Your Guide to Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes can lead to a lot of damage, so be sure you know how to handle that disaster before it happens.
Residents of Northeast Ohio are no strangers to the consequences when Mother Nature rears her ugly head in the wintertime. When it comes to cold-caused disasters, SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills are no strangers to being "Here to Help."
Water damage is not only a risk during the warmer months. Are you prepared to handle a water damage disaster during the cold months?
Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes.
Why Pipe Freezing is a ProblemWater has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing. Preventing Pipe Freezing Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
Take Preventative Measures During Cold Weather
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
- Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
- Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
- For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.
If you do experience water damage from frozen and/or burst pipes, be sure to call the pros at SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills to handle your water damage restoration needs.
SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills helping to restore a flooded building following Hurricane Ian in Florida.
You might be thinking, "I live in the Parma/Seven Hills area of Ohio, why do I need to know anything about hurricanes?" We completely understand this question. Hurricanes may not be an immediate threat to our homes and businesses in Ohio, but it is a good idea to stay informed on them as they may cause heavy rainfall in our area, they may affect you on a vacation, or your friends or family along the cost may be affected. Gaining knowledge on hurricanes can help keep you informed for the future.
At SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills, we have the opportunity to help when hurricanes hit anywhere along the coast. As a Disaster Recovery Team, we are able to mobilize our crews and equipment to help those affected by hurricanes, while still managing a crew at home to handle any water damage you may suffer locally.
The strongest winds in a hurricane are generally found in the right side of the hurricane’s eye wall, the area closest to the center.
Once a hurricane makes landfall, wind speed will begin to decrease, and within 12 hours will have slowed significantly. However, winds can remain at hurricane strength well inland.
Hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes, which can increase destruction. These tornadoes generally occur in the right front quadrant of the storm, and in thunderstorms embedded in the hurricane, but not immediately near the center.
Not all hurricanes produce tornadoes, while some develop multiple tornadoes. According to the National Hurricane Center, “studies have shown that more than half of the land-falling hurricanes produce at least one tornado."
How Are Hurricanes Named? One reason hurricanes are named is because more than one may exist at the same time. Names make it easier to keep track of and talk about storms.
A storm is given a name if it reaches tropical storm strength. That name stays with the storm if it goes on to become a hurricane.
Each year, tropical storms are named in alphabetical order as they occur. The names come from lists of names that are maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization.
There are six lists of names. Each year starts with the next list. The same lists are reused every six years. Names of storms that are very deadly or costly are removed from the lists and replaced with new names.
What Are the Parts of a Hurricane?
- Eye: The eye is the "hole" at the center of the storm. Winds are light and skies are only partly cloudy, sometimes even clear, in this area.
- Eye wall: The eye wall is a ring of thunderstorms swirling around the eye. The wall is where winds are strongest and rain is heaviest.
- Rain bands: Spiral bands of clouds, rain and thunderstorms extend out from a hurricane's eye wall. These bands stretch for hundreds of miles and sometimes contain tornadoes.
Preparing Your Home
- Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
- Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
- Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
- Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
- Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.
After a Hurricane
- Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
- Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
- Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
- Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
Although you may not be directly affected by the next hurricane, this information can help you better understand the storm, and prepare you for the future.
If you experience local water damage from heavy rainfall, be sure to call the pros at SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills.
How SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills Can Help You Post Storm
SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills handles all of your storm damage needs!
At SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills, we know that storm damage can be extremely stressful to try to handle. All you want is for your home or business to be back to its pre-storm state, and you may not even know where to start to get back there following a storm. Luckily, we are able to handle anything that Mother Nature throws your way, getting your life back on track following disaster.
We provide Emergency Board Up and Roof Covering/Tarps Services for Parma/Seven Hills homeowners. We're there for you as soon as possible, 24/7/365. We know that storms don't follow a schedule, so whenever disaster hits, we're ready to start the restoration process as soon as we safely can.
Our board up/roof covering service can help you minimize potential damage to your property prior to a storm or help you secure your property after an unexpected disaster occurs. The sooner we are able to secure your home, the less damage you will have.
Here’s a few ways SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills can help you if disaster strikes your home or business.
- Hail Damage: Inspection and repair, estimates provided.
- Repairs Following Downed Trees: We help to repair your home following the removal of the tree.
- Ice Backup Damage: If your ice–damaged roof cannot be repaired on the spot, we will temporarily fix it to prevent further damage.
- Tornado Damages: Repairs and cleanup to homes and businesses following catastrophic storms.
- Wind Damage: Provides specialized emergency cleanup and restoration services to bring your property back to normal with minimal interruption.
- Reconstruction and Repair services: Full-service restoration, mitigation, and reconstruction provider for properties damaged by wind, water, fire, hurricane, floods, smoke, mold, and any other disaster.
If you have an emergency causing water damage to your Parma or Seven Hills home, we will be there to help!