Freezing air and fluctuating temperatures make your property prone to a water damage resulting from frozen pipes.
When water is exposed to freezing temperatures, it begins to expand resulting in increased water pressure and a possible pipe burst. Water damages incurred from pipe bursts often result in a fairly significant amount of damage in both residential and commercial properties. By following a few simple steps you can help prevent such a disaster.
- Use insulated pipes. They will retain the heat and will not allow temperatures to drop too low. If insulated pipes are not an option, you can cover your pipes using sleeves to maintain safe temperatures during winter.
- Outdoor water pipes are typically unable to maintain a safe temperature to prevent freezing. It is important that you drain these pipes and shut off the water valve.
Should you discover a frozen pipe, it is important to take immediate action to help prevent any damage from occurring. There are several ways that you can heat and thaw frozen pipes. First you should conduct a thorough check to ensure the pipe has not burst and is not leaking, you also want to ensure the water is turned off. Then, you want to simply heat up the pipe by using a space heater, heat lamp or hair dryer. Wrapping a frozen pipe in thermostatically controlled heat tape may also help.
SERVPRO of Port Jefferson have been providing damage restoration service all over Long Island for over 30 years. Our highly trained and certified staff understands the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage and the disruption it causes your life and home or business.
Our teams are on standby and are ready to respond 24/7/365. No matter how big or small, commercial or residential SERVPRO of Port Jefferson is ready to respond and make it "Like it never even happened."
Fireplace Safety Tips
- If possible, keep a window cracked open while the fire is burning.
- Be certain the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. Keeping the damper or flue open until the fire is out will draw smoke out of the house. The damper can be checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. Do not close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
- Use dry and well-aged wood. Wet or green wood causes more smoke and contributes to soot buildup in the chimney. Dried wood burns with less smoke and burns more evenly,
- Smaller pieces of wood placed on a grate burn faster and produce less smoke.
- Clean out ashes from previous fires. Levels of ash at the base of the fireplace should be kept to 1 inch or less because a thicker layer restricts the air supply to logs, resulting in more smoke.
- The chimney should be checked annually by a professional. Even if the chimney is not due for cleaning, it is important to check for animal nests or other blockages that could prevent smoke from escaping.
For more tips check them out here!
Electrical Fire Safety
Electrical Fires do not have to happen. Use this checklist to help you find and fix electrical fire hazards in your home before they can start a fire.
Smoke Alarms - Smoke alarms save lives!
- Do you have enough smoke alarms?
- NO or I DON'T KNOW: Install smoke alarms on each level of the home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Do not use damaged cords. Replace the cord or the equipment.
- Are they working?
- NO OR DON'T KNOW: Test smoke alarm once a month by pressing the TEST button.
- Smoke alarms can stop working without showing signs of failure, so regular testing is necessary to ensure they are working properly.
- Do you know how old the alarms are? Have you changed the batteries this year?
- NO OR DON'T KNOW: Replace batteries at least once a year or sooner if they begin to "chirp". When Smoke alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years. Replace alarms if you are unsure of their age. The components inside smoke alarms can wear out over time, which could affect their operation.
Switches and Outlets - Be on the look-out for signs of trouble.
- Are they working?
- Have a licensed electrician check these switches and outlets.
- Improperly operating switches or outlets may indicate an unsafe wiring condition, which could be a fire hazard.
- Do they make crackling, buzzing, or sizzling sounds?
- Yes: Have a licensed electrician check these switches and outlets.
- Unusual noises from a switch or outlet may indicate a unsafe wiring condition, such as a loose electrical connection
- Are they warm to the touch?
- Yes: Stop using these switches and outlets until they are checked by a licensed electrician.
- Usually warm switches or outlets may indicate an unsafe wiring condition.
- Do plugs fit snugly?
- No: Outlets without a snug fir should be replaced by a licensed electrician.
- Loose-fitting plugs can cause overheating and fires.
Cords - Never use damaged cords.
- Is there fraying or cracking?
- Yes: Do not use damaged cords. Replace the cord or the equipment.
- Damaged cords may have exposed wires that can be a fire and shock hazard.
- Are they pinched or pierced?
- Yes: Move furniture or relocate cords to prevent cord damage.
- Pinching cords can cause damage to the insulation or break wire strands, creating a fire or shock hazard.
- Do you use extension cords all the time?
- Yes: Have an electrician install new outlets where needed or move equipment closer to an outlet.
- Are cords getting enough air? Are cords kept wrapped up while being used?
- YES: Unwrap cords.
- Wrapped Cords trap heat, which can lead to melting or weakening of the insulation.
- Are cords attached to anything with nails or staples?
- YES: Remove nails or staples. Check cord and replace if damage.
- Nails and Staples can cut or pinch insulation or break wire strands, presenting a fire or shock hazard.
Lamps and Appliances - Use them safely.
- Are you using the right bulbs?
- NO OR I DON'T KNOW: Replace incorrect bulbs with bulbs of the proper wattage. Use bulbs of 60 watts or less if you are unsure of the appropriate wattage.
- A bulb with a wattage higher than recommended may overheat the light fixture, wiring or nearby combustible material, leading to a fire.
- Do you use space heaters safely?
- No: Move heater at least 3 feet away from combustible material, such as curtains, bedding, and newspaper.
- Some heaters can produce enough heat to ignite nearby combustible materials.
- Are appliance cords protected from damage?
- No: Move cords away from all heat sources, such as heaters, range and toaster.
- Cords can melt or burn from excess heat. This can expose wires and lead to a fire or electric shock.
Electrical Panel - Know the basics.
- Are all circuit breakers and fuses the proper size?
- NO OR I DON'T KNOW: Have a licensed electrician determine the correct sizes and install them.
- The wrong size fuse or circuit breaker can cause the wiring to overheat, creating a fire hazard.
- Do you have Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)?
- NO: Consider having a licensed electrician replace the standard circuit breakers with AFCIs.
- AFCI are advanced circuit breakers that provide greater electrical fire protection.
- Have you tested your AFCIs?
- No: Test AFCIs Monthly using the TEST button on the AFCI. Have a licensed electrician replace defective AFCIs.
- AFCIs can stop working without showing signs of failure, so regular testing is necessary to ensure they are working properly.
Prepare your home
Some tips to brace your home for a winter storm:
- Clean out the gutters, disconnect and drain all outside hoses. If possible, shut off outside water valves.
- Insulate walls and attics, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Repair roof leaks and remove tree branches that could get weighed down with ice or snow and fall on your house – or your neighbor's. (Avoid liability for the latter.)
- Wrap water pipes in your basement or crawl spaces with insulation sleeves to slow heat transfer.
- Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater.
- If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed when you're not using it.
- Have a contractor check your roof to see if it would sustain the weight of a heavy snowfall.
- Make sure your furniture isn't blocking your home’s heating vents.
- During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces.
- If your house will be unattended during cold periods, consider draining the water system.
- Avoid ice dams – where water from melted snow refreezes in the gutters and seeps in under the roof, soaking interior walls. Here’s how:
- Ventilate your attic.
- Insulate the attic floor well to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.
- Consider having a water-repellent membrane installed under your roof covering.
Cold Weather bring moisture problems
In colder weather, warm air from heating systems rises into attics, where it meets under the cold roof, often causing condensation. Mold thrives in moist and warm areas where a food source such as wood is present.
Most people think spring showers bring moisture problems, but it’s in winter that mold tends to become even more of an issue.
So proper insulation between your attic and living areas is crucial. If you’re not sure your insulation is working properly, you should have it checked.
Most homes have numerous trouble spots for mold and moisture. In homes tightly sealed for winter, warm air can’t easily escape. When windows are sealed tight, condensation tends to collect indoors on windows and even walls, creating an optimal area for mold to grow. In kitchens, steam accumulates from dishwashers. In bathrooms, showers create warm, moist conditions.
Proper ventilation in these areas of the home are crucial to prevent mold.
Homeowners also need to be aware of mold growth after a winter storm. After a storm, you need to check your home for damage from snow, ice and freezing temperatures to prevent mold from spreading into your home.
Damage can often go unnoticed until the spring thaw, but by then it may be too late because water might have infiltrated the walls of your basement, attic or other areas of your home.
Here’s a checklist to assess key parts of your home:
Roof checklist to prevent mold
- Check for any loose or missing shingles, which need to be replaced or repaired immediately.
- Inspect for leaks around chimneys, plumbing and attic vents as well as skylights.
- Remove any tree limbs that are near the roof that could potentially break and fall through your roof.
- Examine the attic and crawl space to make sure you have no leaks that could damage the ceilings.
Gutters and downspouts
- Check to make sure the gutters and downspouts are securely and properly attached to your home.
- Make sure your downspouts are cleared of leaves, branches and any other debris so that water can flow freely.
- Extend downspouts away from your home’s foundation.
Siding, windows and doors
Look over your siding to make sure nothing has come loose or is damaged.
Make sure your seals are tight on doors and windows. Check the outside caulking for any damage or leakage.
Wipe up any window condensation on inside windows, especially metal windows.
Consider replacing metal window frames and other exterior door edges with vinyl to avoid air and water leakage.
Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is created when common fuels such as natural gas, oil, wood or coal burn incompletely. This odorless, colorless, tasteless gas is often called the “silent killer” because it is virtually undetectable without the use of detection technology like a CO alarm.
Reducing the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
- Have your chimney inspected by a professional every year.
- Be sure to open the damper for proper ventilation when using your fireplace.
- Make sure appliances are installed and operated according the manufacturer’s instructions and applicable local codes.
- Fuel-burning heating appliances should be inspected and serviced by a certified, licensed professional every year.
- Never use your oven, range, stovetop or clothes dryer to provide heat for your home.
- Never use barbecue grills (gas or charcoal) inside your home or garage.
- Only use portable generators outside in well-ventilated areas away from windows and doors. Never use a portable generator in any part of your home.
- If you will be using a portable generator outside your home, be sure to install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with a battery backup inside the home.
- Only use battery powered lights in tents and recreational vehicles like trailers, motor homes and boats.
- Never use fuel-burning camping equipment inside an enclosed space.
- Keep dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace vents clear of snow during and after snowstorms.
- Check to make sure that your vehicle tailpipe is not blocked by snow or ice.
- Never run a vehicle inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open. Remove the vehicle immediately after starting it.
Winter Storm Cleanup and Restoration
Cold weather, snow, and ice storms can cause severe damage to your home or business. When these types of disasters strike, immediate action is necessary to prevent additional damage to your property. SERVPRO Professionals have the winter storm experience, expertise, and the resources to remediate damage caused by winter weather.
Extreme cold weather can cause pipes to freeze and burst. In general, pipes are more likely to freeze when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting water damage can be extensive. Outdoor pipes and pipes in unheated areas of the home can freeze if they are not properly insulated or if temperatures are severely cold. SERVPRO Professionals can quickly and safely repair water damage caused by frozen pipes.
Outdoor pipes most likely to freeze include:
- Outdoor hose bibs
- Swimming pool supply lines
- Water sprinkler lines
Pipes in unheated or partially heated areas are also at risk of freezing, including:
- Crawl spaces
An ice dam is formed when snow melts unevenly on a roof and refreezes into a dam at the edge of the roof, near the eaves. This dam prevents any further snowmelt from draining off of the roof. This standing water can back up under shingles, leak into a home, and cause significant water damage to ceilings, walls, and other areas. Ice dams can also tear off gutters and loosen shingles.
Snow and ice can cause significant damage to your gutters and roof. The additional weight of snow and ice can even cause a roof to collapse. When there’s a cold snap, water can get into cracks and small spaces and expand when it freezes, causing larger cracks and more damage. The repetition of freezing and thawing cycles can cause small cracks to get larger.
Damage from Cold Weather or Winter Storm? Call Today 631-476-5300
reminds you to keep electrical safety in mind as the cooler fall weather moves many activities back indoors. The following safety tips will help you stay safe during the change of seasons:
- Safely store warm weather tools like lawn mowers and trimmers. Check cold weather tools, such as leaf and snow blowers, along with their power cords, for unusual wear and tear. Repair or replace worn tools or parts right away.
- Unplug and safely store battery chargers that won't be in use again until spring.
- Use only weatherproof electrical devices for outside activities. Protect outdoor electrical devices from moisture. Make sure electrical equipment that has been wet is inspected and reconditioned by a certified repair dealer.
- Keep dry leaves swept away from outdoor lighting, outlets and power cords.
- Make sure electric blankets are in good repair and certified by an independent testing lab such as UL, CSA or ETL. Power cords should not be frayed, cracked or cut.
- Do not tuck your electric blanket under mattresses or children, and do not put anything, such as comforters or bedspreads, on top of the blanket while it is in use.
- Never allow pets to sleep on an electric blanket.
Autumn Home Maintenance Safety Tips
Fall is the time for yard clean-ups and readying your house for the cold winter ahead. Keep these safety tips in mind as you work.
Look Up Before Pruning Trees
If you have decided that your yard needs to be spruced up by trimming your trees, be sure to look up and survey the area carefully before you start. Make careful note of where power lines are located before you set up your ladder so that it is positioned away from them.
Use Caution on Ladders
Wearing appropriate footwear is important when using a ladder; shoes or boots may be wet, causing you to slip as you climb the ladder. The ladder should be positioned on a flat surface before use. Be sure that the tools you are using are specifically designed for this purpose and are in good condition before starting work.
Clean Up Fallen Leaves
Keep your driveway and walkway clear of falling leaves. Wet leaves can create a hazard for pedestrians in the fall by making sidewalks slippery. Later in the season, snow may mix with leaves to increase the risk of falling. Homeowners should mulch or rake up fallen leaves and dispose of them according to local bylaws.
Safely Enjoy the Beauty of the Season
By keeping these important fall safety tips in mind, you can be sure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and your family from seasonal dangers. This will leave your mind free to enjoy the beauty of this glorious season.
Fall Fire Safety Tips
As summer turns to fall, it's a good idea to refresh your memory on fall fire safety tips. Some safety tips are the same regardless of the time of year, but many safety concerns are seasonal, particularly those that involve keeping your home warm.
Time Changes Mean Battery Changes
Get in the habit of changing the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors every fall and spring when changing the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. It is also a good idea to make it standard procedure in your household to verify that all fire extinguishers are fully charged and in working order when you adjust the clocks each season.
Home Heating Tips
No matter what type of device you use to heat your home, making sure your heating devices and/or systems are in good working order is an important part of learning some fall fire safety tips. Many things can go wrong with heating equipment during the spring and summer months. Verify that everything you need to keep your home warm throughout fall and winter is in good working order before you experience the first cold snap of the season.
Central Heating System Safety Tips
- Get your central heating system cleaned, inspected and serviced by a certified HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) contractor every year before using it.
- If you have a gas heater, make sure that you have a sufficient quantity of fully functioning carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home.
Space Heater Safety Tips
- Make sure that any space heaters are surrounded by at least three feet of empty space.
- Never place clothing or any other objects on a space heater to dry.
- Do not place space heaters near furniture or drapery.
- Turn space heaters off when you leave the house or go to bed.
- Avoid storing any combustible items near heaters.
Fireplace Safety Tips
- Get your chimney inspected each year to make sure that it is safe.
- Hire a chimney sweep to clean out your chimney every fall.
- Repair any cracks in fireplaces.
- Use fireplace screens to keep sparks and fire debris inside the fireplace.
- Do not every use gasoline to start a fire in the fireplace.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Make sure that combustible materials are not stored within three feet of your fireplace.
- For natural gas fireplaces, get all connections and lines inspected before use each season.
- Remember that outdoor fireplaces can be just as dangerous as indoor units, and observe all safety precautions when using them.