specialist assess the damage to the property. 

Details About The Burst Pipe and Property

This article is about my experience of drying a house after a mains pipe had burst. It is only meant to give an idea of what to expect. Obviously, everyone’s circumstances are going to be different.

The house I was looking to buy didn’t have anyone living in it at the time the water pipe burst. Based on information from the neighbours and estate agent, the pipe had been leaking for between 8 and 24 hours.

The property was unfurnished.

The property is a 3-bed semi-detached 1970s house built from bricks. A fairly typical UK construction

The amount of water leaking out of the pipe was very significant. Water was visibly dripping from the ceiling and running down the walls.

The water ran through the entire house, affecting most rooms in one way or another. The burst pipe was located in the loft towards the back of the house and the worst affected room was on the ground floor at the front of the house.

How To Dry Out A House

Below are the main things that were done to dry out the house I was looking to buy. 

  1. Standing Water – Some water that pooled was drained away using a mob, bucket and some elbow grease. 

  2. Carpets – The carpets in several rooms had got saturated and were dried using a carpet washer.  Once the carpets had been dried they were lifted to allow water that had soaked through to the floor to dry.

  3. Dehumidifiers – The flood specialist recommended that at least two industrial dehumidifiers be used. One located on each floor. the dehumidifiers were running around the clock.

    There are different types of dehumidifiers. The property I was looking at buying didn’t have anyone living in it, so large and fairly noisy condensation dehumidifiers were used. 

  4. Heating – The heating was left on 24/7. The heating draws out the moisture for the dehumidifiers to capture.

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How Long Does It Take To Dry Out A House

The flood specialist estimated that the house would take between 2 and 8 weeks to be thoroughly dried out. This time was based on the heating and dehumidifiers running 24\7.

It was difficult for him to give an accurate estimate as he didn’t know how much water had leaked into the house.

It ended up taking three weeks for the moisture readings to reach a normal level for the time of year.

House Insurance –  Water Damage

The property that I was looking to buy was still insured by the seller. Here are few tips that I picked up with regards to insurance.

  • Don’t start work or repairs until you’ve spoken to you insurance company

  • The insurance company may want a dry certificate to show that the house had been fully dried. 

Short Term Damage To A House Caused By A Burst Pipe

The immediate damaged caused by the burst pipe was:

  • Wet Carpets
  • Brown marks on the ceilings 
  • Hole in plaster 

Fortunately, nothing to major, like collapsed ceilings, electrical damage.

Long Term Damage To A House Caused By A Burst Pipe

My main concern about the burst pipe was what damage it might cause in the long term. I wanted to avoid having ongoing problems that had been caused by the water.

I spoke to the flood specialist and he said that as long as the house was properly dried out, he wouldn’t expect any problems cropping up in the future. The main thing he emphasised was that the house had to be properly dried out. Any moisture left behind due to the burst pipe could potentially cause issues in the future.

Conclusion: How To Try Out A House After A Burst Pipe

There are a number of standard methods used in the UK to dry out a house after a water pipe has burst and flooding the place. For my situation, it was basically keeping the heating on and using dehumidifiers to capture the moisture.

However there are other methods, such pressure drying, ventilation etc that might be more suitable for different circumstance.

I would strongly recommend speaking to a flood restoration professional if the amount of water is significant.





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