Leaky pipes are one thing, but a burst pipe can cause all sorts of mayhem in just a matter of minutes. From waterlogged carpet to ruined furniture, damaged electronics and even mold and mildew, the damaging potential of a burst pipe is endless.

A plumbing emergency demands the expertise of an emergency 24 hour plumber. Until your plumber gets there, you'll still have a mess to deal with. The following shows how you can quickly minimize the damage caused by a busted pipe until an emergency plumber arrives to take care of the rest.

Cut Off the Flow

Before you do anything else, you'll need to stop the flow of water before your burst pipe causes any more damage. That means finding the main water shut-off valve. You'll find this valve in your basement or near the outside wall of your home, usually close to the water meter or where the main water line meets your home.

The water shut-off valve will either appear as a round wheel or as a lever. To stop the water flow, turn the wheel clockwise for two or more turns or turn the lever clockwise 1/4-turn until it's at a right angle with the pipe.

Clean Up the Excess

With the main water flow finally shut off, you can finally start to clean up some of the mess made by your busted pipe. Before you get started, however, you'll want to drain any remaining water from the pipes. You can do this by opening up the cold water taps on your faucets until they run dry. Next, shut off your hot water heater and open the hot water taps until that supply runs dry. If there's any water in the toilets, a few flushes should help drain that supply, as well.

Afterwards, grab a wet-dry shop vacuum and suck up as much standing water as possible. You'll also want to air out the room by leaving the doors and windows open to remove damaging moisture until the area dries out.

Patch Up the Pipe, If Possible

If you're able to locate the source of your plumbing woes, then it's possible to temporarily patch up your burst pipe until your emergency plumber delivers a more permanent fix. If you have a roll of duct tape on hand, you can use it to patch up small diameter pipes. Make sure

If the burst pipe is hidden behind a wall or in an otherwise inaccessible area, then you're better off waiting until your emergency plumber arrives.