Thawing a frozen pipe the correct way is crucial to minimizing the damage. In order to thaw a frozen pipe, you need to first determine which pipe or pipes are frozen. You can do this by turning on the faucets, and if no water comes out or only a slight trickles out, then you have a frozen pipe. Before you begin attempting to thaw a frozen pipe, you need to open the faucet that the pipe feeds water into. You need to make sure to open both the hot and cold handles. This then will help relieve pressure in the system, and then will allow the water to escape once you begin to thaw the pipe. When beginning to thaw the pipe, you should always start near the faucet then work your way down to the blockage. This will help ensure that the melting ice and steam is able to escape through the open faucet. If you start the thawing process closer to the blockage, the melting ice could get stuck behind the blockage, creating more pressure in the pipe and increasing the chances the pipe will burst. When it comes to thawing the frozen pipe, you could use a hair dryer, heat lamp or portable space heater, hot towels, or electrical heating tape. If the frozen pipe is enclosed, you will need to either turn the heat up in the property, infrared lamp, or cut out a section of the wall to thaw out the frozen pipe/pipes. Remember NEVER attempt to thaw a pipe using an open flame. This can not only damage the pipe, but it can also start a fire in your property. If the frozen water pipe does burst, the first thing you should do is shut off the main water line into your property. This then will prevent additional water from flowing and damaging your property. Then you will need to call a professional, like SERVPRO, to help fix the problem. Therefore, in order to help prevent frozen pipes make sure to keep the heat on in the home, allow faucets to drip slightly, keep all interior doors open, seal up holes and cracks, add extra insulation, and remove exterior hoses and shut off interior valves feeding those hoses.
Continuing Education Classes
Every year, SERVPRO of Elmhurst provides continuing education in the areas of water, fire and mold mitigation. Education increases the opportunity for the community of professionals responsible for helping you when disaster strikes: The more you informed the community of first responders, the better able to help limit damage, save important personal belongings and control costs during a time of crisis.
At SERVPRO of Elmhurst, we work with adjusters, insurance agents, real estate agents, brokers, home inspectors, and office professionals by providing state-sanctioned Ethics Classes. Raising the bar when it comes to how people are treated especially in the time of need to protect their homes and personal belongings is essential to the insurance claim process.
Our goal is to make it like it never happened. As a recent client said, "the whole clean up and insurance process was as painless as it could have been."
Check in with us on our upcoming classes. We are now offering virtual CE classes!
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is such a huge donation event that happens every year around Christmas time. The mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Program is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. The primary goal is to help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America's less fortunate children.
In order to better execute the program, in 1991 the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation was created at the behest of the Marine Corps. It is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity group. It is governed by a board of directors, all of whom are veteran Marines and successful business leaders from throughout the nation. The foundation's professional staff is headquartered in the Cooper Center, which is located just outside of the Main Gate of Marine Corps Bass about 35 miles south of Washington D.C..
The Marine Toys for Tots Program collected and distributed 19 million toys to 7.3 million less fortunate children in the past year allowing them to experience the joy of Christmas and receive a message of hope that otherwise would not have been there. This community action program took place in over 800 communities covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
We here at SERVPRO of Elmhurst, Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights, and Lagrange Park/N. Riverside, took part in helping donate over 30 toys to 15 different drop off locations this year. We want to help do our part in the community by giving children in need the feeling of joy on Christmas when it comes to unwrapping presents and seeing an awesome toy. This was such a humbling experience for our team, and cannot wait to take part again next year!
You want your business to make as much profit as possible, but you may be losing money without even realizing it. Leaks from damaged pipes, as well as other areas, are a common source of trouble in many buildings. It is important to perform regular inspections to make sure everything is in top condition. Here are a few problems that might end up costing you money.
1. Damaged Roofing
Leaking pipes are not the only potential source of excess water. The roof is an important part of the structure of your business, as it protects you from severe weather and keeps the inside of the building dry. However, if you do not properly maintain your roof, you could end up with a lot of damage. In some cases, the structure of the building may weaken or a mold growth might develop. Make sure to regularly check the condition of your building and perform repairs as needed.
2. Broken Appliances
Another common source of water is from broken appliances. The damage here can range from a small leak to a lot of flooding. One way to prevent this is to test your equipment regularly to ensure it is in proper working condition. As items begin to age and break down, replace them to prevent any significant problems.
3. Pipes and Plumbing
Damaged pipes can sometimes be a hidden source of wasted water and money. If you are not performing regular maintenance, a persistent leak could end up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars in extra water bills. Leaks can also indicate aging pipes that could cause a lot of damage if not replaced.
Performing regular maintenance in your building is a great way to locate problems and prevent big issues from leaks or damaged pipes. If you do experience damage, however, a water restoration company can perform necessary repairs to your building and belongings.
Protecting your home is vital in the winter months. A frozen water pipe can burst and flood your house. An ice dam in your gutter can cause water to seep into and saturate an interior walls of your home. Here is a list from Nationwide insurance that they advise their homeowners on during the winter months to prepare their homes for the cold.
- Clean out the gutters, disconnect and drain all outside hoses. If possible, shut off outside water valves.
- Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Repair roof leaks and remove tree branches that could get weighed down with ice or snow and fall on your house – or your neighbor's. (Avoid liability for the latter.)
- Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
- Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
- If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you're not using it.
- Have a contractor check your roof to see if it would sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.
- Make sure your furniture isn't blocking your home’s heating vents.
- During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
- If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system.
- Avoid ice dams– where water from melted snow refreezes in the gutters and seeps in under the roof, soaking interior walls. Here’s how:
- Ventilate your attic.
- Insulate the attic floor well to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
- Consider having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof covering.
If you do find that you have damage to your home, the Insurance Information Institute has published some tips on what to do in the case of a winter storm and managing the damage to your home.
- Take pictures of the damage immediately. If you have "before" pictures, that's even better. Those pictures will help ensure that your insurer cannot claim that the problem was preexisting.
- Make temporary repairs to keep the damage from getting worse but hold on to all of your receipts.
- Don't make pricey repairs before the insurance adjuster arrives.
- Don't assume something is not covered. Take out your policy. Most weather-related damage like burst pipes, a collapsed roof and ice dams are covered.
- Call a reputable company to come and help with any damages to your home. Choose a company that will work with your insurance company.
SERVPRO of Elmhurst is here to help in your time of need for all your winter storm damage needs. Give us a call at 630-758-1701. We work with your insurance companies to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Lending a helping hand
Residential Fire Damage
We have a really great relationship with our local fire departments, and follow their social media pages. After scrolling through our daily feed, we came across the Addison Fire Department's post about a local fire. What stood out about this post was that our local fire department and other FDs went to help with this major residential fire that took place. The AFPD responded to a house fire, and the smoke detectors did their job by alerting the family of the fire. They were all able to escape safely. They were very thankful for the help from the Wood Dale FPD, Elmhurst FD, and Itasca FPD for coming out to help. The family had told the firefighters that there were two guinea pigs in the home, and they where able to find and save them. They guinea pigs received O2 therapy and vigorous rubbing, and both were successfully resuscitated. The fire started in the basement, and the heat and smoke rose up throughout the house. They enforced to make sure your smoke detectors are working, and the batteries are changed! They also stated to make sure you keep your bedroom doors closed when sleeping, and try not to risk your life to save a pet. That is what the firefighters are for, and they will do their best to rescue them.
The main take away from this message was to always make sure to test your smoke detectors at least once a month, and the batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year. Also, a huge shoutout to our local fire department for helping out a different fire department in order to get everyone out safely, along with the pets.
What can happen after an snow/ice storm
When looking at roofs this winter, icicles hanging along them may look beautiful but can be very dangerous. This is because the icicles forming and snow on the roof can lead to ice dams. This is 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 the building or home. In result, this can lead to peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. Also, soggy insulation in the attic, which loses R-value and becomes a magnet for mold and mildew.
Here are some ways in order to prevent ice dams. The first is to use heated cables. Attach these with clips along the roof's edge in a zigzag pattern, and the heated cables help prevent ice dams that lift shingles and cause leaks. This solution allows you to equalize your roof's temperature by heating it from the outside instead of blowing in cold air from the inside.
Next is to blow in cold air. Hacking away at ice dams with a hammer, chisel, or shovel is BAD for your roof. Also, throwing salt on them will do more harm to your plantings than the ice. Therefore, take a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is actively leaking in. This targeted dose of cold air will freeze the water in its tracks.
You can also rake it by pulling off snow with a long-handled aluminum roof rake while you stand safely on the ground. A rake with wheels will instantly change the exterior temperature of your roof without damaging shingles.
De-icing methods deal with diminishing the damage after the dam has formed. Fill the leg of a discarded pair of panty hose with a calcium chloride ice melter. Lay the hose onto the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. You can use a long-handled garden rake or hoe to push it into position. The calcium chloride will eventually melt through the snow and ice and create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters or off the roof.
Lastly is a permanent fix for ice dams. Getting ride of ice dams for good is simple. Just keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. This is done by increasing the ventilation, adding insulation, and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof.
1. Ventilate Eaves and Ridge
- A ridge vent paired with continuous soffit vents circulates cold air under the entire roof. Both ridge and soffit vents should have the same size openings and proved at least 1 square foot of opening for every 300 square feet of attic floor. Place baffles at the eaves to maintain a clear path for the airflow from the soffit vents.
2. Cap the Hatch
- An unsealed attic hatch or whole-house fan is a massive opening for heat to escape. Cover them with weather stripped caps made from foil-faced foam board held together aluminum tape.
3. Exhaust to the outside
- Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen, bathroom, and dryer vents all lead outdoors through either the roof or walls, but never the soffit.
4. Add insulation
- More insulation on the attic floor keeps the heat where it belongs. To find how much insulation your attic needs, check with your local building department.
5. Install sealed can lights
- Old-style recessed lights give off great plumes of heat and can't be insulated without creating a fire hazard. Replace them with sealed "IC" fixtures, which can be covered with insulation.
6. Flash around chimneys
- Bridge the gap between chimney and house framing with L-shaped steel flashing held in place with unbroken beads of a fire-stop sealant. Using canned spray foam or insulation isn't fire safe.
7. Seal and insulate ducts
- Spread fiber-reinforced mastic on the joints of HVAC ducts and exhaust ducts. Cover them entirely with R-5 and R-6 foil-faced fiberglass.
8. Caulk penetrations
- Seal around electrical cables and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant. Also, look for any spots where light shines up from below or the insulation is stained black by the dirt from passing air.
Understanding the lifecycle of ice damming is key. It starts with the birth, and it is the breakdown of the conditions that lead to the formation of ice dams. First, heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except at the eaves. Next you move into the growth, and snow begins to melt on the warm roof and then freezes on the cold eaves. Finally is maturity, and ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam. Meltwater from the warm roof backs up behind it, flows under the shingles, and into the house.
Life with a smoke detector – noisy peace.
Follow the program
Almost 3,000 people every year die for a structure fire in the United States of America, that is 8 on average each day. That is like removing a ball team each day, everyday of the year. Not good, but with a few tips, maintenance and smoke detectors installed the number can be cut in half.
Smoke alarms should be tested once a month by pressing the TEST button. Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps” or “beeps” to indicate low batteries, they should be replaced immediately. Occasionally dust or lightly vacuum the exterior of the alarm to remove dust and cobwebs. Smoke alarms should be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, at least every ten years. Never paint over a smoke alarm.
What WATER can Do – Time to get on it.
We are ready, are you?
- Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
- Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
- Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
- Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.
Hours 1 - 24:
- Drywall begins to swell and break down.
- Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
- Furniture begins to swell and crack.
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
- A musty odor appears.
48 Hours to 1 Week:
- Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
- Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
- Metal begins to rust and corrode.
- Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
- Paint begins to blister.
- Wood flooring swells and warps.
- Serious biohazard contamination is possible.
More Than 1 Week:
- Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
- Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.
After fire cleanup
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 630-758-1701