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Flooded home? What to do first

Sometimes the kids leave the tap running, sometimes a pipe bursts  – either way a flood in your home is something many of us have experienced. Knowing what to tackle first in this situation can be difficult, but don’t panic, we’re here to help. Our step-by-step guide to recovering from a home flood will show you the way.

Although there are some steps you can safely take to prevent damage to your home, if you’re knee deep in water, we recommend calling our Help Line or booking a repair through our repairs form on our website to seek professional support.

If you do feel confident to tackle the challenge at hand, take the following steps.

Bathroom floods

From your bathtub or shower tray to your toilet, there are plenty of items that can cause a flood in your bathroom. Here’s what to do as soon as you notice a flood:

Man Kneeling On Floor

1. Identify where the leak is coming from before shutting off the water

Firstly, find the exact source of the flood. If it’s a single fixture, like a toilet overflowing, shut it off at the isolation valve. You can usually find the isolation valve directly under your toilet or bathroom sink. To shut off the mains water supply, you must know where your stop tap is - it’s typically found under your kitchen sink, under your cold water tank or even outside.

2. Shut off electricity

Next, go to your consumer unit (you may know it as your fuse box) and shut off the lighting and socket circuits. This power cut will prevent the risk of electrocution through your bathroom light or shaving socket. If you’re not sure where your consumer unit is look under your stairs or next or your front door, this is where they are typically live. 

*Important*, if you notice water around any live electrics, don’t touch it and call Places for People on 01772 667002 to book a repair.

3. Remove standing water

From mops to old towels and even newspaper – use any absorbent items to soak up the water and remove it down the drain or in a bucket. If you have severe flooding, you may need to call a water damage clean up service.

4. Save your possessions
Clear your bathroom cabinets and any other storage in contact with the wet floor. Check these areas for damage, and work out what kind of clean up they need.

Burst pipes

Whether it a DIY accident or extreme weather conditions, the pipes in your home can burst for a range of reasons, and if not dealt with quickly, can cause thousands of pounds in damages. Dealing with the root cause of your flood is a task best left to the professionals, but there are a few steps you can do before a plumber arrives to minimise damage and risks.

Burst Pipe

1. Shut off your water supply

If you experience a burst pipe, the first thing you need to do is turn off the water supply to your home at the mains. You can do this by shutting off your home’s stopcock, this can typically be found under your kitchen sink. Turning off the stopcock will prevent the flow of water into your house, preventing further damage while you find a solution to the problem.

If you find water is still flowing, drain the cold water in your system by flushing your toilet several times and running all your cold water taps until the water dries up.

If any electrical sockets are affected, turn off the main electrical supply immediately.

2. Contact your insurer

As you should know, if you’re a Places for People Customer, your home will be insured by us. However, insuring the contents of your home is your responsibility.

If you have contents insurance, now is the perfect time to take photos of the damage. Documenting the extent of the damage will allow you to make a detailed claim to present to your insurer.

3. Remove any standing water

Now that you’ve contacted your insurer, it’s time to start the cleaning up process.  Just like with a bathroom flood, use mops, old towels and even newspaper to soak up the excessive water and remove it from your home by buckets or down your drain.  

4. Contact us to make a repair request

Once you’ve cleared the excessive water, it’s time to contact a plumbing professional. If you’re a Places for People Customer, you can request by filling out a repair form on our website or call our friendly advisers on 01772 667002.

5. Document the damage

Now that the professionals have been notified, it’s time to check exactly what you need to do to make a claim. This could include sending photos and keeping receipts to replace items.

6. Clean up

Getting your home back to normal after a burst pipe can take time, but there are a few things you can do to speed up the process:

Cleaning and drying out – some cleaning is usually needed after a pipe burst, and the affected areas could take between four and eight weeks to dry out completely. To speed this process up, give walls, floors, and furniture enough space for air to circulate around them.

Strip it out – remove any furniture and fixtures which may have been damaged in the flood. Damaged plaster may also need to be removed.

Repairs – it may be some time before your home has dried enough for you to start cosmetic repairs. Walls need to be fully dried before they can be replastered and redecorated, and professional drying and restoration specialists may be needed to restore your home.

7. Preventative measures

Expanding frozen water is by far the most common cause of a burst pipe, so it’s important to keep your pipes insulated.

If you're going away and the temperature  is likely to drop below freezing, keep your home’s heating at a minimum of 15°C (59F) for a few hours each day.

It’s also a great idea to drain your system of water if you’re going away for a long period over the winter months, this will ensure that your home stays flood free.

Leaving your loft hatch open to allow warmer air to reach the loft can be enough to prevent the temperature from getting critically low.

Kitchen floods

From your sink to your washing machine, there are a range of fixtures that can flood your kitchen . We hope you never experience this inconvenience, but if you do, here are some tips to help you clean up the mess

Woman On Phone In Kitchen Pipe Burst

1. Turn off your water

The first step to restoring your kitchen after a flood to turn the water supply off. Typically, you can do this by shutting off the stopcock found under your kitchen sink.

2. Turn off electricity

Now that the water has stopped flowing, it’s time to ensure your safety by turning off the electricity. You can limit the volts entering your kitchen by switching off the circuit to the room on your consumer unit, which can usually be located under your stairs or near your front door. If other areas of your home are also affected, isolate the power to those rooms too.

*Important*, if you notice water around any live electrics, don’t touch it and call Places for People on 01772 667002 to book a repair.

3. Be careful with your stove

Water on your kitchen floor can affect your gas stove. Supply lines, regulators and bottom burners may all need to be replaced following a flood.

If you suspect the gas supply line to your stove has been compromised, leave your home immediately and contact National Grid gas emergency line on 0800 111 999.

4. Clean up the water

Before starting your clean up mission, remove any tables, chairs or objects that are causing an obstacle. Not only will removing these items make the cleaning process easier, but it’ll also allow for better ventilation around the room.

Check the lower cabinets for water and clean up any liquid you find. Mopping usually takes care of a flooded kitchen, but a wet vac can make the job quicker.

5. Inspect the damage

Now that you’ve successfully cleaned up the water, it’s time to access the amount of damage. Pay particular attention to drywalls and door frames, as these features tend to be more porous.

If the flood happened while you were away for several days, the stagnant water may have caused damp and mould to develop. If you notice damp or mould within your home, it’s important to notify Places for People right away if you’re our Customer, you can do this by calling 01772 667002. In the meantime, you can follow our guide on reducing condensation in your home.

6. Begin to dry out the room

Firstly, ensure all four corners of your room are well ventilated, whether that be by a window or a fan. A dehumidifier can also help speed up the drying process.

Keep your cabinet doors and drawers open and pay close attention to signs of damp and mould on your drywalls.

7. Know when to call the professionals

In some cases, drying out your flooded kitchen isn’t enough. Professional help may be needed to restore your home after a flood. If you are a Places for People Customer, you can contact our friendly help line on 01772 667002 or book a repair via our repairs form on our website.