Preventing Frozen Pipes in your Home / Business
Prevent Frozen Pipes before then Happen!
Given the Northeast Storms and frigid temps, now is an excellent time to learn more about how to avoid frozen pipes and the subsequent water damage that can occur if those pipes expand and burst. Though frozen pipes are a common occurrence, they are highly preventable.
SERVPRO offers the following tips for preventing frozen pipes and mitigating potential damage that they can cause.
- Insulate all the exposed pipes in your home. Especially where they may be unheated, such as the basement, attic, garage, crawl space, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
- Keep the temperature the same during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower temperatures in the evening, you can prevent a costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- Close any inside valves that supply water outdoors and open the outside value to properly drain excess water that may be in the pipes.
- Let your faucet trickle in drastically cold temperatures. While you may be concerned about wasting water, running water is less likely to freeze.
- Keep outside valves open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing it to break. Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors.
- If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, leave the heat on and set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
Found a Frozen Pipe? Thaw It Out:
- If you turn on a faucet and only a few drips come out, suspect a frozen pipe. Typically, frozen pipes are found along exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Make sure the faucet remains on while treating the pipes, as the flowing water will help to melt the ice within the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or other open flame device.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze too.
Should you experience a loss resulting from water damage, turn off the water supply as soon as possible, and call SERVPRO of Waterbury immediately 203-757-5050. The longer you wait to call, the greater the chance of mold growth and unrecoverable property. SERVPRO of Waterbury professionals have the expertise to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects that water damage can have.
Cleaning Tips from The Varsity
Changing batteries in your smoke alarms is too important of a thing to remember to put on a list with anything else. Daylight Savings is the perfect, proven day.
So what about everything else? Here are a few tips from the SERVPRO Team Randolph varsity cleaning squad:
Wipe down your walls and ceilings: vacuum from top to bottom and remove dust. If your walls are dirty (parents!) a mild detergent can bring new life. SERVPRO Wall’n All is our House Favorite and if you call us, we’ll bring you some . We can even clean the walls for you. A mild detergent will add a subtle spring fresh scent to the room.
Vacuum and Shampoo rugs: 80% of what is coming out of your rugs is coming out from vacuuming. We can help with the steam cleaning. If you want to do it yourself, make sure you know what type of carpet you have and that it won’t be damaged by the process. Call us either way if you have any concerns.
Change your Power Strips. If they are older than the equipment plugged into them or if you can’t remember when you bought them, get new ones. This is a big deal in fire prevention.
Inspect your Ducts: If your ducts haven’t been cleaned in a few years, or if you have pets, unscrew a duct, stick your phone in and take a picture or two. If you don’t like what you see, Call Us. We’ll schedule a duct cleaning.
We know you have plenty to do come Spring. If you do these few things, your home feel as fresh as the Great Outdoors. We’re here to help.
Mold Tips... Don't be Afraid to Ask
The wet winter and fluctuating temperatures create a favorable environment for mold issues this spring. Changes in weather create stress on structures. Structures that are stressed are prone to moisture and water issues. Mold is a secondary damage to water damage or excessive moisture. Preventing mold is a matter of keeping a structure dry by quickly repairing or cutting off a source of moisture and when you have a leak or larger issue, having it properly repaired.
Here are some Mold basics from Team Randolph:
- Mold exposure can cause health effects.
- The best way to control indoor mold growth is to eliminate sources of moisture.
- If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture. Do this by fixing the source of leaks; reduce humidity in the atmosphere with proper ventilation and dehumidification if necessary; properly dry all building materials and furnishings if you have a floor or major leak.
- Insulate around windows and piping to minimize condensation on cold surfaces.
- Mold can only grow on organic materials (wood, paper, carpets and foods).
- The EPA recommends that homeowners limit their mold cleaning to small effected areas, 3ft x 3ft. The reason is mold spores are very difficult to kill and it is very easy to cross contaminate an area with the invisible spores.
SERVPRO Team Randolph is certified to clean and remove mold and we are happy to answer any questions you have. Give us a call if you want to discuss a mold issue or are in need of help.
Flood or Water Damage: What Do You Do
When you have water damage, you will quickly decide “Do I need help?” and “Who do I call for a flood?”
Consider these common scenarios: A second floor supply line leaks and water pours through the downstairs ceiling and soaks hardwood floors; A pipe bursts on first floor and water soaks carpets and the tile on the kitchen floor; You come home to a house soaked with humidity with wet walls, saturated a saturated ceiling and standing water in the basement.
Clearly in these cases, you call SERVPRO Team Randolph for help.
But what if the damage is not as obvious and you are tempted to mop, towel and fan. Here are a few things to consider:
Wet Seeks Dry: This means that water is always trying to seep into dry building materials and contents. Depending on how long the water has been there the moisture can cause warping, delamination and the staining. Just as it takes time for moisture to find its way into flooring and drywall, it takes time and a strategy to get the water back out. The Experience, Education and Equipment of a professional mitigation company are often required.
Secondary Damage from a Water Loss Can Exceed the Original Damage: The Insurance Industry has a thick book of suggested guidelines for contractors dealing with water damage. Experience has shown that house floods ruin finishes, compromise the bones of a home and create a health hazard.
Team Randolph Has Seen It Before: We address variations of the situations described above hundreds of times a year. The only common factors are water and the worry that things are going to be fixed. We understand water and we understand that no matter how familiar your issue is to us, it is scary, frustrating and upsetting to you.
In the rare case we come across a situation we have not seen before, we can reach out to our SERVPRO network for guidance and advice. SERVPRO is the largest and most trusted company by consumers nationwide.
For SERVPRO Team Randolph there are no impossible messes. The cleanup begins with a call.
Don’t Forget Your Agent
When you see as an unimaginable disaster, Team Randolph and your insurance agent are there to help.
If you suffer a property loss, your agent is your ally.
Your agent is the person who is trained and licensed to help you buy appropriate coverage for repair or replacement of your stuff if you suffer a disaster, like a fire, flood, burst pipe or mold.
While you may not give your agent much thought over time, Team Randolph sees them in action every day.
Agents understand your policies. This alone provides valuable reassurance during a disaster and the mitigation process. Consider: your condominium (rugs, walls, ceilings, furniture) are soaked by flood in a neighboring unit. In this case, there likely are three policies in effect: yours, neighbors and owners’ association.
The lines of coverage are not always clear. Your agent knows this and knows your policy. You just want your stuff dried, cleaned and repaired; and to get on with your life.
Team Randolph lives in the disaster world and we know what to do and who to speak with to minimize the disruption to you. That is why we are such fans of engaged agents.
Property Mangers Deserve Great Partners
The winter months can create significant challenges for property managers. Snow and ice don’t have the predictability of grass and shrubs. Further, grass and shrubs don’t cause ice damming and pipe freezes.
How you react to the challenges of winter can set the tone of your relationship with HOAs and association boards come spring and summer. Your clients are likely to forgive you for that which you can’t control so long as they constant progress toward restoration of their lives, starting yesterday.
Team Randolph recognizes the urgency to react and to immediately build a recovery plan when we partner with property managers. Winter months aren’t the time for training in front of upset tenants. Our crews receive technical and service training to identify a situation and do the right thing and to be sensitive to a situation.
Our office works with our partners to make sure documents flow through the right channels which simplifies settlement whether there is a claim or the job is a direct pay. We also anticipate and recognize coverage issues so that tenants and owners understand how the claim will be settled.
The SERVPRO brand is the most recognized and respected brand in the mitigation industry so your first decision to call on Team Randolph should be an easy one. No one gets fired for hiring the industry leader.
If you haven’t noticed, water damage and water emergencies happen any time, even the holidays. Just take a look at how the film industry incorporates water emergencies into key plot points of holiday movies:
Trading Places: Dresses as Santa and sopped to the core from pouring rain, Dan Akroyd visits his old firm’s Christmas party with an angry and beaten look. Team Randolph cleans garments, even after people stuff poached salmon under them.
Home Alone: Drawing on people’s deepest fears, hapless burglar Harry (Joe Pesci) brags that he leaves all the water running when leaving a burgled home in order to flood it. Water damage is a metaphor for evil to the core. Tough luck Harry, there is nothing you can do with water in a home we haven’t seen and fixed, like it never even happened.
Christmas Vacation: Cousin Eddie pumps raw sewage and chemicals into the public storm drains outside of the Griswold household, ultimately causing an explosion when accumulated gasses meet the flame of a discarded cigar. From Day One on the job, our crews are trained to protect our customers and themselves from hazards caused by sewage spills and backups. Sanitization of the affected area and proper disposal are major concerns. Don’t let a sewage issue stink up your holidays, call us. We’d love to help.
Here are a few more examples of Hollywood celebrating the evil of unwanted water: In 101 Dalmations a thug flies out a window and into a pool. He emerges as a human frozen pop. The final fight scene in Lethal Weapon takes place in a dense shower caused by a broken fire hydrant. Emerging from the water represents the beginning of new life. There would be no Gremlins or Gremlins 2 if a glass of water was no spilled on a cute Mogwai causing five to spawn from one. Water gives life even when not convenient and later in the movie when the Mogwai become gremlins and jump in the pool, Water gives life to evil, as with black mold.
The point of all this is water, the cold and holidays don’t really mix. But just like in the movies, even the most extreme damage from water is only a passing scene when you call SERVPRO of New Haven/Waterbury/Naugatuck Valley/Northern Westchester County.
Fire Prevention '16
You never hear: “I figured our house would be catching fire one of these days. I’m sure glad we’re prepared.”
When it comes to the unthinkable, we tend to ignore the prospect or do a periodic, check-the-box review. This is an area where investing a little mental energy on the front end can save you, literally.
Here are a few tips from Team Randolph to get you started:
- More than six in 10 house fires between 2007 and 2011 were caused by power or wiring issues. Outdated power strip/surges are the major culprit. Old power strips are not rated to safely support the power load of the techno modern household… this means flat screens, dvd players and gaming consoles. The demand for power, particularly in older houses with fewer outlets encourages daisy chaining power which is a huge hazard. The solution is to look at your outlets and see how you are drawing power. If you can’t remember when you bought your power strips or extension chords but you remember when you bought the devices they power, replace the power strips.
- 6,800 fires started around washers and dryers in 2010. The most common cause is lint traps. Clean them and teach your kids or anyone else who might use the dryer, to keep them clean. You should also watch for gas or propane leaks around the dryers.
- Two-thirds of kitchen fires tend to start from food or other peripheral material catching fire on the range. Watch loose clothing and never leave an open flame on an uncovered pan. Fire investigators are wary of seeming carelessness around kitchen fires because they are so preventable with a modicum of diligence. Kitchen fire hint: In the event of an oven fire, turn off the oven and leave it closed. The fire should extinguish itself.
It takes two minutes for a house fire to become fully engulfed. Talk to your kids about fires. Discuss their escape options, practice. Consider yours as well.
Hot Summer Sun
The Tale of A Quiet Summer
Our blog takes place in Hot and Dry Connecticut and Northern Westchester County
The Scene: A front porch two somewhat comfortable chairs, a table with a sweating pitcher of Lemonade and a couple glasses
Enter: Mel and Arn (A couple of old timers) (sit down)
Mel. I just turned on the sprinkler. Not much left to water.
Arn. lights a smoke: I read August was the hottest month since 1872 in Connecticut and all over Southern New England.
Mel. chuckling: No Kidding. Hottest year since W.B Dubois was the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard.
Arn. That’s right. Same year Babe Ruth was born in Charm City and George Selden patented the automobile.
Mel. nods: Driest Summer in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts since 1872. Absentmindedly over pours lemonade.
Arn. huffing hot and agitated: Aren’t you the SERVPRO? (sarcastically)
Mel. Calm down, don’t make a trauma scene. You’re going to worry about a little spilled lemonade?…. The last time it was this hot Susan B. Anthony was arrested for casting a vote in the presidential election.
Arn. Huh huh… I suppose that’s right… A U.S. Grant woman. 1872? One of the years Mt Vesuvias erupted fire and smoke where Pompeii used to be.
Mel. Some thing that. Go there today, you can see the remains of Pompeii and just up the road people going about their business Like It Never Even Happened
Hurricane Camille 1969
During this week in 1969 hurricane Camille ravaged the southeast United States. I was a pup and my pappy drove me through the Blue Ridge Mountains near our family’s home inspecting landslides that removed faces of mountains and swaths of damaged bridges and buildings. Floods churned up red clay causing a sheen of red to cover everything. I remember we visited Walton Mountain which is the fictional name of the actual home of Earl Hamner Jr who glorified his upbringing in the then popular show “The Waltons”. C’mon, you remember “Good night John Boy, good night Mary Ellen, …”