Pipes burst? What you should do (and not do) before mold grows

Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 6:18 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - During a cold winter, homeowners across the two-state can come home to find major plumbing issues from broken pipes.

As Isaac White heard water gushing from the ceiling during a phone call with his wife, fear crept over him.

“If you can imagine just that little spot where there’s a hole just kind of being like a water faucet, literally water just pouring out of there. I think when I was on the phone with my wife, you could hear the water just gushing,” said White.

A pipe burst above their refrigerator.

“Towels out blankets, everything. Imagine there’s water going down the street, out the windows, down the side of the house. Yeah, the water pipe froze. Busted wide open,” he said.

It’s the story Bill Welsh with PuroClean has heard over and over.


“There’s been a lot of breaks of lines and people’s attics, especially because they’re uninsulated areas. And what happens is when the pipes are installed, they might be, you know, almost 99% insulated, but there’s one gap of pipe that’s exposed to the elements,” said Welsh.

The first thing to do if there’s a leak is to turn off the waterline in your house.

“I would be more concerned with electrical issues, and heating, the cooling to be able to heat and cool that house and stay in it. Rather than being really concerned about the mold. I’m not saying the mold isn’t the worst thing, but you really need to look at the other safety issues first,” he said.

White said: “Drywall is all cosmetic, right? We can get it fixed. But you said the electrical and you begin to switches, light switches, things of that nature become a problem.”

PuroClean Owner, Richard Sassnet, says if your ceiling is discolored like White’s you can expect some mold growth, but professionals can help.

“You can expect that there’s going to be some instances where you’ll see microbial growth. In the instances where you do see discoloration, you start to notice different smells that are out there, it’s probably good to have a professional come out and do an inspection,” he said.

Safety should be your top priority. Taking the steps of calling your insurance company, getting up as much water as you can, removing the wet materials, and making sure your electrical wires are not exposed to the water. They do not recommend you try and fix this on your own as it will likely cost you more in the end.

Advice from Jerry’s All American Cleaning

Over the past few days, plumbers’ phones have been ringing nonstop as well as carpet cleaning companies like Jerry’s All American Cleaning.

Jeremiah Rutledge with Jerry’s All American Cleaning says it takes 72 hours for mold to build in your home. You may still have time to take precautions and prevent any water damage or mold.

“Definitely want to get that water off of your carpet or your walls as quickly as possible. Because the longer it stays there, the longer or the more damage and mold can do. And once you get that water off, then you will try to get it dry as quickly as possible with fans or any type of circulation devices in your home,” he said.

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