When winter arrives and temperatures drop, some plumbing fixtures need a little help adjusting to severe weather. Among the many things homeowners and commercial property owners can do to prepare for freezing temperatures, taking care of fragile pipes is one of the most important. Most people know that when pipes freeze, they can burst and create the need for water damage repair. But fewer people make the connection between frozen pipes and flames before it is too late and they have to call for fire damage restoration.
Floods vs. Fires
There is a fine line between frozen pipes causing floods and leading to fires, and this line is the process of thawing. Put simply, thawing pipes can prevent floods by reducing the likelihood of the pipes bursting, but thawing carelessly or using inappropriate methods increases the risk of flames igniting. Fire damage repair companies can offer tips on how to insulate the pipes in your home or business to reduce the risk of them freezing, as well as how you can properly thaw them to minimize fire hazards.
Preventing Pipes From Freezing
Insulating water pipes can prevent wasteful heat loss, freezing and breakage. Pipes located in exposed areas of the home or building, such as pump houses and garages, are especially vulnerable. To insulate small lengths of pipe, you could use pipe wraps made of materials such as fiberglass, plastic, foil-backed fiberglass, rubber or foil-backed natural cotton. If more pipes need to be covered, consider tubular sleeves. Remove dirt and grease from the pipes and make sure they are dry before you install the insulation. Nonetheless, if even after these efforts you notice the pipes leaking or bursting, call a home restoration company immediately for professional water extraction. The sooner you identify leaks and flooded areas, the better chance you have of saving your belongings from water damage.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
- If you realize your pipes have frozen, turn off the water valves to reduce pressure and minimize flooding if the pipes burst.
- To warm the area and slowly melt the ice, you could use a hairdryer or heat lamp.
- Also, wrap and secure a heavy towel around the pipes to concentrate heat to the areas that need it the most.
- Place a bucket underneath the pipes to collect any sweat, and then pour warm water over the pipes.
- When you are finished thawing the pipes, look carefully for any leaks and damp patches on walls, ceilings and floors.
- Avoid using heat guns and propane torches to thaw pipes, for they are known fire hazards that could easily melt piping elements if placed too close to the pipes or left on for too long.
Water & Fire Damage Restoration in Gainesville
Fire and water damage restoration companies recommend home and business owners to find a professional organization in their area to help them develop pre-loss contingency plans and take preventive measures that could help the people, property, services and products involved. In Gainesville, FL, and surrounding areas, you can trust Maven Construction Group. Our services include leak detection, emergency water removal, mold cleanup, storm damage, fire and water damage restoration and more. Call us today!
Is it a Job for a Plumber or Gainesville Restoration Company?
When it comes to water leaks and other emergencies in your home, both plumbers and restoration companies work to repair the issue and prevent water damage. However, there are instances when a restoration company might be more suitable than a plumber and vice versa. At Maven Construction Group, we provide restoration of water damage Gainesville, FL, residents can trust.
Common Water Issues for Homeowners
- Leaking Pipes: Leaking or cracked pipes can happen quite often and if not taken care of can cost you a significant amount on your water bill and even cause water damage to floors and walls. However, water leak detection is fairly easy and quick to spot, as well as to resolve, so it is often a job more suitable for a plumber as long as there is no extensive damage.
- Clogged Drains: Clogged drains can cause water to spill over onto other areas, however, because it is easily noticed it will often be repaired before there is extensive water damage to the surrounding areas. A plumber would be the ideal choice for clogged drains.
- Leaking Shower Pan: Leaking shower pans are not easily detected and due to the constant flow of water it is easy for water to damage floors and walls. The excess moisture often causes mold growth in the bathroom as well. For water issues involving mold damage restoration, a restoration company should be contacted.
- Water Heater Burst: A water heater burst can release large amounts of water instantly, possibly flooding the surrounding areas and causing water damage. In this instance, a Gainesville restoration company would be necessary for emergency water removal and to repair the burst.
- Slab Leaks: Slab leaks can cause serious structural problems to your home if not addressed. They can cause cracks in walls and flooring, extensive water damage to the foundation, mildew and mold growth, and raise your water bills significantly. A restoration company can help repair the leak and address any water or mold damages caused by it.
Restoration Company in Gainesville, FL
What makes water restoration companies different from plumbers is the gravity of the situation. Plumbers stop and repair the source of water loss but do not address water damage caused by it. Restoration companies, on the other hand, use advanced equipment to dry, remove and repair water damage as well as mold damage caused by the water source. At Maven Construction Group, we can also bring in a plumber to repair a leak or other water issue if needed and, unlike normal plumber services, the repairs would be covered under your insurance. Contact us today for all your water and mold restoration services.
Water damage can lead to mold contamination if ignored or not dried within 24-48 hours. Some water damages in Gainesville Florida happen quickly and are obvious, causing significant amounts of water. Others may happen slowly for longer periods of time going unnoticed. The presence of such uncontrolled water damage can allow mold to grow. Often times homes have hidden, slow plumbing leaks and the homeowner or building occupants are unaware of this damage for months. Slab leaks are example of hidden plumbing leaks which can lead to serious structural problems and mold growth.
Moisture from Construction: Moisture contained in the materials used to construct a building needs to be removed, by using drying materials, once construction has been completed. During the construction process building materials are often water damaged by rain and then installed and covered up before dried properly. Contractors are generally behind schedule due to rain delays which often times results in the use of wet building materials as they try to complete their project on time. This increases the chances of mold contamination within the home or building. Most building contractors have little to no understanding of psychrometrics which is the science of understanding how moisture behaves when it is a vapor contained in the air. The following defined terms must be understood for one to have a better understanding of psychrometrics.
Dry-bulb temperature: The temperature of air read on a standard thermometer.
Relative humidity: (RH) The ratio of moisture content in the air.
Specific humidity: The weight of water in each pound of dry air. Generally discussed in GPP (Grains Per Pound) of Dry Air.
Wet bulb temperature: The temperature of air read on a standard thermometer that is covered by wet wick and exposed to air moving across it at 1000 feet per minute.
Mold Growth Inside Buildings: Mold will begin to grow in and on building materials when humidity levels within the building reach 70 % or higher. This can result from water damaged building materials not being dried properly or HVAC system failure. When a building’s HVAC system is failing it can result in surface mold growth which can be remediated easily early on. Serious mold problems are usually the result of some form of water damage such as plumbing leaks or roof leaks which go ignored or are mishandled. Property management companies and condo associations in Gainesville Florida are known to ignore and mishandle water damage and mold damage. Property management companies are paid by property owners to minimize damages and cost and maximize profits, leaving building occupants at risk. Property management companies definition of mold remediation is covering mold contaminated drywall with paint or primer. Maintenance staff often perform these tasks with little to no knowledge about mold contamination and proper structural drying. Water damage is a very serious issue and many residents are living inside mold contaminated apartment buildings with little to no knowledge.
If you suspect you have mold in your residence, contact professionals who can help you identify and eliminate the problem. MAVEN Construction Group is a licensed General Contractor AND licensed Mold Remediator with over a decade of experience in handling water and mold related issues in residential and commercial buildings.
When removing water from commercial and residential buildings you must understand the science of drying. The science of drying requires understanding of thermodynamic properties of air and water vapor mixtures. Measuring and evaluating these properties enables restorers to better analyze and manage conditions during drying. Rapid drying requires the proper equipment and understanding of the elements listed below.
Although equilibrium is not the primary goal in structural drying, the forces that continually seek this state are the same forces used to achieve drying goals. Managing psychrometric conditions influences the rate at which moisture moves from wet building materials to the air, when seeking equilibrium. The objective of drying is to minimize the amount of time materials spend in an abnormally wet state. This time can be reduced by better understanding the forces that move moisture through materials.
Evaporation is the transfer of moisture from water damaged building materials to the air. This can be achieved by rapid air-movement by using high velocity air-movers. When a building suffers from water damage the humidity inside the building goes up. Because of the the wet building materials inside, the moisture has no place to go once the materials are saturated. Elevated humidity levels means excess moisture in the air which leads to secondary water damaged building materials. For example, water may flood a building as a result of a plumbing malfunction but only go 6 to 12 inches up the drywall. The elevated moisture within the air-space of the building will rise causing wet air to damage upper cabinets and other building materials that were not actually touched by water. Elevated moisture levels or elevated Relative Humidity or (RH) can lead to mold contamination in areas of the dwelling that were not actually touched by water. The best way to reduce elevated (RH) is the installation of dehumidifiers. Dehumidification is the process of removing moisture from the air. In closed drying systems dehumidifcation is essential for removing evaporated moisture from the air to minimize or prevent secondary water damage.
Once structural drying is completed and the drying goal is achieved, inspection of damages is performed. Building materials such as drywall can lose structural integrity once damaged by water. Often times insurance companies think that drywall can be saved once dried however, if the structural integrity of the drywall has been compromised it should be replaced. Drywall is considered to be a porous and should always be removed if the category of water is 2 or 3 (which means it is an unclean source). Drywall that is contaminated with mold should always be removed no matter the situation.
North Central Florida has chronic issues with hidden plumbing leaks, known as slab leaks,which are a failure of copper plumbing lines located within the foundation in residential and commercial buildings. Often times slab leaks can take 15-20 years to develop. Slab leaks will start off with a hole in the copper line so small it can’t be seen by the naked eye. Although small, slab leaks can cause serious water and mold damage to your property. They can go undetected for weeks, causing mold damage inside wall cavities and behind cabinets or under wood flooring. Mold typically thrives in damp, dark places like water damaged wall cavities. Slab leaks will often lead to mold damage.
Slab leaks are usually detected by homeowners when water bills are increased with out explanation. Often times homeowners will notice a wet spot in the middle of a room or a warm spot under a tile floor. Plumbing companies often lack the proper leak detection equipment needed to locate slab leaks. Leak detection for slab leaks is performed using specialty equipment such as thermal imaging devices, moisture detection devices and sonar guided listening devices. Using this specialty equipment to locate the leak, reduces demolition and damage to the property. Once the slab leak is located, a plumbing company can be contracted to repair the leak. Slab leak repair is often times covered by homeowners insurance policies and resulting water and mold damage from slab leaks are usually covered as well. Gainesville Leak Detection is owned and operated by the licensed General Contractors at MAVEN Construction Group. They locate hundreds of slab leaks every year in North Central Florida. If you have a hidden water leak call Gainesville Leak Detection at 352-246-8667.
What would you do if your property were flooded? Are you prepared? Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. On average, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other weather related event. Being prepared for a flood can keep your family safe, help minimize potential flood damage and quicken recovery efforts.
- Make a family communications plan and build an emergency supply kit
- Keep tabs on the local forecast
- Alert others via social media and texts when a flood threat or other hazardous weather exists
- Do NOT drive in flooded areas. Turn around. Just two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood, so you or your evacuation routes are not cut off.
- Get covered. There is a 30 day waiting period from the date of purchase before your flood insurance policy goes into effect. Protect yourself from a devastating financial loss by purchasing flood insurance.
- Flood-hazard maps are available to show the flood risk for your community. These also help to determine the type of flood insurance coverage you will need since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding.
Resources to help you prepare for a flood:
Local Resources for Alachua County