Every winter, it happens. We get several days of below-average temperatures, and inevitably pipes freeze, thaw, and then burst, causing in-home flooding. According to water damage statistics, about 40% of homeowners have experienced loss from water damage. What’s more, 93% of all water damage could have been prevented. Carpet Tech, a local flood and fire restoration company, has been wading through floodwaters to assist home and business owners for over 20 years, mitigating flood damage and restoring homes and offices to their pre-loss condition. Carpet Tech’s restoration manager and IICRC certified expert, Newlee Hester, shares what to do if you have a flood and precautions to minimize water damage in the home.
Hester has seen firsthand the devastation rising waters can cause homeowners financially and emotionally. “Rightfully so, flooding in a home, whether that be from burst pipes, excessive rains, or appliance leaks are stressful and disruptive for families,” Hester said. No matter the cause, the results are the same: Inconvenience, financial worry, and mental strain.
“Our job is not just extracting water; we focus on the family, listening, answering all questions, and walking them through the water clean-up and damage restoration process, including working with their insurance company.”
Carpet Tech has a 24/7 hotline for flood calls, mobilizing the fleet to respond within 30 minutes because time is of the essence with a flood. Hester says if water is still coming in, the source needs to be identified and stopped before water extraction begins. “It’s crucial to begin extracting water right away as water can rapidly destroy your belongings, including furniture, important papers, carpets and rugs, clothing, and electronics,” he said. “It can also damage key structures in your home as well as cosmetic structures such as drywall and flooring.” Further mold, bacteria, and viruses can fester in wet conditions, creating an unhealthy environment.
“There’s much more to water remediation than drying things out,” Hester said. “Once we remove and protect and furnishings and remove any standing water, we install our fans, dehumidifiers, and other industrial drying equipment to remove moisture out of your possessions and your home itself.” Carpet Tech’s construction division can make any additional repairs once the affected area has been thoroughly dried, cleaned, and disinfected. “It’s an extensive process, but it’s all about getting things back to normal for you and your family as soon as possible,” Hester said.
While various issues can cause in-home flooding, Hester says burst pipes are the most common flood culprit this time of year. “Pipes can burst as water inside them freezes and expands. Once heat fully returns, ice melts, and water flows at full blast. If too much liquid flows in at once, small cracks in pipes can increase, and before you know it, water is gushing,” he said.
While Hester and his team respond to all types of flooding jobs, big and small, he says they all have one common denominator, and it’s not water. “A flood emergency is a human emergency,” Hester said. “Even though most of the flood calls we make are not life-threatening, they deeply affect people. Our job is always to care first for the customer, making a real connection with them to address their most immediate concerns, and sometimes that’s not just the water.”
Winter Flood Prevention Tips
You never know when disaster will strike. While the damage that comes from Mother Nature is impossible to control, you can head off water damage due to plumbing emergencies with some simple preparation tips.
SHUT OFF OUTSIDE WATER SPIGOTS
Disconnect and store your outdoor garden hoses. Shut off water to all outdoor faucets and install insulated foam faucet covers on each one. You can purchase these covers at your local hardware store.
SET INTERIOR FAUCETS TO DRIP
Set any faucets located on an exterior wall to a slow drip. Open both the cold and warm water valves.
KEEP CABINET DOORS OPEN
When freezing weather hits, open all cabinet doors below faucets. This will allow your home heating system to keep the area around the pipes warm.
LEAVE THE HEAT ON
If you plan to leave the house during freezing weather, set your thermostat between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You run the risk of freezing pipes if you set the temp below 50 degrees.
LOCATE YOUR WATER SHUT-OFF
Be sure you know exactly where your water shut-off is located. Keep the area around the shut-off clear of debris and storage items. Ensure every member of your household knows where this is located and how to shut off the water when necessary.
KNOW HOW TO RESPOND
If frozen pipes hit your home, know exactly what to do. A quick response is critical in any water leak emergency.