Homeowners: Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Below-Freezing Weather
Water damage from a frozen pipe that burst.
As the weather dips into colder temperatures, it is crucial to protect your home’s water pipes against freezing. Untreated pipes in your basement and crawlspaces can be an expensive and scaryscenario for any homeowner.
Why Frozen Pipes Are a Problem
Water expands as it freezes. This expansion puts extreme pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor water faucets, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.
In the U.S., frozen pipes cause significant damage every year, but they often can be prevented. Taking a few simple steps, even now, may save you a lot of aggravation and expense.
There are three common causes of frozen pipes:
1. Quick drops in temperature
2. Poor insulation
3. Thermostats set too low
Luckily, there are a number of preventative steps you can take to keep your pipes from freezing:
- Check the insulation of pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing.
- Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions.
- Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
- Use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
- A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
- Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature – more common overnight – could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
If Your Pipes Do Freeze ...
- If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
- If your house or basement is flooding, turn off the water valve and callSERVPRO of Abilene - (325)672-5661.
- Do not touch or use electrical appliances in areas of standing water due to electrocution concerns.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Every year, many building fires are caused by people trying to thaw frozen pipes. All open flames in homes present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.
- You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
- Again, if your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on and call (325)672-5661. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Likely places for the water turn-off valve include internal pipes running against exterior walls or where water service enters a home through the foundation.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55°F.
Why Clean Air Ducts?
Ducts Before and After
Answer: Because they get dirty!
In addition to normal accumulations of dust and dirt found in all homes with air ducts, there are several other factors that can increase the need for regular HVAC system cleaning:
-cigarette or cigar smoke
-water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
-home renovation or remodeling projects
Indoor air quality is one concern that homeowners have when they decide to investigate air duct cleaning. Your heating and cooling system is the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and breathes air out.
Through normal occupation in a home, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.
While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school or workplace, they may be contributing to larger health issues.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use.
When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.
Call SERVPRO of Abilene for a free inspection!
IICRC Certified Firm
We are an IICRC Certified Firm
SERVPRO of Abilene is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.
IICRC Certified Firms must
• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.
The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry
The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.
Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.
About SERVPRO of Abilene
SERVPRO of Abilene specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
SERVPRO of Abilene professionals returned restored contents after a fire
Two of our excellent fire crew members unloading cleaned smoke damaged items.
Pack-outs are performed by restoration companies on behalf of property owners after damage caused by water, fire or smoke. It involves removing and transporting damaged property to a secure location for processing and restoration.
During a pack-out:
- After the initial inspection, your restoration professionals will let you know whether or not an item can be restored. You will find that most items can be brought to preloss condition. All contents will be inspected and any pre-existing damage will be documented before being sent out to be restored. This documentation helps to estimate the losses and facilitates the filing of your insurance claim.
- If an item does not require packing out, it will be secured and protected while structural repairs are made to the property.
- In some cases, affected items are cleaned in place to prevent acidic residues from causing any further damage.
- Small items will be individually wrapped in paper, boxed, labeled and inventoried by your restoration professional. This includes kitchen knives, spoons, pots and pans, dishes, storage containers, etc.
- Large items like upholstery and wooden furniture will be carefully inspected, often using high intensity light to detect all damages that existed before the disaster.
- You will receive a copy of every inventory sheet with noted preexisting damage, if any.
- When the transportation begins, items will be loaded and secured in a covered box truck using pads and the appropriate packing protocols.
- The restoration process is constantly monitored and you will be informed on the status of your claim before the items are ready to be sent back to your home or business.
When Storms or Floods hit the Big Country, SERVPRO of Abilene is ready!
Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage in the Big Country.
SERVPRO of Abilene specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit the Big Country, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today (325)672-5661
Steps in Fire Restoration
Our fire crews are very pleasant and conscientious.
After the fire trucks leave, your home likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire condition.
Have Questions About Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Today (325)672-5661
Every fire damage event is a little different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage emergency.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
The restoration process begins when you call the local SERVPRO, whose phones are answered 24 hours a day. Our representative will ask a series of questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us dispatch the nearest SERVPRO Franchise Professional with the appropriate equipment and resources.
Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
Our Professionals will carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action.
Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service
Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, the SERVPRO Franchise Professional can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs.
Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. They will then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process.
Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
The SERVPRO Franchise Professionals use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.
Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing
They will clean all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. They’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.
Step 7: Restoration
Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.
Mold on walls and ceiling
Abilene and Big Country residents,
Is MOLD trying to take over your home or business?
Everyone dreads when they look in their basement, under the kitchen sink, or around wet boxes in the garage and see that yellow, green, black, or orange substance. The sinking feeling hits – “I’ve got a mold problem.” While not all mold is bad, some mold can cause health concerns for many people. Any kind of water flooding in your home or business can cause mold to grow --anything from water leaks to varying humidity. The best way to get ahead of Mold is to take precautions. Here are some different signs that your home or business is being over-run by the Mold itself:
-You can visibly see the mold
-Musty odor –indicates mold is present
-Any type of moisture problems that may have -caused mold growth
If you think you have a mold problem, and Mold has taken up residence in your home or business, please call SERVPRO® of Abilene, (325)672-5661. We are always Here to Help!
Abilene Mayoral Race Headed to Runoff
Abilene mayoral hopefuls Robert Briley, Richard Kennedy and Anthony Williams
ABILENE, Texas -- Abilene City Council member Anthony Williams and ex-councilman Robert Briley are heading to a runoff after neither garnered 50 percent of the vote in Saturday's election for mayor.
Williams garnered 5,289 votes (48 percent) compared to Briley's 5,056 votes (46 percent), according to final but unofficial vote totals. 180 House leader Richard Kennedy captured 660 votes (6 percent).
The Abilene City Council will vote on May 15 to decide when the runoff election will be held. Taylor County Elections Administrator Freda Ragan said the tentative date for the runoff is June 17.
Briley said Williams had an advantage by being mayor pro tem, but added that the Church of Christ played a important role in Saturday's outcome.
"It was the last precinct again. That’s a memory from Norm [Archibald] because Norm was Church of Christ and then also Anthony was Church of Christ, so they’re going to have a lot of votes," Briley told KTXS.
Meanwhile, Williams said it was his vision for Abilene that earned him the edge over Briley and that he would carry it forward to the runoff election.
Briley and Williams are vying to replace retiring Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald. Archibald has been mayor for 13 years.
Thanks to Doug Myers & Veronica Soto/KTXS News
Restoring Your Big Country Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event
Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges
Flooding and water damage events at Big Country commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of Abilene
SERVPRO of Abilene specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
For Immediate Service in the Big Country, Call SERVPRO
Big Country Residents: We provide immediate service day or night!
SERVPRO of Abilene provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in the Big Country. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.
- 24-Hour Emergency Service
- Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
- Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
- A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
- Locally Owned and Operated
- Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment
Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 –
Whether your Big Country home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us. Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:
- Water Damage Restoration
- Fire Damage Restoration
- Mold Remediation
- Storm Damage Restoration
- Cleaning Services
- Building/Reconstruction Services
There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your Big Country commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business.