Pipes that (Usually) Freeze First
When pipes freeze, they create havoc that is time consuming and expensive.
Your home is full of all kinds of pipes, including fresh water pipes that supply your bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, and more. These fresh water pipes are under pressure, and if they freeze up, they can burst and create a huge mess that must be cleaned up quickly.
You might have heard some say that hot water freezes faster than cold water. If you do a quick Google search, you will see all types of references to this topic. You might have seen videos of people throwing hot water up in freezing air and it freezes instantly, creating ice crystals. But no matter what you personally believe, one thing is accepted as true among many disaster restoration professionals:
Hot water pipes freeze and break faster than cold water pipes.
This statement isn’t based simply on water temperature. It’s based on the makeup of the water, and some studies show that hot water contains more dissolved gasses, and those chemical particles crystalize first.
Many restoration professionals will tell you that they have been on many water damage jobs where the hot water pipe was broken and spraying water, while the cold water pipe was fine.
And at the same time, many have experienced hot water spigots doing nothing while their cold water companions, just within inches of each other, work just fine.
There are many articles about what is called the “Mpemba” effect, that warm water freezes faster than cold water. While it makes for interesting reading, the main takeaway for you is to make sure that no pipes in your home ever freeze.
You can do this with some planning. The best solution is to make sure your pipes are wrapped with heat tape or insulation, combined with ensuring no cold drafts are allowed into walls or cavities in your home. Another preventive step to take is when the temperatures really dip into the sub-zero range, and especially if you have had pipes freeze in the past, consider allowing them to drip during extended times of not being used. Yes, this will run up your water bill a bit, but it is definitely cheaper than a devastating pipe break and resulting flooding.
But if the unthinkable does occur, and a pipe breaks and damages your home, do the right thing. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Prepare for Spring Flooding
At the end of every winter, we might forget about the previous spring rains and subsequent flooding that might have occurred in the area.
But when unrelenting rain starts to fall, one thing you don’t want to experience is regret in not being prepared, whether it is from leaks related to your roofing, windows, or the possibility of a flooded basement.
While those might seem like minor issues, when they happen to you, they quickly move up to disastrous. Making sure your home is safe, secure, and devices like your sump pump (if you have a basement) are in good condition.
But when heavy rains hit your area, and flooding is a possibility, the website ready.gov has some great advice for your preparedness plan.
Make a plan
This is important to do in advance, as when an emergency strikes you will be in panic mode. Have a discussion with family members, about what you will do, where you will go, where you might meet up if separated and mobile phones are not working.
Be sure to discuss your pets as well and have a plan for them. Human life is invaluable, and we feel the same way about our pets.
Have a written list of important phone numbers in case your cell phone loses charge or isn’t functioning.
Build a ‘go-kit’
Have the necessities in a backpack or other easy-to-grab bag. Necessities include documents, such as birth certificates, passports, legal documents, and other papers you should not lose. Having some cash is important in the event credit cards can’t be used.
Clothing, medications, and other necessities should also be in your ‘go-kit’ supplies.
Basically, think about what you simply can’t go without for several days if you have to be out of your home.
Check your insurance policy
Now is the time to make sure you have coverage for natural disasters that might strike your home. Don’t assume. Ask your insurance agent and make sure you have it spelled out clearly in your policy. Not all natural events are covered by regular homeowner policies.
But if the unthinkable does happen to your home, and it becomes damaged by any disaster event, do the right thing and get it all fixed quickly — and safely. Doing the cleanup yourself can expose you to future potential hazards. Call your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Cleaning Soot from Surfaces
Soot is a residue that can be on any surface in your home. It can come from sources such as your furnace system, a fireplace, candles you burn, and other combustible sources that don’t burn clean.
Some soot is dangerous, such as from a fire or furnace puff-back. Skin contact with these types of soot should be avoided, as they may contain hydrocarbons that are classified as human carcinogens. Outdoor soot is even regulated by the EPA, classified as a criteria pollutant.
Soot is usually handled by restoration professionals as it is often a by-product of a disaster event, although it may be minor, such as extra smoke from a fireplace.
But many types of soot, such as found in your kitchen or from candles, light soot, can be handled with regular restorative cleaning. Just be smart when deciding to clean soot from surfaces. Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment is a must when restoration pros do it, so keep that in mind and wear protective gloves, eye protection, and anything you need to keep the soot residues off of your skin and out of your lungs.
The first step with soot is with simply dry wiping. It may come off the surface easily, especially if the surface is non-permeable. You will still need to wet clean that surface for final residue.
Most likely, the soot needs to be cleaned with hot water and detergent, since it is often greasy. Applying some detergent solution and allowing approximately 10 minutes of dwell time should loosen the soot and you can wipe it away. There are also special cleaning products for soot-type greasy soils. The same cleaning principles would apply.
But if the soot is on a vertical surface, your approach needs to be more careful. Clean from the bottom and move up, just a few inches at a time. If you start at the top and work down, any wet residue that runs down the wall may create permanent stains. So manage the moisture and soot removal from the bottom going up, and you won’t have this issue.
If, after cleaning, soot stains remain, it may be time to think of repainting.
Of course, soot cleaning is really something that restoration pros can handle. Do the right thing. Call your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!