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Are my pipes frozen? What to do!

1/27/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen water pipes are a serious risk during very cold winter weather. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure at over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture almost any pipe filled with water, which provides no place for the ice to expand. A burst pipe can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and that equates to thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when they are located:

  • in an outside wall
  • in a cabinet under a sink (especially near an outside wall)
  • in an unheated crawl space or basement

If your pipe is frozen but not yet ruptured, you must thaw it right away. There are a few thawing techniques to try, depending on where the frozen pipe is located.

Warning: Never use a blow torch or other open flame to thaw a pipe. This presents a serious fire hazard and can damage the pipe.

A frozen pipe that hasn't burst yet often reveals itself at a faucet: when you turn on the faucet and no water comes out or it has slowed to a trickle, there's probably a blockage of ice somewhere in the line. It's time take immediate action: 

  • Shut off the water to the faucet locally or at the home's main water shutoff valve.
  • Open the faucet that is supplied by the frozen pipe; do this even if you don't know where the blockage is.
  • Identify the frozen pipe and locate the blockage: Follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas, such as an exterior wall or unheated crawl space. Look for areas on the pipe that have frost or ice; it may also be slightly bulged.

When you find that the frozen—but not yet burst—pipe is behind a wall or ceiling, you've got a challenge on your hands. You have three options for thawing the pipe:

  • Turn up the heat in the house and wait.
  • Cut out a section of the wall or ceiling to access the frozen section of pipe, then thaw the pipe as an exposed pipe (see next slide).
  • Use an infrared lamp to help heat the wall section in front of where you believe the pipe is frozen. Infrared lamps are better than regular heat lamps because they pass through the air without heating it and will direct more energy to warming the wall and frozen pipe.

If the frozen pipe is exposed, you have several options for thawing it. Whichever remedy use use, heat the pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area. This allows water to flow out as the ice melts.

  • Hair dryer: Usually the easiest and safest way to thaw a pipe. If the pipe is close to the wall, place a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help radiate heat onto the backside of the pipe.
  • Heat lamp: You can use an infrared or incandescent heat lamp. As with a hair dryer, if the pipe is close to the wall, use a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help reflect heat onto the pipe.
  • Portable heater: A small, powerful heater works great for warming pipes under a kitchen or vanity base cabinet. Direct the heater onto the frozen section of pipe. It will work like a hair dryer on steroids!
  • Electric pipe heat tape: Heat tape is a ribbon-like wrap that contains electrical heating elements. You wrap it around the pipe you want to heat and plug it into the wall. The temperature of the tape is controlled with a thermostat. Heat tape can also be used to prevent pipes from freezing in critical areas; you can leave the heat tape on the pipe and plug it in only when needed.

There are a few things you can do to prevent the problem of freezing pipes from occurring again:

  • Leave the faucet dripping slightly during the coldest time of the day or night.
  • Open the cabinet doors to allow the heated air from the room to reach pipes inside the cabinet.
  • Wrap the problem pipe with electrical heat tape.
  • Insulate problem pipes with foam insulation wrap, especially those that run through unheated spaces. Note: Insulation merely slows the transfer of heat and will not prevent a pipe from freezing if the surrounding air is cold enough.
  • Heat unheated areas with a permanent heater, just to keep the temperature above freezing, or about 40 degrees F. Warning: Do not use portable heaters, which should never be left running unattended.
  • Remove garden hoses attached to outdoor faucets (hose bibs or sill cocks). If the faucet is not a frost-proof type, turn off the water to the faucet inside the house and drain the exterior section of the pipe.

Water is just part of the damage after a fire!

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

Firetrucks on street Should Water and Fire damage your home call the professionals at SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland.

Common Types of Damage After A Fire

When a fire happens on your property, firefighters and sprinkler systems will do everything they can to put the fire out. While this is definitely a good thing, it does create additional considerations for you during the restoration process. In the hours and days after a fire, water cleanup is just as important as removing smoke and fire damage for maintaining the value and integrity of your property. Here are some tips for dealing with common types of damage after a fire:

  1. Direct Fire Damage
    Fire is an incredibly destructive force when allowed to reach high temperatures.Fire cleanup often requires property restorers to simply remove surfaces or items that have been burned. While some items are often possible to restore, electronics, roofing, and structural elements of a building may have to be replaced entirely at the expense of the insurer or property owner.
  2. Water Damage
    Certain items and surfaces are more vulnerable to water damage than others. During the water cleanupphase of restoration, you should dry furniture and other relatively porous possessions as quickly as possible so that mold cannot colonize them. It is also critical that restorers remove any residual water left on your flooring, as this can infiltrate surfaces and cause mold and structural damage.
  3. Smoke Residue
    Smoke can create residues that are both unpleasant to smell and damaging to your belongings. Smoke residue can build up in computers and other electronics, causing them to malfunction and short circuit. Electronics can often be saved through proper smoke cleanup so you should contact a restoration professional experienced in restoring the items you are worried about.
    If you require a water cleanup after a fire in your Central Ohio property, you may be concerned that your property will never be restored to its former glory. With the right help, SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland, many of your things can likely be saved and protected from secondary damage caused by mold and decay.

Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Drop

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

Broken water pipe Water everywhere from frozen and broken pipes? Call SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland.

Why Are Frozen Pipes Dangerous?

Frozen pipes are a problem for a couple of reasons. They can create an inconvenience but, more seriously, can cause major damage to your property.

  • Lack of Running Water– The most obvious danger of a frozen pipe is the inability to access running water. This can interfere with your tenant’s ability to do everyday tasks such as washing the dishes or taking a shower. It is a landlord’s responsibility to make sure his or her tenants have running water.
  • Potential to Burst- The second problem that can occur when a pipe freezes is that the pipe actually bursts. Once the actual water in the pipe freezes, pressure is created between the closed faucet and the blockage that can build up to a point that causes the pipe to explode. If the pipe bursts outside, this could also create dangerous slippery conditions while the temperatures are below freezing.

 Signs of Frozen Pipes

  • The Temperature Is Right- Pipes cannot freeze if it is not cold enough outside for them to do so. Water does not freeze when it is 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and neither do pipes. When the temperature falls to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you should begin to take precautions to prevent vulnerable pipes from freezing.
  • There Is Frost on the Pipe- For pipes that can actively be seen, such as those under sinks, you may be able to see frost that has accumulated on the exterior of the pipe. This can serve as a warning sign that the pipe is frozen before you ever try to turn on the faucet.
  • No Water Is Coming Out of the Faucet- Another sign that you may have a frozen pipe on your hands is lack of running water. If you or a tenant turn on a kitchen or bathroom faucet and only a slight trickle of water or no water at all comes out, the water pipe leading to the faucet may be frozen.
  • Strange Smells- A fourth potential sign of a blocked pipe is an odd smell coming from a faucet or drain. If the pipe is partially or completely blocked, the only way the odor can escape is back up in the direction of your property.

How Much Does a Frozen Pipe Cost to Fix?

It is very difficult to estimate the cost of fixing a frozen pipe because each situation is so unique. Two factors that play a huge role in cost are the location of the pipe and whether the pipe has burst.

If you are able to easily access the blockage, such as a pipe under a kitchen sink, you might be able to thaw the blockage for free using a hair dryer or hot rags.

If the blockage is buried in a wall, fixing the issue will become more expensive. You may spend a few hundred dollars cutting open sheetrock to find the problem or more than a thousand if you need to hire a plumber to find and thaw out the blockage.

If a frozen pipe bursts You have a flooding issue on your hands, you could be faced with thousands of dollars of damage. You will have to hire a plumber to fix the burst pipe and then you will have to deal with fixing any damage the water has caused inside your property. If you have the property insurance, they should help cover some of these costs. In cleaning up the mess the water will leave behind you can count on SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland. We are water cleanup experts.  

Our fleet is ready to go!

1/25/2021 (Permalink)

Fleet of SERVPRO Vehicles Our fleet of new vehicles loaded and ready to go!

SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland Professionals arrive quickly and are trained and equipped to help you regain control of your life when you have an emergency such as a water loss or smoke damage. Mitigation requires quick action. The faster  SERVPRO of Ashland /Richland can be on-site to start the cleanup for water or smoke, the better the results. This could also keep the cost of the claim down.

   Emergency Response 1-4-8

     Service Response Guidelines

1. Within one hour from notice of loss a SERVPRO Professional will contact your insured to arrange for service.

4. Within four hours of loss notification, a SERVPRO  Professional will be on-site to start mitigation services.

8.  Within eight business hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of the scope will be      communicated to the adjuster. 

If you need service, don't wait.  Call SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland will be there to make it "Like it never even happened."

Reading as a team makes us strong!

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

Man reading a book SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland book club is designed to improve ourselves for all we do.

Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.  The team at SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland takes this to heart as we started our first book club.  Our first book was the “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell.

As we discussed the book weekly among our technicians, office staff and management we learned:

  • A person must always stand on solid ground. Stick to the rules you represent.  Honesty, Fairness and Good Judgement are the foundation.
  • Your co-workers must respect you, but that respect has to be earned on a constant basis. It’s important that you keep earning this respect over time.
  • Hating losing is a good thing – it keeps you focused on winning. Giving up and losing are not valid options.

Should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge can never be taken from you. That is what SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland teaches our team.  So if you needs us, we will be there to help make it “Like it never even happened.”


1/7/2021 (Permalink)

Team eating lunch together SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland close team members work and eat together.

Teamwork requires a mix of interpersonal, problem solving, and communication skills needed for individuals to work together towards a common goal. These skills become even more important when you work with others on a long-term, sustained basis like SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland does.

To serve our customers the best we can we teach how to work constructively as a team and with our clients.  To help build a collaborative team environment, we work to develop and practice the following:

  1. Trust: Be honest; work to eliminate conflicts of interest; avoid talking behind each other’s back; trust teammates (you must trust them before they will trust you); give team members the benefit of the doubt.
  2. Clarify Roles: Review team member roles frequently; clarify responsibilities when action planning; relate team member expectations to team’s overall purpose; figure out ways to help each other.
  3. Communicate Openly & Effectively: Work to clear up misunderstandings quickly and accurately; seek to understand all perspectives; err on the side of over communicating; reinforce and recognize team member efforts. Learn to listen well.
  4. Appreciate Diversity of Ideas: Evaluate a new idea based on its merits; remember that reasonable people can and do differ with one another; avoid remarks that draw negative attention to a person’s unique characteristics; don’t ignore the differences among team members; try to learn as much as you can from others.
  5. Balance the Team’s Focus: Regularly review and evaluate the effectiveness of team meetings; design individual performance goals that emphasize both results and teamwork; praise individual effort; assign specific team members to monitor task needs and others to monitor relationship needs; hold team celebrations for achieving results.

Adapted from Belgrad, W., Fisher, K., & Rayner, S. (1995). Tips for Teams: A Ready Reference for Solving Common Team Problems. McGraw-Hill: New York.

SERVPRO was there to protect this Mansfield Office.

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

Building with sign Big or Small, Old or New you can count on SERVPRO to protect your business.

Helping Customer Facing Businesses with Commercial Flood Damage in Ashland / Richland.

A backed-up sewer point in your place of work can force temporary closure while the issue is assessed and remediated. In a customer facing business, this can easily lead to a loss of revenue and usually occurs during the busier times of the year. A timely restoration depends on using the right kind of service — one with experience and locally based technicians who can deal with Biohazard materials.

The idea of commercial flood damage in Mid-Ohio usually creates notions of extreme weather conditions, heavy rainfall or other natural events. Most often the problem can be traced back to older plumbing systems that have steadily deteriorated over time. SERVPRO technicians live and work in this area so they can recognize the unique problems faced by our business community.

As a start, we operate a 24-hour emergency call line. Our business communities know that they can reach us anytime, day or night. Following a quick assessment over the phone, SERVPRO can send a rapid response unit to your property immediately. Expertly trained technicians can find the source of damage quicker and put in place preventative measures to limit recurring problems.

When dealing with raw sewage, the priority is to wear the right equipment. Black Water can be harmful and is often loaded with pathogens.  SERVPRO technicians are given the correct clothing which allows them to remedy the situation quickly. The priority is to find the source of the problem and shut it off at the source.

Once we are confident that the source is dealt with, we can begin to remove the damages. Using submersible pumps alongside industrial-grade extractors, waste is removed efficiently. After that, we can apply proprietary cleaning solutions and sanitizers to the affected zone. Where there is drywall, we can demolish it, clean behind it and then replace it with new drywall. Our last step is to thoroughly deodorize the affected area to make the damage "Like it never even happened."

If your business suffers unforeseen flood damage, contact SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland at 419-207-8449.

SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland helps after Hurricane Laura

9/11/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Truck in front of Hurricane damaged building. SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland helping businesses after Hurricane Laura.

Hurricane Laura unleashed wind over 150 mph and heavy rain hundreds of miles inland along the Gulf Coast, leaving a path of destruction to homes and businesses. 

The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby for disasters like these. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, SERVPRO professionals are prepared for the unpredictable.

SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland has dispatched trained technicians to Lake Charles Louisiana to aid in restoration following the giant storm's path. Immense destruction has been left after the hurricane, but we are here to help restore homes, businesses, and hope.  Our mission statement is “Restore the present to protect the future.”

Communities in Louisiana were shattered by extreme wind and wiped away during this deadly Category 4 hurricane.  We are here in Louisiana to help them with the cleanup and recovery efforts. It will take some time, but SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland will be there every step of the way providing help with insurance claims, water damage, mold and reconstruction to make the recovery process as seamless as possible for those affected.  

If you need storm damage recovery assistance, call SERVPRO at 800-293-9555 or 419-207-8449.

Things you need to know about Smoke Damage

8/3/2020 (Permalink)

When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction.  While fire may be the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house.  Ash and smoke, if left untouched, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration.  Also, powerful lingering odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. This entire process is very detailed.  Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing everything to need restoration.                                                                  

  Things You need to Know About Smoke Damage  

  1. Smoke Migrates to Cooler Areas: The behavior of smoke during a fire is largely dependent on temperature. Smoke is typically hot and migrates to cooler regions of your home. Unfortunately, the cooler regions of your home are often hard to reach places, like cabinets and the underside of furniture. This makes the cleaning process much more difficult and is one of the major consequences of smoke damage. 
  2. Smoke Uses Plumbing to Migrate Through Your House: Smoke naturally travels through plumbing systems, using holes around pipes to travel from floor to floor. This is the best way for smoke to travel throughout homes and buildings and cause further damage. Vents and plumbing systems are cleaned and often replaced if smoke damage is great enough. 
  3. Wet, Smoldering Fires Produce the Most Damaging Smoke: The type of fire and the type of smoke produced by the fire make a huge difference when it comes to cleaning smoke damage. Wet, smoldering fires produce highly volatile and noxious smoke, the effects of which can persist for years if not cleaned properly. 
  4. High Temperature Fires Produce Easier to Clean Smoke Damage: Contrary to what you might believe, high temperature fires tend to be less damaging than smoldering fires. That is because they burn very quickly and produce a different type of smoke that contains less damaging soot. As a result, even though the high temperature fire may seem like it would produce more damage, you may just get lucky. 
  5. A Very Damaging Component of Smoke is Invisible: While the billowing clouds of dark smoke may seem the likely culprit, it’s the invisible protein residues of smoke that can also cause server damage. These residues can break down metal, wood, paint, and even porcelain, and their highly volatile chemical make-up allows them to penetrate deep into almost any substance while remaining totally invisible. Beware of this invisible enemy! 
  6. Smoke Damage Can destroy Metal and Wood Items: You might think that hearty substance like wood and metal would not be affected by smoke as much as upholstery and textiles. You’d be wrong. The noxious protein residues in smoke can break down brass, copper, wood, and even stone, causing them to decay at an ultra-rapid rate. Be sure to let a professional know about the exposure of wood and metal items to smoke and the duration of the exposure. 
  7. The Number 1 Rule to Prevent Lasting Smoke Damage: Get Air Moving: If you want to get a head start on cleaning up your home after smoke damage, follow the cardinal rule. Get air moving.  Use fans and open windows to keep air circulating throughout your home. This will prevent any remaining smoke residues from penetrating even deeper into your house and property.

Fire in Mansfield home starts in Basement

8/2/2020 (Permalink)

smoke and soot Cigarette's can do lots of damage to your home. Be careful!

This Mansfield, Ohio home experienced fire, smoke and soot damage when a cigarette lit this garage on fire.  They called SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland to handle the fire restoration.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) smoking materials, including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2014. These fires caused 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in direct property damage. SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland has the water and fire damage training and expertise to help you through this tough time. Once the fire department leaves, your home may suffer from water damage caused by firefighting efforts. We have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire and water damage and can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Ashland / Richland (419) 207-8449