After the bitter cold we’ve suffered in Missouri the past week, many people are discovering frozen pipes in their homes or businesses. Unfortunately, some are discovering them after the pipes burst, and they call CATCO or other local restoration companies for help with the ensuing water damage.
But if pipes are frozen and haven’t yet burst, what can you do?
You know you don’t have water in one faucet, a section of your home or the whole house. Use that info to help determine where the pipe might be frozen. Feel the pipes where you suspect the freeze. Of course, they’ll be very cold. This usually first occurs in sections of a building that aren’t well heated or insulated, such as a crawl space, an outer wall or between floors going to an upstairs bathroom. Sometimes the freeze can be right at the meter coming into the building.
Once you feel fairly certain where the freeze occurred, make sure you locate any valves to that area. You’ll want to know this before you proceed; if something bursts, you’ll need to act fast to turn off the water. If you have shutoff valves throughout the home, you may be able to just turn off a valve before that frozen bathroom supply line rather than the main supply valve. Some experts advise also shutting off the water supply going to that section first, to prevent the pressure behind the thawing pipe from bursting through.
It’s summertime. Many of us are making packing lists, checking reservations and maintaining vehicles before our trips. Just don’t forget to prep your house before you lock the door and head out of town. As a disaster restoration company, we’ve seen many homes severely damaged while the occupants were gone. While we certainly need business, we prefer to help our clients prevent losses or minimize them when we can. There are lists on the internet that can help you prepare, but here is ours:
- Hire a House Sitter/Pet Sitter if You Can. Ask a responsible close friend or relative to stay at your home to effect the best “occupied” look for your home. If you have the extra funds, you may even be able to hire someone. That person can take care of your pets and your home, take in mail, newspapers, mow the lawn, move vehicles in and out, and generally make the house look “lived in.”
- Create a “Lived In” Look Otherwise. If #1 is not an option for you, do whatever you can to create an occupied look by having a neighbor collect mail and newspapers for you, have someone mow the lawn, set timers at different intervals on lamps and perhaps a radio inside. You may even ask someone to park a car occasionally in the driveway. If you have no other options, at least place a vacation hold on your mail and newspaper deliveries.
It’s been storming for days, your sump pump quit working, and you had water spreading onto the finished side of your basement. You called someone you found online to help remove the water and dry it out. Now that they are in your home, you’re relieved, yet a little worried. How do you know you called the right company?
We all feel that little ball of remorse forming inside when we’ve contacted a contractor for any reason, but there are things you can identify as good signs you’ve hired the right restoration firm. Of course, if you haven’t yet made that call, review this list first:
- How long have they been around? We all know that most businesses fail within five years of start-up. If you’re looking for guaranteed work, you may want to be sure the company has been around longer, especially in your locality. Even a national franchise that opened just within the past couple years may be gone next year.