Recent Water Damage Posts

WHY PIPES FREEZE AND BURST IN THE WINTER

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage WHY PIPES FREEZE AND BURST IN THE WINTER Cast iron radiators were commonly found in homes and buildings built prior to the 1950s.

There are several types of water pipes in a typical home or commercial establishment.  Newer homes built within the past 20 years are more likely to have plastic freshwater supply lines.  The plastic material is moderately resistant to freezing, but once it does freeze, it bursts easily. Copper water supply lines were commonly used in the mid-twentieth century and are still frequently found in homes and businesses.  These supply lines are setup with either 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch piping.  The smaller the piping, the quicker it freezes. 

The OLDER homes in the area, pre-1900 to about 1950, have cast iron pipes. If you have an older home with a boiler heating system, you have radiators like the ones pictured. These radiators are supplied with hot water through cast iron piping that circles the perimeter of the house.  If the boiler ever fails, these pipes are vulnerable to freezing.  One remedy for this is the injection of glycol antifreeze into the system.  Check your system to make sure it is adequately protected.  

When pipes get cold, ice crystals can form inside the pipes, causing them to force a water blockage.  If the pipes freeze solid, also known as a “hard” freeze, the ice crystals will expand inside the pipe, causing a split or rupture.   It doesn't matter what kind of piping it is, if the water freezes completely inside the piping, it WILL burst.   

When the water supply is on, it is pressurized (which is why water comes out when you turn on a faucet.) Once a pipe bursts, water will gush out, causing damage to walls, insulation, flooring, and valuable personal property.  For every minute water is running through a fresh water pipe, it will spew out 3-5 gallons of water.   That is about 200 gallons an hour!  You can see how little time it takes water to do a tremendous amount of damage to your property.

If you do discover frozen pipes before a burst has occurred take the following precautions.

  1. Turn the water supply OFF.  It is usually a lever or knob coming up from a water supply pipe coming up into your home.
  2. Turn your furnace up to 75 degrees.
  3. Open all faucet valves, hot and cold.
  4. Put fans around the house to circulate warm air, directing the warm air into areas where the piping may be frozen.
  5. If necessary, place space heaters in the frozen areas.  

Turn on the water supply briefly for a few minutes - enough time to check the faucets to see if they are running.  If not, turn off the water supply and try again once an hour.

If you have a burst pipe, do NOT leave the water on.  Call SERVPRO of The Twin Ports to get immediate assistance in dealing with the residual moisture.

If you see water where it should not be, it IS an emergency situation. SERVPRO of The Twin Ports is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to any emergency in the Duluth-Superior area.

5 Ways to Fix and Prevent Frozen Pipes

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Bitterly cold temperatures wreaked havoc on much of the country last week. Unfortunately, not everyone made it through without experiencing frozen pipes—us included!

Here are 5 things that we’ve learned about fixing and preventing frozen pipes:

  1. Pipes don’t always freeze in the same spot. Just because a particular pipe hasn’t been prone to freezing in the past doesn’t mean that it won’t freeze this year, particularly after a week of sustained cold.

  2. A hairdryer doesn’t always do the trick. It’s a good starting point, but sometimes pipes are simply too frozen for this strategy to be effective.

  3. The biggest challenge is when pipes freeze behind a wall. Unlike exposed pipes, pipes that freeze behind a wall are difficult to treat. Try cranking the heat to warm the room. Otherwise, unless you want to start poking holes in the wall, you’ll probably need to call a plumber.

  4. A plumber with a thaw machine will be your savior. A thaw machine shoots electricity through frozen pipes to melt blockages in minutes—and many plumbers have them.

  5. Running the water will keep pipes from re-freezing. This isn’t just an old wives’ tale! Letting faucets drip during cold spells is the only effective way to prevent pipes from freezing.

Do you Struggle With Water Damage on Your Duluth Property?

10/31/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Do you Struggle With Water Damage on Your Duluth Property? Water damage at your location can prevent a home or a business from feeling comfortable and smelling clean. Contact SERVPRO to remediate.

Remediating Water Damage in the Duluth Area

With the recent changes in the economy, Duluth residents are taking the risk and starting their businesses. Many are repurposing closed properties as their new place of business. That can save start-up owners higher rents, but when a plumbing failure happens, it can shut down the new business permanently unless they can quickly repair the damage.
 
In this situation, remediating Duluth water damage means speed. For SERVPRO, that means removing the water with pumps and extraction wands is only the beginning. The key tasks for us are to lower the inside humidity and dry the facility as rapidly as possible without accidentally causing secondary damage.
 
Our technicians start by setting up dehumidifiers. The industrial machines we use can remove 25 gallons of water from the surrounding air each day, depending on how much moisture is present. To augment their effectiveness, we also set up box fans at the entrances and exits to pull the damp air inside and force out it of the building.
 
With the devices in place, SERVPRO team members begin drying the floor and walls. They finish the floor with mops and squeegees to push any trace amounts of water off the surface and out the nearest door. To speed up the process, they also install air movers at key points to direct warm, dry air across floors. We use the same devices to force air across walls and other surfaces to force out moisture, so it is either captured by the dehumidifiers or drawn outside by the fans.
 
At the same time, other team members examine building material for damage. If there are any drywall or sheetrock panels, we recommend replacing them if they have already begun crumbling while still in place on the wall framing.
 
If wood support structures were affected, it might be necessary for our restoration specialists to sand down surfaces that cracked or split due to the excessive water. For interior wall framing, we can replace damaged pieces. If major supports were affected, the business owner needs to bring in a general contractor.
 
As a locally owned office, SERVPRO of The Twin Ports understands the needs of small and large businesses to stay open for every customer. If you need our services, call us today at (218) 727-2575. We are here for you.

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Leaky Pipes Can Require Professional Restoration In Your Duluth Home

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Leaky Pipes Can Require Professional Restoration In Your Duluth Home When water damage occurs steadily over time, there are many severe concerns that a homeowner should have once the problem gets discovered.

Professional Restoration In Your Home

As most Duluth homeowners already know, the winter months can wreak havoc on indoor and outdoor plumbing fixtures throughout your home. Even with insulation, the sometimes extreme temperature drops can penetrate this covering and adversely affect the water within the pipes to warp or distort the plumbing connections, fixtures, or joints. The trouble is, many of these problems persist in areas that could get hidden within walls, or tucked away under a sink in the kitchen with a cabinet you rarely open.

With all of the places in your plumbing that could get disconnected or loosened over the years, water damage is somewhat of an inevitability for many Duluth residents. When water damage occurs steadily over time, there are many severe concerns that a homeowner should have once the problem gets discovered.

One of the initial things that a homeowner is going to need to focus on is the effect that this persistent leaking connection has had on the structural integrity of materials within that area. For example, a leak under the sink over time can oversaturate the cabinetry, and that persistent dampness could degrade the material to the point of requiring removal altogether. Our SERVPRO team can assess the integrity of nearby materials to assess their ability to get restored along with the cleanup and drying processes.

Another concern with a situation like a leak within the walls of your home is identifying exactly where the problem is and limiting the tear out required to repair the problem and dry up the damage it has caused. SERVPRO technicians have both leak and moisture detection equipment to narrow the search area to a small portion of drywall or paneling to significantly reduce unnecessary tear out that later must get replaced.

While this is a specific example of what could happen following a harsh winter in your home, our SERVPRO of The Twin Ports technicians is available anytime for any emergency that you might face in your residence. You can reach our rapid response team 24/7 by calling (218) 727-2575.

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Common Causes Of Water Damage In Duluth

7/24/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Common Causes Of Water Damage In Duluth Need Water Damage Cleanup and Restoration in Duluth? Call SERVPRO

Duluth Property Owners Rely on SERVPRO for Rapid and Effective Water Extraction

The news is full of catastrophic water events during torrential rains in Duluth and the surrounding area this spring and summer. Damage done by these natural events is significant, but the most common reasons to call for a restoration company are less seasonal and rarely make the news. Water damage is a serious matter regardless of the cause, and our trained crews and up to date equipment return your home to preloss condition.
 
Plumbing lines snake through every wall of your Duluth home, responsible for most of the water damage homeowners face. A tiny crack in a pipe or a loose connection under a cabinet or in the cavities between spaces can deposit slow drips over the course of days or weeks. Eventually, the water deteriorates building materials, signaled by things like a bulge in the wall near a baseboard or peeling paint caused by swelling cellulose fibers. We are very familiar with these signs and have effective strategies to remove the water and dry out the damaged materials.
 
Appliance malfunction is another frequent occurrence that sends water cascading throughout your home. If a water heater cracks or a dishwasher pump fails water from the plumbed supply line continues to flow until you note the problem and shut off the main. This kind of water damage more closely resembles a flood, usually requiring water removal by SERVPRO technicians with pumps and extractors before applied structural drying techniques reduce the moisture content of the nearby building materials, furnishings, and fixtures.
 
Sluggish drain lines, including the main sewer line, force water back up the pipes and into your basement, kitchen, or bathrooms. These scenarios can necessitate water containment as the fluids can contain blood and other waste products with pathogens harmful to health and well being. SERVPRO technicians are trained to differentiate among clean, gray, and black water, with gray and black requiring special handling and disposal according to local hazardous waste rules. After removal of contaminated water, our crew members treat the affected surfaces with EPA registered antimicrobials and dry out the area.
 
High indoor humidity by itself can dampen building materials and cause deterioration. Our area is not known for year-round elevated humidity, but areas of your home exposed to steam like kitchens or bathrooms or overly humidified like a baby’s room can suffer from water vapor-caused damage. Moisture is the missing ingredient to drive dormant mold spores into blooms.
 
SERVPRO technicians take moisture readings of water-damaged materials and the air to plan for proper drying. We use air movers, heaters, and dehumidifiers to move water out of structural elements, into the air as vapor, and then condensed and collected for disposal.
 
SERVPRO of The Twin Ports has the trained technicians and equipment to manage water damage from a broad variety of causes. Call us at (218) 727-2575 when you suspect hidden water damage or if common household glitches create an emergency.

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What Causes Washing Machine Overflow?

3/19/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage What Causes Washing Machine Overflow? Washing Machine Overflow

What Causes Washing Machine Overflow? 
• electrical problem--within the appliance or the house system
• bad pressure switch or faulty half valve
• broken or displaced drainage hose 
• clog in the drain line, or leak in water supply lines leading to substantial amounts of pooling and flowing water.

Why You Must Act Immediately to mitigate damage and expenses. You can rely on SERVPRO® 24/7 
or call for advice at: (218) 727-2575

ELECTRONICS RESTORATION

3/18/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage ELECTRONICS RESTORATION Computers, televisions, stereo equipment, DVD players, computer routers, oscilloscopes, electrical meters, flat bed scanners and industrial electronic

SERVPRO of the Twin Ports utilizes the Omegasonics 2300E® Electronic Cleaning Station effectively and safely restores sensitive electronics, including computers, televisions, stereo equipment, DVD players, computer routers, oscilloscopes, electrical meters, flat bed scanners and industrial electronics, removing all fire damage contaminants without saturating the items in water. Once cleaned, items are placed into the Omegasonics 6500E® Electronic Drying Chamber, a state-of-the-art system that thoroughly dries and deodorizes electronics using a low-temperature, high-volume updraft drying design.

Flooded Office Duluth

2/25/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flooded Office Duluth Check the office After

Flooded Office Duluth


This office building was flooded and suffered major water damage. We dried it out quickly to avoid any mold damage. When a natural disaster strikes it can be all too easy to lose hope in light of severe damage and loss. Whether it’s a tornado, blizzard or flood – the SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help fast. 

Flooding in this Duluth office building

2/25/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flooding in this Duluth office building Flooded office at 2:00 am

Catastrophic flooding resulted in water damage in Duluth. We came after a distraught 2:00 am Thursday call came in. Upon their arrival to office, our Technicians arrived within an hour, vacuumed out the water, and began drying out their offices. We did have to rebuild the offices, and ended up with new selections and materials from their original, with the customers loving their new kitchen. 

Get rid of Ice Dams

2/8/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Get rid of Ice Dams Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble.

Ice Dams Damage

Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble. That's because the same conditions that allow icicles to form—snow-covered roofs and freezing weather—also lead to ice dams: thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. When that happens, the results aren't pretty: peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. Not to mention soggy insulation in the attic, which loses R-value and becomes a magnet for mold and mildew. 

Consult with our equipped professionals on (218)727-2575. We are here to help anytime. 

Winter Ice Dams: Cause, Effects, and Prevention

2/5/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Winter Ice Dams: Cause, Effects, and Prevention What Causes Ice Dams?

Ice Dams

What Causes Ice Dams?


Ice dams form when melting ice and snow refreeze above the eaves of your roof and subsequent melting backs up under the shingles. This causes interior leaks and water damage to interior walls and ceilings.

Preventing Ice Dams

Proper ventilation, drainage, and insulation are the only ways to prevent ice dams and can be achieved in the following ways:
  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris
  • Check and seal places where warm air could leak from your house to the attic: vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches and light fixtures are all possibilities
  • Inspect, or have your roof and attic inspected for proper ventilation and insulation
  • Look for signs of inadequate ventilation: rust spots, rusty nails or a mildew smell are all signals that moisture has formed on the inside of your roof
  • If you have soffit vents in your eaves, make sure they are not blocked and insulation surrounding them is secured so that air can flow easily
  • Keep snow from accumulating on the lower three to six feet of your roof


Additional Steps

  • Install snow and ice slides to prevent ice and snow from "bonding" to the lower roof
  • Install a rubberized ice and water shield beneath the roof shingles for the first three to six feet from the eaves up
  • Install heating cable along the eaves to melt ice


Removing Ice Dams

  • Consult a roofing professional
  • Do not use a snow blower, shovel or blowtorch to try to chip, break or melt ice dams

TIPS to prevent frozen pipes.

1/12/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage TIPS to prevent frozen pipes. How to prevent frozen pipes?

Frigid temperatures can cause your water and heating system piping to burst. If you have a boiler and radiator system, call a plumber and make sure you have the correct mixture of antifreeze and water in your system.

(1) Check to make sure all valves to your garden hose faucets are turned off inside the house. They sometimes freeze from the outside and if water is in the line the piping can burst. 


(2) Don't turn your heat down when you leave home. Exterior walls are especially subject to pipes freezing when it is below zero outside.


(3) If you do have a burst pipe, know where your water shut off is, so you can limit damages. Turn the water main supply OFF if you see water anywhere it should not be.


(4) If you have a water damage issue, act quickly to save your home. Call SERVPRO of the Twin Ports for help.