Your first instinct, when faced with a burst pipe, is probably to call a plumber. This is a good idea. However, there is one thing you should do before you call a plumber and several things you can do while waiting for them to turn up.
Turn Off The water
The fastest way to prevent a burst pipe from flooding your entire home is to shut the water off to your home. Before you have a burst pipe you should familiarize yourself with where all the stop valves are in your home. Knowing the location will allow you to shut off the one that is supplying the burst pipe. This may even mean you still have water to part of your home.
If you don’t have internal stop valves or don’t know where they are, then shut off the one outside the house. This is at the point that the pipes become your responsibility.
Now you can call the plumber!
Before you can start mopping water off the floor you need to make sure no more is going to leak. This means shutting off all water heaters and draining the existing water out of the system, preferably down the drain to avoid flooding your house more. If you can easily save the water then do so but, in the grand scheme of things, this is a small cost that can be reclaimed under insurance.
With all the water stopped you can clean up the floor. The sooner you do this the better as water soaks in and can take a long time to dry out fully. Any damp left can cause mold growth which is detrimental to your health.
If you have furniture that has got wet it is best to remove it from the house and try to save any sentimental items. Buckets and then mops will clear the water. To dry the floors and walls you’ll need to use cool air as this is the most efficient way of drying the space.
You can now inspect the leak. It may be a weak pipe that has burst in the frost, it could be a bad joint, or it could be something else. Inspecting it will allow you to assess the problem and start thinking about replacing the damaged section.
However, before you replace anything it is a good idea to use a pipe inspection camera and check the rest of the pipes and joints, from the inside. If one section has burst then its possible others are ready to go. An internal inspection will allow you to assess whether you need a small repair or a larger re-plumbing job.
It may seem costly but you don’t want to clear up and have another burst pipe.
You can do the repairs yourself or talk to your plumber. But, whatever you do, take plenty of pictures and document the issue, you’ll want this for your insurance claim. They tend to pay out much faster with photographic proof of the issue.