Broken pipes – Causes and ways to prevent them
If you have a burst pipe in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Cudahy/St. Francis. We are Here to help.
While we’re pretty sure it’s only November, the temperatures outside say otherwise. As our wind chills dip below zero, what comes to mind is how to protect our homes and businesses from those frigid temperatures.
When you have pipes in your home or business that are exposed to the cold temperatures, the water in them can freeze. When water freezes it expands, which causes wear and tear to your pipes over time. When the water thaws and full pressure is applied, that is what causes the pipe to burst. Water damage from a burst pipe can cause significant damage to your home or business. There are some things we can do as homeowners and business owners to protect our pipes that are most vulnerable to cold temperatures.
- Keep your heat on
- While this may seem pretty obvious, make sure your heat is set to at least 50 degrees. A lot of homes suffer this type of water damage when they are away for a long period of time. Also, it’s a good idea to have a friend or family member check on your home periodically while you are away.
- Allow your faucet to drip
- If temperatures have plummeted and you are concerned about a pipe freezing, let the faucet drip slightly as that will relieve pressure from the pipe.
- Keep interior doors open
- -If you have concerns that the pipes under your sink could be exposed to the cold temperatures, open your cabinet doors to allow the heat in your home to get to them easier and keep them warm.
- Seal up cracks and holes
- If you have any gaps or holes around pipes where they run through walls or floors, seal those gaps with caulk or spray foam insulation.
- Add insulation if needed, especially in basements or attics.
If you have a pipe burst in your home, know where your water shutoff is and turn it off as soon as possible to prevent additional damage. Give SERVPRO of Cudahy/St. Francis right away so we can get out to your home or business sooner than later so we can get the water cleaned up. Also, give your insurance agent a call and notify them of the damage and find out whether your policy covers the damage. We work with several insurance companies, agents and adjusters so we can help communicate between all parties involved. We will get your home or business back up and running “Like it never even happened.”
Tips to prevent a fire in your home
Fires can happen any time of year, but the chances go up significantly in the winter. Cooking, smoking, heating equipment, electrical problems and candles are some of the top causes for home fires. Below are some safety measures that you can take as a homeowner to help prevent fires and keep you and your family safe.
Cooking is the #1 cause of home fires and is responsible for almost half of home fires in the U.S. These rates can more than double on Thanksgiving. Never leave food unattended while it’s cooking and if you have to leave the room, turn off the burner. Keep all flammable materials away from cooking areas and keep a metal lid hand to smother grease fires. Putting water on a grease fire will cause it to explode. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and if a fire does occur, get out of the house as fast as possible and call 911.
Smoking is the #1 cause of fire deaths, most commonly occurring in a bedroom or living room. If you have to smoke, do it outside, use deep wide ash trays and pour water over them to fully extinguish. Never leave a burning cigarette unattended.
Heating equipment, such as a space heater, cause 2 of every 5 fires and another 1/3 are caused by fireplaces/chimneys. If you choose to use a space heater, keep it at least 3 feet away from anything flammable and 3 feet away from children. Turn off when you leave a room or when you go to sleep. If you have a fireplace, make sure to use a screen in front of it. You should also have your fireplace/chimney professionally cleaned once a year.
In 2014, over 500 people were killed by electrical fires caused by faulty wiring, outdated appliances or malfunctioning lighting equipment. Make sure you don’t overload an outlet. If you are using a heat producing appliance such as a space heater or toaster, plug it directly into an outlet by itself. You should never use an extension cord or power strip. If you have any electrical work that needs to be done, hire a professional. Also, all of your outdoor, bathroom, kitchen, garage and basement outlets should be protected with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) which will cut off electrical circuits when they become shock hazards. If you notice frequent blown fuses, discolored, warm or sparking outlets or burning smells coming from any appliances, call an electrician right away.
Between 2009-2013, 9,300 homes fires occurred due to candles. This resulted in $374 million in property damage. 1/3 of these fires happened in a bedroom. Never leave a candle unattended. Blow them out if you leave a room or go to sleep. Never leave kids alone with a candle and keep it at least a foot away from anything flammable. Alternatively, you can use flameless, battery operated candles or flashlights if you lose power.
There are so many things we can do to help prevent fires, but sometimes they can still happen. SERVPRO of Cudahy/St. Francis can help you with the next steps. Even if you are looking for a shoulder to lean on or advice, we can help point you in the right direction. We know how devastating and emotional a fire in your home can be and we are always here to help.
Check those smoke detectors
Every home should have smoke detectors installed. According to the Residential Fire Safety Institute, over 92% of dwellings in the U.S. have at least one smoke detector, however one third of these alarms no longer work.
While smoke detectors are fairly low maintenance, there are a few things that we need to remind ourselves to do.
- Check the batteries in your smoke detectors one a year or even every 6 months.
- Vacuum alarms at least once a year to remove dust, a big contributor to faulty alarms.
- Make sure to replace them once every 10 years as the sensors can go bad over time.
The locations of smoke alarms are also important. You want to make sure that you hear the alarm and can respond quickly.
- Outside each bedroom area
- In each bedroom
- On every level in your home
It would also be advantageous to keep a fire extinguisher in your home which could prevent something small from becoming a much bigger issue. You can always count on SERVPRO of Cudahy/St. Francis to provide you with the tips you need to keep you and your family safe.
Staying safe during a thunderstorm
We love hearing hear that thunder rolling in ahead of a big thunderstorm. I’m sure we’re all guilty of going out on our porches to watch the clouds, thunder and lighting roll in. Unfortunately, this can be one of several dangerous things to do as exciting as it may be. Here are some things you should never do in a thunderstorm.
- Don’t stand out in the open (golf courses, porches)
- Taking a shower during a thunderstorm can be dangerous. If the house gets hit by lightning, the bolt can travel through water pipes and electrify you.
- Don’t touch a concrete structure. Often times concrete and buildings tend to have metal wires or bars through them.
- Don’t stand under wooden object such as a tree. Lighting can jump from tree to tree because humans conduct electricity more than trees can.
- You also shouldn’t lie down. You would think this might be safe as standing under a tree for example can be dangerous. Even from 100 feet away, the electric current from lighting that runs on the top of the ground can be deadly. You should crouch down in a ball and tuck your head cover your ears with your hands.
- Never leave your pet outside. It is just as dangerous for them to be outside as a human. A doghouse is no safer. Bring pets inside.
- Never touch anything wet as water conducts electricity.
- If someone near you has been hit by lightning, don’t be afraid to help them. You can’t be electrocuted if you touch someone who has been, humans cannot store electricity.
- Don’t stand near a window as windows and doors may contain metal parts that can conduct electricity.
- Finally, never go outside directly after a storm. You should wait at least 30 minutes.
These are some helpful things to remember to keep you, friends and family safe during a thunderstorm.