Recent Water Damage Posts
Turn Down the Temp, But Don't Let Your Pipes Freeze!
You often hear about how you should turn down the thermostat to save energy, and there are a slew of helpful ideas on the subject. You can turn the thermostat down when you're out, when you're sleeping, and you can save about 1% on your energy bill per degree you turn your thermostat down! This is all very exciting.
But before you go crazy with turning down the thermostat really low, I'd like to point out some things you might want to keep in mind.
Frozen pipes are a big deal. If the water in your pipes starts freezing, you run the risk of that pipe exploding—and goodness knows that's not what most people are hoping to do when they're trying to save energy in the dead of winter. Unfortunately, I can't just say "keep your thermostat over X degrees to avoid pipe freezing." It depends on where you live, where your pipes are, and how well insulated those pipes are.
There are relatively few places in the United States where you'd never have to worry about frozen pipes. According to Weather.com, southern states generally start having issues with frozen pipes when the temperature reaches about 20 degrees Fahrenheit (the distinction is made because houses in the south are less likely to build pipes inside or in the "warm" parts of your home.)
So, unless you live in a place where it never gets below freezing (you lucky souls, you), you'll need to know some things about your house or apartment: Some water pipes will be in the "warm" parts of your house.
This is why you don't want the temperature inside your house to drop too low, because bathroom and kitchen pipes are generally not insulated, and they rely on whatever system you're using to heat the rest of your house to keep warm.
And if you rent, you might want to see if the owners require their tenants to keep their thermostat above a certain level—my apartment requires all tenants to keep their thermostats above 65, for example, and asks us to consider leaving the taps dripping.
But while these are all good reasons to be careful with the temperature you keep your thermostat at, don't forget the rest of your pipes—some of your water pipes may be in "cold" parts of your house, like crawl spaces or attics, where they don't get any of your home's ambient heat and may, in fact, be subjected to air directly from the outside.
What you'll need to do is based on the region you live in, so you may want to look up your state or city's Web site and see if they have recommendations on how to prepare your house for the winter, because you may want to insulate those pipes.
In the end, I suppose it's still a judgment call, but just remember: Your pipes are vulnerable, frozen pipes are a pain, and you should always consider how your house is built before you make any drastic decisions on how to heat your home in the winter.
Air Conditioner Maintenance
With the past two weeks of high heat and high humidity in the Northeast, air conditioners have been working overtime. Let’s take a look at keeping them in tip top condition!
An air conditioner's filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.
Air Conditioner Filters
The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system's efficiency significantly. With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil's heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner's energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct's length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.
Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air conditioning system's filter or filters every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have fur-bearing pets in the house.
Air Conditioner Coils
The air conditioner's evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.
Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.
You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.
The aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent and can block airflow through the coil. Air conditioning wholesalers sell a tool called a "fin comb" that will comb these fins back into nearly original condition.
Occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit's drain channels. Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity, and the resulting excess moisture may discolor walls or carpet.
Window Seals for Room Air Conditioners
At the start of each cooling season, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame to ensure it makes contact with the unit's metal case. Moisture can damage this seal, allowing cool air to escape from your house.
Preparing for Winter
In the winter, either cover your room air conditioner or remove and store it. Covering the outdoor unit of a central air conditioner will protect the unit from winter weather and debris.
Hardwood Floor Cupping Vs. Crowning
When moisture hit hardwood flooring wood expands and becomes susceptible to cupping and crowning – two common wood floor problems that, if not addressed properly and at the right time, can require costly sanding and refinishing to fix.
Cupping is a condition where wood board becomes concave – edges high with a center that dips low. As wet hardwood flooring expands, cupping can occur. It is brought on when the bottom of the wood flooring remains wetter than the top surface. When cupping occurs, it’s important not to rush quickly into sanding.
Crowning –the opposite of cupping – occurs when the top edges of the board are sanded off too early and become lower than the rest of the board as it returns to normal moisture levels. Sanding the floor to remove crowning should only begin once drying measures are complete and normal moisture levels have been achieved.
If you have either cupping or crowing floors please give us a call at SERVPRO of Medford/Everett at 800-394-4466.
The water damage restoration process begins with a detailed inspection of your property, including a damage assessment. The SERVPRO Franchise Professional is determining the scope of the damage so he or she can develop an appropriate plan of action.
What are Those Brown Stains on my Ceiling?
Brown Stains on Ceiling
Sometimes you'll glance up and notice a truly hideous brownish stain on your ceiling that has appeared seemingly out of nowhere.
A word of caution: If you cover up a water stain without addressing the leak that caused it, you run the risk of additional staining on the ceiling, not to mention more serious structural or electrical damage. That’s why it is so important to find and repair the cause of the water stain as soon as possible, even if it is no longer wet.
Your first priority when dealing with a water stain should be to find the source of the leak that caused it— the roof, the upstairs radiator, and the upstairs bathroom are good places to check.
If you have ceiling staining such at this, please give us a call at SERVPRO of Medford/Everett for a free inspection. 1-800-394-4466
The water damage restoration process begins with a detailed inspection of your property. A SERVPRO Professional will check for the source of water in your home or business and stop it. The water source must be stopped before the drying process can begin. We will determine the scope of the damage and develop an appropriate plan of action.
Water Damage: Why Choose SERVPRO of Medford / Everett?
Water Damage Repair and Restoration
- Our highly trained technicians are ready to respond immediately to flood or water damage at your Medfordproperty. We have the experience, expertise, and training to restore your home or business quickly and properly. We use advanced inspection and extraction equipment to find the water and remove it as quickly as possible. Our technicians will monitor and document the drying process to ensure your property is back to normal.
- Please follow our tips outlined in theWater Damage Tips—Until Help Arrives Guideto protect yourself and your property.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
SERVPRO of Medford / Everett is locally owned and operated—so we are part of this community too. We are also part of a national network of over 1,700 SERVPRO Franchises and specialDisaster Recovery Teamsstrategically located throughout the country to respond to large scale disasters.
We’re Faster to Any Size Disaster
We’re dedicated to responding immediately when you contact us. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost.
We’re Highly Trained Water Damage Specialists
We are water damage specialists who get started promptly to get your property dry and back to pre-water-damage condition. Using advanced water removal and drying equipment and scientific drying principles to get your property dried quickly, we document the drying process to validate your home or business is ready. Learn about our water damage training and certificates.
We Use Advanced Drying Equipment and Techniques
Our advanced equipment helps to detect hidden moisture, extract the standing water quickly, and thoroughly clean and dry your home and belongings. We finish the job with professional deodorization and sanitizing agents for your comfort and safety.
The Water Damage Restoration Process
When your home or commercial property has water damage from flooding or leaks, we have the expertise and equipment to properly restore your property. Our experience and scientific approach to water removal and water cleanup enable us to properly dry and restore your property.
Water or Flood Damage?
Call Today – (781) 395-4444
Every water damage event is a little different and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. You can click on any of the steps below to learn more about that process.
Step 1 - Emergency Contact
The restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will guide you through the crisis and may ask several questions to help us better understand the equipment and resources.
Step 2 - Inspection and Water Damage Assessment
We determine the scope of your water damage at this stage. We inspect and test to determine the extent of damage and how far the moisture has traveled to ensure proper and complete restoration.
Step 3 - Water Removal / Water Extraction
The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We use powerful pumps and vacuum units to quickly remove hundreds or thousands of gallons from your property, which helps prevent secondary water damage and mold growth.
Step 4 - Drying and Dehumidification
We use specialized equipment to remove the remaining water that is harder to access. Our Professionals will use room measurements, temperature, and relative humidity to determine the optimal number of air movers and dehumidifiers needed to dry your home or business.
Step 5 - Cleaning and Sanitizing
We clean all of the restorable items and structures damaged by the water. We are adept at cleaning contents using a number of techniques. Our professionals are trained to provide sanitizing treatments and to remove odors and deodorize your property.
Step 6 - Restoration
Restoration is the process of restoring your home or business to its pre-water damage condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall and installing new carpet, or may entail major repairs, such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.
Sewage Cleanup and Restoration
Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination.
Sewage Backup or Toilet Overflow? Call Us Today – (781) 395-4444
There are three major types of contaminated water. SERVPRO of Medford / Everett will inspect that contaminated water to determine the type of water and then plan the appropriate response to safely restore your home or business.
The three types of contaminated water:
Category 1: "Clean Water"
This is water from a clean source, such as a broken clean water supply line or faucet. If left untreated, category 1 water can quickly degrade into category 2 or 3 water depending upon such factors as time, temperature, and contact with contaminants.
- Water from a clean source like a broken water line
- If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3
Category 2: "Gray Water"
This water has a significant level of contamination that could cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Sources for category 2 water may include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.
- May contain bacteria and viruses
- Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated
Category 3: "Black Water"
This water is grossly unsanitary and could cause severe illness or death if ingested, and any contact should be avoided. Sources for category 3 water could include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
- Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
24 Emergency Service
Sewage backup should be considered an emergency and dealt with as quickly as possible. We are the water damage restoration specialists with specific training and expertise to safely restore your home or business.
If you Had a Burst Pipe Would you Know What to do?
Well it’s that time of year in New England when temperatures drop into the teens, and as we’ve experienced this past month, into the single digits with the wind chill below zero. Water pipes and cold temperatures are not friends!! A burst pipe can create serious water damage to your home and belongings.
If you had a burst pipe in your home would you know what to do?
Stop the Water Flow
Shut off the main water supply by turning off the main water turnoff. It is best to ensure that everyone in your family knows where the main water turnoff is located and how to turn it off in case of a burst pipe emergency. (Consider a “Water Turn Off” tag like the one pictured above)
Let the pipe drain out the water by turning on all cold faucets. Switch off the water heating system and then turn on all hot faucets to help in draining the water supply system. Also, flush all toilets. All leaks should stop once there is no more water running from the taps.
Find the Break
Locating exactly where the pipe burst is should be done immediately to prevent further damage. Once you've found the burst, you'll know what you have to do next. For instance, if it’s a tiny crack, patching it up may fix the problem for a while. Also, consider which pipe has burst. If the damage is in a main water pipe, it needs to be repaired and dealt with carefully regardless of the cause or size of the break.
If there has been leakage in the house for some time, be careful when entering rooms. Pay attention to the ceilings because if they appear to bulge, it means it is holding loads of water and could cave in any moment. If you've noticed the leak right away, place a bucket underneath to catch the drip.
If there is flooding or water damage in the home call SERPVRO of Medford/Everett at 781-395-4444.
What Causes Frozen Pipes?
What Causes Frozen Pipes?
The water inside pipes can freeze when outdoor temperatures drop below freezing. As freezing water expands, it causes the pressure inside the pipes to increase, possibly leading to bursting pipes.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
- Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest
- Seal air leaks surrounding or near pipes
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage
- Disconnect all outdoor hoses and turn off water to exterior faucets and sprinkler systems
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing
- Keep heat at 55 degrees F. or higher even when you are out of town
- During a cold spell turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls to allow a small trickle of water to run during the night
- If you need to be away from home, leave the heat on and drain your water system before you go
- Identify the locations of shutoff valves so that you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible when a pipe bursts
What to Do When Pipes Freeze or Burst
If pipes freeze:
- Open all faucets
- Remove insulation and wrap pipes in rags
- If all else fails, call your plumber
If pipes burst:
- Shut off the water immediately to prevent additional damage
- Take proper precautions to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near standing water
- Take an inventory of any damaged property or possessions
- Contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Medford/Everett for help at 781-395-4444.
- We’ll make it “Like it never even happened