Recent Water Damage Posts
Top 5 Ways to Protect Pipes From Freezing
Temperatures around East Stroudsburg are beginning to dip below freezing. With freezing temperatures comes the risk of frozen pipes.
Here are the Top 5 ways to protect your pipes from freezing this winter:
1) Pools and Sprinklers Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
2) Outdoor Valves Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
3) Home Insulation Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
4) Pipe Insulation Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
5) Pipe Relocation Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
Source: Red Cross
Top 5 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes
With freezing temperatures creeping their way into Monroe County, now is the time to consider the risk of frozen pipes. Taking steps to prevent pipes from freezing is a lot easier than dealing with the mess after your pipes freeze.
Here are the Top 5 ways to prevent pipes from freezing:
1) Garages Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
2) Kitchens and Bathrooms Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
3) Faucet Drip When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
4) Thermostat Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
5) Extended Leave If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
Source: Red Cross
5 Steps to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If you follow the proper steps to protect your pipes from freezing, then frozen pipes shouldn't be an issue. But drastic weather always has the potential to be an issue.
If you find yourself with a partially or completely frozen pipe, here are the five steps you should take:
Step 1) If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
Step 2) Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
Step 3) Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
Step 4) Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
Step 5) Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
STEP 6: SERVPRO
If you experience any water leaks or other damage from frozen pipes, call SERVPRO at 570-424-2290. We specialize in cleanup and restoration after any sort of leak, especially frozen pipes. We are available 24/7 and we are always HERE TO HELP!
Ice Dam First-Aid
A major cause of water damage in the winter is ice damming. If you suspect you may have an ice dam on your roof, there are steps you can take to help minimize the damage.
- Remove snow from the roof. This eliminates one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam.
- A "roof rake" and push broom can be used to remove snow, but may damage the roofing materials.
- In an emergency situation where water is flowing into the house structure, making channels through the ice dam allows the water behind the dam to drain off the roof.
The are all temporary solutions. If you are having an issue with ice damming, a long-term solution needs to be sought.
How to Prevent Sewage Back Up After A Flood
Tips to prevent sewage back up into your home after a flood:
• Plug all drains in the basement and drastically reduce water use in your home.
• Do not use the system if the soil is saturated and flooded. Conserve water as much as possible.
• Septic systems with pump chambers can be clogged by silt during times of flooding, take measures to prevent any silt from entering the system.
• Do not open the septic tank for pumping while the soil is saturated, this can lead to silt entering the drain field.
• Avoid any work on or around the disposal field while the soil is still wet or flooded to prevent ruining the soil conductivity.
• If the septic system backs up into the house check the tank for outlet blockage, as flooding will cause fats and grease in the tank to float and potentially clog the outlet tee.
• Ensure any electrical or mechanical devices in the system avoid contact with the flooded system until it is dry and clean.
• Mud and sediment have a tendency to clog filters and aerobic plants during a flooding event, these systems will need to be washed and racked to prevent clogging.
Source: PA DEP
SERVPRO can come in to clean flood water, or a sewage back up. No matter how much or what kind of water has flooded your home, SERVPRO can clean it up, disinfect, and make it "Like it never even happened."
What To Do After Flood Waters Recede
What To Do After Flood Waters Recede
• Do not drink well water until it is tested. Contact your local health department.
• Do not use the sewage system until water in the soil absorption field is lower than the water level around the house.
• Have your septic tank professionally inspected and serviced if you suspect damage. Signs of damage include settling or an inability to accept water. Most septic tanks are not damaged by flooding since they are below ground and completely covered. However, septic tanks and pump chambers can fill with silt and debris, and must be professionally cleaned. If the soil absorption field is clogged with silt, a new system may have to be installed.
• Only trained specialists should clean or repair septic tanks because tanks may contain dangerous gases. Check your local phone book for a list of septic system contractors who work in your area.
• If sewage has backed up into the basement, clean the area and disinfect the floor. Use a chlorine solution of a half cup of chlorine bleach to each gallon of water to disinfect the area thoroughly.
• Have the septic system pumped by a qualified contractor as soon as possible after the flood. Be sure that both the tank and lift station are pumped. This will remove silt and debris that may have washed into the system. Remember: The tank should not be pumped during flooded or saturated drain field conditions. At best, pumping the tank is only a temporary solution. Under worst conditions, pumping it out could cause the tank to try to float out of the ground and may damage the inlet and outlet pipes.
• Do not compact the soil over the soil absorption field by driving or operating equipment in the area. Saturated soil is especially susceptible to compaction, which can reduce the soil absorption field’s ability to treat wastewater and lead to system failure.
• Examine all electrical connections for damage before restoring electricity.
• Be sure the septic tank’s manhole cover is secure and that inspection ports have not been blocked or damaged.
• Check the vegetation over your septic tank and soil absorption field. Repair erosion damage and sod or reseed areas as necessary to provide turf grass cover.
Source: PA DEP
Call SERVPRO immediately after any flooding or sewage back up in your home. SERVPRO will come in, clean it up, disinfect, and make it "Like it never even happened." The sooner you call, the faster the process can begin.
What Causes Ice Dams - Part I
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.What causes ice dams?
There is a complex interaction among the amount of heat loss from a house, snow cover and outside temperatures that leads to ice dam formation. For ice dams to form there must be snow on the roof, and, at the same time, higher portions of the roof's outside surface must be above 32 degrees F while lower surfaces are below 32. For a portion of the roof to be below 32, outside temperatures must also be below 32. When we say temperatures above or below 32, we are talking about average temperature over sustained periods of time.
The snow on a roof surface that is above 32 will melt. As water flows down the roof it reaches the portion of the roof that is below 32 and freezes. Voila! - an ice dam.
The dam grows as it is fed by the melting snow above it, but it will limit itself to the portions of the roof that are on the average below 32. So the water above backs up behind the ice dam and remains a liquid. This water finds cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering and flows into the attic space. From the attic it could flow into exterior walls or through the ceiling insulation and stain the ceiling finish.
Source: UMN Extension
What Causes Ice Dams - Part II
Nonuniform roof surface temperatures lead to ice dams.
What causes different roof surface temperatures?
Since most ice dams form at the edge of the roof, there is obviously a heat source warming the roof elsewhere. This heat is primarily coming from the house. In rare instances solar heat gain may cause these temperature differences.
Heat from the house
Heat from the house travels to the roof surface in three ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction is heat energy traveling through a solid. A good example of this is the heating of a cast iron frying pan. The heat moves from the bottom of the pan to the handle by conduction.
If you put your hand above the frying pan, heat will reach it by the other two methods. The air right above the frying pan is heated and rises. The rising air carries heat/energy to your hand. This is heat transfer by convection. In addition, heat is transferred from the hot pan to your hand by electromagnetic waves and this is called radiation. Another example of radiation is to stand outside on a bright sunny day and feel the heat from the sun. This heat is transferred from the sun to you by radiation.
In a house, heat moves through the ceiling and insulation by conduction through the slanted portion of the ceiling. In many homes, there is little space in regions like this for insulation, so it is important to use insulations with high R-value per inch to reduce heat loss by conduction.
The top surface of the insulation is warmer than the other surroundings in the attic. Therefore, the air just above the insulation is heated and rises, carrying heat by convection to the roof. The higher temperatures in the insulation's top surface compared to the roof sheathing transfers heat outward by radiation. These two modes of heat transfer can be reduced by adding insulation. This will make the top surface temperature of the insulation closer to surrounding attic temperatures directly affecting convection and radiation from this surface.
Heat loss by air leakage
There is another type of convection that transfers heat to the attic space and warms the roof. Air beginning inside the house and going through the penetration in the ceiling, from the light to the attic space, is heat loss by air leakage. In many homes this is the major mode of heat transfer that leads to the formation of ice dams.
Exhaust systems like those in the kitchen or bathroom that terminate just above the roof may also contribute to snow melting. These exhaust systems may have to be moved or extended in areas of high snow fall.
Other sources of heat in the attic space include chimneys. Frequent use of wood stoves and fireplaces allow heat to be transferred from the chimney into the attic space. Inadequately insulated or leaky duct work in the attic space will also be a source of heat. The same can be said about knee wall spaces.
So it is primarily heat flowing from the house that is causing the nonuniform temperatures of the roof surface leading to ice dams.
Source: UMN Extension
Preventing and Dealing with Ice Dams
Preventing and dealing with ice dams
Ice dams can be prevented by controlling the heat loss from the home.
- Remove snow from the roof. This eliminates one of the ingredients necessary for the formation of an ice dam. A "roof rake" and push broom can be used to remove snow, but may damage the roofing materials.
- In an emergency situation where water is flowing into the house structure, making channels through the ice dam allows the water behind the dam to drain off the roof. Hosing with tap water on a warm day will do this job. Work upward from the lower edge of the dam. The channel will become ineffective within days and is only a temporary solution to ice dam damage.
- First, make the ceiling air tight so no warm, moist air can flow from the house into the attic space.
- After sealing air leakage paths between the house and attic space, consider increasing the ceiling/roof insulation to cut down on heat loss by conduction.
Evaluate snow load
Both of these actions will increase the snow load that your roof has to carry because it will no longer melt. Can your roof carry the additional load? If it is built to current codes, there should not be a structural problem. Roofs, like the rest of the home, should have been designed to withstand expected snow loads.
Plans showing design details to meet expected snow loads are usually required to receive a building permit. The plans for your home may be on file at your local building inspection office. To help you understand the plans, or if you cannot find plans for your home, you may want to contact an architectural engineering firm. A professional engineer should be able to evaluate the structure of your home and answer your questions about the strength of your roof.
Natural roof ventilation
Natural roof ventilation can help maintain uniform roof temperatures, but if the long-term actions described here are done effectively, then only small amounts of roof ventilation are needed to maintain uniform roof surface temperatures. If heat transfer has been reduced substantially, then snow will build up on the roof and cover natural roof ventilation systems, reducing attic ventilation rates. Natural attic ventilation systems are needed to dry the attic space and remove heat buildup during the summer.
Mechanical attic ventilation NOT recommended
Mechanical attic ventilation IS NOT a recommended solution to ice dams. It can create other attic moisture problems and may cause undesirable negative pressure in the home.
Any person on the roof during the winter or performing work on the roof from below is risking injury and risking damage to the roof and house. It is important to contact professionals to carry out this job.
Whenever a house is tightened up, ventilation systems, exhausting devices and combustion devices must have enough air to operate safely and effectively!
Hire an energy professional
Weatherization contractors, (also "Energy Management and Conservation Consultants" or "Insulation Contractors") are professionals who can deal with the heat transfer problem that creates ice dams. A blower door test should be used by the contractor you hire to evaluate the airtightness of your ceiling. In addition, they may have an infrared camera that can be used to find places in the ceiling where there is excessive heat loss.
Interior damage should not be repaired until ceilings and walls are dry. In addition, interior repair should be done together with correcting the heat loss problem that created the ice dam(s) or the damage will occur again.
Source: UMN Extension
Preventing Ice Dams in New Homes
Preventing ice dams in new homes
The proper new construction practices to prevent ice dams begin with following or exceeding the state code requirements for ceiling/roof insulation levels.
The second absolutely necessary practice is to construct a continuous, 100% effective air barrier through the ceiling. There should not be any air leakage from the house into the attic space!
Recessed lights, skylights, complicated roof designs, and heating ducts in the attic will all increase the risk of ice dam formation.Effects of ice dams
Moisture entering the home from ice dams can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. These biologicals can cause respiratory problems. It is important that the growth of mold and mildew be prevented. This can be done by immediately drying out portions of the house that are wet or damp. See immediate action steps listed earlier to get rid of the water source. Action needs to be taken to clean the home environment and maintain its air quality.
Source: UMN Extension
Where in the world did that water come from?
When it comes to water loss, always expect the unexpected. What may look like just a little stain on the carpet could be a whole carpet pad and underlayment soaking. This will destroy your floor all the way down to the subfloor. When you experience a water loss you must act quickly pick up the phone and call SERVPRO. Once the team hits the site leave it up to the pros to get it done on time and on budget. The team at SERVPRO strives to support and supply great services to the area. The focus is and will always be "customer first". Once we make the customer feel comfortable with us then they can begin to relax and watch the magic happen. From extraction to the final walkthrough you will be amazed at the professionalism and cleanliness of SERVPRO's crews. When in doubt call SERVPRO and we will make it "Like it never even happened."
Water Certification Value at SERVPRO
Here at SERVPRO Southern Monroe, we strive to keep our team up to date with all the most recent and most valuable certifications from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). The SERVPRO team looks forward to all of these pieces of training because to all of us at SERVPRO our main goals is to provide the best value and satisfaction to all of its valued clients. One of the main things the team learns at these pieces of training is to do the job the right wy the first time while following all OSHA regulations when it comes to safety. This ensures the customer that the team they bring in to do the work is qualified not just in the mitigation or repair but also in all the best Standards of Practice to make sure the job site is a safe environment for the team working but also anyone else on the job site.
Flooded house headaches
One of the worst things to come home to after a long day of work is your floor flooded due to water damage. The roof leaks, a pipe bursts, the sub pump fails. Either way, you have a big issue on your hands now. The floor is beginning to get wet and the water keeps coming. Your next move should be to call SERVPRO and get a crew out there as soon as possible. The team at SERVPRO will make sure they get there on time and are ready to take action right away. Once on site, the customer can relax knowing that our IICRC certified water techs are on the job and are going to restore their house back to new in a matter of no time, When in a bind Call SERVPRO.
Power outages + no sub pump = Flooded basement
OVER 5 FEET OF WATER!
With all the snow finally laying on the ground it's starting to cause some major flooding in crawlspaces, roads, sidewalks and even some streams are beginning to overflow. This has caused residents without power to experience so very mad conditions. in the picture attached you can see what happens when you have flooding in your basement for 7 days and the water level reaches almost 5 ft in depth. The team at SERVPRO got the call and made an emergency service call to the residency the homeowner was worried her whole house was going to be underwater in no time. The team showed up with high powered firefighting pump to begin to get rid of the water. At almost 90 gallons a minute the team pumped out over 13,000 gallons of water in under 4 hours. The homeowners were overjoyed when they saw that the basement was not flooded anymore.
Water Damage and Restoration
Water Damage Repair and Restoration
When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals respond immediately and use advanced equipment and techniques to remove the water quickly. They closely monitor and document the drying process to verify your property is dried properly and thoroughly.
Please refer to our Water Damage Tips - Until Help Arrives Guide and follow these tips to protect yourself and your property.
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals
Have Questions? Call Today 1-800-SERVPRO
Why Choose a SERVPRO Franchise Professional?
They’re Faster to Any Size Disaster
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are dedicated to responding immediately to water emergencies. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost.
They're Highly Trained Water Damage Specialists
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals specialize in water damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business. They have extensive water damage restoration training with an emphasis on monitoring and documenting the drying process until completion.
- Water Damage Restoration Technician
- Applied Structural Drying Technicians
They Use Advanced Water Restoration Equipment and Techniques
Their advanced equipment helps to detect hidden moisture, extract the standing water quickly, and thoroughly clean and dry your home and belongings. They finish the job with professional deodorization and sanitizing agents for your comfort and safety.
The Water Damage Restoration Process
Every water damage situation is a little different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” water damage emergency.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
Step 2: Inspection and Damage Assessment
Step 3: Water Removal/Water Extraction
Step 4: Drying and Dehumidification
Step 5: Cleaning and Sanitizing
Step 6: Restoration
Common Water Damage Scenarios
Water damage can have many sources, from loose appliance hoses to natural disasters. Regardless of the source, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can handle any size disaster.
Best Ways you can avoid water damage in your home
When it comes to water damage you can never be too prepared. When it comes down to it if you take the right steps to prepare you will not have any problems. Some ways t protect your home from this type of devastation is to always make sure the seal on your windows is secure , by just making sure the windows are closed and locked you can avoid the possibility of a big storm opening the window and causing water to seep into the house. Another sure fire way to make sure your house is protected is to make sure that your house is properly draining the rain water correctly. From time to time water can get underneath the roofing and cause water damage in the insulation and then that can come into your home ruining your ceiling and indoor contents
Call Us For Your Next Water Damage
House flooded with water by a storm.
Disasters can be a very difficult time for you and your family. Here at SERVPRO of Monroe and Pike Counties our certified production team can help ease the pain in your time of hardship. Flood waters can provide hazardous risks to those exposed. It is important that you contact trained professionals that can properly restore your home while also utilizing industry standard drying equipment.
If you come across flooding in your home it is in your best interest that you do not try to handle it on your own. Flood waters are breeding grounds to some very dangerous bacteria. If you come in contact with these spores you could potentially become very ill. Here at SERVPRO of Monroe and Pike Counties we have the proper protective equipment to handle the job.
In the aftermath of a catastrophe you may feel as though your home may not recover from the loss. At SERVPRO our professionals make it their priority to provide restoration services so that your home is safe to live in.
Monroe County 24-Hour Emergency Water Damage Service
SERVPRO of Southern Monroe County is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today – 570-424-2290
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Southern Monroe County has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect:
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
About SERVPRO of Southern Monroe County
SERVPRO of Southern Monroe County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.