Polar Vortex February 2019
January 30th the temperatures dropped to -22*F. The frigid temperatures caused any standing water in pipes to freeze and expand in the pipes. The expansion created holes and cracks. While the temperatures stayed below zero, the water stayed frozen in the pipes and there were no visible issues. During the next few days, the temperatures rose gradually, therefore; the water in the pipes started to melt. The melting water found all the cracks and breaks in the pipes. SERVPRO of Lombard/Addison started receiving calls for broken pipes and water damage to homes as early as January 30th. Our crews worked extremely hard to keep up with the demand of our services. One of the best parts of SERVPRO is the ability to ask for help. We were able to call our “Storm Team” in. Our Storm Team consists of franchises from all over the country that can spare a crew or two to come help with our disaster. Our helping hands were able to assist with all calls that were going to our national call center while we were able to focus on customers that were calling our franchise directly. We can proudly say our crews at SERVPRO of Lombard/Addison helped over 13 families and businesses the next few weeks after the freeze. You can trust us to be there for you for any restoration and remediation needs.
A frozen pipe can be identified by frost on the outside of the pipe or the water pressure is lower than normal!
So, you have done everything you could to prevent frozen pipes, but your pipes still froze in this record-breaking weather. You do not have a burst pipe, yet. The frozen water could be preventing the water from flowing out or the ice has not expanded enough to crack the pipe. Here are a few tips to defrost them safely without a burst.
- Turn off the water that supplies that pipe or the water supply to the entire home.
- Call your local plumber if you have any questions. The plumber is a professional and knows how to properly defrost your pipes.
- If you are confident you can defrost them on your own you can use a hair dryer, space heater, or a heat lamp to slowly defrost the pipes.
- Wrap your pipes in temperature controlling tape. You can purchase this tape at a local hardware store.
- Do Not Use a propane torch or anything with an open flame. These pipes are typically hidden under cabinets. Using an open flame to defrost your pipes could be a huge fire risk.
If there is a burst, the first person to call is your plumber. Your second call should be to SERVPRO of Lombard/Addison at 630-543-1700. We are available for emergency services 24/7.
Winter Storm Harper
Ice damming and pipe bursts are the main cause of water damage during the winter months.
Winter Storm Harper is on everyone’s minds. Will it hit us? How much snow will fall? If the wind is blowing a little south the storm could pass Chicago and its suburbs, but if the wind blows a little more northeast then Harper will lay a thick layer of snow on us. Whether the storm goes right through us or takes a small turn here are some winter tips to keep in mind.
- While shoveling, keep your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and keep you back straight. Do not twist or throw snow while shoveling. Instead walk the snow to a spot you want to put it. Only shovel small amounts of snow at a time. Shoveling is a hard exercise. Make sure you take plenty of breaks while shoveling. Heart attacks from over exertion are a major cause of winter deaths.
- Keep cabinet doors open especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows the heat from the home keep those hidden pipes warm. Also, think about allowing a small trickle of water to flow out of the faucets. The continual movement of water prevents the water from freezing in the pipe. This could prevent a pipe burst.
- Make sure no furniture is blocking heat registers. This helps keep costs of heating your home a bit lower while keeping the pipes from freezing as well.
- Avoid ice damming! Ice damming is when the snow melts off your warm roof and refreezes in the gutters. Ice damming leads to the water soaking into the home creating water damage. To avoid ice dams, insulate the attic floor to prevent the heat of the home escaping through the roof. Also, having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof can prevent water intrusion even if ice damming occurs.
- Only drive if absolutely necessary. Don’t travel alone, or let others know when you leave and when you expect to arrive at your destination. Keep you gas tank full. Also, make sure your antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, and other fluids are full. In case you get stuck somewhere you want to be able to use your car to keep you warm. You should always have a blanket, extra gloves, bottled water, a first aid kit, and a flashlight in your car just in case you are in an accident and there is no one to come help immediately.
- A common misconception is that alcohol warms your body up. While the initial feeling of alcohol warms your stomach, the reality is alcohol is a blood thinner. The thinner your blood the faster your extremities (fingers and toes) will be susceptible to hypothermia. Try warm non-alcoholic beverages to keep your body warm or to quickly warm up the core after being outside for long period. (hot chocolate, coffee, etc.)
These tips are handy whether the storm lands 12 inches of snow or only a quarter of an inch. Use your better judgment when driving and shoveling. Also, make sure you are consistently checking the news for weather updates.