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Wednesday
May112011

What Should I Do If My Pipes Are Frozen?

The weatherman has warned you that a cold front is barreling its way into your local area. You go to sleep the night before with extra covers on the bed and the thermal blanket set to “high”. When you awake in the morning, it takes all of your determination to crawl from between the warm covers to start your day. As you step to the sink and turn the faucet on, nothing happens. Oh no! You forgot to leave the water trickling over night. Obviously, water has frozen in the pipes. Thankfully, you look around everywhere in the house and you see no evidence of a water leak. You may assume that the only tragedy is that you’ll have to go to work without a shower, but think again.

The most vulnerable pipes in your home are the ones located in the exterior walls or attic. I have seen pipes that were insulated away from the warm interior and left exposed to the exterior wall of the home; others that were never insulated at all. This is a builders’ mistake that should have been caught by the building inspector during the construction of the home. As we all know, water expands when it freezes. We learn this pretty early in school. As the water in your pipes freezes, it expands and the pipes crack. While the weather is still very cold, the water in the pipes remains frozen, so you will see no evidence of water leaking into your home. However, as the temperature rises during the day, the water will begin to melt. Now that the pipe has ruptured, as the water melts and the pressure in the water line begins to flow again, water will then start to pour into your home. If you’ve gone to work, or out shopping, you have no idea what’s happening until you return and see water pouring out of your home. An extraordinary amount of damage can occur in just a short time in such a situation.

Just as the weather man warns us of the “wind chill factor” with regard to our skin, the cold wind blowing against the side of the house affects the pipes inside the wall. A fine article to learn how to insulate your vulnerable pipes can be found at eHow.com ( http://www.ehow.com/how_5718890_keep-pvc-water-pipes-freezing.html).

In the meantime, if you awake to frozen pipes, find out where the main water shutoff valve to your home is located. Once you turn the water off, see if any other faucets are working inside the house. If there is a working faucet, turn it on to drain as much water from the pipes as possible (this is best done on the lowest level of the home). This will minimize the water damage to the home once the frozen pipe thaws. A visual inspection may reveal where damage has occurred. Remember, more than one pipe may have frozen. Once you have found the damage, contact your insurance company and a local plumber. A frozen pipe is one occurrence where the insurance company will pay for the plumbing repair. The insurance company will also pay for the resulting damage to the home.

Of course, as I’ve suggested before, contact a local, reputable Certified contractor to complete repairs to your home. Contact Certified Restoration Team for someone in your area.  They will negotiate with your insurance company to obtain the funds necessary to return your home to its pre-loss condition (less your deductible, but that’s another article all to itself).

Bottom line: An ounce of prevention can save a lot of time and money! Insulate those pipes properly, and leave a faucet dripping during those cold winter blasts.


Wednesday
May112011

A Letter From A Happy Customer

A LETTER FROM A HAPPY CUSTOMER

We recently received this letter from a very happy client.  She and her three young girls were at home when a fire started.  Needless to say she was under a lot of stress when Champion (a Certified Restoration Team Member) arrived to handle the repairs.  Fortunately, they were able to have her home repaired and her family moved back in their home in less than seven months.  She was very happy with the level of service she received and this is what she had to say:

To Whom It May Concern:

My “normal family life was changed by a fire that almost devoured our home.  I had no real way of knowing the far reaching effects of losing my home and the displacement of what I took for granted was our way of life for my three girls and me. On that night we were horrified as the fire engulfed our home and there was nothing we could to stop it. It was a wonderful blessing that the four of us were not injured in the fire.


I had no way of knowing what to do next. ... I didn’t know how bad that fire was until I went back to the house to meet the team. ...I was in shock and though no one else may have known, I could barely move or speak. I could not get past the smell and look of the house. Eventually. the Champion team was all in the house telling me who they were, what they were doing and what would happen in the months to follow. The truth is, I do not remember who introduced themselves to me nor can I recall exactly what they told me that day or for the next week or so. I could just not absorb anything except the devastation along with the faces and sounds of people talking to me.

I do remember feeling that the members of the Champion team were professional, caring and kind. They handled the items in my home with a kind of care that I would not have expected because the items were badly damaged, destroyed and smelled badly. I say that they had respect for my property no matter the condition and I do appreciate that. I was upset many of those early days but they were never disrespectful and though I may not have understood much of what they said, their responses were never demeaning.

The weeks passed and I had difficulty just going into the house. I was scared and had difficulty comprehending how our home would be restored and not smell like smoke. I was concerned  with how long such a project would take. When I learned that the structure was sound but the damage was more than $50,000, I had no idea who could do this major reconstruction. I didn’t even know where to start. I remember Sam Elliott explaining that his company, Champion, could do the work. He sent me to his website to better understand who they were and what kind of restoration they handled.

Sam said they could complete the project in seven months. I reluctantly agreed although I had trouble believing that Champion could restore my home to “as good as or better than” the original structure. I had apprehensions about my choice because I just had no knowledge about any kind of reconstruction. Joel Reets (Champion’s Owner) talked to me and explained their business, how long they had been in business and the integrity of their business – I listened.

Sam Elliott became my team manager for the reconstruction of my home. He kept me informed, gently prodded me when I was slow, explained things to me sometimes three or four times. He helped me to make good choices in the reconstruction. When I made bad choices he worked with me to correct the choices. Sam was a professional but he was also human. He may have known that I was anxious a lot of the time but his tone and mannerism always helped me to calm down.

I am elated with the reconstruction. Our home is beautiful and better than our original home.

I said all of this to say thank you to Champion for their professionalism, compassion, timeliness, and great work. Sam, thank you for working with me, guiding me along, helping me understand and looking out for me when I may not have known what to look out for. Champion did a great job! I would highly recommend this company for any home reconstruction project. My girls and I love the house – it is truly our home again.



Wednesday
May112011

Cooking and Kitchen Safety - Fire Prevention

Our Certified Restoration Team Members have had numerous kitchen fires to respond to. One in particular was extinguished rapidly by a fast thinking and fast acting young lady. She knew in advance what to do so when she had to she jumped into action saving the home from any major structural damage and herself from any harm.

We know that just reading the above may not help you so please read the below and visit the linked site so you too will be properly prepared:
Cooking Safety
Families spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It is often the favorite place to be together. But many injuries can happen there. To stay safe when you are cooking and eating, here are some tips. http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/SafetyGuide/sg_cooking_w001.asp

Thanks, and stay safe!

Tuesday
May102011

What To Do If You Have A Water Damage

The Do’s and Don’ts if you have a water damage at your home or business:
DO:
Have a professional plumbing contractor eliminate the water source.
Call a professional water damage restoration company immediately for help! Damage from water and bacteria growth can begin within just a few hours.
Remove as much water as possible from floors by mopping or blotting with clean white towels.
Turn off circuit breakers supplying electricity to wet areas if appropriate. Unplug and remove any small electrical devices located on wet carpet or other wet surfaces.
Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings that are not attached. Do not remove wall-to-wall carpet.
Hang draperies and pin up furniture skirts to prevent contact with wet carpet.
Wipe furniture and prop up wet cushions for even drying.
Place aluminum foil under legs of wood furniture (especially antiques).
Remove small furniture items to prevent rust or stains and to expedite restoration.
Remove books, shoes, paper goods, fabrics, potted plants and other items that may stain the carpet (be sure to check under the beds and in closets).
Move photos, paintings, art and any high-value items to a safe, dry location.
Open drawers and closet and cabinet doors to speed the drying process.
Make plans for a restoration crew to move large furniture items onto dry carpet, linoleum, garage or storage area.
DON’T:
Don’t use your home vacuum because electrical shock may result as well as damage to the vacuum.
Don’t use TV’s or other appliances on wet carpet or floors.
Don’t place newspaper in the traffic areas because the ink transfers easily.
Don’t walk on wet carpet more than necessary in order to keep from spreading damage.
Don’t activate the HVAC system if it has been directly contacted by the water or it may spread contamination.
Don’t disturb visible mold.

Please Have a Member of the Certified Restoration Team Contact Me Today!

Tuesday
May102011

What To Do If You Have A Fire Damage

What To Do If You Have A Fire Damage

The Do’s and Don’ts if you have a fire damage at your home or business:


DO:
    •    Call for professional help as soon as possible. Corrosive byproducts can cause irreversible etching.
    •    If the temperature is above 60 degrees, open windows to ventilate the home.
    •    If you have to turn off your water, take steps to prevent your plumbing and/or heating supply pipes from freezing.
    •    If the electricity is off, remove perishable foods from your refrigerator and freezer. The odor created by spoiled food is usually impossible to remove. Leave the doors propped open.
    •    Discard any open food packages.
    •    Keep a listing of anything you have discarded and receipts for any expenses you incur in protecting your property. Most likely, your insurance claim representative will ask for these items.
    •    Vacuum loose dry soot smoke particles from carpets. Make sure the vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter to prevent redistribution of fine soot. Avoid walking or tracking on carpet if possible.
    •    Close doors on affected areas to localize smoke odors as much as possible.
    •    Change the furnace or air conditioner filter if the blower is operating. Tape damp cheesecloth over air registers with masking tape to capture loose soot in the air.
    •    Clean Formica, chrome, porcelain and aluminum fixtures to prevent permanent tarnishing or etching.


DON’TS
    •    Don’t touch anything with your bare hands. Oils from your hands can cause additional damage.
    •    Don’t use any TV, stereo or electronic appliances until they have been checked by a technician.
    •    Don’t use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.
    •    Don’t attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
    •    Don’t wipe or attempt to wash ceilings or other absorbent surfaces. Incorrect cleaning could compound the soot residue.
    •    Don’t consume food items exposed to smoke or canned goods that have been subjected to excessive heat.
    •    Don’t use upholstered furniture if possible.

DO contact a Certified Restoration Team Member today to restore your Fire Damaged Property!