Recent Water Damage Posts
Timing is Everything
Water damage requires a quick response by stopping the source of water intrusion as soon as possible. Knowing where your water shut off value is located in your residence, and reviewing the location with your immediate family and service professionals (housekeeper, babysitter, dog walker, house sitter, ect) is critical. Prompt response to stopping the water intrusion and clean up and dry out can greatly reduce overall restoration costs. Before water mitigation can begin, the source of the water intrusion will need to be addressed.
Initial steps to assess the damage and evaluate the level of contamination will help to formulate an action plan and determine if professional assistance is needed to help restore your home.
Professional water mitigation should be highly considered when:
- Water originated from a contaminated source: dishwasher, water bed, drain line, toilet, washing machine, flood water, etc. When addressing contaminated materials protecting the home from cross contamination, mold and securing the environment for the occupants becomes a primary focus for the emergency services.
- Porous materials affected by water: hardwood flooring, cabinetry, carpet and padding, drywall, etc. An immediate response to with water extraction and application of a biocide can help reduce the amount of structural material damage and reduce the amount of time the home or affected area is out of use.
- Water traveled from one floor to the floor or floors(s) below. It’s not the obvious water that causes damage, you can easily mop up that. When water and bacteria is trapped between layers of structural materials, this “hidden moisture” can cause long term damage and possible mold growth.
SERVPRO’s professional mitigation team is IICRC Certified, trained, and expertise knowledge to help you evaluate the extent of damage, and create an action plan for cost effective dry out of the affected area(s).
Remember, quick response time can reduce the overall mitigation costs and loss of use. Contact our office to schedule a site inspection and scope of damages for your home today.
How to keep clients’ properties dry in all seasons
With water around every corner, clients’ properties are more vulnerable to water damage than many would imagine. In fact, water is the number one property-related homeowners claim, according to Chubb’s claims data, and the Insurance Information Institute found that one in 50 homeowners will experience a related claim each year. When they do, it will cost close to $10,000 per leak.
Despite being both a common and costly risk, a recent Chubb survey of homeowners examining their approach to water damage prevention shows that it’s a threat clients largely overlook. Luckily, agents and brokers can help clients prevent water from damaging their homes, no matter where it comes from. It starts by helping clients understand the seasonal exposures they face.
Ensuring a fun, carefree vacation
Most clients take advantage of the summer to travel with family and friends. Yet too many vacations are ruined as a result of clients failing to take the appropriate water protection steps before departing. Consider that even though many clients ask a caretaker to watch their homes while away, Chubb’s study found that just 30% leave water leak information and only 17% provide information about what to do in the event of a weather-related flood with caretakers.
Why the concern? Time is of the essence when it comes to water damage, with even the smallest leaks or drips building up over time. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety reports that plumbing supply system failures and toilet failures are the two most common sources of residential water loss. If either of these systems drip for days, the results can be devastating, both in terms of property and financial damage.
Before your clients head out, advise them to:
- Turn off the water supply. This is the only way to prevent a leak from occurring while away; or
- Install a water shut-off device. This is the surest way to prevent wide-spread damage in the event of a leak.
Beyond travel, the warm summer months also provide clients with the opportunity to jumpstart home renovations. But in their desire to drive value, the number one home-related concern identified in Chubb’s study, many clients are inadvertently inviting new water risk into their homes.
Start with encouraging clients to pay close attention to a contractor’s qualifications, prioritizing certifications and licensing above word-of-mouth recommendations. Although both play an important role in the hiring process, Chubb’s study found that 42% of homeowners prioritize the latter, versus 32% who emphasize the former. If contractors don’t have the right experience or professional background, they should not be involved in the client’s renovation project.
Making the most of your time outdoors
Homeowners eager to enjoy the last warm days of the year often spend time working on their gardens, yards and outdoor areas. Many use this time to install sprinkler systems, construct outdoor kitchens and build decks, all designed to enhance their homes’ landscapes. According to Chubb’s survey, close to a third of homeowners (30%) think these types of exterior upgrades most positively impact their homes’ values.
Yet, these projects can quickly let water into all the wrong places. Agents and brokersshould encourage clients to consult with a landscape architect about how enhancements may alter the slope of their garden or clog drains and gutters. Failure to take this into account means new upgrades could redirect water toward clients’ homes, seeping into the foundation or basement over time and potentially resulting in significant damage. By speaking with your clients about their garden renovation projects, this is an expensive loss that agents and brokers can help clients avoid.
Forecasting frozen pipes
Most homeowners know that the pipes in their homes are at risk of bursting during the cold winter months. Homeowners are 40% more likely to have water damage in the winter than any other time of the year, according to Chubb claims data.
Still, only 21% of homeowners report installing pipe insulation, even though it is one of the surest, simplest and cheapest ways to protect exposed pipes in the basement or garage in cold weather. Homeowners might also want to consider hiring a contractor to install pipe insulation for interior pipes that are located adjacent to an outside wall.
Not only does installing pipe insulation help keep the water in a home’s plumbing system from turning to ice and expanding (and thus bursting the pipes), it often helps homeowners save money on their energy bill. In essence, a reminder to install insulation could help clients avoid a major winter headache while also lowering utility bills.
Insurance coverage for drain, sewer and sump pump problems
Analysis brought to you by the experts at FC&S Online, the recognized authority on insurance coverage interpretation and analysis for the P&C industry. To find out more — or to have YOUR coverage question answered — visit the National Underwriter website, or contact the editors via Twitter: @FCSbulletins.
Question: This is a Commercial Property risk. I have a toilet that continued to run as the toilet stopper did not seal properly. All would be fine except the heavy rains saturated the drain field not allowing the water to drain from the toilet. This resulted in an overflow causing damage.
The insured has a $10,000 limit on discharge from sewer, drain, or sump from a CP 73 51 endorsement.
Does this limit apply or would it be considered a loss under the normal limits? But for the saturated drain field, there would be no loss. The drain field caused the water to not be able to drain properly; is that a back-up by definition?
— North Carolina Subscriber
Answer: Endorsement CP 73 51 is a proprietary endorsement that includes additional coverage for Discharge From Sewer, Drain Or Sump (Not Flood-Related), up to a $10,000 limit in the endorsement. This response is in regards to the water damage claim submitted for our review. Here are the facts as presented:
- A toilet ran continuously due to a stopper that did not seal properly. The toilet overflowed.
- The drain field overflowed due to heavy rains.
- The drain field is tied to the septic system serving the insured property.
Based on these facts, there are two causes of loss, and we cannot determine the extent of damage from each cause of loss:
- What caused the toilet stopper to not seal properly? Was it wear and tear or faulty workmanship? What interior water damage resulted from the toilet overflow?
- What caused the drain field to overflow? Despite heavy rains, it should still have absorbed the water. So what factors may have contributed to the drain field overflow? Was sludge or other obstruction a contributing factor? What interior water damage resulted from the drain overflow?
This is not an expert opinion, just personal experience with a broken toilet flapper. Regardless of how much the toilet ran, it never ran outside the toilet bowl because the drain carried out the water. If the drain was stopped up, not allowing the water to flow through the drain, then the water could back up and out from the toilet bowl, causing interior water damage.
If the water damage was caused by the broken toilet seal, there would be no coverage.
If the water damage was caused by the drain field overflow, then there would be limited coverage of $10,000 for Discharge From Sewer, Drain Or Sump (Not Flood-Related) provided in the proprietary endorsement CP 73 51.
However, this is an issue of fact, not coverage. We can only speak to the coverages that would be provided in the forms based on the two causes of loss as presented.
Washing machine overflow
Question: Our property coverage contains an exclusion for flood. Included under the flood definition is the exclusion of water or sewage that backs up through sewers, drains or sumps. It also excludes overflow of any body of water.
We have a claim where the fire department put a load of clothes in the washing machine and was called out on a run. During the washing cycle, water overflowed into the building due to the drain being frozen from an ice storm. This was while the firefighters were gone performing their duties. When they returned, the building was flooded, damaging carpet and sheet-rock. Is this covered?
— Oklahoma Subscriber
Answer: We do not see an exclusion that would apply in this situation. It doesn’t sound as if the water actually went down a drain and then backed up. The washing machine overflowed because water could not go down the frozen drain, which would not constitute a backup. So, in our opinion, the loss is covered.
Sump pump and water backup
Question: One of the more common claims we handle deals with sump pumps and applicable exclusions. In this case, the business owner’s policy contains the following provision, “We will pay for loss or damage to covered property caused by water that backs up from a sewer or drain, subject to the following limitations: We will not pay for loss or damage under this Additional Coverage caused by the emanation of water from a sewer or drain that itself is caused by, or is the result of “flood,” surface water, waves, tides, tidal waves, overflow of any body of water or their spray, all whether driven by wind or not;”.
Carrier issued a denial, as follows:
In view of the cited exclusions, the water damage to the basement is the result of flood and groundwater; therefore, we would not make a payment for this loss.
The loss was not caused by flood or surface water, but a high water table that overwhelmed the pump’s capability to function due to two major rain events one year ago. When the water table receded, the pump functioned so it was not failure in the sense one thinks of failure, i.e., mechanical or electrical. Water entered through the sump, through some cracks in the floor.
My belief is that this is a covered loss. I could not find any information on the definition of “sump pump,” the purpose of a sump pump, or the definition of “groundwater.”
The carrier used the term “groundwater” in the denial. That is not addressed in the endorsement.
— Connecticut Subscriber
Answer: It does not sound like the water backed up through the sump pump but in fact came through the cracks in the floor.
This type of loss would be subject to the part of the water exclusion that states, “Water under the ground surface pressing on, or flowing through… floors… basements.” (This can be seen in the ISO BP 00 03 01 10, B.1.g.) If the insured has purchased sewer and drain backup coverage, it would not apply to this type of loss. However, if it can be shown that the water really did overflow or was discharged from the sump (as opposed to seeping in through floor cracks), that would be covered.
The ‘whys’ behind lack of flood insurance coverage
One of the ongoing issues with hurricanes and other flood disasters is the fact that many, many people lack flood insurance. But why is that? Why are people not buying the coverage they need?
The Private Risk Management Association (PRMA) conducted a survey of agents about why their insureds do or do not carry flood insurance. We had the chance to talk to Lisa Lindsay of PRMA about the study and its results.
Their study showed that across the board, whether high net worth or not, people’s mindset is that “It won’t happen to me.” Flood insurance is seen as something homeowners are required to have, not something they need to protect their assets. The study showed that many people only buy flood insurance because the bank says they have to. They later celebrate when they’re no longer required to hold flood insurance because their mortgage has been paid off.
Likewise, consumers have been conditioned to believe that unless they are in a high-hazard flood zone, coverage is not needed. The fact that flooding occurs in many non-high hazard areas is overlooked. It’s not just coastal areas that flood, but areas near rivers, streams and even low-lying areas in towns where runoff can accumulate often flood, causing unsuspecting homeowners damage that’s not covered by their normal homeowners’ policy.
Better understanding of mitigation efforts
Not only do people need a better understanding of flood insurance, but they also need a better understanding of mitigation efforts, that is, steps they can take to prevent or minimize flooding and reduce the potential damage. Sandbags, inflatable barriers and landscaping are just some ways people can prepare for a flood. Both the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy and the new ISO Personal Flood Policy provide up to $1,000 for steps taken to protect the insured building from flood or imminent danger of flood. The $1,000 is provided for the cost of:
- Sandbags and sand to fill them,
- Fill for temporary levees,
- Plastic sheeting, and
- Lumber used in connection with these items.
As most insureds don’t read their policies, it’s likely that most are unaware of these coverage benefits for mitigation of damages.
Private flood policies to the rescue?
With the concern surrounding the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), carriers are beginning to issue private flood policies. For example, one carrier has a private flood policy with limits up to $15 million on property, much higher than the NFIP limits of $250,000.
ISO has developed both a Commercial Flood program and a Personal Flood program, both available this year. The expansion of available coverage should be a tremendous help in getting homeowners insured. However, education of agents and the public is key.
Better analytics is helping to make private coverage possible; instead of just referring to the standard flood maps, which may be out of date, there are companies providing better analysis of property that includes rainfall, local topography, elevation and susceptibility to hurricanes, not just for rains but for winds and storm surge as well.
Although flood insurance can be expensive in some places, in many areas that’s not the case. As a result, property owners don’t investigate their options for coverage.
Another issue is construction itself. Builders resist changes to codes to make properties safer while continuing to want to rebuild in areas that have been flooded. If building is going to occur in such areas, the buildings need to be built in a way to protect the property as much as possible from flooding. People also get a false sense of security from the fact that the town has allowed buildings to be constructed in low-lying areas, figuring that if zoning approved of the area it must be safe to construct a home in that area.
Understanding the 100-year flood
Yet another large issue is the misperception of the 100-year flood. Many people believe that this means that the chance of their property being flooded is one in 100 years. What it really means is that every year there is a 1% chance of flood. This puts the property at significant risk, as not only do 100-year storms need to be accounted for, but other storms as well.
Time Period10 Yr.25 Yr.50 Yr.100 YrTotal Odds1 yr.10%4%2%1%17%10 yr.65%34%18%10%127%20 yr.88%56%33%18%195%30 yr.96%71%45%26%238%50 yr.99%87%64%39%289%
Source: FC&S Online
The overarching issue is how to educate both the public and the industry on flood mitigation techniques and the availability of insurance coverage. The industry needs to inform people of not only what their risk is but also about the available risk evaluation tools, mitigation techniques and available coverage. Agents and brokers need to be well informed in order to proactively change the narrative of flooding and coverage.
Water Damage Requires a Quick Response
Floods, rainstorms and tornadoes can become massive water damage threats to businesses during the often-stormy spring and summer months. Facilities plagued with such water woes this season must take quick action
Floods, rainstorms and tornadoes can become massive water damage threats to businesses during the often-stormy spring and summer months. Facilities plagued with such water woes this season must take quick action to control many possible problems, experts say.
You won’t see it emphasized on the nightly news when a disaster hits, but water damage can represent potentially huge disasters for businesses and building owners and operators.
Water damage can mean much more to a business than just wet and soggy carpets. There are other common, more significant problems businesses face when water wreaks havoc on property, such as indoor air quality problems. Mold and mildew grow rapidly in damp, humid environments, leaving behind an unpleasant smell that permeates floors, walls and ceilings, even after the water has been removed. It also can create health problems for employees.
Damage to the building’s structure and foundation also can be an issue. When water sits inside a building for a period of time, the walls, ceilings and floors absorb the water, which threatens the overall structural integrity of the building and creates an unsafe environment. Total reconstruction of the building often becomes the only option.
Another major threat to business is the loss of expensive equipment, which often can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace.
To minimize water damage, there are two critical steps that need to be taken:
- Act fast to assess the situation; and
- Control the environment within the building.
Act Fast and Call an Expert
The absolute first step to take is fast action. Damage resulting from water and flooding is very progressive. The longer the water flows or wet conditions are allowed to exist, the greater the recovery problem becomes. A water damage consultant must come in immediately to survey the situation.
In a typical scenario, a team of water damage recovery professionals is dispatched to the site to perform a thorough inspection and fully determine the extent of the damage. A disaster reclamation partner also will develop an intense restoration plan and determine which items are worth restoring and which are better replaced.
You can’t always save everything by drying, but you can save a tremendous amount. It’s not unusual to save between 30 and 70 percent of the cost needed to reconstruct a facility.
Controlling the Interior Environment
Another key in limiting water damage is to quickly control three conditions of a building’s atmosphere: relative humidity, temperature and air circulation. Fast, effective action at this point will generally confine the damage to the area that was directly affected by the water damage event.
The most effective way to control these conditions in a high-moisture environment, especially a large facility, is to employ professional disaster drying that combines air movers with desiccant dehumidifiers.
Disaster drying often eliminates the need to rip out and replace walls, carpet, floor covering, hardwood floors and the building structure, which can be a huge expense. On top of that, you preclude the odors and staining caused by mold and mildew. These problems can come back to haunt you weeks later in a superficially dried building.
The Desiccant Way
When a facility has been severely water damaged, you need high volume desiccant dehumidifiers. Some larger desiccant dehumidifiers can pull 800 gallons of water out of a building in one day, compared to the typical small refrigeration units that remove about five gallons a day.
Many people are surprised that “solid” materials such as concrete and hard woods absorb moisture. But they do and rather quickly.
Getting the water back involves a phenomenon called migration. Migration is the tendency for water molecules to move toward a low vapor pressure. When a room is filled with very dry air, which has low vapor pressure, trapped water migrates outward and is evaporated from the surface by the dry air. As the air in the room fills with water vapor, we expel it. We then replace it with more dry air and the process continues.
It’s also essential to be sure the equipment being used is sized right. Inappropriately sized drying equipment can lead to insufficient drying and long-term problems with the building. Only large-volume dehumidifiers could provide the massive drying power needed to dry the space quickly and thoroughly.
Best Defense: A Disaster Recovery Plan
To minimize damage and costs, companies need to think ahead about what to do in a water damage event and contact a water damage expert to create a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).
A DRP can limit the extent of water damage occurrences by defining and prioritizing the recovery of areas within a facility and stating immediate next steps. Proper planning and fast action are most certainly the best defense to preventing a catastrophic water damage event.
Flooding Rains and Toxic Spills, Beware, Ohio
With floods becoming more frequent, the risk of toxic spills has increased too, experts warn.
"A report by The New York Times found that of the more than 21,600 facilities across the country that handle large quantities of toxic materials, over 1,400 are in areas the Federal Emergency Management Agency considers to have a high risk of flooding.
The proximity of these chemical sites to areas prone to flooding is a relic from a time when industrial operations benefited from being close to rivers and oceans – the bodies of water allowed for transportation, trade, or even a ready supply of cooling water.
Experts believe that this outdated business practice could lead to a major environmental and health disaster." Excerpt from: Insurance Business Magazine
Reported by the Cleveland Patch in their Feb. 8, 2018 article, Toxic Waste Being Reduced In Cuyahoga, Across Ohio, while Cleveland is one of the top five states with the most toxic releases, reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show less toxic waste is being released. Also reported, Ohio is seeing a new low in toxic waste being disposed.
"There was 102 million pounds of toxic waste disposed of in the Buckeye State in 2016, the lowest total since at least 2003," the author, Chris Mosby, writes.
"Cuyahoga County had about 7 million pounds of waste to dispose of in 2016. More than 47 million pounds of waste was either disposed of, recycled, treated, used for energy recovery or source reduction."
The EPA said the majority of compounds released in our country falls into the "other" category. The largest identified compound being zinc, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports very little is known about the long-term effects of exposure to zinc.
As Cleveland and surrounding counties are prone to Lake Erie's floods and lake-effect weather, we must continue the movements Ohio is making to improve our toxic waste disposals.
Rain Gutters and Water Problems
The financial costs of poor drainage can be substantial, and the human health costs significant too.
Most homes have gutter downspouts that lead straight to the ground, which means all the water from the roof is pouring to just one point where it can collect against a home's foundation. This most often causes the water drainage problems and, thus, the damage.
Prevention is important. Here are some clues that you may have a problem with your gutters:
- Areas where the ground is wet for long periods of time after it rains or the sprinklers are running signal an area where the water is collecting
- Discoloration and mold growth on a home's foundation and siding or paint is easily falling off your house are indications that water is pooling.
- Musty smells in your basement or crawlspace signal water may be getting into your home.
Financial costs of poor water drainage can add up, but the good news is that gutter problems are an easy fix.
Do you have water damage in your home or business ? Call SERVPRO of Canton's 24/7 Emergency Service line at 330-966-2366 or request help online at our franchise website.
Frozen and Burst Pipes- Understand and Take Precaution
"Even a small crack in a burst pipe can spew hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water in a day."
If your pipes are exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time, the water can freeze and cause extensive damage to your home. This can be avoided!
Frozen pipes can occur for two basic reasons:
- Installation of pipes in an unheated space without adequate protection
- Insufficient heat in the area of the freeze
What types of pipes are susceptible this situation? Domestic water piping, HVAC heating and cooling piping and sprinkler piping are all vulnerable if left in cold and unprotected conditions as stated above. Plastic and metal pipes can burst when they freeze, and depending on the size of the pipe, even a small crack in a burst pipe can spew hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water in a day.
Why does a pipe burst, anyway? Well, when water freezes, it expands. The ice expansion will exert pressure against the pipe wall but also pressurizes the water trapped between the ice and a closed valve or fixture. As the water continues to freeze and expand inside the pipe, it causes the trapped water to continue to increase in pressure, thus, just as a can of soda will burst in your freezer, so does your water pipe.
Some common locations where pipes will freeze are outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, fire sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas. These areas include basements, crawlspaces, attics, garages, bathroom sink cabinets and kitchen cabinets. Pipes along exterior walls that have little or no insulation, voids in the insulation or improperly installed building wrap are subject to freezing. You might want to check in on that sooner rather than later. Review the International Plumbing Code by clicking here.
On what you, the homeowner, can do to prevent a pipe burst from happening, refer back to our blog piece, "How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe."
Remember, this stressful situation can be avoided if you think ahead!
With any questions or if your home has been water-damaged, call SERVPRO of Canton on our 24/7 Emergency Service line, 330-966-2377 or Request Help Online.
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
A frozen pipe exerts pressure at over 2,000 Lbs/ square inch, enough pressure to rupture almost any pipe filled with water.
Frozen water pipes are a serious risk during very cold winter weather. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure at over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture almost any pipe filled with water, which provides no place for the ice to expand. A burst pipe can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and that equates to thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when they are located:
- in an outside wall
- in a cabinet under a sink (especially near an outside wall)
- in an unheated crawl space or basement
If your pipe is frozen but not yet ruptured, you must thaw it right away. There are a few thawing techniques to try, depending on where the frozen pipe is located.
Warning: Never use a blow torch or other open flame to thaw a pipe. This presents a serious fire hazard and can damage the pipe.
A frozen pipe that hasn't burst yet often reveals itself at a faucet: when you turn on the faucet and no water comes out or it has slowed to a trickle, there's probably a blockage of ice somewhere in the line. It's time take immediate action:
- Shut off the water to the faucet locally or at the home's main water shutoff valve.
- Open the faucet that is supplied by the frozen pipe; do this even if you don't know where the blockage is.
- Identify the frozen pipe and locate the blockage: Follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas, such as an exterior wall or unheated crawl space. Look for areas on the pipe that have frost or ice; it may also be slightly bulged or fissured.
When you find that the frozen—but not yet burst—pipe is behind a wall or ceiling, you've got a challenge on your hands. You have three options for thawing the pipe:
- Turn up the heat in the house and wait.
- Cut out a section of the wall or ceiling to access the frozen section of pipe, then thaw the pipe as an exposed pipe (see next slide).
- Use an infrared lamp to help heat the wall section in front of where you believe the pipe is frozen. Infrared lamps are better than regular heat lamps because they pass through the air without heating it and will direct more energy to warming the wall and frozen pipe.
If the frozen pipe is exposed, you have several options for thawing it. Whichever remedy use use, heat the pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area. This allows water to flow out as the ice melts.
- Hair dryer: Usually the easiest and safest way to thaw a pipe. If the pipe is close to the wall, place a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help radiate heat onto the backside of the pipe.
- Heat lamp: You can use an infrared or incandescent heat lamp. As with a hair dryer, if the pipe is close to the wall, use a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help reflect heat onto the pipe.
- Portable heater: A small, powerful heater works great for warming pipes under a kitchen or vanity base cabinet. Direct the heater onto the frozen section of pipe. It will work like a hair dryer on steroids!
- Electric pipe heat tape: Heat tape is a ribbon-like wrap that contains electrical heating elements. You wrap it around the pipe you want to heat and plug it into the wall. The temperature of the tape is controlled with a thermostat. Heat tape can also be used to prevent pipes from freezing in critical areas; you can leave the heat tape on the pipe and plug it in only when needed.
There are a few things you can do to prevent the problem of freezing pipes from occurring again:
- Leave the faucet dripping slightly during the coldest time of the day or night.
- Open the cabinet doors to allow the heated air from the room to reach pipes inside the cabinet.
- Wrap the problem pipe with electrical heat tape.
- Insulate problem pipes with foam insulation wrap, especially those that run through unheated spaces. Note: Insulation merely slows the transfer of heat and will not prevent a pipe from freezing if the surrounding air is cold enough.
- Heat unheated areas with a permanent heater, just to keep the temperature above freezing, or about 40 degrees F. Warning: Do not use portable heaters, which should never be left running unattended.
- Remove garden hoses attached to outdoor faucets (hose bibs or sill cocks). If the faucet is not a frost-proof type, turn off the water to the faucet inside the house and drain the exterior section of the pipe and faucet.
Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather- Avoiding Water Damage
Inspect your roof and gutters on a regular basis — at least twice a year.
With winter on the way, we’re heading into a busy time of year that includes several major holidays coming back-to-back. The last thing we want to worry about is the risk of water damage due to the changing weather.
Here are some wintertime considerations to keep your home safe and reduce, or even prevent, possible insurance risks:
- Keep your drains and gutters clean. Exactly how frequently depends on where you live, but you want to plan for twice a year. Clogged gutters can cause a few issues including roof leaks. If your gutters can't drain properly, the excess water can soak through the shingles and eventually start leaking into your home. Don't forget melting snow can also fill up the gutters, causing similar issues!
- Inspect your roof for damage and leaks. While you're cleaning those gutters, take the time to inspect your roof. Keep an eye our for cracks, leaks where different parts of the roof meet, and general wear and tear. You should do this also twice a year at least.
- Water expands, its mass increasing by about 9% when it freezes. Blocked pipes result in a buildup of pressure, which can cause a burst pipe, equipment malfunction, or contaminated water back-up inside the building. To avoid this, consider insulating your water lines and using heat tape as well.
- For extreme weather, it is wise to always leave a tap running at a trickle because running water is less likely to freeze.
Watch for our next blog post on how to defrost a frozen water pipe.
The Truth About 100-Year Floods
The above image includes a diagram demonstrating the magnitude and frequency of water levels during a flood.
Whenever a strong hurricane or storm causes significant flooding, there is often talk of a 100-year flood. People will think a flood of that magnitude occurs once every hundred years, so they should be safe from harm for the next hundred years. Some base their decision to buy flood insurance on this false belief, putting them at risk of a catastrophic loss.
In order to determine the true frequency of floods, scientists will create a history of the area, tracking the frequency of different sized floods and the average number of years between them to develop the probability of a given sized flood in a particular year.
But rain volume alone does not always create the flood. The condition of the ground before the rain is critically important. If the area has received a lot of rain recently and the ground is already saturated, less rain is needed to flood the area. If the area has been experiencing a drought and the rain is falling fast, it is possible for the water to run off instead of soaking into the ground.
Factors such as a river basin and the addition of dams and levees will be considered. Once a flood recedes, high-water marks will be surveyed by scientists to estimate the maximum flows and streamgages will record the height and quantity of flow.
Explained by Property Casualty 360 in their article "The truth about 100-year floods," "The accumulation of data allows for a determination of the annual probability that a given stream or river will exceed its banks. This is known as annual exceedance probability, or AEP. A 1% AEP flood has a 1 in 100 chance of occurring every year, with an average recurrence every 100 years. This is the 100-year flood." They also predict during a span of a 30-year mortgage, "there is a 26% chance of a home in a 1% AEP, or 100-year flood area, of being flooded."
Questions about flood damage? Call SERVPRO of Canton today at- 330-966-2377.
The Basics of Sewer Backup Insurance
Our Professionals are trained to regular IICRC industry certifications, Employee Certification Training, Initial Franchise Training & Continuing Edu.
While shopping for home insurance, it's important to anticipate all the headaches that can go along with home-ownership, including sewer backup.
When sewage flows into your home, it can cause thousands of dollars in damage, and typical home insurance and flood insurance policies won't cover those expenses.
If your sewer's system's pipeline combines storm water and sewage, it's more likely to become overloaded during harsh weather. Tree roots can enter your pipes and cause blockages, or improperly disposing of cooking grease or flushing inappropriate objects down the toilet (diapers, feminine hygiene products or paper towels).
Many homeowners may not realize they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the pipeline between the city sewer main, usually located in the street, and their house.
Sewage backup coverage is available from most insurers as a rider to a home insurance policy. Coverage for $5,000 to $10,000 in damages can run about $75 to $150 a year, according to FEMA, and there's usually a deductible.
If sewage seeps into your home, not only does the spill itself need to be addressed, but your plumbing may need to be flushed or replaced. Duct-work carpets, drapes and walls may be soiled, possibly beyond repair. Ewser backup insurance helps pay for incidental damage, such as cleaning contents, walls and furniture and some policies may cover work on plumbing.
To get the maximum claims payment to which you're entitled, make sure you have photos on hand of what your home looked like before the damage took place. That way, you can provide your claims adjuster with "before" and "after" pictures. Be sure to itemize property losses and save all receipts for repairs and cleaning.
Do you have water damage in your home?
For help restoring your home after a water loss, call our 24/7 Emergency Service team at 330-966-2377
6 Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding
The erosive force of moving water can drag dirt from under a building's foundation, causing it to crack and tumble.
Flooding can strike anywhere and at any time, and floods are the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the U.S. Ignoring the risk means a destroyed home and belongings, and mold soon follows that.
Your first step in avoiding this risk is knowing the flood level of the home you're buying- an official measure of how high floodwaters could rise. You can find this information at FEMA's online flood maps.
Your next steps in protecting your home from flooding should include these 6 measures:
- Safeguard in-home electrical and climate systems. Raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level in your area. Modify your furnace, water heater, and any other anchored indoor equipment.
- Anchor and raise outdoor equipment. Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units and generators should be anchored above your flood level. Unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines will contaminate surrounding ground.
- Modify water valves. A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up in your home. Install an interior or exterior backflow valve.
- Determine how water flows around your house. The grading or slope of the house, the angle of the ground, can direct water to or away from your house. This is easy to determine by watching how water flows or accumulates during an average rainstorm.
- Opt for a major retrofit. If your home floods frequently and moving isn't an option, you may need to take drastic and costly measures. Either raise your home on piers or columns so the lowest floor is above flood level, wet-proof your home by installing foundation vents that would allow water to flow through the building instead of rising inside, or do some dry-proofing by applying coatings and other sealing materials to your walls to keep our floods.
- Take last-minute measures as waters rise. Clear gutters, drains and downspouts. Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings to upper floors. Shut off electricity at the breaker panel. Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they're in harm's way.
If you have any flood damage in your home or building, call SERVPRO of Canton today at our 24/7 Emergency Service Line - (330) 977-4483 or at our Online Help Line.
Water Back-Up, Overflow or Discharge? Homeowners' Claims
Last month we talked about how to protect your home from flood damage. Hopefully the tips served you well, but here are some tips on what causes a water back-up or overflow and whether or not there is coverage for such a loss.
Is it a water back-up, an overflow or discharge?
A back-up is a build-up caused by a stoppage in the flow. Something prevents the water from continuing down its path, so it is forced to reverse direction and go back the other way.
- Causes: A collapsed drain pipe can cause a back-up because water can no longer proceed down its normal course. A blockage can also cause a back-up. The blockage prevents the water from going forward. Both of these factors force the water to reverse direction.
An overflow is when excess or surplus is not able to be accommodated by an available space.
- Causes: The space is filled to capacity and water then spreads beyond its limits. A bath tub left running creates an overflow, as well.
Discharge is what happens when water is released from plumbing or appliances and then floods your home.
- A leaking pipe discharges water from the hole in the pipe.
The ISO HO 00 03 provides coverage for water damage that is the result of a discharge or overflow of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or household appliance if it is on the resident’s premises. This covers:
- Pipes that leak behind walls
- Floors, or ceilings
- Washing machines and dishwashers that overflow
- Toilets that overflow
- Storm drains off premises that overflow due to high rains or floods
It is important to note that a sump, sump pump or related equipment, or a roof drain, gutter or downspout or similar equipment is not considered a plumbing system or household appliance.
A discharge or overflow caused by a storm drain, water, steam, or sewer pipe is covered as well if it is off the premises.
Faster to your Canton, Ohio Water Damage Event
SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in the Canton area.
Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.
Faster To Any Size Disaster
Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 330-966-2377
Water Damage Timeline
- 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.
About SERVPRO of Northern Summit County
SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 3: What to do if a Frozen Pipe Bursts
Damage resulting from a pipe burst due to a frozen pipe
Taking preventative measures and noticing frozen pipes in time to thaw blockages are key to avoiding pipe bursts. Unfortunately, sometimes disasters occur despite our best efforts at prevention. In the unfortunate event that a frozen pipe does burst, you can mitigate the damage by following these important tips:
- Turn off the main water supply immediately.
- If the water is flowing near any electrical outlets or conductors of electricity, you should also shut off the electricity.
- Contact a plumber to repair the burst pipe.
- Remove the water. Use buckets, towels, and a wet/dry vacuum to remove water from the affected area.
- Act quickly! The longer there are wet materials in your home, the greater chance there is for mold, warping, and more serious damage.
- If you feel that the water damage is too much for you to handle on your own or you would like assistance in the cleanup, contact the qualified water mitigation specialists at SERVPRO to assist you.
If you or someone you know is faced with a pipe burst, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!
Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 2: Thawing Frozen Pipes
Act quickly if you discover frozen pipes in your home to avoid pipe bursts.
Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 2: Thawing Frozen Pipes
In the previous blog post, we discussed how to prevent frozen pipes in order to avoid a pipe burst. If a frozen pipe occurs despite your best efforts at prevention, there are still steps that you can take to thaw the affected pipe before a burst occurs and the situation becomes a much bigger issue. You will notice a pipe may have frozen when after turning on a tap no water or a very small trickle comes out.
- The first thing you should do is turn off the main water supply. If you don’t already know where your main water supply is, locate it now in order to be able to act quickly if you ever find yourself in a situation where your pipes have frozen.
- Locate the frozen pipe by turning on taps one at a time to see if water flows out. If water flows in all areas of the house except for one, trace the line from the blocked faucet to areas that may be more exposed to cold. If water does not flow out of any of the taps, the frozen pipe may be located near the water meter.
- Once you have located the affected area, use a blow dryer, heat lamp, or other heat source to apply heat to the affected area. Do NOT use a blowtorch or any other device with an open flame.
- Keep the faucet open and apply heat from the open tap toward the blockage. Continue to apply heat until the water flows from the faucet at normal pressure.
- If you are struggling to find the blockage or are unsure if the pipe is clearing properly, contact a plumber.
Even during a close call with a frozen pipe, if you follow these steps and put the preventative tips from the previous blog post into action, you can boost your chances of avoiding water damage to your home due to a pipe burst.
Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 1: Preventing Frozen Pipes during Winter Months
Damage that occurred as a result of a pipe burst due to a frozen pipe.
Frozen pipes can mean big problems for your home. As water freezes, it expands and can exert up to 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch! That pressure can cause pipes to burst and water to flow into your home, potentially causing extensive damage.
Taking preventative measures during the cold winter months is the best course of action to avoid frozen pipe bursts. The pipes that are most susceptible to freezing are those that are outdoors, are exposed to exterior walls, or are in unheated areas like under cabinets or in attics or crawl spaces. In order to prevent frozen pipes in those areas, follow these tips:
- Drain water from hoses, water sprinklers, and other outdoor lines when the weather starts to cool down and they will no longer be in use.
- On particularly cold days, open cabinet doors to allow warm air to flow around pipes and turn on the taps slightly to allow a slow drip to run through the faucets.
- Make sure that there is insulation present in areas around pipes that are more susceptible to cold weather.
- Consider installing heating cable, heating tape, newspaper, or another form of insulation around exposed pipes.
- If you are leaving for vacation, don’t set the temperature any lower than 55°F.
Putting these tips into practice will significantly reduce your chances of having a pipe freeze in your home, and thereby, avoid the larger and much more costly and inconvenient problem of a pipe burst.
Do's and Don'ts to follow after a Flood or other Water Loss
By following these steps before water mitigation begins, you can take great steps to avoid further property damage in your wet basement or other area
The period after a large storm or flood is often a hectic and confusing time. While waiting for SERVPRO to arrive to perform water damage or flood cleanup, here are some simple do’s and don’ts to follow until help arrives. By following these steps before water mitigation begins, you can take great steps to avoid further property damage in your wet basement or other areas of your home:
For CLEAN Water Losses
- Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- ipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove ad prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
- Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors.
- Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors.
- Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
- Enter rooms with standing water where electrical hazards may exist.
- Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
- Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining.
- Leave Oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining.
- Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Use TV’s or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
Additional Information for CONTAMINATED Water Losses
- Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with contaminated items.
- Spread contaminated water by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet areas.
- Turn on the HVAC system is there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
- Use household fans to dry the structure and spread contaminants.
- Use products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated area.