Stop the Flood: How to Prevent a Frozen Pipe Disaster

The risk of pipes freezing and bursting in your home goes way up when cold temperatures arrive.  Water expands when it freezes and puts tremendous pressure on its container, including pipes, causing them to break.  Burst pipes are a leading cause of property damage and can be costly to repair.

The good news is there are measures you can take to ensure the chance of a pipe bursting in your home remains low.

Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

The best way to stop a pipe from freezing is to take preventative measures.  Insulate exposed pipes in attics, basements, crawl spaces and other cold areas to warm them up. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air to get to the pipes. Let cold water drip from a faucet. It will relieve any pressure that can build up if pipes freeze. Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature, day and night. If you are leaving town for a few days, set the heat to no lower than 55 degrees.

The American Red Cross reports pipes that tend to freeze most often are pipes exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines and water sprinkler lines. Water supply pipes in unheated areas, and pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

One telltale sign of a possible frozen pipe is when you turn on a water faucet and only a trickle comes out. If no pipes have burst, you can take these steps. Turn on the faucet to let water through to help melt the ice.  Apply heat to the section of frozen pipe. Wrap an electric heating pad around it, or towels soaked in hot water.  A hair dryer or portable space heater will also help thaw the pipe.  Apply heat until water pressure is back to normal. Check for other frozen pipes in your home.

Take Action Outdoors

Follow proper instructions and drain water from the swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines.  Remove, drain and store outdoor hoses.  Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain.  Keep it open so any remaining water in the pipe can expand without breaking the pipe.

Frozen Pipe Repair Costs

When a pipe bursts, water will pour out and flood your home. It won’t stop until the main water supply is shut off.   If not dealt withimmediately, burst pipes can send as many as 10 gallons of water a minute into your home, causing extensive water damage.   A burst pipe in your home can easily cause more than $5,000 in damage.  Make sure you take care of it right away.  Once the water has been shut off, call a licensed plumber.

Need Help With Clean Up?

When it comes to water, flood or fire damage,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses in  Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.

Holiday Season Fire Safety Tips: Don’t Let Flames Ruin Your Holiday Fun

During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the danger of fire is always lurking.  Don’t let flames ruin your festivities.  With proper preparedness, you can keep your family safe from disaster. Below are some of the top causes of holiday fires and some holiday season fire safety tips.

Cooking in the Kitchen

Cooking is the leading cause of reported house fires and injuries.  According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly 52-percent of residential fires were sparked by cooking in 2020.  Heating, electrical, smoking and candles are the other top causes of  home house fires.

Most fires in the kitchen can be blamed on unattended cooking. Keep an eye on the stove at all times.  Stay put while you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling food.  If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly.  Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.

If you have a small grease fire on the stovetop, turn off the burner and smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan.  Keep the cover on until the pot has cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.  According to the National Fire ProtectionAssociation, If you have any doubt, just get out, close the door and call 911.

Christmas Trees

Live trees that are not properly watered can dry out and easily go up in flames.

Be sure to keep yours well watered, replace any bad lights, remove nearby heat sources, and unplug the lights overnight and when you’re not home.  Dry Christmas trees are blamed for hundreds of fires each year.  Typical causes are shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches.

Electrical Malfunctions

When hanging lights or electrical decorations outside, make sure they are labeled for outdoor use.  Same goes for extension cords.  Hang the lights with UL-rated clips, not staples or nails.  Never connect multiple extension cords together. Discard wires and bulbs that are frayed or broken.

Candle Flames

Keep lit candles away from the Christmas tree, greenery, and other flammable decorations.

Place them on a countertop or another area a safe distance away.  Never leave candles lit while you are not home or nearby.  Also, keep wrapping paper, rugs and clothing at least three feet away from the fireplace.  Use a fireplace screen to keep embers and logs from escaping.

Smoking

Cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other smoking materials start thousands of house fires annually.

According to a  2019  report by the National Fire Protection Association, smoking materials caused an estimated 18,000 fires annually between 2012 and 2016, killing nearly 600 people every year and injuring more than 1,100 others.  Smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths over the five year period.  The majority of smoking-related fires started on the outdoor balcony or porch.

 Fire Safety Tips to Remember

A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a house fire. Install a fire alarm on every level of your home, including sleeping areas and the basement.

Test them monthly and replace batteries twice a year.   Create a fire escape plan with your family.  Get a fire extinguisher for your kitchen and consider putting an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home.

Hopefully these holiday season fire safety tips will keep you and your family safe.

Let Us Clean it Up

When it comes to water, flood or fire damage,  Flood Department is here to help. We provide water damage repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses in  Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more.  Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.