How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

When it gets really cold outside, the chances of a pipe freezing in your home greatly increases.

Burst pipes are a top cause of property damage during frigid weather. They can easily leave behind  $5,000 or more in water damage. The good news is, there are ways you can prevent a frozen pipe disaster in your home.

Protecting Pipes from Cold

The first step is to insulate your pipes to keep them warm. This is key if pipes are in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and garages. Pipes running through cabinets or exterior walls are also at risk. Pipes commonly freeze at temperatures of 20 degrees and below. Protect vulnerable pipes with a good amount of insulation.

Tips to Stop the Freeze

Homeowners can take some steps to prevent frozen pipes. Leave garage doors closed. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let the heat get to pipes. Let water drip from a faucet to prevent freezing. Keep the heat in your home at a consistent temperature. If you’re going away, set it no lower than 55-degrees. Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces for extra warmth. Disconnect garden hoses and put them away for winter. Shut off and drain valves that supply outdoor faucets.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

Pipes commonly freeze when temperatures quickly drop, the insulation is poor, and thermostats are set too low. Here’s how to unthaw a frozen pipe.

If no pipes have burst, turn on the faucet. Running water will help melt the ice plug. Heat the frozen pipe with a heating pad, blow dryer, or portable space heater. You can also wrap it in heat tape, heat cables, or towels soaked in hot water. Apply heat until water pressure is back. Make sure any electrical device you use doesn’t touch water.

What to Do if a Pipe Bursts

If you notice a large wet spot on your wall, it’s likely a pipe has burst. Increased water bills, water discoloration, inconsistent water flow, and mold are other tell-tale signs. Here’s how to handle a broken pipe in your home.

Turn off the water supply to prevent further damage. The valve is usually located in the basement, a crawl space, or near your water heater. If the leak is significant, turn off the electricity.

Drain faucets. This will prevent them from refreezing. Flush the toilets to relieve pressure. Turn off the water heater. Leave faucets and taps open so pressure can’t build up.  

Find the leak. Search your house. Look for bulging ceilings and floors, or water stains in your walls. If you find a drip, place a bucket underneath to catch the water.

Call a Pro. Contact a licensed plumber as soon as possible.

How to Clean Up the Mess

Turn off the electricity. Remove carpet, furniture, and anything else you can from the affected area. Soak up the water with old towels, mops, and buckets. If a burst pipe leaves behind a few inches or more of water, use a submersible pump or wet/dry vac. Once it’s removed, open windows, and set up fans and space heaters to help dry the area. If it’s too much to handle, call in a professional service.

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. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We are dedicated to helping reverse the unfortunate results. Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.

How to Prevent Holiday Fires

How to Prevent Holiday Fires

As the old, classic song goes, the holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year”. However, that won’t be the case if you have fire hazards lurking in your home. Don’t let flames snuff out your holiday spirit. Here are some key fire prevention tips that can ensure you and your loved ones have a fun and festive holiday season.

House Fire Stats

The statistics are eye-opening. There are an average of 358,000 house fires in America every year. Flames leave behind nearly $12 billion in damage. Cooking is the leading cause of house fires, followed by faulty heating equipment and electrical malfunction. Fire departments respond to a fire in the U.S. every 24 seconds.

Fire Prevention Tips

According to the National Fire Protection Administration, more than one-third of home decoration fires are started by burning candles. Half are ignited by decorations placed too close to a heat source. Almost one-third of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. One in every five are sparked by a nearby heat source.

Holiday Decorating Hazards

Many people love to dress up their homes for the holidays. Here are some tips to follow for ultimate safety.

Blow out candles and unplug lights before leaving the home or going to bed. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Keep lit candles away from anything flammable. Use only indoor string lights inside, and outdoor ones outside. Don’t connect too many light strands together. Read the manufacturer’s instructions. Use clips to hang lights, not nails that can damage cords. Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

Holiday Entertaining Safety

There is nothing worse than having a fire break out in a home full of people. Here’s what you need to know to tame the flames.

Test smoke alarms to make sure they work. Keep matches and lighters up high and out of reach. Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop. Keep children and pets away from lit candles. Ask smokers to go outside. Provide ashtrays for extinguishing cigarettes.

Live Christmas Trees

If you love to pick a fresh tree, here are some fire safety tips to keep in mind. Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that don’t fall off. Cut 2 inches off the trunk of the tree before putting it in a stand. Keep the tree at least three feet away from any heat source. Add water to the tree stand and keep filling it daily. Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees can quickly go up in flames.

Only use tree lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Replace any strings with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.

Fire Escape Plans

Every household needs to have an escape plan in case of fire. Find two ways to get out of every room in case the main entrance is blocked. Make sure the windows and screens can open. Practice getting low and moving to your exits in case of smoke. Pick a safe meeting place outside. Practice your plan at least twice a year.

Fire Damage Costs

The national average cost of fire damage restoration for a house is $12,900. Water damage alone can cost an average of $1,000 to $4,600 to fix. The price tag goes up when you add in smoke and soot damage, and odor removal.

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. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We are dedicated to helping reverse the unfortunate results. Contact us at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.