Prepare to Prevent Frozen Pipes
It's never too early to prep your home for the impending Winter. Fall is upon us, so now is a great time to begin preparing for the colder weather while it's still warm! Colder temperatures can be extremely damaging to your home if you're not prepared.
Contrary to popular belief, pipes don't typically burst at the point where water freezes, but somewhere between the freeze and a closed faucet. When the pressure builds due to ice blockage, it has nowhere to go but through the pipe walls, which can quickly lead to extensive water damage. Winterize your home plumbing, stop frozen pipes before they happen and prevent expensive water damage by properly insulating the plumbing pipes in your home.
1. Pipe insulation
Your pipes are more susceptible to freezing damage when temperatures drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Pipe insulation provides you with a first line of defense against cold temperatures and frozen pipes. For pipe winterization, add a thicker layer of insulation around your pipes.
Insulate the pipes in all unheated areas, as they are most likely to freeze. Wrap the pipes in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. Measure the outside diameter of your pipes to make sure you purchase the correct size of tube. Wrapping pipes in heat-tape prior to insulating adds an extra layer of protection, but make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid damage.
2. Keep a dripping faucet
On nights when the temperature is expected to drop below freezing, turn on faucets along the exterior walls to create a small, steady drip; doing so will allow the water to move and flow, helping to keep it from freezing. This also eliminates pressure that can build between the faucet and an ice blockage, so even if a pipe freezes, it may not burst.
3. Open cabinets
You can stop frozen pipes by introducing more heat. Open all sink-based cabinet doors along exterior walls to allow more heat to reach the pipes.
4. Fix exterior cracks
Note any cracks or holes along the outside walls and foundation of your home. Filling holes and cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking can help stop the cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes during extremely cold weather.
Taking these steps may prevent your pipes from freezing this winter. If frozen pipes cause a water damage situation in your home, please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville - We are always here to help!
Space Heater Safety Tips
Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in.
It is estimated that portable electric heaters account for 1200 fires per year. Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:
- Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
- Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
- Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
- Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
How to Tell if My Home Has Mold
Mold is microscopic which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Therefore, it is very hard to determine if your home has mold unless you can visibly see the black growth. Mold needs water to grow and will grow if there are leaks.
Hidden mold can be found by doing some simple investigating:
- Where do you have water problems?
- Check under windows since condensation can form and mold will grow on the sill.
- Bathrooms have a lot of water. Any leak or corner that collects moisture is a potential place for mold growth.
- The water heater and water softener are notorious for having leaks, especially when the water softener purges.
- You can often find mold around the edges of their tanks.
If you do find mold in your home or building, know that SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville has the knowledge and experience to remediate the problem.
Tips As We Head Into the Heating Season
September is already here...which means Fall is just around the corner. Soon, temperatures will begin to cool - especially at night - which means it will be time to fire up the fireplaces, turn on the furnace, and get that space heater out of storage. These are all great ways to keep homes toasty and warm, but they also increase the risk of residential fires. Be sure to follow the safety tips below when preparing to heat your home as we head into the Fall and Winter months:
- Inspect your chimney regularly for cracks and obstructions.
- Don't let creosote build up in your chimney, as it could set off a roof fire.
- Don't "over build" your fire using too much paper. You could ignite the soot in your chimney.
- Never burn charcoal in your fireplace. It gives off deadly carbon monoxide.
- Keep your damper open if there are hot ashes in your fireplace. Closing the damper could enable hot ashes to heat up and cause a damaging fire.
- Let ashes cool in a sealed metal container.
- Before you turn on your furnace, have it inspected by a qualified professional.
- Make sure to check the condition of the automatic controls and emergency shutoffs.
- If the walls and ceiling around your furnace feel too warm, add insulation or additional clearance space.
- Keep all trash and combustibles away from the furnace.
- Check your chimney for cracks or loose bricks.
- Seal all unused flue openings with solid masonry.
- Make sure your space heater has a working safety light, alarm, automatic shut-off switch, and a cut-off device to prevent overheating.
- Keep all objects, people and pets at least three feet away from the heater.
- Never use a space heater in your bathroom. Water and electric appliances don't mix.
Heating your home is extremely important, but it's equally as important to do so safely.
The reality is, even after doing all of these things, a fire can happen when you least expect it. If it does happen to you, please know that SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville is ready to help.
Maine Flood Safety
When seasonal flooding occurs in Maine, we usually have some advance notice and the National Weather Service issues flood watches and warnings. It gives us time to prepare and, if necessary, evacuate an affected area.
Flash floods, however, are quite a bit different; they can happen whenever we get too much rain in a small period of time, at any point during a year. Warnings are issued, but there may be little or no advance notice and flood waters can rapidly move into an area.
- A car or small truck will float in as little as two feet of water. If your vehicle begins to float, you lose control over the vehicle. If your vehicle stalls in a flooded roadway, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. The water may sweep the vehicle and its occupants away.
- Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related.
Flood Fatalities in Maine
- In 1996, heavy rain caused serious flooding in New Hampshire and western Maine. A Scarborough, Maine man drowned when he drove his car into a flooded roadway where the road had washed away.
- In 2004, a man died in Gardiner when attempting to kayak in a swollen stream. Rushing flood water may look exciting to the amateur canoeist or boater, but it has incredible power and may be carrying hidden debris.
- In 2007, a woman and her little granddaughter in Limerick were swept away when they tried to walk through flood water.
- In 2012, a Milo man was killed when he drove into a washed-out section of road.
- Never drive a car into a flooded roadway as the road underneath may be washed out.
- Stay clear of streams during heavy rainfall events. Swiftly moving water is extremely powerful and can easily overpower a person.
- Do not attempt recreational boating in flood water. The current can be powerful and there may be heavy debris swept along in the water, making it extremely dangerous.
- Keep children and pets inside and away from flooded streets, culverts, and streams.
- Report flooding to the appropriate authorities.
- Obey road blocks and barriers, even if the flooding has receded. Flood waters may have undercut the road surface or left dangerous debris in the roadway.
- If you live in a flood prone area, have a plan in case the water starts rising quickly.
- Know your evacuation route and if advised to evacuate do so immediately.
Although we can't stop the flood waters, we can certainly help with the cleanup and restoration after the waters have receded. When in need, contact SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville at (207)622-7166; we're always here to help!
WATER DAMAGE IN REMOTE AREAS - NO PROBLEM!
This carpet is saturated. Due to our quick response, we were able to dry and save the carpet.
Water damage can happen anytime, even when you least expect it. This beautiful Maine home experienced water damage on a gorgeous 70 degree sunny day. The homeowner was taking advantage of a warm, Spring day to clean the outside of his house. Unbeknownst to him, his water pipe had sprung a leak over the winter and when he charged the pipe with water to run the hose, it sent water throughout his basement. After some time running the hose, he found his basement totally covered with water.
He made several calls and, fortunately, one was to SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville. We were the only service provider that would travel to his remote location and we were on site within a short time to begin the cleanup process.
If water damage affects your home or business, please don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville at 622-7166, regardless of what town you are in. We are always here to help!
The Unseen Water Hiding in Your Home
This wood flooring looks dry on the surface but the meter detects moisture hidden below.
You have been away for ten days on vacation, you arrive home at 9pm on a Sunday night and what do you want do? Probably get home, relax, and call it a night. But when you walk in and a pipe has burst or a toilet has leaked while you were gone? That changes everything.
In order to save money, people can sometimes use their own tools to stop and dry up water damage. Unfortunately, sometimes the unseen water in your home or office can cause the greatest problems. Hidden behind walls, cabinets or under flooring can be pooled water or moisture that will cause greater health risks to your home and family later on. Here at SERVPRO® of Augusta/Waterville, we have the tools to see that hidden damage and help stop potential problems.
- Moisture Sensors – these will detect moisture in carpet, walls, and baseboards.
- Moisture Meters – these determine the level of moisture in materials. They can penetrate into the material to identify what's going on below the surface. These tools assist us to determine our plan for drying.
- Thermohygrometers – these devices help monitor the temperature and relative humidity in the air. Temperature and humidity play a large role in the drying process and help the SERVPRO® professionals determine how to adjust the process along the way.
- Infrared Cameras – this helps identify the areas that have hidden moisture and document its location. These cameras identify temperature differences in materials from where the areas are cooling (water has been evaporating) and where it is still affected by the moisture.
Our goal is to restore your property “Like it never even happened.” When in doubt, call SERVPRO® of Augusta/Waterville.
Central Maine Smoke and Soot 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 Augusta/Waterville 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 – 207-622-7166
Central Maine Residents: Follow These Safety Tips if You Suspect Mold
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 207-622-7166
Conditions in Central Maine Might Be Right For Mold
It’s estimated that more than 1 million types of mold exist, yet less than 10 percent have actually been named. This means mold is very common in both indoor and outdoor environments. While mold and humans can sometimes co-exist without issue, there are certain species of mold that can cause health effects for some people.
If the right conditions exist, mold will grow. Those conditions include:
- Water - Different mold types require varying amounts of liquid before growth begins.
- Temperature - Normal indoor temperatures will promote mold growth.
- Time - Initial mold colonizers can take hold within one day after being exposed to an adequate water supply.
Mold growth can occur in any home, so it’s important to keep an eye out for situations that might promote mold activity. Roof/chimney leaks, wet basements, snow brought inside your heated garage from your vehicle, or condensation from ducts that dampen surrounding insulation are just a few examples of issues that make a house a prime target for mold growth.
If you suspect mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville to assess the situation. We have the knowledge, tools and track record to effectively remediate mold in your home or business.
If you suspect mold, call us today at 207-622-7166
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Augusta/Waterville for mold remediation services.