Busted Pipes? How to dry your home while waiting on backed-up repair crews

Experts say that, even if you're on the waitlist for damage repair, it's best to get as much...
Experts say that, even if you're on the waitlist for damage repair, it's best to get as much water up as possible while you wait.(WBRC)
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 9:48 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s been days of busted water pipes wreaking havoc on homes and apartments in our area. Birmingham’s SERVPRO Water Damage Restoration tells WBRC that they’ve gotten nearly 400 calls and they keep coming.

Birmingham SERVPRO experts said there are some things you can do to dry out the water yourself, in case you are on a waitlist.

“Ceilings are falling in the kitchen, floors are buckling,” Commercial Large Loss Division Manager at SERVPRO of Birmingham Brad Jones said. “The damage is pretty rough. We are getting so many phone calls from people, and I expect we will continue to get phone calls from people, that weren’t home. Many people were on some kind of Christmas vacation.”

The arctic blast started bursting pipes just one day before Christmas Eve. SERVPRO Division Manager, Brad Jones, said many people were out of town and didn’t know about the leaks until they got back home.

“Many homes impacted,” he said. “Many businesses impacted and the damage has been pretty significant.”

Calls have just started to slow down, but he said now they are tackling a heavy waitlist. Depending on where you live, it could be anywhere from next day service to a day or two wait.

Other state’s SERVPRO locations are also busy with calls from the nationwide winter cold front, so they don’t have any extra crews or back-up to call in right now.

“We have about 2,000 fans and 600 dehumidifiers and we were down to seven dehumidifiers yesterday, so it has been a tremendous amount of phone calls,” Jones said. “The first day is extracting the water, beginning the drying process, setting up the equipment. Everyday it’s running in your home, someone will come check it and make sure the materials are drying out.”

One home can take up to a week to dry, and if you’re on the waitlist, you need to start trying to dry it up as soon as you can. Jones said get a dehumidifier to try and keep the moisture out of the air. This will help prevent mold. He said mold is a larger concern during the springtime, when it is more humid out.

“Anything you can do to get standing water up,” Jones said. “Go ahead, grab a Shopvac, and get any standing water up that you can. If you have carpet, you can ahead and remove that carpet, because there will be standing water underneath that carpet.”

Fans can help dry out the water, but Jones said it is important to make sure you take out any of the heavy items that got wet.

“As many saturated materials that you can go ahead and get out of the home, it’s going to make things better,” he said.

Jones estimates the water damage portion of their job will take them roughly three to four weeks for their current clients. He estimates the repair portion could last up to four months, because insurance adjusters will likely be backed up and materials could also be in short supply.

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