Rare cold front can lead to frozen pipes and water damage
Keep a close eye on your pipes during the freezing days of winter.
North Florida is experiencing one of its rare sub-freezing winter cold fronts and that can lead to big problems when it comes to your pipes if you’re not prepared. Since frozen water expands, it can place pressure on pipes. And if you have leaking pipes or an inefficient heater, when the weather warms up and your pipes thaw, you could be in for a huge mess.
Here are some tips for when that arctic blast hits your property.
Before the cold weather hits, you can protect and prevent frozen pipes by:
- Insulating any exposed pipes in your home, especially ones that are in your garage, basement, crawl space, or under kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
- Make sure your thermostat is set for a constant temperature in the daytime and at night.
- Close indoor valves that supply water outdoors and open the outside valve to drain any excess water in your pipes.
- Proper HVAC equipment maintenance will provide with an efficient heater. Also make sure you have the correct amount of insulation in your attic and walls and make sure you have sealing around your windows and weather stripping around your doors.
- If the weather plummets well below freezing for an extended amount of time, let your faucet trickle. Running water is more likely to keep the pipes from freezing.
- If you are going on vacation, keep thermostat set for no lower than 55 degrees. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to turn the water off to your washing machine.
Thawing Out a Frozen Pipe:
- If you turn on a faucet and only a few drips come out, you may have a frozen pipe. Typically, frozen pipes are found along exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Leave the faucet on while treating any frozen pipes, as flowing water will help melt the ice.
- Apply heat to the frozen section of the pipe by using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, or 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 see if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze too.
If a pipe bursts:
- Shut off water at the main valve.
- If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
- Call SERVPRO of Gainesville West- Alachua County West to clean up the mess as quickly as possible. Keep an emergency number nearby for quick access.
Remember, pipes freeze when they’re exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees for a few days. The cold weather makes pipes brittle and will ice up in two main areas – water coming in and water going out. You know water coming in is frozen because nothing comes out the tap. Frozen outgoing pipes from showers, toilets and sinks are a bigger problem because these will back up into the house; that's the reason it's always recommended to keep a little water dripping into the sinks and opening the cabinet doors under the sink since running water doesn't freeze as easily as standing water.
You can contact SERVPRO any time of the day or night for emergency services. Our number is 352-374-6589.
Your HVAC system is circulating odor, soot during and after the fire
Cleaning your HVAC unit and ducts are a priority following a fire.
One thing many people who suffer a fire loss don’t realize is that, if you HVAC system happened to be on during the blaze, smoke has now sent soot and odor particulates into other areas of the house.
Once the fire department has left your fire-damaged home, you need to start to address the effects throughout the household such as fire debris removal, soot cleanup and fire odor deodorization. Our SERVPRO professional technicians are trained in mitigation and restoration and will access every area that has been touched by the flames, smoke, and ash.
And even if only one room may have been affected by the fire’s damage and that area is soaked from the fire department extinguishing the mini inferno, the rest of the house will also need to be examined and cleaned. On that extensive checklist, your duct system and HVAC unit also need to be addressed.
Many people don’t realize that if your HVAC system is on during or after the fire, it is distributing the particulates throughout your house. Therefore, our technicians take great care in making sure the unit and ductwork are sterilized. We utilize brushes to break the sediment loose throughout the system and then use high-powered vacuums to suck out the debris and improve the effectiveness of the appliance. We also have the coils and blower cleaned to ensure there will no longer be lingering affects once our restoration and reconstruction is complete.
Health is our primary concern as you re-enter your home. Let our skilled professionals, arriving immediately following your fire, restore everything "Like it never even happened."
Contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West if you need our services or if you have any questions at 352-374-6589.
When water damage floods your business
Water damage caused by weather or pipe breaks at commercial properties can present numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a small water cleanup scenario or a large-scale event caused by a hurricane, SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West technicians will work quickly to assess each situation and isolate the damaged area. We want to work to fix your problem while allowing you to continue operating your business, if possible.
Our production crews are trained to be mindful of your concerns as we strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budget. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. When an emergency situation arises in your business, call us at (352) 374-6589 any time of the day or night and we will respond promptly to your disaster.
Why SERVPRO? It's because everyone who is part of the SERVPRO family.
The SERVPRO family
When it comes to choosing a restoration company out of so many companies out there, it can seem a daunting task. We here at SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West are no strangers to the familiar question: Why should I choose SERVPRO? In all reality, that is a super easy question, because there are lots of whys. I could probably spend hours in deep conversation with a potential customer telling them all the reasons why they should choose us, but if I had to choose just one thing, that one thing that is at the core of all the other reasons, it would be the building blocks of what we are, our employees.
It begins with the owners and trickles all the way down from management, office, marketing, and our production staff. We like to say around here that everyone is part of the SERVPRO family and that includes our customers and clients as well. Many of us here at SERVPRO have been in the shoes of our customers and even in situations that are not personally experienced by our employees we try to treat our customers with empathy at all times, imagining if it were ourselves in that very situation. We feel that you can be on the forefront of technology, have the best equipment and training as well as being backed over 1700 franchises, but at the end of the day it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you don’t have the right people utilizing those assets. One of our core values sums up how operate day to day:
We strive to act as a whole with moral principles including honesty, humility, empathy, positivity, trustworthiness, respectfulness, and loyalty.
Without these values we cannot ever achieve real success as a company or individually because we are in an honorable profession helping people restore their lives. Luckily as a company we have had many successes and that all comes down to each individual here at SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West.
Don't throw out those water-logged documents!
Let SERVPRO dry and restore your important files.
You just had a fire or a flood and your house or business is a mess. Not only is there structural damage, but you now realize you have books and important paper documents that are soaked. How will you get these items dried and restored?
That is where SERVPRO comes into action! We are trained and certified in document drying and restoration and can help in stopping the damage from getting worse. Time is of the essence as the longer the documents are soaked or charred, the faster they will deteriorate.
Our technicians are able to box up your damaged items and have them sent to our Document Restoration Team. We have special vacuum freeze-drying technology to salvage your items books and/or paper records. We use the same technique the Library of Congress uses to dry water-damaged books.
The vacuum freeze drying is the most effective way to revive water-damaged documents and is called sublimation -- a technique that turns the moisture in the object directly into vapor, skipping the liquid stage to avoid causing more damage. The process can recover even the most delicate items – from documents to photographs and x-rays, to entire business archives. All of our Document Restoration Team employees are HIPAA master certified and, once your items arrive to our SERVPRO headquarter facility, they are under 24/7 video surveillance to ensure safety.
And if your items may have been exposed to a Category 3 situation (sewage or flood water), we also have the ability to put the items through gamma irradiation, which is a process that cleans and disinfects the documents. This decontamination eliminates all types of bacteria at the molecular level, causing the death of any organisms. And the gamma process does not create residuals or impart radioactivity onto your items.
SERVPRO understands how important it is to preserve important documents and our line of services ensures that you don’t have to worry about what happens to your paper assets when disaster strikes.
If you need sensitive materials restored, contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West today at 352-374-6589.
To dos for a business owner facing water damage
Don't let a flood or broken pipe keep your business out of operation.
To dos for a business owner facing water damage
In any situation where water affects your business, an owner’s top priority is to re-open the doors, put employees back to work and to ensure the safety of the building and products.
In order to do this, here’s the basic procedures that need addressed:
- First, a detailed inventory of the items affected needs to be written down. That includes furniture, wet carpet, and a list of room-by-room contents.
- Depending on if it is a multi-floor flood or even a single-story building with roof and/or attic leakage, ceiling tiles will need to be removed and discarded.
- Drywall will be checked using a moisture meter with disinfection and mold-control techniques possibly initiated.
- Depending on the water classification – if it is clean water from a broken pipe or sink overflow; gray water from a washing machine, dishwasher or roof leak; or black water from floods or sewage – carpet will need to either be dried or replaced.
- If any electrical items were affected, they will need to be inspected by a qualified maintenance technician or electrician to determine if they need to replace wiring, circuit breakers, outlets or light fixtures.
- Furniture – depending on the type – will need to be discarded or sanitized. If it is upholstered, it should be tossed if it is from a flood, sewage or roof leak. If it is clean water, it can be dried if done within 24 hours. Any laminate or hardwood furniture can be disinfected, but any particle-board furniture may be thrown away.
- All areas that have been water damaged will possibly need to be treated for mold prevention or treatment.
- Non-carpeted flooring will need to be inspected for possible buckling, warping or bowing. If so, it may need to be replaced.
If you have own and/or manage a business that has been hit with water damage, please contact us at SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West at 352-374-6589 and we will get you back up and running as quickly and safely as possible.
Holiday tips if you are traveling or staying at home
Happy holidays from SERVPRO.
Why use SERVPRO? Because we care enough to help you think ahead during the busiest time of the year. With Thanksgiving approaching and Christmas and New Year’s Eve around the corner, families are either preparing to travel, just stay put, or both. Depending on which camp you fall under, there are a few things you need to be ready for.
If you are planning on going out of town for one of the upcoming holidays, it’s wise to check a few things to elevate the stress of returning home to a potential flooding disaster. Look at your pipes under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, leading to your freezer ice maker, and also your water heater. If you notice any cracks or leaks, make sure to get them fixed.
Outside, you need to make sure your gutters are cleaned and draining properly. And inspect your sump pump and clear out any debris, test it by filling the sump pit and turning on the pump. Last but not least, look over your window seals and check your roof for any leaks, especially if you are expecting any rain or snow storms while gone.
Doing these little things can hopefully prevent water damage. And another reminder, if you don’t have anyone checking on your home while you are gone, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to just turn the water supply off the water main to your home and drain the pipes.
Staying home – time to clean!
Maybe you’re just staying home and you’re hosting family and friends for one of the many holidays, but your house could use a good cleaning. You can reach out to us and we can come over and remove those stains that have accumulated over the months in your carpet or on your furniture. Or maybe there’s a peculiar odor emanating from your vents that needs addressed?
We are ready to come to your rescue and keep you from embarrassment as people enter your home to enjoy the festivities. And that would be one less thing you have to worry about that we can take off your lengthy to-do list at this time of year.
If you have any water damage to address, or if you just need some cleaning done, please contact us at SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West at 352-374-6589.
Why SERVPRO should be your restoration company
SERVPRO can clean up this mess!
Catastrophes never happen at an opportune time. Your cat knocks over a candle, setting your curtains ablaze leading to fire and smoke damage. An unseen pipe joint in your bathroom wall bursts, unleashing gallons of water throughout your house. A leaky hose under your kitchen sink gradually soaks your cabinet, leading to a major mold issue.
In that moment of panic after the fire is extinguished, the water flow is stopped and the mold is discovered, the next decision is, “who is going to get this fixed and make my disaster "Like it never even happened." so I can get back to life as normal?”
The first thing you want is someone who can be contacted at any time of the day to make sure your problem is addressed immediately. SERVPRO follows the 1-4-8 guidelines of arranging service in less than an hour of receiving your call. And in less than four hours, a SERVPRO technician will be on-site to start the mitigation services (if emergency services are necessary). And in less than eight business hours, your insurance adjuster will be given a verbal briefing as to the scope of your project. The faster a disaster is addressed, the quicker it can be restored and less damage will occur.
With more than 1,700 franchises nation-wide, SERVPRO has been in the mitigation business for more than 50 years and has the knowledge, equipment and manpower to tackle any size project. SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West always has a crew on standby and, if needed, we can attain more boots on the ground depending on the size of the disaster. Remember, this is the same restoration company that not only handles hurricanes and other inclement weather damage, but we are also the ones who were called when the Pentagon was attacked on 9-11. We have also worked on several military bases, for Universal Studios, Disneyworld, NASA and Coca Cola.
SERVPRO trains its technicians in how to best handle every situation, to use the most up-to-date equipment and restore your home or business quickly and efficiently. We will keep you informed every step of the way by providing electronic file documentation to both you and your insurance adjuster that includes the job estimate, cause of loss and proof of results.
Halloween is more than just candy and tricks, It’s the start of fire season.
Halloween fires are no trick.
For many, the spooky holiday of Halloween is their favorite time of year. It’s the beginning of fall weather and pumpkin spice scents waft through the air of many homes and businesses. It is also the start of fire season, but did you know that the Halloween holiday itself has increased fire incidences?
A data snapshot done by the U.S. Fire Administration between the years of 2014 through 2016 plainly shows the increase of these fires. The average number of fatalities and injuries were slightly higher than the same loss measures for all other fires as well as the average dollar loss per Halloween fires were also slightly higher than non-Halloween fires.
Loss measure Halloween fires Non-Halloween fires
Fatalities/1,000 fires 2.7 2.3
Injuries/1,000 fires 11.4 9.9
Dollar loss/fire $10,580 $9,870
Source: National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) 5.0.
Statistics also show that most Halloween fires occur late afternoon into early evening. This can mean that while you are out with the rest of the Trick or Treaters and you do have a fire, you may not be the first to know. This doesn’t mean that you still can’t be prepared. Make sure that you have the number for SERVPRO of Alachua County West programmed in your phone along with your local fire department because we are “faster to any size disaster.”
Water loss can happen well before you even get your doors open for business.
Commercial Water Damage
New construction can be an exciting time for your business, but can also be stressful. Are you prepared to protect your investment well before your doors open for business? Insurance loss data over the past 10 years has shown that water damage has become the leading cause of Builder’s Risk claims. Water intrusion, which usually results from weather or external sources of water entering through the building envelope and water escape are usually the two main sources of water damage. Water escape usually comes from installing, testing, and installment failure of water sources in the building’s internal systems. Some examples of water escape during construction are:
- Domestic water distribution system and fixtures
- Roof drains and storm drain leaders (piping)
- Sanitary sewer system
- HVAC fluid systems (chilled water or refrigerant piping)
- Fire suppression risers and piping
In addition to the “system” sources of water above, the following trades may also create potential sources of water escape:
- Spray fireproofing (water for mixing)
- Interior masonry (water for mortar mixing and wet saw)
- Flooring and tile (water for wet saw and mixing grout)
- Painting and wallcovering (paint, water for mixing and application)
- Swimming pool, spa, and stucco (water for mixing materials and filling the pool)
- Hoses used to convey water
- Improper installation of plumbing, appliances, and fixtures
While, some water losses cannot be prevented, such as Mother Nature not cooperating with your construction schedule, most can be. Preparation is key to preventing water damage, and in cases where accidents happen, you should have a plan in place of how to respond to the emergency in order to mitigate and minimize possible damage quickly. SERVPRO is leading the industry not only in response time, but also foremost in knowledge and tools in the science of drying. Don’t trust your business to anyone else! Contact SERVPRO as part of your construction plan and be ready in case disaster strikes.