Preventing Winter Woes: How to Winterize Your Home
Winter brings enchanting landscapes and cozy moments by the fireplace, but it also brings the potential for property damage due to harsh weather conditions.
One of the most common and costly issues during the colder months is cracked pipes caused by freezing water. To avoid this and other cold-weather complications, it's crucial to winterize your home. Here's how:
1. Insulate Pipes: Ensure that pipes in unheated areas like basements, attics, or crawl spaces are well-insulated. Use pipe sleeves or heat tape to keep them warm and prevent freezing.
2. Seal Gaps and Cracks: Seal gaps and cracks in your home's exterior to prevent cold air from entering. Check for drafts around doors, windows, and electrical outlets, and use weatherstripping or caulk to seal them.
3. Disconnect and Drain Outdoor Hoses: Disconnect garden hoses from outdoor faucets and drain them thoroughly. Shut off the water supply to these faucets and consider using faucet covers to insulate them.
4. Service Your Heating System: Have your heating system professionally serviced to ensure it's in optimal working condition. A well-maintained system keeps your home warm and prevents frozen pipes.
5. Adjust Thermostat Settings: While lowering the thermostat when you're not at home is tempting, try to maintain a consistent temperature to prevent pipes from freezing. A programmable thermostat can help you manage temperature adjustments efficiently.
6. Open Cabinet Doors: Allow warm air to circulate pipes in kitchen and bathroom cabinets by leaving cabinet doors open. This can help prevent them from getting too cold.
7. Let Faucets Drip: On freezing nights, let faucets drip a little to keep water moving. Running water is less likely to freeze.
8. Maintain Attic Insulation: Ensure your attic is well-insulated to prevent warm air from escaping through the roof. Proper insulation also helps maintain a consistent indoor temperature.
9. Clean Gutters: Keep your gutters free of debris to prevent ice dams from forming. Ice dams can damage your roof and lead to water leaks.
10. Plan for Vacation: If you're going on vacation during the winter, leave your heating system on and set it to a temperature that prevents freezing.
11. Install Storm Windows: If you have storm windows, install them to add an extra layer of insulation to your home.
12. Close Crawl Space Vents: If you have crawl spaces with vents, close them for the winter to prevent cold air from entering.
13. Consider Pipe Heating Cables: For particularly vulnerable pipes, consider using pipe heating cables to keep them warm during cold spells.
14. Be Prepared: Always know the location of your main water shut-off valve. Turning off the water supply can minimize damage in case of a burst pipe.
Winterizing your home involves avoiding costly repairs and ensuring comfort during the colder months. By taking these precautions, you can protect your home from the perils of winter and enjoy the season worry-free.
Winter Heating Smarts
The winter season is here, and with it comes shorter days and lower temperatures. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in weather.
Many use alternative heating sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood-burning stoves to keep their homes and workplaces cozy.
Did you know heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths? According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment fires cause an estimated $1 billion in direct property damage annually. Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a heating-related fire.
-Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
-Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
-Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
-Always use the right kind of fuel specified by the manufacturer for fuel-burning space heaters.
-Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
-Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
-Test smoke alarms monthly.
SERVPRO Disaster Response
SERVPRO knows that no matter what size the disaster is, the issue must be taken care of quickly! We can handle any size of disaster to get your home or large facility back and running after any disaster.
When a large disaster strikes, we at SERVPRO of Lincoln & Warren Counties partner with one of SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Teams. That gives us the resources we need to be ready 24/7.
With a network of nearly 2000 franchises and Disaster Recovery Teams, the SERVPRO system strives to be faster to any disaster. Strategically located throughout the United States, SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Teams are ready to assist us in handling the largest storms and highest flood waters. Providing experience, additional manpower, equipment, and other resources. In the aftermath of a disaster, there is only one objective, to help make it like it, "Like it never even happened," as quickly as possible.
How to Find Water You Can't See
Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time. The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property.
SERVPRO has the equipment, training, and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters, technology, and equipment must be counted on to perform. We can answer your call with rapid action and a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools used by our franchise.
-Moisture sensors detect moisture in carpets, baseboards, and walls.
-Moisture meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings allowing us to monitor the drying process.
-Thermo hygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is important to dry the structure, but it must also be disinfected and often deodorized.
Fall Fire Safety
Autumn is the favorite time of year for many people- the temperatures are cooler, the scenery is beautiful and colorful, and there are plenty of events and activities to keep us all busy. But, there are also some unique fire hazards, and it is to your advantage to plan to ensure your fall season is safe and fire-free.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Be careful where you put your fall decorations; many are highly flammable so don't place them near open flames or heat sources
- Don't block escape routes with decorations
- Teach children to stay away from open flames avoid billowing fabric when choosing Halloween costumes
- Try to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in jack-o-lanterns
- Use extreme caution if using a real candle.
- Be aware of the dangers of an excess of carbon monoxide.
CO poisoning can occur from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or idling cars left in enclosed spaces. Be sure that you have fuel-burning appliances inspected yearly, that your fireplace and fuel-burning equipment is properly vented, and only use BBQ grills outside.
New Time New Batteries
Smoke detectors play a vital role in saving lives and can help reduce fire damage to your home by reducing the reaction time of the fire department. It is best practice to check the batteries in your smoke alarms when we set our clocks back for Daylight Savings.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters, and on every house level. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to meet specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements.
Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees, or client to escape quickly and safely in an emergency.
Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance.
-Install smoke alarms on every level of the home including the basement.
- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
-Test smoke alarms at least once a month using a test button.
-Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps" the battery is low and should be replaced immediately.
-Replace all smoke alarms when they are ten years old.
Winter Ready Business
In Mid-Missouri we can experience ice, cold winters with sleet, snow, ice, and damaging winds. We may not be able to control Mother Nature, but we can take action by getting the property winter ready with these precautions.
- Check property for downed tree limbs and branches. Winter conditions could cause branches to fall causing damage to property or person injuries.
- Inspect roofs, water pipes, and gutters. Clear gutters of any debris from the fall to prevent a damming effect. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your building.
- Inspect walkways and parking lots for proper drainage. This could alleviate a potential flood and/or slip hazard.
- Entryways, handrails, and stairwells should be checked to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Post caution signs where water may be present and install mats or non-slip surfaces in the dangerous areas.
- Protect pipes from freezing. Allow water to drip when temperatures go below freezing. Leave cabinet doors open to circulate warm air, if pipes are under them. Consider shutting off water to outdoor faucets and ensure they are properly drained.
- Emergency Ready Profile. Contact SERVPRO for a no-cost assessment of your facility. It provides you with a plan to get back to business faster following a disaster.
Make sure your business is ready for the bitterly cold weather that may be ahead. If winter weather strikes, SERVPRO of Lincoln & Warren Counties are Here to Help.
Winter Weather Brings Winter Damage to Your Home
As the songs would like you to think, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Little did they tell you the winter storms can bring extensive damage to your home. No matter the disaster, you should know that SERVPRO can help fix anything Jack Frost can throw at you.
Wind + Frozen Branches = Massive headache
Everyone will say that walking in a winter wonderland is pleasant and relaxing. That's true, but they can also be a headache when frozen branches break off and fall on your home. I'm not sure if you know this, but here at SERVPRO, we can handle any reconstruction projects. No matter if your entire roof needs repair or if you want new windows installed to help keep your warm temperatures inside, we are your one-stop shop.
Melted Frosty + Flooded Basement = Water Damage
Your kids might love to lay in it, and your dogs might like to eat it. We can all say that we want snow for different reasons. Slush can create a significant mess, but that is the least of your worries. When snow and ice freeze next to your foundation, it can create tiny cracks that can have water seep through. Often the water will leak down into the basement, but the problem begins when the warm temperatures make favorable conditions for mold to grow.
These are two examples of ways the winter weather can create more significant problems than a slushy dog trail. Staying on top of your home's maintenance will ensure that a bigger disaster isn't waiting to make an appearance.
Melting Snow Creates Water Damage
Being in the Midwest, we can all agree that it can be snowstorms one day, and the next, it will be direct sunlight. People often won’t associate snow melting with flooding issues as it isn’t as expected when the ice freezes near the structure, creating tiny cracks in the foundation. When the temperature rises in one of our weather mood swings, water can seep through these cracks.
Water Damage to the Carpets
Water the comes through these cracks can become problematic when the water into the drywall, hardwood floors, or carpets. It becomes dangerous when the water gets the carpet wet and when you combine that with the usually warm temperatures of the home, it can promote mold growth. The growth will thrive as many homeowners don’t allow ventilation outwards, but if you follow these tips, you can’t enjoy the snow with comfort.
Tip 1: Be Strategic with Shoveling
If your home is on a hill, you might want to be strategic when it comes to the flow of water that will be created when the snow melts. You will want to create a path that will allow the water to flow away from home.
Tip 2: Clear Excessive Snow off of the Roof
By not clearing the snow off of the roof, you are allowing the possibility of a room collapse that could create a more significant accident if the top were to cave in. When you are up on the roof, you might want to check the drains and clear out any frozen blockage. If you let the backup continue, you might put yourself into a situation of creating an ice dam.
Tip 3: Check Sump Pump
Testing the sump pump by pouring a bucket of water can show you that it is currently working. You must check the pump because it will help prevent flooding of the crawlspaces, around the foundation, and in the basement.
Don’t let the winter season bring you stress, so follow these tips and ensure that flooding won’t be in your holiday forecast.
We Are SERVPRO and we are Here to Help!
S - Service that exceeds the competition
E - Excellent communication throughout the process
R - Restoring property into its preloss state.
V - Vow our pledge to meet customers’ needs.
P - Professionalism displayed with all team members.
R - Respected and Recognized as the industries leader
O - Outstanding Customer Service
There is a reason that SERVPRO is one of the leaders in the fire and water restoration industry because we can assist clients across the country no matter the size of the project or the time of day. Our team is committed to continually learning about new restoration techniques or equipment which can help speed up the process. Training is a vital piece of this industry where people’s personal belongings and homes are being taken care of with complete professionalism. The SERVPRO of Lincoln & Warren Counties team maintains several certifications under the Institute of Inspection Cleaning Restoration Certification (IICRC). These include Water Removal technicians, Odor Control technicians, Fire and Smoke technicians, Carpet Cleaning Technician, and Health and Safety technicians, among many others. We hope that if you are ever in need of assistance, you will call our team to help you through this challenging time!