A Pipe Burst? Bad News for Homeowners

Posted on January 29, 2021.

Burst pipes usually happen in the winter due to freezing water. So, keep your heat on and your water flowing. Do not reduce your heat in any area where pipes are located. If there is heat, pipes will not freeze. If you are leaving town for an extended period, have someone monitor your house. 

 

Tips to prevent freezing pipes. 

 

  • Set up a ventilation system like fans to keep warm air blowing into cold rooms. 
  •  Open your bathroom vanity doors or cabinet doors so that the pipes have access to warm air and will not freeze. 
  •  Opening doors is true for pantries and closets as well. If you have pipes hidden in pantries and closets, leave the doors open so that warm air has access, and the pipes will not freeze. 
  •  Disconnect hoses to outdoor faucets. They must not have hoses on them or they will freeze. This includes hoses graded for outdoor frosts as well.  Make sure you detach the hose, drain the water, and then close the faucets. Be sure to shut off the valve completely. 
  •  Keep your garage door closed. It seems simple enough but garage doors being left open on accident is a common cause of many pipe bursts. 
  •  Use a hairdryer if you recognize a freezing pipe. You can warm a freezing pipe and then run water through it to mitigate the damage.   

 A pipe bursts in your home, now what?   

 You will want to take quick steps to mitigate any damage if you find a burst pipe in your home. Call the plumber immediately.  It may take hours for them to get to you, depending on your location and their schedule. If safe to do so, shut off the water supply and electricity. Do not wade into the water for fear of electrocutionOpen faucets to relieve pressure from the main and any water in the pipes. Start bailing water with a mop and buckets or a shop vacuum.  The House Wire has a good blog on how to use a shop vac. Set up fans to increase ventilation. 

Call a restoration company like ServiceMaster.  We are water damage restoration experts. Check out our information here. 

If you have a burst pipe in your home, ServiceMaster technicians are the professionals to call after the plumber to help clean it up.  We deal with water damage on a regular basis.  You will not be disappointed by the service you receive from ServiceMaster.  Call us today. 


Damage to Your Home? 15 Questions to Ask

Posted on January 22, 2021.

Before Hiring Restoration Technicians to fix damage to your home, you should ask these 15 questions. 

If you are looking for a restoration technician, odds are you have had some bad luck with water, fire, mold or some other damage to your home. These are by no means an easy fix, which is why it is important to call in an experienced professional to help fix the damage to your home. 

To make sure that you find the right restoration technician for you, make sure to ask them these 15 questions before they get started. 

Will they work with your insurance? 

You will want someone who will work with your insurance if you intend to file a claim. Working with insurance is not always expected, but it’s sure nice if they do. 

What can I expect, start to finish? 

You will want to know exactly what the project is going to look like from start to finish, and who is responsible for what aspectsIf sheetrock needs to come down, are you responsible for finding someone to finish and tape it back up? 

How long have you been in business? 

It is important to understand the history of the technician before they begin. You are going to want an experienced technician who is well-versed in their field and has shown success during their time as a technician. 

Have you worked on similar projects in the past? 

You would not want a technician who has not worked on fire damage before, so ask about their previous experience and see if they have the experience and knowledge necessary to fix the damage. 

Do they have any before and after photos of previous work? 

Just like with a home remodeler or any other home project that you are outsourcing, asking to see some actual pictures of their previous work is a good way to find the right technician for you. 

What do you charge? 

While most restoration technicians will charge similar amounts across the board, it’s still a good idea to compare prices. A small price differential may be the difference in deciding between to similarly reviewed and experienced technicians. 

Do you have certifications? 

A technician with an impressive array of certifications will certainly be a better option than one who does not. 

Do you have references? 

Like seeing before and after photographs, speaking with a prior client or two will bring you a sense of peace about the job you are embarking upon. 

What tools and equipment will you be using? 

It is your home after all, and it is nice to know what exactly the process will look like and what types of equipment the technician will be using. 

What times are you available? 

If you prefer to be home when the technician is working on your home, then make sure their schedule allows for that. 

When will you be able to start? 

Is the damage to the point where it needs to be fixed ASAP? Then make sure that the technician can get to work soon to make your home right again. 

When will the restoration be finished? 

Do you need the restoration to be finished by a certain date? Like asking when they can start, make sure they’ll give you reasonable estimates for completion. 

Do you have any guarantees? What about a warranty? 

Home restoration can be tricky, so it stands to reason that you have a few safety nets available in case things go awry. 

Will they work with other contractors? 

Do they have all the necessary staff on their employment, or will they be subcontracting some of the work? You will want to know who is going to be in your home at any given time. 

Can they give you any suggestions on who to call for other problems in your home? 

If you have any other issues with your home, ask if they have some referrals for who might be able to fix that damage. If you liked their work, it’s likely that you’ll like their referral’s work as well. 

Call ServiceMaster for Your Home Restoration Needs 

Whatever the problem is in your home, ServiceMaster is the solution. We are proud to be certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the world’s leading restoration Standards Developing Organization (SDO). We have also been certified as a Lead-Safe Certified Firm by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is no disaster too big or too small for our experts to handle. Whether it is one room or a total loss, we are here to assist. 

We do not just work with homes either. If your office is in need of restoration, ServiceMaster has you covered there as well. Call us today or send us a message and we will be happy to get started on making your home or office good as new. Damage to your home needs to be repaired and you can count on us to do a good job. 

 

This is an updated blog.  You can read the original, published on October 16, 2018. Here. 


What to Do if You Have a Flooded Basement

Posted on November 20, 2020.

grey couch floating in a house flood

 

You have a flooded basement; what do you do now?  The EPA estimates that water leaks from homes in the US can exceed over one trillion gallons per year costing the average homeowner $7,000. Many people are under the false assumption that basement flooding is a normal, almost inevitable part of owning a home and that it is something they will just have to “deal with” when it happens to them. As a result of this assumption, homeowners often ignore signs of basement leaking/flooding in hopes that the issue will resolve itself in a matter of days or weeks.

This may not sound like a bad call (after all, it’s just a small leak, right?), but this nonchalant mindset can have serious consequences. First, ignoring water damage can lead to much larger, costlier repairs down the road. Second, water damage from a flooded basement can also pose a serious health risk to you and your loved ones. Moist places, like a flooded basement, are perfect breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and bacteria – all of which can be dangerous to your family’s health.

If your basement experiences even the smallest of floods, it is crucial you have the problem addressed right away. To do so effectively, you should be familiar with the common causes of basement flooding as well as the steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.  Knowing the common causes, and steps to take will ensure the issue does not continue to worsen. Flooded basements are no fun!

Common Causes of Basement Flooding:

  • Heavy rains
  • Home plumbing failures
  • Sump Pump failures
  • Groundwater flooding
  • Insufficient flooring and wall sealing
  • Obstructed gutter system
  • Overfilled eaves troughs
  • Inadequate landscaping-the slope drains toward the home
  • An inefficient or improperly installed drainage system
  • Unfavorable construction site (e.g. built on a bad slope)
  • Water seeping from the ground into the basement

Stay Safe and Minimize Damage by Following These Steps

  1. Call the experts at ServiceMaster to request emergency water extraction and/or mold remediation service. We are available 24/7 and will be out to your property as quickly as possible.
  2. Double-check that all power around your basement (including gas and electricity) is turned off. Do not under any circumstances enter the basement until you have double-checked that the power is off.  Failing to do so could result in electrocution. Continue to refrain from touching electrical appliances in the basement even after you have shut off the electricity.
  3. If you are unsure whether the power has been turned off, contact a local electrician before you enter the flooded area.
  4. Wear boots, gloves, and long-sleeved clothing to protect yourself from potentially harmful contaminants in the water.  Always walk carefully to avoid slipping.
  5. If you’re able to pinpoint the source of water (e.g. a burst pipe), shut off the water to the basement right away.
  6. Direct children and pets to a safe area outside the home. Do not allow them to go near the flooded basement.
  7. Move personal belongings and damaged items out of the basement to a safe, dry, and well-ventilated area to prevent further damage.
  8. If your flood is fairly minor in scope you can try to start removing some of the water by using a sump pump, wet/dry vacuum, pool pump, or a good old-fashioned mop and bucket. This will take quite a bit of time; you likely will not be able to remove all the moisture yourself.  This means your basement is still a welcoming environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Therefore, we recommend you wait for our experts to arrive. We will put our industrial water extraction equipment to work for you. It is faster, far more thorough, and we will utilize our extensive mold remediation experience.  Our experience will ensure all traces of mold and mildew are eliminated.

ServiceMaster Is Here to Help 24/7

If you have noticed a leak or flood in your basement, call ServiceMaster.  You can request our emergency water damage restoration service right away. No disaster – be it water, fire, smoke, mold, or anything else – is too big or too small for our experienced, certified restoration team to handle. To learn more about our comprehensive disaster restoration services or to speak with one of our friendly experts about a potential water problem in your basement or any other room of your home, contact us online today.

 

This is an updated blog.  The original was published on January 25th, 2017, and can be found here.


Water Damage in Iowa: ServiceMaster Helps for Six Weeks!

Posted on October 13, 2020.

 

Water damaged their homes. Waiting was the hardest part. In the uncomfortable aftermath of straight-line winds racing through your neighborhood at over 110 mph, blowing your roof off, and disturbing the contents of your home, waiting. Waiting and knowing that someone is coming to help clear out the damage and restore your home.

Mold grows quickly.

Mold begins to grow rapidly. The power is out and the humidity is nearly unbearable. The air is generally just heavy, and your spirits are downtrodden. Not knowing when someone can come to help is the worst part, waiting. Waiting for someone to help your home damaged by water.

Water damage in Cedar Rapids, Iowa kept ServiceMaster busy this August. The news companies called the storm a derecho. ServiceMaster sent five crew members for an entire six weeks, the rest of the team transferred back-and-forth with a week on and then a week off. There were not enough contractors in the area to help with all the damage from the storms.

The clients were so relieved to see ServiceMaster.

The residents the crews helped were grateful for the service and the crew members were so happy to be helpful. It is a lot of work going through personal possessions and archiving and taking pictures of everything as an inventory for everything damaged for your insurance company, but the crews from Minneapolis were happy to be of help.

One woman called and had been waiting for a company from Florida who never showed up, she was locked up in just part of her home because she had partially working lungs. She was so grateful she cried when the team arrived that same day and started enlarging her living space.

That is a thing, believe it or not. You stay in your home when it is damaged. Sometimes you do not stay in the damaged home, but these people did. They just worked around everything that was sopping wet until the contractors could come and help them.

A great job was done in Iowa.

All said and done, the team helped 28 homes plus one condominium complex with 12 units in just six weeks.

Above, you will see a photo of a customer’s roof that had been completely blown off. ServiceMaster had to deconstruct the entire interior of their home. In the days following the storm, the rain continued to fall, and this customer needed to keep rainwater out of their home to prevent additional water damage. Servicemaster crews are not roofers, but all of the roofing companies in the area were booked for the next few months. The ServiceMaster crew had to devise a way to protect this customer’s home from rainwater until a contractor could rebuild their roof, so the crew framed up a roof and tarped it. This repair was very effective, and the homeowner was ecstatic.

 

You can contact ServiceMaster if water damage, large or small hits your home.


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