Winter brings with it not only sub-freezing temperatures but also unique plumbing problems. In turn, these plumbing issues often lead to flooding. Taking preventative measures can help to prevent costly damage to your home this coming winter.
Protect Outdoor Pipes
As you can imagine, outdoor water pipes are extremely susceptible to freezing solid. Water expands as it freezes, and this expansion can create cracks in the pipes.
While the pipe is frozen, you might not notice that anything is wrong. However, once the pipe thaws, it will leak, and that leaking can lead to outdoor flooding. Flooding around your home can damage the foundation and, eventually, your home’s structure. Because of that, it’s important to prevent these frozen pipes and deal with them quickly if they do occur.
Above-ground pipes are much more prone to freezing compared to underground water lines. To prevent frozen, above-ground pipes in your yard, turn off the valves that supply the spigots. Since you will likely not be using water outdoors for the next several months, these valves do not need to be open. If they are, they could cause a lot of harm. Next, open the spigot to allow any water to drain out. Finally, insulate the outdoor pipes with inexpensive, foam pipe insulation.
Use Indoor Pipes
While indoor pipes are less likely to freeze, it does happen. The flooding from these burst pipes can be catastrophic. If water doesn’t flow when you open a faucet, that could be the first indication that an interior pipe is frozen, and you should contact a plumber as soon as possible to detect potential damage. Indoor pipes that are most likely to freeze run through or near uninsulated exterior walls.
To help prevent frozen indoor pipes, you can leave a faucet dripping. Running water will not freeze. Also, leave kitchen and bathroom cabinets open to allow warm air in. Typically, these steps only need to be taken overnight or when you are away during the day and the thermostat is turned down. You may also want to leave certain faucets running if you go out of town.
Contact Water Damage Professionals
If a pipe has already frozen and burst, you could be faced with water damage. A water damage specialist, like those at Servpro of Beaufort County, can extract the water and quickly dry the area with specialized equipment. If there are structural elements in your home that have been damaged and must be removed, like walls, your water repair company will either fix it for you or help you contact a contractor who can help you.
Keeping your home dry prevents mold growth. Toxic mold can quickly spread throughout a damp environment. Mold spores can become a serious health hazard if flood water is not removed and dried immediately.
Flooding around the exterior of your home can undermine your foundation. Furthermore, frozen water under your foundation expands, which can crack the concrete.
Floods can also create a termite-friendly environment. Once spring warms the ground, that frozen flood water melts and can saturate the wood siding and framing of your home. Termites love damp wood, making your home a target. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent damage while you wait for a professional to come take care of your home.
Remove All Property
One of the first things you can do either on your own or with the help of a water damage restoration company is to remove all of your property from the flooded space. For instance, you will want to remove furniture and rugs, but you should also remove things like carpet and even some damaged drywall. The sooner you are able to get everything out, the less likely water is going to sit on it for too long and cause mold
Air Out the Area
If you hire a water damage restoration company, they will come out to your house with several large industrial-sized fans that can be used to air out your space. The whole goal of getting the fans going as soon as possible is to mitigate any mold from forming and to get things taken care of before they turn worse. However, you can start this process even before they get there.
If the weather outside is good, open windows to allow a light breeze through. If you have fans in the house, put them in the flooded area to help encourage evaporation. If you have carpet, you can tear up the carpet and place the fans underneath to help air it out and get everything circulating.
While you may need an electrical outlet to run a fan, if your outlets are exposed to water or have been exposed to water, they may put you at risk of an electrical fire. Try to disconnect all outlets in the flood zone or simply cut power to those rooms. Then run a waterproof extension cord from another room through your house to a fan to start the drying process.
Taking the proper steps to prevent frozen, burst pipes and flooding this winter can prevent costly damage to your home. If pipes do freeze, make sure you address the issue as quickly as possible to prevent further issues. Contact a water remediation company as soon as possible and do what you can to get rid of the standing water. If there has been a flood or similar natural disaster that left many homes flooded in your area, it may take some time before the professionals can reach you. By knowing what to do ahead of time, you can help protect yourself, your family, and your home.