How to Clean Up Water Damage After a Plumbing Leak

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When plumbing starts to leak, you take care of it right away. Whether you call water damage pros or fix it yourself, the problem gets solved. Now, you’re facing one more big job: plumbing leak cleanup.

This work can’t wait either. From floors, walls and cabinets to personal belongings, it all has to be cleaned and dried as quickly as possible. Otherwise, moisture spreads, mold sets in, and the job gets harder. Our teams here at ServiceMaster by Zaba see it every day.

We specialize in water damage services and emergency pipe leak repair for Chicago homes and businesses. We can help.

Let’s break down the key points you need to know about cleaning up after a plumbing leak.

What Are the Main Causes of Plumbing Leaks in a Home?

toilet plumbing leak

It’s easy to take plumbing for granted. Copper pipes, PEX drain lines and PVC pipes keep your home’s water supply under control and running smoothly.

When something does go wrong with the system, it’s usually one of these common causes of water leaks in home plumbing.

  • Pipe joint deterioration, especially in hot water lines
  • Corrosion buildup and damage in old water pipes
  • Bad seals around appliance line connections
  • Pipe overflows or bursts due to clogs and backups
  • Excessive or widely fluctuating water pressure
  • Exterior pipe problems caused by invasive tree roots

How Do You Clean Up After a Plumbing Leak? 5 Steps to Take Right Now

plumbing leak cleanup equipment

All plumbing leak cleanup jobs start with the basics. Locate the problem, and fix the water leak. If the weather cooperates, open windows in the affected areas. Follow these five steps for cleaning up after a plumbing leak.

1. Document and Move

If you plan on filing a homeowners insurance claim, take pictures before you start cleanup. Save the documentation as proof of damages for your adjuster. Next, give yourself room to work by moving things out of the way. Many items will dry more quickly outside, but keep an eye on the weather.

2. Extract the Water

Water extraction techniques depend on the size of the plumbing leak. If you’re dealing with damp floors, a mop or clean towels should be enough. However, a wet-dry vac works better on both wet floors and areas with standing water.

You may want to lease the equipment, so consider renting a large dehumidifier too. Small home dehumidifiers can’t handle the capacity you need to dry out floors, walls and cabinets.

3. Clean and Disinfect

Water leaking from a drain line or an appliance hose is considered contaminated. Even clean water from a supply line leaves behind moisture that breeds mold and mildew. It’s important to clean and disinfect all surfaces.

Start by scrubbing everything with a low-sudsing detergent. Next, disinfect non-porous surfaces with a solution of bleach and water. Finish remaining areas with products formulated for disinfecting porous surfaces.

4. Set Up Drying Equipment

If the weather isn’t too humid, open windows and set up large fans to create cross-currents of fresh air. Position the dehumidifier in the center of the room. Check walls daily with a moisture meter, but be patient. Plan on letting the equipment run 24/7 for two or three days.

Power Tip: Reduce project drying time by leaving closet and cabinet doors open.

5. Inspect, Repair and Replace

Once everything is dry, carefully inspect it all for signs of structural damage. Drywall may need to be torn out and replaced. Check floors, carpets and padding for mold. If you have doubts about repairs, don’t try to salvage anything. Instead, replace water-damaged materials, or call in certified restoration professionals.

How Do You Dry a Floor After a Water Leak?

drying floor water leak

A wet-vac removes most of the water from soaked flooring, but residual moisture causes long-term problems. These tips help dry the floor quickly after a plumbing mishap.

  • Remove baseboards during the drying process.
  • Run the wet-vac across affected floors several times.
  • Pull up vinyl flooring or carpet and padding.

It’s not always possible to salvage soaked carpet and vinyl floor coverings, so be prepared to dispose of these materials. Be sure to look for signs of water-damaged subflooring.

How Do You Dry Cabinets After a Water Leak?

Leaking supply and drain lines under sinks can flood kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Whether they’re constructed of solid wood, plywood or particle board, cabinets need extra help drying out.

  • Empty out cabinet contents, and remove doors.
  • Increase air circulation by taking out all shelving.
  • Remove cabinet kickplates, and check behind for water damage.
  • Place large desiccant packs inside cabinets.

When to Call in the Pros to Address Plumbing Leak Cleanup

servicemaster water damage truck chicago

No matter how many times you’ve tackled plumbing leak cleanup, it’s not an easy project. You may have second thoughts. If the job seems too big, call a restoration company that specializes in water damage cleanup. If you’re facing any of these situations, contact the pros right away.

How Long Do I Need to Use a Dehumidifier After a Leak?

When used with large fans or air movers, a dehumidifier shortens the time it takes to dry out affected areas. If the water damage isn’t extensive, plan on running a dehumidifier for at least 24 to 48 hours. Large projects take longer. Regularly empty the dehumidifier collection bucket.

How Fast Does Mold Grow After a Water Leak?

After a plumbing leak, mold spreads quickly in damp, porous materials, such as drywall and carpet. Mold from water damage sets in as soon as 24 to 48 hours. The microscopic fungus invades wood framing, causes long-term structural damage, contaminates interior air and impacts your health.

Does a Water Leak Always Cause Mold?

In most cases, the answer is yes. It’s hard to finish a large DIY leak cleanup job in 24 hours. The drying process takes several days, so it’s important to disinfect all water-damaged surfaces. A certified restoration company uses advanced structural drying techniques to mitigate the problem.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair Plumbing Leak Water Damage?

Repair costs vary depending on the extent of pipe repairs and water damage. On average, plumbing repair ranges between $150 and $350. The cost of professional cleanup and restoration services averages from $2000 to $4000.

Homeowners insurance usually takes care of the cost to fix a broken pipe and also covers certified cleanup and restoration services. Our teams work closely with local and national insurers, and we’re always happy to help you navigate the paperwork and file your water damage claim.

How to Prevent Future Plumbing Leaks

Cleaning up a water-damaged house can quickly turn into a homeowner’s headache. Knowing how to prevent leaking pipes can save you the aggravation. These tips make a big difference.

  • Regularly inspect pipes, fittings, joints, lines and drains.
  • Routinely check appliance water connections and hoses.
  • Watch out for unusual increases in monthly water usage.
  • Make sure your home’s water pressure isn’t too high.
  • Always insulate pipes before freezing weather sets in.

Need Plumbing Leak Cleanup Help in Chicago or Suburbs? Turn to ServiceMaster by Zaba

There’s so much to be done after a plumbing leak: fixing the problem, cleaning, disinfecting and replacing water-damaged materials. It’s a big job, but you don’t have to handle it by yourself.

We can help with a full line of services for Chicago homeowners, including plumbing leak repair, water damage mitigation, mold removal and property restoration. You can depend on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.

We’re here for you 24/7, and we’re always ready for your call: 773-647-1985

The post How to Clean Up Water Damage After a Plumbing Leak appeared first on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.

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