Happy New Year! As we wrap up 2017 and look forward to a New Year, we’re gearing up here at Tri State HQ for a busy winter.
As you probably know if you’ve stepped outside this week, it would appear that the dreaded polar vortex is back. Our area last experienced this phenomenon in the early months of 2015, with prolonged temperatures in the teens and single digits. A polar vortex is a wide, swirling low pressure area in the Arctic that sometimes migrates far enough south to affect our region– by pummeling us with frigid, unbearable cold weather. More than just making it unpleasant to be outdoors, this kind of weather wreaks havoc on your home or building.
Have you taken steps to winterize your pipes yet? Taking a few simple steps now can prevent a costly water damage in your property this winter.
- Disconnect your garden hoses. If your external water has a separate shut off, go ahead and turn it off and (if you can) drain the water from those faucets.
- If you have exposed pipes in colder areas (such as a garage or utility room), take a few steps to get them insulated. You can buy adhesive foam-rubber pipe insulation that adheres to pipes which is easy to install on your own, or call your preferred plumber for advice.
- Seal any holes or cracks around your property with foam sealant or silicone caulk.
- If bathroom pipes run along exterior walls, leave vanity doors open to allow the warmer interior air heat the pipes. Consider leaving a faucet slightly open to allow water to trickle.
- Maybe the most important step of all: know where your water main shut off is! In the event of a worst-case scenario, you’ll be able to shut the water off and prevent additional damage. This step can save thousands!
Do you suspect your pipes are already frozen and in danger of bursting? If you turn on a faucet and nothing comes out, it’s a likely scenario. To prevent an emergency water damage cleanup, turn off your water main supply and open all the faucets (flush the toilets as well) in order to drain the remaining water. Next, try and locate the frozen pipe (you may need to enlist the help of a trusted plumber). Once you’ve located it, simply apply heat– hair dryers and heating pads are effective tools, as well as adding a space heater to the area. DO NOT USE A BLOWTORCH OR APPLY DIRECT FLAME TO THE PIPE! You don’t want to burn down your house (trust us on this one). If you observe the pipe leaking, go ahead and call your trusted plumber pal to repair.
If you’re too late and come home to a flooded basement, go ahead and call our emergency line – 866-818-1949. We’re armed with all the tools needed to get you cleaned up and dried out, day or night.
We recently came together as a staff and celebrated the holidays at our annual party and had a great time. During the holiday season, it’s a great blessing to be able to relax and toast another great year with coworkers in a non-work setting. Is anyone planning a big New Years Eve party or an elaborate meal with guests? Remember to celebrate responsibly! Keep fireworks well away from your home– fireworks cause 1,500 property fires a year (but you may want to stay inside with these cold temperatures). Christmas trees and decorations are also a fire risk, so if you’re lighting those up for your New Year’s celebration, make sure your tree is adequately watered and if it’s dried out, get rid of it (sorry). Many of our communities offer tree recycling this time of year. Christmas tree fires are uncommon but are among the most destructive and dangerous.
As you wrap up the year, a few more words of caution:
- Follow proper operating instructions for space heaters– don’t leave them unattended and maintain a 3 foot clear zone from drapes and other inflammable materials
- Keep chimneys and fireplaces cleaned and maintained, and ensure fireplaces have a heavy screen to prevent sparks.
- The majority of kitchen fires are caused by unattended stoves and ranges. Don’t be distracted in the kitchen!
Again, Tri State is here to help with your emergency fire and smoke restoration 24 hours a day, but we want you to celebrate safely.
Winding down 2017, we want to thank you for your support over the years and look forward to a great 2018! Have a safe and happy New Year and don’t wait to call us with your emergency fire, flood or restoration needs: 866-818-1949 – you’ll always speak with a member of our staff (yeah…one of those guys up there) qualified to assist and answer any questions you may have.