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.

Plagued by a Flooded Basement? Here’s How to Cope

how to deal with a flooded basement

Whether it’s due to Mother Nature or a busted water pipe, flooded basements are a common and costly problem in the United States. You are probably wondering how to deal with a flooded basement.

Statistics show 98% of basements in America experience some sort of water damage.  Nationwide, household water damage costs up to $20 billion annually.  Home water emergencies affect 14,000 people daily.

Here’s how to deal with a flooded basement and help keep the water away.

Flood-Proofing the Basement

Common causes of basement flooding include heavy rain, melting snow, a faulty sump pump, and poorly installed drainage systems. Even a burst water pipe can wreak havoc.  So, how can you flood-proof your basement? Here are some ways.

  • Install an electric sump pump to keep water damage to a minimum. Have a battery-backup system if the power goes out.
  • Put in a backwater valve to prevent sewage from seeping into your basement. Cleaning up sewage is a costly process.
  • Seal your basement. Put weatherstripping around doors and make sure windows are caulked.
  • Make sure the soil grading in your yard is sloped to move water away from the foundation of your house.
  • Don’t put plants too close to the foundation. Roots can cause cracks or bowing walls which lets water in, and overgrown shrubs can keep water from draining.
  • Install inexpensive extensions to your downspouts if you notice water pooling at the bottom. Position downspouts away from the foundation to keep the water out.
  • Keep gutters clean by removing any debris that collects. Consider installing roof gutter covers to help. 

What to do if Your Basement Floods

Even with preventative measures, water can still get into the basement and cause damage. Here’s what to do if the flood water wins out.

Make sure the electricity is turned off.  If you can’t reach the breaker box without stepping in the water, call your electric utility to shut it off for you.

Once it is safe to do so,  remove the water with a pump, wet/dry vacuum or a mop and bucket. Make sure there is no standing water left. Next, move damaged items out of the basement, and dry the area completely, using fans and dehumidifiers. Open windows and doors as well to air-out the basement. If the water isn’t removed quickly, mold can grow and water may damage the floor, the foundation of your home, or your property.  Consider having a professional come in to ensure the job is done properly.

Once the basement is all dry, it’s time to clean up the damage. Remove the wet carpets and furniture; replace drywall, and repair any electrical damage.  Again, professional help may be your best option.

The Costs of Flood Damage

According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), just one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage.  Most homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.  Flood insurance must be purchased separately.

The cost of fixing a flooded basement varies depending on the depth of the water and the type of water that got in.  That is, clean water, storm water, or sewage. Pumping out water and drying a slightly flooded basement can cost  between $500 and $1,000.  The cost can jump up to $10,000 if flooring, walls, ceilings and furnishings need to be repaired.

Got a Flooding Problem? We Can Help!

When it comes to flooding and water 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.

What’s the Difference Between Flood Damage and Water Damage?

difference between flood damage and water damage

Many people use the terms flood damage and water damage interchangeably when going through the claims process after an accident or weather event, but the two are very distinct things! Knowing the right term to describe your situation is vital for receiving compensation from an insurance company, filing a claim and working with a remediation company to restore your home to the previous condition.

Water Damage

Water damage is a very broad category that includes a huge range of things that can happen in a home. Water seeping out from a broken water heater, a burst sewer line, a leaky toilet or countless other sources could lead to water damage. Because there are so many possible causes of water damage, it can also drastically range in severity and scope.

Flood Damage

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) establishes the guidelines for what constitutes flood damage. First, the definition of flood is “a temporary situation where two or more acres of dry land, or two or more units of property, are covered in water from a list of water sources. The potential sources of flood damage water include:

  • An overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • Mudflow
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters
  • Collapse of land along the shores of a lake or similar body of water due to erosion or caused by waves
    exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that lead to a flood

Water Damage vs. Flood Damage

Based on the above, there is one key question that dictates what type of damage your home is dealing with—is your home the only house that is having problems? If the answer is no, there’s a good chance you are coping with flood damage.

While water damage is often covered by homeowner’s insurance policies, flood damage is only covered by a flood insurance policy. It’s essential to understand what you are dealing with to work with both Flood Department and your insurance company. We can work with you to determine what type of damage your home has incurred and develop an adequate restoration plan. Because the clean-up process is different if the damage is water damage or flood damage, the source of the water matters. Is it safer to clean up water from a leaking faucet in your home that was already filtered and treated? Or, is it safer to clean up flood water that could contain sewage, toxic material and pathogens? The difference matters!

Flood and Water Remediation from Flood Department

Flood Department can complete a wide range of mold removal, flood damage restoration, smoke damage remediation and crime scene clean-up services. To learn more about our services and get your water damage problem taken care of before it becomes worse, give us a call at 301-829-2600.