What To Do When Your Pipes Freeze
Imagine this... you wake up on a cold winter morning, stumble to the bathroom, turn on the sink to splash your face with some water but only a very small trickle of water coming from your pipes. Confused? You call a plumber, and they tell you that most likely you have a frozen pipe. Eek! What do you do now?
Try to locate the section of pipe that is frozen. Using a blow dryer or heat gun blow hot air at the frozen section of pipe. If possible, you could place a space heater near the pipe to begin the thawing. It is important not to use a torch or open flame to attempt to thaw the pipe. Also, don’t place the space heater too close- remember the 3 ft rule!
Inspect the pipe for any cracks that may occur when the water causes the pipe to expand. Slowly begin the run water and check for any leaks. If you notice water leaking from the pipe, you should turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. Contact a professional plumber to come fix the pipe.
Don’t forget, we’re available 24/7 to clean up any water damage that may have occurred. It’s important to clean up any water damage quickly and efficiently to prevent further damage from occurring.
Getting Salt Stains out of Carpeting
Winter is here! So is freezing temperatures, ice and snow. It’s important to make sure that your business’s parking lots and sidewalks are safe for your employees and customers to walk on to get in and out of your building. Putting down rock salt is a very common way to make sure your sidewalks and parking lots are safe. However, rock salt can leave lasting stains on your carpet.
Our SERVPRO professional technicians have been trained to clean rock salt stains out of carpet. Our SERVPRO Corporate has created special carpet cleaning solutions to get rid of these stains better than any store bought cleaner. Call our office today to schedule a carpet cleaning so your carpets stay looking their best! The sooner we clean the rock salt stains out of your carpet, the better chance you’ll have to remove the stains.
During this time of year, we recommend having the carpets vacuumed and cleaned more often to keep the rock salt stains from sticking around.
Do You Head South for the Winter?
Before heading south for the winter, you should definitely check out these important preventative measures to protect your home!
- Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees. There are new thermostats that are considered “smart thermostats” so that you can control the temperature of your home from your phone from anywhere. The Nest https://nest.com/thermostats/ the thermostat that we use in our home and is so easy to use and manage.
At SERVPRO we have talked to many homeowners who live in the south for winter and have had their heating system fail while they’re away. This leads to frozen pipes that can be undiscovered for long periods of time. Not knowing that your heating system has failed and pipes breaking while your away can lead to water and mold damage that affects large areas of the home.
- Winterize your pipes. Shut off the main water supply and drain the system by opening all faucets and flushing the toilets. You may also consider replacing the water traps and drains with a nontoxic antifreeze. Don’t think this is something you want to do yourself? Plumbers will come winterize your home for you.
Let Us Introduce Our Contractor!
This year, we gained a valuable asset to our company. We hired a contractor to join our team! Let's take a moment to get to know our contractor, Mark Ruzekowicz!
"I have been doing construction for approximately 20 years spending almost all that time in residential/commercial remodeling and new construction. I am quite proficient in all aspects of this work. I started learning the trades when I was a wee lad from my father and other family members who are also trades folk. Over the years I have worked as a subcontractor for a handful of phenomenal carpenters that helped me expand and refine my abilities. I am elated to join the SERVPRO family and am looking forward to the opportunity to augment the existing team here and provide the best customer service I can when taking the damage to a home or business and making it like it never even happened."
We're so happy to have Mark on our team!
Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing this Winter
During New York winters, our homes can take a beating from the freezing cold weather. It’s important to prepare your home before the winter weather hits. Failing to prep your home for winter, may result in a costly disaster later. Freezing cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze which causes the pipes to expand and crack or burs which leads to water damage.
Where the pipes in and around your home are, could mean that they are more likely to freeze than others.
Pipes that are outside your home are the most likely to freeze as they are directly exposed to the cold weather. For these pipes, it’s best to turn off the water to these pipes and drain the pipes. This will ensure that no water can freeze inside allowing for possible cracks to form.
Pipes located along exterior walls of the home or in areas of the home that are not heated are the next pipes likely to freeze. Consider whether or not areas of your home such as attics, basements, crawl spaces, garages or unused rooms have pipes in and around them. Because these pipes may be important to be left on throughout winter, it is important to insulate them. Special insulation for the pipes can be found at your local hardware store. Thermostatically controlled heat tape will turn on at certain minimum temperatures. This tape keeps the pipes slightly heated to ensure that freezing does not occur.
If you have had pipes that are inside of walls freeze, consider adding insulation in those walls. It’s possible that there is not enough insulation installed as would be recommended in our climate.
Different Types of Smoke
Did you know that there are actually different types of smoke which can cause damage to your home and contents during a fire? When we access the damage caused by fire and smoke, we take into account the cause of the fire and the type of smoke damage. This way, we make sure that the proper cleaning supplies and techniques are used to clean the fire and smoke damage. Just like there are different methods you would use to get a stain out of your favorite shirt based on what kind of stain it is, we use different cleaning methods based on what kind of smoke caused the damage to your home and contents.
Wet Smoke is occurs when plastic and rubber burn. The fire most likely burned at a lower temperature than other types of fire and leaves a very strong, pungent odor. Wet smoke leaves a sticky residue. There are often smoke webs in the corners that can be difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke often occurs when paper and wood burn. These materials burn quickly and at very high temperatures. The smoke rises and can cause a lot of damage to the ceilings and even higher levels that were not directly affected by the fire itself.
Protein Fire Residue occurs from evaporation of material rather than an actual fire. This type of smoke can be hard to see, but causes a discoloration or paints and varnishes. Protein fire residue has a very strong odor which can be hard to get rid of.
Fuel Oil Soot often happens when a furnace has a “puff back”. This is caused when a furnace malfunctions and the HVAC system throws smoke throughout the home by way of the duct system. The furnace will need to be replaced or repaired before cleaning can begin to ensure that the problem does not occur again. A duct cleaning will also need to be performed so that left over soot in the ducts doesn’t get thrown around the affected areas again.
No need to worry about figuring out what type of smoke damage you have, our SERVPRO team will assess the type of smoke that has affected your property and decide what cleaning methods will be the best.
What Causes Mold to Grow?
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Did you ever wonder what causes mold to grow? Why sometimes you might see mold in places that have not experienced water damage or water penetration?
Mold is found everywhere, in the air, on surfaces inside and outside. There are many, many different types of mold. Mold can grow on any substance where moisture is found.
Mold reproduces by tiny microscopic spores. That is why when we perform mitigation in an area that has preexisting mold, we do not place air movers. The air movers will push the spores around, waking them up and causing them to reproduce at an increased rate. Instead, we like to keep the conditions as still as possible and try not to disturb the mold until we can remediate the mold. We also use air scrubbers to scrub the air clean of any spores that may get thrown into the air. This will stop the mold spores from being able to reproduce.
There are three main requirements for mold growth:
- Moisture- When mold spores land on moist surfaces, they begin to reproduce. Typically mold found inside grows in an area that may have experienced a water damage. If flooring and walls are not properly dried, mold growth can begin. Indoor plumbing can have leaks that are disguised by the surrounding structural materials. This kind of mold damage is often unexpected because the leak went on undiscovered for so long.
Flooring that is over crawl spaces that do not have vapor barriers can be prone to mold growth as the water condensates seeping into the floor. The underside of the flooring may be wet, but the floor may not be noticeably wet from the perspective that we walk on it.
Mold is often found initially by sight of smell. Mold can go undetected for a long time as it can grow behind wall paper or paneling, under carpeting and padding, on the back of drywall, etc.
- Food for the spores- Food sources for mold in buildings include dust and dander, cellulose-based materials such as wood, cardboard and paper.
- Warmth- Mold typically does not grow in colder temperatures. Mold grows best between 77-86 degrees. However, mold can grow when temperatures are between 32-95 degrees.
Should you have any questions about mold, please do not hesitate to call our office at 315-457-3432. Our office staff are trained on mold remediation techniques and can help you get started on solving a mold problem you may be having.
When we think of storm and water damage, we often think of structure damage. Did you know that SERVPRO offers content restoration for your affected contents as well? Your contents can be your most valuable and meaningful belongings. We wouldn't want you to have to throw away damaged contents because the water damage they may have endured leads to mold damage and staining.
Our technicians are specially trained to restore contents damaged by mold, water and smoke. Our technicians start by spot cleaning items to determine what cleaning techniques will work best based on the materials the item is made of and the type of damaged the item sustained.
The types of cleaning we offer are:
- Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to cleaning.
- Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
- Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand cleaning.
- Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if cleaned.
- Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
- Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.
If your home or office requires extensive restoration, a pack out may be required. In this case, the SERVPRO team would inventory and pack out all contents and move them to our office. There, the team would clean all contents and store them in our climate controlled containers until you are ready to have your contents brought back.
We work with you for 100% of this process letting you make decisions and offering solutions to possible problems along the way. Pack outs, storage, and pack backs are often covered by insurance. We work with your adjuster to ensure they understand any type of necessary cleaning and pack out.
On August 25th, Hurricane Harvey caused widespread devastation throughout Texas and Louisiana. The area was affected by flooding and destruction from the Category 4 hurricane. Houston's total rainfall during this storm exceeded 50 inches of rainwater.
SERVPRO mobilized Disaster Recovery Teams from around the country to help the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Over 400 teams initially deployed fully equipped with equipment and supplies to perform mitigation and restoration.
Then on September 10th, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the southwest of Florida. Flooding and wind damage affected Florida and Georgia. Many people lost power, gas and water. Again, SERVPRO dispatched additional Disaster Recovery Teams to help clean up the affected areas and help families affected by the storm.
After Hurricane Irma landed on the Florida coast, our SERVPRO sent one of our operations managers, Matthew Balch to go down and assist with the clean up. Our thoughts are with those affected by these disastrous storms. We hope that the families affected can recover quickly and get back on their feet. SERVPRO Industries is working as hard and quickly as possible to make sure things run smoothly so that we can help as many people as possible.
Our SERVPRO sent a team down to Florida to help out with the Hurricane cleanup. We are currently helping perform mitigation and restoration in a country club. Our crews are working as quickly as possible so that the country club get get up and running again.
Maintaining Your Electric System
Each year many fires break out in homes and commercial buildings due to a failure in the electrical system. While not every electrical fire can be prevented, there are precautions which can be taken to lessen this risk.
Electrical fires can be caused by:
- Broken wires
- Wire insulation drying out
- Loose switches or receptacles
- Overheating caused by dirt an oil
Allstate Insurance company recommends that you have your electrical system checked by a licensed electrician every four years. Having an electrician assess the electrical system will ensure that your home or building is up to code and that any issues are addressed. If you see an appliance that has a broken wire, fix the wire immediately or replace the appliance. While replacement may be costly, it will reduce the chance of a fire. Tighten any switch or plug that appears loose. It is important that switches and plugs are secure. Remember not to overload outlets. If necessary use an electrical adapter with surge protection.
Studies show that faulty wiring is the number 1 cause of electrical fires. Watch for warning signs of faulty wiring:
- Flickering lights
- Breakers that always trip
- Fuses that blow
- A burning smell when appliances are plugged in
- Outlets/switches that spark when plugging in or unplugging an appliance
- Discoloration around outlets
Remember that prevention is the key to safety! Electrical fires spread quickly and can be life threatening and costly. Call your local electrician if you have specific questions or concerns about something in a home of building that you own. Working with electrical work can be very dangerous and it is important to hire an experienced technician to complete any necessary electrical work.