Tips for Avoiding Frozen Pipes
What's worse than a major home maintenance disaster? Try several major home maintenance disasters at once. When a house's water pipes freeze, the situation is not as simple as calling a plumber. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.
Frozen water pipes are a problem in both cold and warmer climates, affecting a quarter-million families each winter, and it can happen in homes with both plastic and copper pipes. It's all too common, especially considering this damage is largely preventable.
In addition to taking the usual preventive precautions, here are a few steps you can take to keep your pipes from turning frigid nights into inconvenient, and expensive ordeals.
Tip 1: Keep the Heat On!
This can be a make or break to coming home to a burst frozen pipe. Many people look to escape the winter months and go on vacations to a warmer destination. Be sure to keep your heat on when you're away! It doesn't need to be as high as it usually is, as you don't want to waste a lot of electricity when you're not at your home, so around 50º-55º F should keep those pipes warm enough.
Tip 2: Allow Faucet('s) to Drip.
If you're worried a pipe might freeze, allow your faucets to slightly drip. Allowing the faucet to be open like this will relieve pressure in the system. If a pipe freezes, it is actually the pressure that is created between the blockage and the faucet that will cause the pipe to burst. Allowing the faucet to be open will prevent this pressure from building up and thus, keep the pipe from bursting.
Tip 3: Keep Inside Doors and Cabinets Open
Pipes are often located in cabinets, like under your sink. When the temperatures drop, it is a good idea to keep these cabinet doors open so that the heat from the rest of the house can keep the pipes warm as well. You should also keep all interior doors open so that the heat can flow throughout the home.
Tip 4: Seal Cracks and Holes
You should caulk any holes or cracks that exist near pipes. This should be done on both interior and exterior walls. Doing so can help keep the cold air out and the warm air in. If you don't consider yourself a caulking extraordinaire, give SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield a call as we also have a construction side of the business and will happily walk you through the process :)
Tip 5: Apply Heating Tape
For pipes that are easily accessible, the electrical heating tape may be an option to keep them from freezing. This tape can be applied directly to the pipe. There are two types of heating tape. One type of heating tape turns on and off by itself when it senses heat is needed. The other type of heating tape needs to be plugged in when heat is needed and unplugged when not in use. Much like a space heater, these products can be dangerous, so you must follow the product’s direction and safety procedures exactly.
Tip 6: Add Extra Insulation
Pipes that are located in areas that do not have proper insulation, such as basements or attics, may need extra insulation to keep from freezing. Pipes in basements or attics are not the only ones that may not be properly insulated from the cold. If you have had a problem with pipes freezing anywhere in your home, extra insulation could be the cure.
Pipes can be fitted with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to help decrease the chances of freezing. This can be an easy solution for pipes that are exposed but can get expensive if walls, floors or ceilings have to be opened in order to properly insulate the pipe. Additional insulation can also be added to walls and ceilings to keep the pipes warm.
There is no full proof way to prevent all pipes from getting damaged during these cold winter months, but anything you can do in advance to help prevent a disaster will always be a good bet. If you do experience any disasters this winter give us a call at (215) 877-6653, we're available 24/7!
Water Damaged Equipment And Inventory
We store supplies, and your paperwork either in a dry area of your building or offsite if water damage is pervasive
Some Overbrook/Wynnefield businesses survive water damage with only minor issues. Other damages risk the ruining of specialized machinery and extensive stores of raw materials and finished products. Finding a restoration company that is willing to learn about the challenges your industry faces from water damage is the key to recovery.
Your family business boasts several generations of satisfied customers, and you now need help to keep water damage from destroying this history and disappointing clients. A water main burst and gallons of water threaten to ruin your machines and your extensive inventory. Our fast-acting team of water damage experts commits to walking you through every step of the process from waterlogged to dry and restored for both the structure and contents of your shop.
SERVPRO crews arrive to assess the situation and plan for the recovery as soon as possible. We outfit our vehicles with truck-mounted pumps and water extractors, allowing our technicians to begin water removal immediately, even if the power is off. Your equipment poses a risk of electric shock until the area dries, so our ability to evacuate the water without using your power sources is crucial.
Advanced training in material management supports the ability of our crews to pack out your inventory quickly and with an accurate listing that identifies what we moved. We store supplies, and your paperwork either in a dry area of your building or offsite if water damage is pervasive. Throughout the process, we maintain an evidence chain so you can reconstruct customer orders and provide documentation for your insurance company. Our training in drying technologies helps us advise which materials respond to drying and what items may need to be discarded.
Electronic and other equipment needs expert evaluation before it can be cleared for future operation. SERVPRO works with professionals who are trained to determine whether and how water damaged equipment specific to your industry can be dried successfully. We then take all steps necessary to reach that result.
While decisions are reached on your inventory and equipment, other members of the SERVPRO team work to dry out the structure of your business. Air movers and dehumidifiers achieve the drying goals after the standing water is removed, with constant moisture monitoring guiding the duration.
The technicians from SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield work persistently to restore your business after unexpected water damage. Call us at (215) 877-6653 to get our team in place and on task.
Does Your Philadelphia Property Contain Lead?
Here, a lead based paint is slowly but surely peeling away from this home in Overbrook.
Older homes, older child care facilities, schools and other buildings are more likely to contain lead-based paint. Homes may be private, government-assisted or public housing. Schools are preschools and kindergarten classrooms. They may be urban, suburban or rural.
Percentage of homes likely to contain lead:
- Built between 1960-1978 = 24%
- Built between 1940-1960 = 69%
What can you do to protect your family from lead in pre-1978 homes?
- If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.
- Clean up paint chips immediately.
- Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces. Use a mop, sponge, or paper towel with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead.
- Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
- Wash children’s hands, bottles, pacifiers and toys often.
- Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.
- Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.
SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield follows the EPA's strict guidelines for lead paint
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools be certified by the EPA. These firms also must use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices.
According to EPA requirements (40 CFR Part 745) contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three simple procedures:
- Contain the work area.
- Minimize dust.
- Clean up thoroughly.
SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield technicians always take the necessary precautions according to current laws. Our technicians have been trained and certified to follow lead-safe work practices while performing renovation and repair projects in your area.
Understanding the Three Categories of Water
Can you tell what kind of water this is?
When dealing with water damage in your home or place of business, there are different types, or classifications of water that we can use. Using this classification system, we can determine what health risks are associated with the water, and properly prepare bringing with us all necessary safety equipment and uniforms. In this blog article we are going to focus on three types: Clean, Gray, and Black water.
Clean Water: This is water that does not contain contaminants. It includes broken water lines, malfunctioning appliances, toilets holding tanks, snow melt and rainwater. Overtime however, clean water can progress and become gray water within 48 hours, if left untreated.
Gray Water: Gray water does contain slight chemical or biological contaminants, and may pose a health risk. Gray water can discharge from dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, showers, aquariums and waterbeds, or come from a clean water source that leaked through a ceiling. It can also be clean water that was left untreated (and became gray water). Gray water can also progress to the next stage (Black Water) if left untreated within 48 hours.
Black Water: This water is a health risk as it is highly contaminated. Black water is presumed to contain multiple potentially harmful contaminants including fungi, bacteria, chemicals, viruses, and more. Black Water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding, or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be treated by a trained and certified professional.
For any type of water damage, it is always best to treat it quickly so as to avoid further contamination and risk mold growth. There can be many dangers associated with attempting to clean water damage on your own. If ever you spot any type of water in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield. We are faster to any size disaster and will have our highly trained team over to your house or place of business within the hour! Remember, its best to not wade into any unknown water source without the proper protection. Give us a call 24/7 at (215) 877-6653
SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield is an IICRC certified firm.
Your Air Ducts Could be Making You Sick
Contaminants removed from a Duct Cleaning
WINTER is coming quick, which means spending more time indoors, and if you have poor air quality, that could mean spending the season breathing in allergens and toxins. In a typical six-room home, up to 40 pounds of dust is created annually through everyday living!
In America, 22.9 million people are affected by asthma and 6.8 million of these are children. These symptoms are often triggered by poor indoor air quality like dust mites, pollen, and other issues like pet dander. Each year over 2 million people end up in the emergency room due to an asthma attack. Regular cleanings of carpets and HVAC systems can help prevent your family from becoming a statistic.
In addition to the regular irritants found in the winter months, there are several other factors that can increase the need for regular cleanings:
- cigarette or cigar smoke
- water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
- home renovation or remodeling projects
So what's the process you ask??
When a homeowner calls asking about our duct cleaning process it gives us the opportunity to talk about what we do and how we do it. Below we've listed some steps SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh uses during a routine Duct Cleaning Process:
- Patented equipment includes using air powered agitation systems which automatically adapt to the duct shape, removing debris and filth.
- A powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the duct to a 16-gallon container
- Clean air is filtered through a HEPA filtration, removing 99.97% of particles before it returns to air-wash the duct
- Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove any odor and dirt
There's more...It can save you money!
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use.
When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn't have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.
To schedule a duct cleaning estimate today, contact SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield
The Best Way to Minimize a Disaster at Your Home or Business is to Plan for it NOW!
As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. By developing a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.
Are You Ready? Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, “Are you ready for whatever could happen?” The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile is a start up approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information. By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.
- A no cost assessment of your facility.
This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
- Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens.
Fire Damage Needs a Meticulous Clean
The dangers of fire damage can last much longer than the initial fire blaze. Two of the most toxic types of damage are the fire itself and the resulting smoke damage. Smoke and soot can damage a home by permeating through the walls, upholstery, ceiling, insulation, air conditioning vents, and other hard to clean places.
This is why it is important to understand that fire damage in Overbrook/Wynnefield homes can present itself in many ways. Depending on the type of fire that attacks your home, not only are the apparent soot, ash, and fire damage unsightly, but possible structure damage and future contamination are possible.
Never Have Your Fire Damage Overlooked Again
For example, depending on where a fire burns in a structure, it can affect support beams, load-bearing walls, and it can wreak havoc on wiring and insulation. Even if your fire emergency seemed localized to a particular area in the house, remember, the attic must be checked for damage as well.
SERVPRO uses our advanced cleanup methods and detection tools to check from closet to closet, room to room, and floor to ceiling, to detect all fire and post-fire damages. We know where to check to make sure your HVAC system will not spread smoke and toxins after a fire. We will make sure that your insulation is intact and that the structure of your home is safe. If we detect any need for replacement and restoration, we provide a range of services, including building services, that can take care of any fire and water damage and debris.
Because secondary fire damage, such as water use from firefighting efforts can also be an issue, our specialists pay much attention to a full, detailed analysis of your home’s damage before making a plan of action and beginning cleanup and restoration.
Contamination is not always seen by the untrained eye. It can be hidden in places such as your HVAC (air conditioning and heating) systems. SERVPRO inspects the home from attic to basement, to ensure that all vents and air circulating systems are completely clean. If you were to neglect this part of fire damage cleanup, there is always the possibility of blowing toxic dust, ash, and soot, even on the microscopic level, into your cleaned home, effectively re-contaminating it and exposing residents to its dangers.
Our 24/7 Emergency Service line is at your disposal. Contact SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield anytime at (215) 877-6653 for quick response to your fire emergency, or to ask questions.
Commercial Water Damage Prevention
Flooding in Department Store
Before hurricane season rolls into the area, business owners everywhere should start thinking about how to prevent commercial water damage. Everything from maintenance checks to grading systems should be checked. So how do you plan on protecting your business from water damage? Read on to find out what you should be considering.
Building and Street Maintenance
When was the last time your storm drains were cleared? Annual inspections of your floor, storm, and roof drains can help you avoid drainage problems. If your floor drains haven’t been cleaned lately, take a vacuum hose and clear it or call a professional.
There are at least two sump pumps in each sump under your building. Sump pumps are used to keep flood waters from building up and causing water damage. But are yours both working? When was the last time they were tested? Do they have battery backups in case of a power outage? Power outages were the cause of 18 percent of water damage incidents involving a sump pump. Because sump pumps run on electricity, power outages shut down the pumps allowing water to flood your facility. If these pumps are your main source of protection, you should consider a generator to keep them going.
Generator Fuel Tanks
In areas subject to flooding, it is important to relocate your generator fuel tanks out of the basement. Generator fuel can be contaminated in the event of a basement flood, prohibiting generator functions, and prevent power from reaching the pumps.
Does grading lead away from your building? Grading helps to move water away from your building instead of moving towards it. Checking your grading system can help keep water from flowing into your building.
Clear the Floor
One of the leading causes of water damage is the items on the floor. You can avoid this by removing porous materials, boxes, and paper from the floor of your basement. Keep all of your electronics off the floor and make sure to turn off your electronics when you are expecting heavy rains.
Preparing for Fall
As much fun as summer can be, it has to end at some point. As the trees begin to change and the weather shifts from hot and humid to cool and crisp, it’s time to prepare for the onset of cooler months. Whether you’re ready for hot cocoa and sweaters or are still holding on to ice cream and swim suits, there’s a lot to do to get ready for the changing seasons.
- Inspect your roof
If you have a heavy rainstorm or a foot of snow, does your roof have what it takes to hold up? Before settling in for another chilly fall and a freezing winter take a look at your roof for weak spots or cracks in your shingles and granules. If you see anything that looks off or unstable, a roofer may be what your home needs to weather this winter’s storms.
- Clean out your gutters
As the leaves begin to turn, you know you’re only weeks away from them falling off entirely and stopping up your gutters. Before you find yourself with a big mess on your hands, take the time now to clean out your gutters and drainpipes to prevent the possibility of water damage and clogs. A clean early in the season may not be sufficient through the winter, but it will make sure you’re prepared for the harsher weather to come. Water damages can be caused by clogged drains or overflowing water to collect on your roof.
Preparing your house for fall may not be what you planned to do during your weekend, but it’s something you’ll thank yourself for later. With the right measures taken now, you and your family will be prepared to settle in for the fall and winter, no matter what may be coming your way!
September is National Preparedness Month
During an emergency, the last thing you should worry about is having a plan of action. Every minute matters during an unexpected, emergency situation which is why this year’s National Preparedness Month theme is, “Don’t Wait, Communicate!”
SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield would like to encourage our neighbors to develop a game plan! Each and every household should master a particular set of steps to perform during an emergency and answer important questions ahead of time such as; Who will be in charge of contacting 911? Who will gather everyone in the household? What is the best escape method in an emergency? Etc. These questions are imperative to the safety and well being of our neighbors and families.
We encourage everyone’s focus this month to be towards developing some type of disaster/emergency ready plan. In line with the “Don’t Wait, Communicate!” theme of this year’s National Preparedness Month, SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield would like to suggest developing an Emergency Communication Plan. Several steps, listed below, can help get you started on this plan;
- Collect all of your important contact information such as; family doctor, medical facilities, local family members, schools and service providers. Compile all of this information into one, hard-copy, easily accessible sheet.
- Share copies of this sheet with everyone within the household/business. Copies of this sheet can be kept in backpacks, purses, wallets, vehicles, etc.
- Develop a fire/emergency escape plan that includes the safest escape routes, layout of home or business, safe meeting place and what to do if contact is lost.
- Monthly review/practice of all important contact information, location of contact information and emergency escape plan.
As always, SERVPRO is here to help in any emergency or disaster situation. We encourage everyone to take preparedness seriously BEFORE an emergency occurs in your home or business.
Call us today to learn more about National Preparedness Month or about our free Emergency Ready Profiles!