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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Greasy clogged drains. Ewwww.

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

Don't let your pipes get clogged with a greasy mess

Here at SERVPRO of Johnston County we see all sorts of water damage caused by all kinds of plumbing disasters. Whether the damage is caused by mechanical failure, human error, storms or accidents we are equipped to deal with them all. However, some are preventable. Today we focus on a preventable disaster that starts in the kitchen. Greasy clogged pipes! YUCK! Never pour any type of fat or grease such as butter, cooking oil, ice cream, gravy, or bacon fat into your pipes or toilets. Not only to save our local sewage pipes and water treatment plants but to save you big bucks on repair costs to your home. Nobody wants raw sewage to back up into your house or yard and cost you big money for the cleanups and plumbing repairs!

Let's all do our part to avoid this! Here are a few tips:
*Do NOT pour grease down the sink or toilet!
*Do NOT use hot water to rinse fat, oil, or grease off pots/pans/plates! Even degreasing soap & hot water cannot eliminate fats, oils or grease. Sure it melts into an easy to remove liquid, but then, it re-forms in the pipes as a hard gunky mess. Over time this can build up and completely clog your pipes.
* DO

  • Scrape ALL food scraps in the trash or catch them with a sink strainer.
  • Wipe greasy dishes with dry paper towels before rinsing or washing.
  • Pour hot fat, oil, or grease into a can or container. Allow to cool or harden then toss it in the regular trash.

If your drains are running slowly and you think there may be a greasy clog it's best to call in a professional to remove the clog before damages occur. If you need help finding a trusted professional give us a call.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure- Preparing Your Home for the Coming Cold Months

11/27/2018 (Permalink)

Benjamin Franklin famously advised fire-threatened Philadelphians in 1736 that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Clearly, preventing disasters is preferable to living with the aftermath, but to what extent can we protect our homes from natural disasters? Winter is coming so what can you do this fall to prepare your home and property to prevent as much damage as possible?

  1. The bulk of calls we receive in winter stem from exposed water pipes. The worst of these come from unconditioned spaces like attics, garages and crawl spaces. So this weekend check your crawlspace, your attic and your garage for exposed pipes. Insulating pipes is an easy enough job for the typical homeowner to tackle using spray insulation foam for pipes or foam tubing you can find at your local hardware store. Or, you can hire a handyman or plumber to tackle this chore. Check the condition of the pipes and insulation yearly. Pipes and fittings wear out over time. Replacing worn out pieces before failure is a huge cost saver.
  1. Check to make sure your outdoor garden hoses are disconnected and insulate the hose bib from frost.
  2. Check to make sure your attic is insulated to the proper R rating.  Then, check to make sure the water supply pipes are insulated and that the insulation tubes, or foam, are well secured and in good condition Check for cracks, splits or weak areas in the tubing or foam.
  3. If you have a crawlspace close the vents from the outside. Then go into your crawl space with a good flashlight and check to make sure those water pipes are insulated and that the insulation tubes, or foam, are well secured and in good condition.  Keep your heat on during the coldest months, even if you’re going away. You can keep it lower than when you’re home to save on energy costs, but make sure to open up cabinet doors on outside walls where there are water pipes just in case there’s a cold snap while you’re away.
  1. Get a fall/winter tune up for your furnace and change your air filters. Your HVAC contractor will make sure all the parts are in good working condition so you don’t lose heat when you need it most. Changing your air filters regularly will prevent your system from having to work too hard. That will not only save you money in the short term it will increase the lifespan of your HVAC system.
  2. Clear out all your gutters from leaf debris and roofing gravel. If your gutters are full of debris the water cannot flow out. Gutters full of frozen material and ice are very heavy and can cause expensive damage to your home. So pull out some waterproof work gloves, safety goggles and a tall ladder this weekend and get them cleaned out. Or go ahead and hire an insured handyman to tackle this laborious chore. Bonus… Hang your Christmas lights while you’ve got the ladder out!
  3. Trim away tree limbs that hang over or near your home, especially if they’re dead or damaged. Not only will trimming the trees make them beautiful in the spring, your home will be better protected in case we have an ice or wind storm this winter. The last thing you’re going to want to deal with when it is cold out and icy is a tree limb through your roof or window.

The North Carolina Piedmont Region winters are unpredictable. We might just get rain and just a few days under freezing or we might get an ice storm that coats the entire region or we might get an inch or two of snow and weeks of below freezing weather. It’s best to play it safe and get as prepared as possible. In the case of ice and snow our roads become impassable and dangerous, even for emergency crews. If there is a flood in your home or a tree through your roof we will do our best to get to your home as soon as safety allows. Here are a few things you can do if a disaster should occur at your home.

  1. Shut off the source of the water at the water main if you can. If you cannot get to the water main shut the water to that pipe off.
  2. Turn off the circuit breakers for wet areas of your home, when access to the power panel is safe from electrical shock.
  3. Move any valuables out and away from the damaged or wet areas.
  4. If a tree falls into your home block off access to that part of the home. Create a barrier to block drafts.     

Even with careful planning and preparation things can, and do, go wrong. From old plumbing to household accidents flooding keeps us here at SERVPRO of Johnston County busy all year long.  

If you need help finding a trusted and insured plumber, HVAC technician or handyman in our area give us a call 919-359-2599 we are here to help!

By: Juju Clayson-Feld, Director of Customer Service, SERVPRO of Johnston County

Insurance Agents - Get Your CE's with SERVPRO!

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Johnston County is proud to host two CE courses for North Carolina Insurance Professionals on August 14, 2018!

Come attend "Ethics to Work by for Insurance Professionals," and "Don't Be Taken to the Cleaners" and earn 5 Continuing Education hours.

No cost to you; however, if company guidelines require you to pay, each class is $15. Lunch will be provided.

Happy Independence Day!

6/28/2018 (Permalink)

Happy Independence day from our team to you!

While you enjoy cookouts and family fun, please keep in mind fire and water safety. Especially with grills, fryers, sparkers and fire crackers. Keep these items at least three-feet from the wall of the house and out of the grass to prevent fire.

We are so grateful to celebrate another year here, thanks to our community and you!

Happy Fathers Day! Golf and Grill!

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

Thanks to https://tinyurl.com/yaxnhja4 for the image

Happy Fathers Day to all the great folks our children call Dad!

This weekend is full of golf and fun for the guys here at SERVPRO, a well-deserved break from the storms that have kept us engaged within the community and helping others. They are playing in the 10th Annual Captains Choice Golf Tournament in Garner, hosted by the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.

Are you grilling this weekend? Some family favorites here are burgers, dogs, BBQ, and corn on the cob! How about some fresh local produce from farmers out here in Clayton, Garner, Smithfield, Selma, and Raleigh? I've enjoyed fresh strawberries from a farmer in Archer Lodge, some watermelon and cantaloupe from others in the area. What a bounty our Spring has given us!

Enjoy this coming weekend and the beautiful weather that is promised and stay safe!

Restoring Hardwoods

2/13/2018 (Permalink)

Top photo, before drying process. Bottom photo, after drying process.

Water damage to a home or business can be devastating. The quicker we can get in to take care of the issue, the better and less likely we’ll have to come in and demo. That isn’t always the most ideal option for business and home owners and can draw out the repair process. The photos of the hardwood floors attached to this blog are a perfect example of that. The homeowner called about a burst pipe on the second floor during extremely cold temperatures. Water was beginning to stand on the floor as a result. Beautiful hardwoods on the entire first floor of the home were affected. The first photo shows the floors beginning to cup from the standing water. Once we came in and extracted the water and dried the floors, tenting the floor with plastic became a focus to dry the hardwoods in order to salvage them. They then used a desiccant dehumidifier and wood floor drying units to slowly dry the floors. Slow drying prevents us from over drying the hardwoods or drying too fast. Once drying is complete, the hardwoods need to acclimate at least 30 days before they can be refinished to bring the back to their original state. The second photo is after the drying process. The hardwoods are already looking excellent and on their way back to their original state.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

1/16/2018 (Permalink)

North Carolina has been experiencing  abnormal below freezing temperatures that have never been seen, or felt, for such a long period . The 1-2 inches of snow locally in the Clayton area left everyone home for several days due to the freezing temps sticking. With the abnormally low temperatures we’re seeing, our office is getting a lot of calls about frozen pipes bursting. More snow is due today. So, before those cold temps come back let’s go over some tips to prevent your pipes from freezing.

· Remove all hoses from your outdoor faucets.

· Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.  

· Adding insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces will help keep them warmer. Hot and cold water pipes should also be insulated in places such as garages, kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets.

· Let cold water drip from faucets. Even a drip can prevent pipes from freezing.

· Use electrical heating tape on exposed pipes.

· Never let your heat go below 55 degrees.

· Protect outside faucets with foam faucet covers.

If you suspect your pipes to already be frozen please call a licensed plumber to come and take the of the problem.

Happy New Years!

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Welcome to 2018! New year, fresh start! Can you feel it? We're all excited for what 2018 has in store for us. Who has exciting New Years resolutions? I've come up with a few myself. Nothing extraordinary. Running had become a love of mine over the summer. I committed myself to running every other day. However, with winter months having shorter days, and December being so busy, my running took a back seat. I'm excited about getting back into my groove. 

I've shared mine! Time for whatever staff I could corner to share their New Years resolutions. 

James, our General Manager, does a lot of Brazilian jujitsu, and is making a goal of getting back into shape. So to get back to that means healthier drink and food choices- specifically drinking more water. This also requires working out more. His goal is to have morning work outs prior to heading into the office. 

With so much going on in our Owners life, meatballs subs from Fire House subs have found their way into John's heart. He's recently had to break up with meatball subs, and started to choose healthier food options. Along with those healthier food options, he plans on hitting the gym to get back into better physical shape. 

Our Office Manager, Daniella, has a goal of putting more focus on herself. As moms and women, we tend to gear our focus towards our children, families and careers. Daniella plans on taking more breathing time, her time, which includes, but not limited to, more manicures and pedicures. I love that she's taking more her time, and hope we as women can follow her lead and remind ourselves to take a moment so we can come back refreshed, ready to be the best us! 

Happy New Year everyone! We hope it's an amazing one! 

Merry Christmas!

12/20/2017 (Permalink)

Merry Christmas!

Here at SERVPRO we’re hoping you remember this season to enjoy each and every moment. This time of year is so busy that most of us can get caught up in its chaos. Remember to take things slow, and to enjoy all the extra time with your loved ones. We are all so blessed, and sometimes that can easily be overlooked. Don’t forget to show kindness and love to those around you. It’s so easy to give a smile, a “Hello” or a “Merry Christmas”. We know there have been times where someone’s kind words have changed our entire outlook for a day.  Don’t forget that someone could be you. We should all be making it our goal to spread as much love as possible.

We hope you and your family continue to have a safe and Merry Christmas!   

Fire Safety tips for the Holidays

11/9/2017 (Permalink)

The holiday season is an exciting time of the year for most families but that excitement can quickly be extinguished if a fire occurs in the home.  The U.S. Fire Administration says that almost 47,000 fires occur during winter holidays taking more than 500 lives.  The National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Fire Administration have found that 1 of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death and candle fires are four times likely to occur during the winter holidays.  These are only two of several frequent occurrences during the holiday season for too many families.  To help keep your family safe this season, below are some safety tips to follow.

The most common cause of household fires are from cooking.  Leaving food unattended is a big reason for this.  Before kicking off the holiday cooking season at Thanksgiving be sure to check all smoke detectors to make sure they’re working properly.  It’s also always important to keep a fire extinguisher in the home.  When you’re cooking keep all paper or plastic bags, kitchen utensils, pot holders and dish towels are kept away from the stove.  If you’re going to be cooking with a deep fryer put it at least 10 feet away from your home.

Candles, decorative lights and other seasonal decorations are a big thing for decorating around the holidays.  All items should be placed at least 3 ft from any type of heat sources.  Prior to using decorative lights check each strand for frayed or cracked wires.  Avoid hanging lights on nails or with staples as it could lead to damage to the wiring.  If you’ve had lit candles, walk around your home to extinguish them at the end of the evening.  The same goes for decorative lights. Prior to leaving your home or going to bed always unplug all lights.

Christmas tree fires are more likely to occur in January after the Christmas season.  However, you can never be too safe following these steps to ensure your homes safety.  Make sure your tree has fresh, green needles that don’t break easily.  Keep your tree fresh by continuing to keep it watered.  Never use candles that are lit to decorate your tree.  Always unplug your tree lights before leaving for home or going to bed.  Have a sturdy tree stand to ensure your tree is stable and won’t fall over.

From our SERVPRO family to yours, we're wishing everyone a safe and joyous season! 

Hurricane season starts Thursday: Heres how to prepare!

6/2/2017 (Permalink)

“As hurricane season approaches, it is important for community members to prepare for the possibility of severe weather,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO of the Red Cross in Eastern North Carolina. “Knowledge and preparation are some of the key elements to ensure your personal safety and to help protect your family and property.”

? Have a portable radio, cellphone, TV or NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather conditions. Make sure you have chargers, spare batteries or rechargeable battery packs for devices.

? Know your evacuation route and have a plan to move to another location in case of evacuation or extended power outages.

? Put gas in your car before the storm begins.

Build an emergency kit with a supply of water (one gallon per person per day); non-perishable, easy to prepare food; first aid-kit; battery-powered or hand-crank radio; flashlights and batteries; multipurpose tool; sanitation and personal hygiene items; extra clothes; copies of important documents in a zip-top bag; cellphones and chargers; extra cash; emergency contact information; blankets or sleeping bags; and a map.

? If you have pets, make sure you have a supply of water and pet food and prepare collars, leashes and carries for transport. Make sure you have rabies vaccination documents or tags and have your pet wear an ID tag, if possible.

? Homeowners who depend on well water should draw an emergency water supply in case power to electric water pumps is interrupted.

? Bring inside anything that could become a projectile in high winds. Anchor anything too big to bring inside.

? Find an interior room on the lower level of the building or home to wait out the storm unless directed to evacuate.

State Farm Insurance also recommended that people talk to their insurance agent about replacement cost coverage, flood insurance and deductibles ahead of a storm.

Officials also asked that people create an emergency plan ahead of storms, including: how to contact or find each other; setting two meeting places (one near home and another outside the neighborhood); what evacuation routes to take; pet-friendly motels and animal shelters along the route; and planning alternative routes in case roads are blocked or washed out.

Members of every household also should know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning to be able to plan how and when to respond.

? A hurricane watch is when conditions are a threat within 48 hours. It’s time to review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued and stay informed.

? A hurricane warning is when conditions are expected within 36 hours. It’s time to complete your storm preparedness and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.

? Tropical storm watches and warnings: Take these alerts seriously. Although tropical storms have lower wind speeds than hurricanes, they often bring life-threatening flooding and dangerous winds.

Stay informed

To follow National Weather Service reports in the Triangle, go to www.weather.gov/rah or follow your local weather service office on social media. For the National Hurricane Center, go to www.nhc.noaa.gov or find the center on social media.

[How to get severe weather alerts on your phone]

Download the Red Cross Emergency App or the ReadyNC app for weather alerts, preparation tips and important local information. For more North Carolina emergency information, go to www.nc.gov/agency/emergency-management or follow N.C. Emergency Management on social media.

Thanks folks,

SERVPRO of Johnston county

The drip that jumped over the pan!

5/11/2017 (Permalink)

As you see here some one didn't considered the issues involved in drip pan maintenance and was faced with many issues and discomfort until we arrived.

Hey folks,


    As I'm sure we all are aware, summer is fast approaching. That being said, I would like everyone to stay ever vigilant of the concerns that summer brings with it when considering your AC units. Surly most of you have already kicked your units into high gear and I would like to bring to your attention the things to keep in mind - my main area of focus concerning the units are: the drip pans that stop the condensation from spilling over and damaging your home. This is an easy detail to forget especially if your unit is located in the attic. This might not seem like a major issue but you can imagine it easily slipping your mind and not realizing you have a serious problem before it's too late. Soon you will have water stains on your ceilings and ruined insulation in the attic. I urge you to check your pans quite often and from time to time check the drain lines. A few minutes of your time could save you a few hundred dollars down the road.


 


Thanks for tuning in,


SERVPRO of Johnston County


 

Churches Are Not Immune

7/19/2016 (Permalink)

Day Care Interrupted By Sewage Backup

Churches are not immune from the varieties of water losses that afflict resident's and other commercial structures.

Recently, we have been involved with three large churches each experiencing a serious water loss. One had a large mold situation in their education building. Another had a lift pump failure on their sewage discharge system, and, the other had a fire suppression system failure in their bell tower. Each loss was significant and impacted the operation of each of the churches.

Do not think that losses such as these cannot or will not happen at your church. You must always be vigilant.

Some helpful hints:

1. Have the church's sewage system inspeacted by a certified plumber at least once a year. If your church operates a Day Care, semiannual inspections would be appropriate.

2. If your church is plumber with fire prevention suppression systems, they should be tested annually. Make sure that the heat sensors can tolerate the level of heat that we have been experiencing recently.

3. If your church has any stand alone structues it would be wise to keep the structure air conditioned and/or heated, depending on the season. This will minimize the opportunity for mold to get started.

More to follow in the days to come.

Red Cross Continued Support

6/14/2016 (Permalink)

McCall's Airplane Strike

SERVPRO® Pledges Ongoing Support to the American Red Cross Disaster Responder Program 

Red Cross recognizes SERVPRO for their contribution to disaster preparedness and recovery efforts 

Clayton, NC (Grassroots Newswire) June 1, 2016 -- The American Red Cross recently recognized SERVPRO®, a cleanup and restoration company, for participation in its Disaster Responder Program1.  As a Disaster Responder Program member, SERVPRO pledges a donation to the Red Cross in advance of disasters, allowing the organization to respond quickly and effectively to nearly 66,000 disasters annually, most of which are home fires. SERVPRO is entering their third year of partnership with the Red Cross; their donations to the organization to date exceed one million dollars. 

According to statistics cited by the Red Cross, seven people die in a home fire each day in the U.S. Aiming to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent by the end of 2019, the Red Cross launched a Home Fire Campaign in October of 2014. The support of SERVPRO and other Disaster Responder Program members allows the Red Cross to pursue their home fire prevention goals while they continue to provide critical services to disaster victims. 

“One of the reasons home fires account for the majority of the disasters the Red Cross responds to annually is that the risk for home fires exists all year long,” said George Hogshead, owner of SERVPRO of Johnston County. “Statistics compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)2 show the majority of home fires are related to unattended cooking accidents – and cooking is something most people do every day.” 

Although SERVPRO’s business is helping business and home owners recover from fire, flood and other disasters, the company and its franchisees actively support disaster preparedness education, including fire prevention efforts. When disaster does strike, their relationships with major insurance companies combined with industry-leading job-management technology help smooth the path to rebuilding and restoration for home and business owners affected by the unexpected. 

“SERVPRO’s commitment to the Red Cross Disaster Responder Program means that, when disaster strikes, homeowners can count on the Red Cross to address their immediate needs and supply essential services,” said Hogshead. “Once the immediate emergency is under control, homeowners can count on the expertise of restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Johnston County to help them restore their property and move forward with their lives.” 

For fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPRO.com. For more information on SERVPRO® of Johnston County, please contact George Hogshead at (919) 359-2599 or GHogshead@nc.rr.com.

Continuing Our Investment

5/31/2016 (Permalink)

Newest Fleet Addition

With a hot, new, wrap, today we rolled out the latest addition to our fleet of services vehicles.

The message we want to convey as we roll around Johnston County is that we are continuly investing in equipment, training, and, vehicles that will enable us to deliver superior, emergency services to the citizens of Johnston County.

HONK when we pass you by to let us know how you like the new wrap.

Exterminators Are Not Mold Remediators

5/25/2016 (Permalink)

Numerous times throughout the year we receive calls from homes owners telling us their Pest Control Company has adviced them that they have mold in their crawl space. And, that they have a solution - "Seal the crawl space and place a dehumidifier in the area to hold down humidity."

What do exterminators and pest control businesses do? They help you manage or exterminate pests.

Are they trained mold professionals? No!

Do they understand all there is to know about controlling the environment of a crawl space? No!

Are they happy to take more of your money without sufficient justification? You betcha!

When you call us to ask for a second opinion, we will step you through a question and answer process in hopes of helping you gain an understanding of what is going on. With knowledge, there is power. Power to make the right decision.

Of course, we will come and do our own inspection and advise you accordingly. You may, indeed, have a mold issue, and, we can address it for you. But, spending additional sums for sealing and dehumidifying a crawl space is compltely unnecessary...

So, be on guard. There are local Pest Control companies that are very good at what they do. SERVPRO of Johnston County is extremely good at what it does....

When Is Mold Really Mold

5/24/2016 (Permalink)

Camel Cricket Poop and Pine Tar

We often get calls from folks that think they have mold in their crawl space, asking us for an estimate to remediate or clean the area. In some cases it is not necessary, because, what the home owner is actually seeing is either, camel cricket poop or hardened wood tar or both.

It looks just like mold but it's not. How can you tell?

Try rubbing the surface with your finger to determine if the spot is hard or soft and dusty. If it's hard, it's probably cricket poop or wood tar.... If you are still not certain, give us call for some advice on what to do.

There's no sense spending money if you do not have to...

Holiday Weekend

3/22/2016 (Permalink)

Had They Only Turned Off The Water

Easter weekend is a few days away and many of us will be leaving town to visit with friends and family or just taking a brief respite from reality. The 3 and 4 day weekends like this require a little more thinking beyond packing what you want to wear.

More often than you might think, returning from a 3 or 4 day Holiday trip, it is not unusual for a home owner to find an enormous mess in their home from a sudden water leak or small fire...

Some things to think about before you close the door behind you:

1. Turn off the water to the house,

2. Make sure that all of the toilets that were flushed have refilled properly,

3. Unplug all of the appliances such as the toaster, and, coffee pot,

4. Do not turn the dishwasher on then leave,

5. Do not turn on the washing machine or dryer before you close the door behind you..

These are just a few things to think about before you jump in the car and head out. They are pretty simple and can save an avalanche of headaches when you return. 

Heavy Rains

3/3/2016 (Permalink)

Heavy rains have caused all sorts of problems for folks in Johnston County that have basements. As the water tables rise, so does the pressure of water below the basement floor. So much so that water will pour right through the concrete.

This can overwhelm or short out a sump pump or cause back-up problems with ceptic systems. The result can be a basement full of water, and/or sewage. Neither is fun to deal with....

It happens, and, when it does, we're here to help...

2015 was a very wet year. 2016 is off to a similar start. Be sure to keep your eye on rising water. 

Preventing frozen pipes this winter

1/4/2016 (Permalink)

When pipes freeze you risk ruptures and leaks that can be extremely damaging

Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes         

Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. The American Red Cross provides information and suggestions around how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze.

 

 
Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes
  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
Future Protection
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
  • Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.

Holiday, candle and Christmas tree fire safety

12/21/2015 (Permalink)

Facts about home holiday fires

  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 31 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home structure fires.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every four of Christmas tree fires.
  • More than half (56 percent) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

Holiday fire hazards

11/25/2015 (Permalink)

As the holiday season approaches and families gear up for decorating their homes and hosting large gatherings of friends and family, George Hogshead of SERVPRO® of Johnston County reminds homeowners to take note of some sobering statistics about home fire safety from the National Fire Prevention Association:

  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires. The three peak days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.1
  • Candles fires peak in December. The top three days for candles fires are Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.2
  • “These statistics are a serious reminder of how the excitement of holiday entertaining can quickly turn into a life-altering fire or even a tragic injury or death,” says Hogshead. “While glowing candles and elaborate meals set the stage for a great holiday get-together, homeowners need to exercise extra care in controlling the dangerous potential for fires.”

    According to the NFPA3, unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of home cooking fires, with frying posing the greatest fire risk and electric ranges posing a higher risk than gas ranges. Range top cooking in general started the majority of home cooking fires and caused 86 percent of related civilian deaths for the reporting period.

    While incidents of candle fires peaked in 2001 and have been falling since, candles are still one of the top 10 causes of U.S. home fires, according to the NFPA. As with cooking fires, unattended or abandoned candles account for a large portion of candle fires–almost 20 percent–but the most frequent cause of candle fires is placing the candle too close to something that can burn, like curtains, decorations or furniture.

    “It’s easy to see why cooking and candle fires both peak during the holiday season,” says Hogshead, “and it’s also easy to see why homeowners need to take extra care when decorating their homes or entertaining. A moment’s inattention at the stove or a guest repositioning a candle on a tabletop may be all it takes to turn the festivities into a fight to save property and lives. While our business is fire and water damage restoration and we stand ready to help at a moment’s notice if disaster does strike, our sincere hope is that our friends and neighbors will enjoy a fire-free and festive holiday season.”

    For more fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPRO.com. For more information on SERVPRO® of Johnston County, please contact George Hogshead at (919) 359-2599 or GHogshead@nc.rr.com.

    1 http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/cooking

    2 http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/candles

    3 http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/put-a-freeze-on-winter-fires

    About SERVPRO®

    Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO® Franchise System is a national leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO’s professional services network of nearly 1,700 individually owned and operated Franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar losses. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO System has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.

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