Rebuilding the Dream
Interviews with Will Brown and Rufino Gonzalez of Restoration1
It’s water damage season.
Well, every season can have water damage, but winter is a particularly tough time if you are not ready.
According to the insurance information institute water damage from leaks and burst pipes, or water that comes into your home through your roof and windows accounts for almost half of all property damage claims Burst pipes or undetected leaks can cause tremendous damage to the floor, walls, ceilings, furniture, artwork, and other valuables, can soak electrical systems, and can cause mold if not cleaned up quickly. A burst ½ inch pipe can fill a swimming pool every 24 hours.
A Chubb study found that 57% of homeowners who have experienced a water leak claim in the past two years spent more than $5,000 on clean-up costs, and 15% spent $20,000 or more.
Colder temperatures can even cause pipes inside your home to freeze and split. pipes in unheated basements, attics, crawl spaces, and even kitchen cabinets or under the sink if they run against exterior walls.
Here’s how to protect your pipes from freezing before winter begins
Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines.
Drain garden hoses. Close the valves supplying water to outdoor hoses. Turn on the faucet outside and allow water to drain and keep the outside valve open so that any water still in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
Insulating attic or crawl spaces will help keep the temperature higher and prevent condensation in the winter. Insulate both hot and cold water pipes. Consider installing heat tape or other products to water pipes and pipes from any outdoor oil tanks. Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
You can also prevent pipes from freezing by following these simple steps.
Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. If there are harmful household chemicals under the sink move them out of children’s reach.
When it gets cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet when the pipe is near an unheated wall. A trickle of running water helps prevent pipes from freezing.
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. And if you leave the house for a vacation or other extended period don’t turn the heat down below where you would have it if you were home, no lower than 55 degrees and ask a neighbor to check periodically in case there is a power failure.
If you do go away turn off the main water supply valve and run the faucets to empty the pipes as much as possible.
If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out you may have a frozen pipe. Keep the faucet open while you fix the problem as the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to and help melt the ice faster.
When you locate the frozen area use a hair dryer or portable space heater or wrap the pipes with hot towels.
NEVER! Use a blowtorch to melt a frozen pipe. It could cause a steam explosion.
Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you can’t find the frozen area or if you can’t thaw the pipe yourself call a licensed plumber.
Check the other faucets too just to be sure they are not frozen.
If the worse happens and you do have a pipe burst Restoration1 is here to respond professionally and swiftly to help.
To Test, or Not to Test? That is the Question: Part 2
Last week we talked about when you should test for mold. This week we thought it might be interesting to go into a little more detail. Mold testing is interesting in itself and is an important tool to keep a healthy home. There are three types of mold testing methods; Air sample, Bio-tape sample, and Swab samples. This week we want to talk about Air Samples.
Moisture intrusion, water damage, combined with cellulose like wood or paper, fuel mold growth.
Taking air samples during a mold inspection is important because mold spores are not visible to the naked eye. Air samples give good evidence of how many mold spores are around and determine how severe the problem is compared to the outside air which is the control.
The inside of the house should always have a lower mold spore count than the outside. Otherwise you have a problem.
After remediation we take two samples. One inside the house and one outside to act as a control. Samples are sent to the lab before and after the remediation.
We take air samples using a linear pump with an integrated flow meter. The collection device is positioned 3 to 6 feet off the ground. Depending on the situation the test takes between 5 and 10 minutes.
While the sample is being collected, windows and exterior doors should be kept shut.
It is helpful to think of air sampling as just one tool in the tool belt when inspecting a house for mold problems. Air samples are good for use as a background screen to ensure that there isn’t a large source of mold not yet found somewhere in a home.
To prevent mold growing in the first place, vacuum, keep the moisture level in the house under 45% and change the HVAC filters to keep allergens and mold spores low.
Remember keeping mold at bay helps makes you, your family and your house a healthier place to live.
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