Archive for the ‘Flooding’ Category

Frozen Pipes

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Frozen and burst pipes can cause costly water damage. Follow the tips below to find out how to prevent your pipes from freezing and how to react in the event that they do.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
There are three primary causes of frozen pipes:

1) Quick drops in temperature

2) Poor insulation

3) Thermostats set too low.

Take these steps to prevent your pipes from freezing:

  • Insulate pipes in crawl spaces and attics. Exposed pipes are the most susceptible to freezing. *Tip: the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
  • You can also use heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions very carefully. These products can be dangerous if not installed properly.
  • Seal any and all leaks that may be allowing cold air inside near your pipes. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. In very severe cold, even a very tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause pipes to freeze.
  • Before freezing temperatures set in, disconnect all garden hoses and use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from the pipes that lead to outside faucets. This reduces the risk of the short span of pipe just inside the house freezing.

If Your Pipes Do Freeze
What should you do if your pipes do freeze?

The first step is… DON’T PANIC! Frozen pipes do not always burst.

Do the following:

  • If no water comes out of your faucets when you turn them on, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber (if you need a recommendation, please feel free to contact us, we work with a number of reliable, professional and reasonably priced plumbers).
  • Do not use electrically operated items and/or appliances in areas of standing water. This is very dangerous, and you could be electrocuted.
  • No matter what, do not try to thaw frozen pipes with a torch or other open flame because it creates a huge fire hazard. A broken pipe and some water damage is definitely preferable to burning your house down!
  • Try thawing the pipe out using the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming it as close to the faucet as possible, and work your way toward the coldest section of the pipe.

If your pipes have already burst:

  • Turn off the water at the main shutoff valve inside your home or office.
  • Leave the water faucets turned on.
  • Make sure that everyone who will be in the home or building knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.
  • Call a certified restoration company to begin the mitigation services ASAP.
  • Fast response is crucial.
  • The mitigation process must begin right away to help prevent secondary damage.

Storms: Prepare and React

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Before the Storm

  • Look for any potential problem areas, especially along your roof, windows, doors and garage doors.
  • Remove tree branches that could harm utility wires or home.
  • Clear debris from gutters and spouts.
  • Secure or bring outdoor furniture or other items inside. – The Halloween decorations will have to come inside!
  • Go shopping: nonperishable items such as canned food, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, ready-to-eat cereal and snacks, crackers, and peanut butter are best.
  • Set the refrigerator to its coldest setting. If the power goes out, the food won’t spoil as quickly.
  • Charge your cell phones fully.
  • Move valuables to the upper floors of your house, away from areas that could potentially flood.
  • Check your sump pumps to make sure they are operational. If you don’t have one, and if time allows, install a battery operated back-up in case of a power outage.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers by the telephone. This includes your insurance agent’s phone number – you may have to turn in a homeowner’s claim.
  • Take inventory of your possessions. Your insurance adjuster will need this if there is damage and your contents need to be repaired or replaced.

During the Storm

  • Stay inside and off the roads.
  • If you absolutely must be on the roads, don’t attempt to drive through flooded areas.
  • If the authorities tell you to evacuate your home – do it! Don’t be stubborn. Be sure to take all of your important documents with you.

If the Power Goes Out

  • Report outages to your power company immediately. Don’t assume your neighbors have already called.
  • Be sure that ovens, ranges or heaters that may have been on before the power went out have been turned off.
  • Don’t use candles. They can be a fire hazard. Use flashlights instead.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics that can be damaged when the power is restored.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. Each time you open the door, a significant amount of cold air is lost. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold safely for about four hours. A packed freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours; you have 24 hours if the freezer is half full.
  • Don’t risk eating spoiled food. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Keep generators and fuel outdoors.
  • Keep your doors closed to prevent warm air from escaping.

If It Floods

  • If you’re outdoors, move to high ground.
  • If your basement floods, turn off your pilot light for your basement gas appliances.
  • Turn off the electrical panel box if you can do so safely. Don’t touch electrical switches if they (or you) are wet.
  • Stay away until the floodwaters have receded. Don’t enter your home or attempt repairs until you’re certain it’s safe.
  • Contact a certified restoration contractor and your insurance agent as soon as possible. A fast response to property damage lessens the amount and severity of potential secondary damage.