Avoid a Deep Freeze Disaster with Quick Action and Focus on Safety, say Experts from ServiceMaster Restore
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MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As a powerful winter storm and Arctic blast pummel the nation, its record-breaking temperatures, snow and ice are leaving home and business owners to deal with costly damages caused by ice dams, frozen pipes, downed power lines and more.
The disaster experts at ServiceMaster Restore, one of the largest residential and commercial disaster recovery companies in the U.S. and a part of the ServiceMaster (NYSE:SERV) company, say it’s important to stay calm, have a plan, and make safety the top priority when faced with weather-related damage.
“Many people panic when they find they have frozen pipes, and their immediate instinct is to thaw fast with high heat – propane torch, heat guns, etc. – which is extremely dangerous. You need to warm things up with controlled heat. For example, moving the refrigerator out a few feet may allow enough air circulation to thaw a supply line,” said Peter Duncanson, a 30-year veteran of ServiceMaster Restore. “Many people also don’t realize that water lines on the north and east walls of the home are more susceptible to freezing than those on the south and west sides, but all should be monitored.”
The number of calls the company has received related to burst water pipes has steadily increased over the past week, and based on current weather forecasts, is expected to continue to rise.
If you have a burst pipe, Duncanson says to act fast. Turn off the source of the water, whether at a nearby valve or at the street, then call a trusted disaster restoration professional as soon as possible.
Luckily, frozen pipes don’t always burst – but don’t take any chances. Here are a few of his top tips for avoiding a deep freeze disaster.
What to do once pipes freeze
- Turn off the water valves to reduce pressure on the frozen pipes and minimize flooding if they burst.
- Use a hairdryer to warm the area and slowly melt the ice. A heat lamp can also help warm the area. Do NOT use a propane torch or heat guns.
- Wrap and secure a heavy towel around the pipe to concentrate heat to one area. Then, place a bucket underneath the pipe(s) and pour warm water over the towel.
- Look for any leaks in the exposed pipes, as well as damp patches on walls, ceilings and floors. Once the pipes are thawed, there may still be pressure, and this creates an increased risk for leaks or breaks. Some pipes may need to be completely replaced in order to avoid future failure.
“What you don’t see now could cause damage later,” said Duncanson. “You don’t always get a burst pipe that floods the house or see immediate signs of damage from ice dams. You may get a crack inside a wall that you don’t discover until the pipes have been running for a while. It may appear as a water mark on the ceiling or you may find damp areas of the floor that you can’t explain. These are all warning signs of possible cracked pipes. Keep a close eye on your home in the coming weeks and months as the cold weather passes and everything warms up.”
Persons in areas where snowfall is expected should also be aware of ice dams, which occur when snow melts and refreezes in gutters, forcing water under the shingles. Once ice dams thaw, they can cause water damage inside a home. To prevent ice dams, make sure gutters are clean and unobstructed. Also, once snow accumulates, safely clear it from overhangs and drifts along chimneys, dormers and other structures.
For more expert tips and information on how to prepare for and recover from extreme winter weather, visit ServiceMasterRestore.com or visit us on YouTube or Facebook. For immediate assistance and clean up, call a live ServiceMaster Restore operator 24/7 at 1-800-RESPOND.
ServiceMaster is the proud sponsor of the American Red Cross Emergency app, which provides expert advice on what to do before, during and after severe weather events, includes maps of nearby shelters, and notification capabilities to let friends and family know that you’re safe. To download, text “GETEMERGENCY” to 90999, search “American Red Cross” in the app store or go to redcross.org/apps.
About ServiceMaster Restore
With approximately 2,000 franchised and licensed locations around the world, ServiceMaster Restore and ServiceMaster Recovery Management (SRM) serve customers through a global network of franchises available 24/7/365 to provide residential and commercial restoration services resulting from damage caused by water, fire, smoke or mold. SRM is the large scale commercial catastrophic disaster restoration unit of ServiceMaster Restore. ServiceMaster Restore and SRM have operations and consulting experience on countless disasters, including clean-up after Hurricane Katrina and the Pentagon after September 11, 2001. ServiceMaster Restore is a business unit of Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV), a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. More information can be found at www.servicemasterrestore.com and http://www.srmcat.com/. ServiceMaster Restore is the Official Disaster Restoration Specialist of Minor League Baseball™.
ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) solves the homeowner’s dilemma. Every day, we visit more than 75,000 homes and businesses through our extensive service network of expert professionals. Technology powers our trusted experts to engage with customers so they can order, buy and receive services when, where and how they want them. Our well-recognized brands includes American Home Shield (home warranties), AmeriSpec (home inspections), Furniture Medic (furniture repair), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial and residential floor cleaning), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) and Terminix (termite and pest control). Like, follow or visit us at facebook.com/ServiceMaster, linkedin.com/ServiceMaster, twitter.com/ServiceMaster, or servicemaster.com. ServiceMaster is the Official Home Services Provider of Minor League Baseball™.