MEMPHIS, TN --(Marketwired - December 19, 2016) - As winter storms sweep across much of the nation, ServiceMaster Restore, one of the largest disaster restoration companies in the United States and a ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) company, is arming homeowners with important tips to help prevent some of the most common damage from winter weather.
Disaster expert Pete Duncanson with ServiceMaster Restore is urging people to proceed with caution and take the right steps to avoid costly damage.
"Cold weather is often unpredictable and if homeowners aren't prepared for quick temperature changes or sudden precipitation, it could cause serious damage," says Duncanson. "It's very important for homeowners to look closely for potential warning signs, and follow these steps to protect their property and avoid not only headaches, but major costs."
Protect your Pipes
When outdoor temperature dips below freezing, it can cause the water in your pipes to freeze -- especially those along exterior walls. Unfortunately, when water freezes, it expands, and this can cause pipes to burst. If you suspect a pipe is frozen but it hasn't cracked or burst yet, there's a chance you can thaw it using the warm air from a hair dryer. Never use an open flame or blow torch as these are dangerous fire hazards.
In the future, prior to a cold snap, wrap exposed pipes with tape or heat sleeves to insulate them, keep cabinet doors open to help warm air surround pipes, and let water faucets slowly drip so that water is consistently moving (and not at risk to freeze).
Minimize Water Damage
Water damage often occurs when pipes freeze and crack. If you spot a leak, use fans to circulate air and assist the drying process and remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting. To minimize the damage, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve and call professionals to extract, dry and complete the cleanup. Damage from the water and bacteria growth can begin within hours so it's important to act fast.
Snow-related Water Damage
Minimize snow build-up on your roof. Melting snow can refreeze at night and create icicles along your roofline. Icicles are often a sign of ice dams under shingles, which can cause water damage to attics and interior walls. When clearing snow from your roof, take all necessary safety precautions and use care to not damage shingles.
Weighty Snow Can Cause Significant Damage
Built-up snow alongside and on top of a home can block heating vents and lead to carbon monoxide buildup inside. However, a shovel full of snow weighs about 20 pounds, so it's important to not over-exert yourself. Snow buildup on top of a house can cause the roof to collapse, so make sure to remove it quickly. Cautiously remove the build-up by using push brooms from a safe location.
If your home experiences water damage, it's important to have electronic copies of all important documents, like insurance. If you haven't done so already, review and save your insurance policies and other important documents so you can easily access them if the originals or hard copies are destroyed. Go around the house and take photos of every room and make lists to document your essential possessions. After a loss occurs (if it's safe), take "after" shots of every room in the house and your possessions for any potential insurance claims.
For more expert tips and information on how to prepare for and recover from extreme winter weather, visit ServiceMasterRestore.com or visit us on YouTube or Facebook. For immediate assistance and clean up, call a live ServiceMaster Restore operator 24/7 at 1-800-RESPOND.
About ServiceMaster Restore
With approximately 1,800 franchised and licensed locations around the world, ServiceMaster Restore and ServiceMaster Recovery Management (SRM) serve customers through a global network of franchises available 24/7/365 to provide residential and commercial restoration services resulting from damage caused by water, fire or smoke. SRM is the large-scale commercial catastrophic disaster restoration unit of ServiceMaster Restore. ServiceMaster Restore is a business unit of the Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV), a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. More information can be found at www.servicemasterrestore.com and www.servicemasterrecoverymanagement.com.
ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) solves the homeowner's dilemma. Every day, we visit more than 75,000 homes and businesses through our extensive service network of expert professionals. Technology powers our trusted experts to engage with customers so they can order, buy and receive services when, where and how they want them. Our well-recognized brands includes American Home Shield (home warranties), AmeriSpec (home inspections), Furniture Medic (furniture repair), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial and residential floor cleaning), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) and Terminix (termite and pest control). Like, follow or visit us at facebook.com/ServiceMaster, linkedin.com/ServiceMaster, twitter.com/ServiceMaster, or servicemaster.com.