Recent Water Damage Posts

Controlling indoor moisture

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

Controlling Indoor Moisture

When you see moisture accumulating, dry it promptly and deal with the source of the problem. Two basic elements of controlling moisture buildup are minimizing cool surfaces and reducing humidity.

Storm doors and windows minimize cool surfaces in the winter by separating the interior from cold, outside air. Double- and triple-pane windows also insulate interior glass from the cold. Pay attention to window treatments as well. Opening drapes and blinds in the winter allows warmth to reach the interior glass. Some condensation may occur, but the improved circulation makes it less likely to accumulate. Insulating cold-water pipes eliminates a common cool surface in warm weather. Straight and angled sleeves let you fit insulation to your pipes — just slide on the sleeves and seal the slits and joints with duct tape.

Your heating and cooling systems can also help control moisture in the home. Gas and electric furnaces reduce humidity with dry heat. Air conditioning lowers the moisture level in the air as it cools. Keep registers open and unblocked to allow good air flow, and have the systems inspected and serviced regularly to make sure they are functioning properly.

Caulking and weather stripping improve energy efficiency and prevent humid air from entering a home, but they also reduce the air exchange that allows moisture to move out of the house. Bathroom exhaust fans, dryer exhaust and ducted kitchen exhaust hoods that vent to the outside remove moisture that activities such as showering, bathing, clothes drying, dish washing and cooking create. Keep the devices free of dust, lint, grease or anything that could keep them from working efficiently.

Other simple ways to reduce air moisture include:

  • Covering pots while cooking, when possible
  • Leaving room doors open to allow good air circulation
  • Storing firewood outside
  • Covering aquariums

If high humidity is a problem you can't overcome by other methods, remove moisture from the air with a dehumidifier. They're effective in laundry rooms, basements, bathrooms and any room that isn't air-conditioned or has poor air circulation. Look for ENERGY STAR® qualified models, which consume less energy than conventional dehumidifiers.

Article source: https://www.lowes.com/projects/repair-and-maintain/controlling-moisture-and-humidity-in-the-home/project

Why cold Weather makes your water pipes burst

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

The cold weather is quickly approaching

Why Do Pipes Burst the Way They Do?

Why do water pipes burst, and why do they always fail the same way? These are two interesting questions.

Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands is it gets close to freezing, and this causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe. When the pressure gets too high for the pipe to contain, it ruptures.

We grew up with water all around us and so this expansion phenomenon seems natural, but interestingly, it is a chemical anomaly. Most liquids do not expand just before transitioning to solid. You should be thankful for this; it is one of the reasons that life exists.

When a liquid cools the molecules slow down (temperature really is just a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules). This slowing down allows the molecules to get closer together and increases the density of the liquid. This happens with water too, and when water is cooled down, it gets denser and denser, down to 3.98°C then, something interesting occurs; it starts to expand again.

Because of the shape of a water molecule, it is slightly polarized. The electrons buzzing around it are more likely to be on one side of the molecule than the other (called a dipole), and this asymmetry creates a slight potential. Water molecules are attracted to each others' opposite sides. These potentials create weak bonds that are called Hydrogen Bonds. Hydrogen bonds, whilst not as strong as covalent bonds or ionic bonds, are stronger that van der Vaals forces.

This extra hydrogen-bond 'glue' holding water molecules together is the reason why water is a liquid at everyday temperatures and pressures (another one of the reasons life exists). Other chemical compounds similar to H2O, but without the benefit of Hydrogen bonds, are all gases in typical Earth temperature ranges.

The Hydrogen-bonds in water are also the reason why water has such a high specific heat capacity (the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of water one degree); this helps dampen our weather and stops the Earth changing in temperature too rapidly. It also means that water is great for carrying energy around (like in power stations and hydronic central heating systems). It's also why it takes a lot of energy to boil a kettle to make a nice cup of tea!

As water cools, like other liquids, the molecules slow down and get denser. A competing force, however, is the desire for the water molecules to align with other water molecules based on their Hydrogen bonds, and this causes expansion. Below the temperature of 3.98°C down to 0°C, this alignment expansion process wins out against the desire of slower molecules to get closer, and density decreases.

Whilst not completely understood, it is this expansion that causes beautiful snowflakes to form with their characteristic six points.

This decrease in density continues until the water finally freezes to form ice. Water expands to form ice which has a volume up to 9% greater than the water it came from. It is this reason that icebergs float (being less dense than the water they displace).

Again, it seems natural to us that ice floats, because we grew up this all effect all around us, but this is atypical.

Most other liquids, when freezing, do not form a solid 'crust' on top. As they cool, the solid formed, being denser, drops to the bottom of the cooling liquid and the solid grows up from the bottom!

This irregular behavior of water is yet another reason that life exists. When water freezes, it floats to the top, forming a skin which insulates the water below. When a river or lake freezes on top, life continues below in the liquid left underneath.

In other words, insulate your pipes this winter!

This post was originally published on Data Genetics, a site created by Nick Berry was educated as a rocket scientist and aircraft designer, graduating with a Masters Degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, and currenty works as a Data Scientist at Facebook. You can follow DataGenetics on Twitter here or on Facebook page here.

Article source: https://gizmodo.com/why-cold-weather-makes-your-water-pipes-burst-1480690222

Preventing root intrusion into pipes

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

Preventing root intrusion into pipes

How to prevent sewer line problems before they start?

Know where your sewer line is before you plant! Contact a marking service that can locate and mark the location of your yard if you don’t know where it is.

Do not plant on top of or too close to the pipe. It could cause potential harm to the pipe in the future

Right plant, right place!

Ensure a tree has enough room for the root system to grow without coming in contact with pipes. Figure this out BEFORE planting any new trees.

Keep in mind, a young tree may be small at first and pose no threat to pipes, but may do so in the future.

Tree selection and placement

It is possible for any species of tree to cause damage to pipes, but some trees have certain physiological characteristics that make them more likely to intrude into sewer lines. Trees that grow quickly above ground also do so below ground.

If you must plant near a pipe, select a tree that is not known to be an aggressive or fast grower.

In general, trees should not be planted near sewer lines, but some trees have shown to have comparatively less reports of damage to pipes.

Many fruit trees including cherry, plum, and peach

Some evergreens including cypress

Diagnosis if tree root intrusion

If your home repeatedly experiences plumping stoppages, you may have roots impeding your sewer line.

If the land surrounding your home is heavily wooded, or large trees are present and are close to the sewer line, a root intrusion is possible.

Many plumbing companies can verify a root intrusion by inserting a video camera into the sewer line to view the blockage.

Controlling tree root intrusion

The best way to control tree root intrusion is to completely remove the entire sewer line, but other options are available such as:

Chemical herbicides, Mechanical root removal from pipes, sewer line repairs or installation of liner inserts. Many chemical herbicides can be routinely used to kill roots that may be growing inside pipes. This is typically a temporary solution, and will not eradicate the problem completely.

If a root intrusion has become too serve for herbicides, plumbers resort to “snaking” the line. A flexible metal auger is inserted into the pipe to mechanically remove the built-up roots. This is a temporary solution as roots will grow back and will need repeated removal. The only permanent method to solve a tree root intrusion is to completely remove the damaged pipe. If the problem is very server, complete removal of the tree may also be necessary, as the excavation of the pipe and removal of roots may have deadly consequences on the tree in the near future. If tree removal is necessary, plant a new tree farther away from the pipe that is known to be less invasive

Article source: https://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/videos_posters/breeze/tree_roots_and_sewer_lines.pdf

What to do if your roof is leaking

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

What to do if your roof is leaking

With winter coming upon us and snow sitting our roofs, there’s a chance for some possible roof leaks. A leaky roof can certainly cause a rain on any homeowner’s parade. Rainy weather or snow is often when roof leaks get discovered. That's when it's too late for anything but a repair. No time to contemplate, no time to plan with the rain causing interior damage right now, just get to the phone and get a roofer there as soon as possible. But what can you do to temporarily stop the leaks from causing more damage until help arrives?

First Things First - Deal with inside the house to minimize interior damage

In most cases, a leak will slowly pool at the ceiling until it finds an escape route -- usually a penetration point like at a light fixture or heat register. After several hours, the leak will start to find multiple escape routes, making the leak look much worse than it actually is. To minimize your ceiling damage, find the wettest spot or a bulge in the ceiling and poke a small hole in the middle. Use a bucket to collect the draining water. 

Second Step – Locate the point of entry

Start with the inside, such as an attic. It will prove to be quite difficult to stop a leaky roof in the rain. Try to locate the leak but keep in mind that the leak in the ceiling and the leak in the roof may not align. If your roof covering is over a layer of plywood, then you should keep in mind that water will generally travel from the leak in the roofing material to the nearest joint in the plywood, depending on how the roof slopes.

Third Step – Maintain the situation until help arrives

Once you locate the point of entry from the inside, there are a couple of options for temporary repair such as roofing cement, roofing tape or a tarp. Available for purchase at any home improvement store, roofing cement or tape can be applied to the inside of the roof decking inside your attic, as well as to the outside of the roof. If you feel confident enough scale your rooftop, tarping is a quick and easy option to control any further leaking until your roofing contractor arrives. When using a tarp to cover your roof, a good rule of thumb is to cut the tarp so that it adequately covers the damaged area. Leave at least an extra four feet of tarp on each end to cover the roof damage. Secure the tarp with 2 x 4 boards. You can staple or nail the tarp to the boards, but be sure to use nails that are not so long that they will go through your roof.

These steps will help you prevent further damage to your home until a professional can arrive. Keep in mind when hiring a roofing contractor you want to have a reputable company, someone who is going to stand behind their work. Your roof will last a long time so you don’t want someone working on it who is not a local, reliable company.

Article source: http://blog.redriverroofing.com/what-to-do-with-your-leaky-roof-until-help-arrives

How to prevent sump pump overflow in the basement

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

How to Prevent Sump Pump Overflow in the Basement

We are now entering the time of year with the heaviest rainfall and many homeowners are concerned that their basements will flood.  Installing a sump pump in your basement is a great way to prevent floods during heavy rains, but there are a number of ways the sump pump can fail and eventually overflow.  The following are common problems that can cause sump pumps to overflow and the best solutions for solving these problems.  Keep in mind that you should unplug the sump pump from its power source before attempting to correct any of these problems.

The following tips will help prevent sump pump overflow in your basement:

  1. Debris in the Basin: Sometimes debris such as children’s toys and other household objects may fall into the basin and interrupt the float mechanism which can cause it to malfunction.  The float mechanism can also fail naturally over time.  To test this mechanism, fill up the basin with water to make sure the sump pump starts like it should.
  2. Check Valve: The check valve prevents water from going back into the sump pump in the event of a failure.  Make sure to check this valve because it is not always installed properly; the arrow should be pointing away from the sump pump.
  3. Weep Hole: Sometimes sump pumps may have a weep hole between the pump and the check valve.  You can clean the weep hole with a tiny object such as a toothpick, just be careful not to break anything off in the hole.
  4. Clean the Impeller: The impeller is a small filter that may become clogged and when this happens it can cause the sump pump to suddenly stop running or make a whining noise.  Cleaning or replacing the impeller can get the sump pump to function properly again.
  5. Back Up Power Source: Sump pumps are only useful when plugged into a power source and if the power goes out during a thunderstorm, the sump pump will stop working.  Installing a backup power source for the sump pump is the best way to prevent this from happening in the middle of a thunderstorm when the sump pump is needed the most.

As the season of heavy rains arrives, make sure to check your sump pump for these potential problems so that you are prepared when it rains.  If your home does experience some flooding due to heavy rain fall or a sump pump failure, make sure to call for professional water damage restoration immediately to help limit the damages.

Article source: http://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/how-to-prevent-sump-pump-overflow/

What to do if your sump pump overflows

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

What to do if your sump pump overflows

  1. Tap the discharge line coming out of the sump pit. "Sometimes" when I would tap the line very gently with a rubber mallet the primary submersible pump would turn on. Why? because the float switch on an automatic would stick due to corrosion on the top metal rod that activates the motor. If this does work then wait till the basin is empty to see if you can locate the cause of the failure. If their is no obvious reason why the submersible pump failed, you should still replace the pump. If it happened once it will happen again and you may not be home when it does.

If that does not work, then try this:

  1. "Power" Check the fuse box to see if you have blown a fuse. If you have blown a fuse then reset the breaker by turning the breaker off then back on again. Or, you can plug in a light in the outlet where the sump pump is plugged into to see if you are getting power. If you are getting power then hurry up and replace the pump if you can or call a professional plumber. Do not stick your hand in the basin when the pump is plugged in, if their is a short in the wire then you may be electrocuted.

If that does not work either, then try this:

  1. Unplug the motor and put your hand down in the basin until you reach the pump. Feel around the sump pump to see if you can feel any debris stuck near or on the submersible pump. If so, then gently dislodge the object. After you have removed the object, simply lift the float switch to make sure it is going up and down properly. Quickly plug the pump back into the outlet so you don't flood.

I hope these tips will aid you in saving your basement from flooding. You may want to consider getting a backup pump for more security.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ross_Waniolek/533206

What Happens When Your Sump Pump Fails?

7/19/2016 (Permalink)


Most houses with a sump pump rely on the pump to keep the basement from flooding.  When a big rain storm comes through, the sump pump will really be needed... and that's also the time that the power to a neighborhood is most likely going to get knocked out, disabling the sump pump and allowing the basement to flood.  I have a sump pump in my own house, and it's been going off about once every two minutes after the heavy storms last night, which got me thinking about this topic.


If your sump pump quits working, will you know about it before your basement floods?  Do you have a backup in place?  Does it work?  Are you sure? If you depend on a sump pump to keep your basement from flooding, it's important to have a backup system in place, just like it's important to back up the hard drive on your computer.  Possibly even more important.


It's one of those things that most people don't think about until it's too late.  If you want to protect your basement from flooding, get a backup system.  There are a few different backup systems available.


Secondary Electric Pump

A secondary electric pump would be a good option to keep your basement from flooding in the event that your primary sump pump failed.  The secondary pump would need to be installed a little bit higher in the sump basket than the primary pump.  The downside to installing one of these is that if the power to your house went out, the pump would be useless.



Battery Backup

By far, the most common type of backup is a battery powered system.  This consists of a big heavy battery that's about the size and shape of a car battery, as well as a backup sump pump that sits in the sump basket a little bit higher than the primary pump.  This system will save your basement from flooding if your sump pump fails or your power goes out.

If you already have a backup battery for your sump pump and it doesn't have a warning to tell you if the battery is dead, you should test it periodically.  You can simply unplug your standard sump pump and fill the sump basket with water using a garden hose to test the backup pump.


Hydraulic Pump

Another backup option for your sump basket is to install a pump that is powered by the municipal water pressure coming in to your home.  The nice thing about hydraulic pumps is that you don't have to worry about keeping a battery charged all the time, and if you have an extended power outage, you won't have to worry about the pump failing.

The downside to using a hydraulic sump pump is that they're not nearly as powerful; the video below shows just how slow they pump water.  The original video was nearly three minutes long, so I cut out the middle, as it got a little boring. If the water at your home is supplied by a well, a hydraulic backup pump obviously wouldn't be any good, as a power outage would also knock out your well pump.



High Level Alarm

No matter what type of system you have installed, it's a good idea to have a high level alarm installed in your sump basket.  These alarms will sound off if the water level in your sump basket gets too high, and you can buy one for under ten bucks at Home Depot.  If you don't have a backup system in place, these alarms will at least tell you that you have a problem and you need to jump in to action.

I inspected a very nice home last year with a completely finished basement that definitely could have benefited from one of these high level alarms.  This house had in-floor ductwork; when the sump pump failed, the ducts ended up filling up with several inches of water.  The water level in the sump basket never got high enough for the basement floor to get wet, but the standing water in the ducts acted like the worlds largest whole-house humidifier, which caused major condensation throughout the basement; even the outlet covers were dripping with water.  If the sump basket had been equipped with a cheap little high level alarm, this never would have happened.

If you want to have a backup sump pump professionally installed, hire a plumber to do it.

blog credit: http://www.startribune.com/what-happens-when-your-sump-pump-fails/153532145/

photo credit: http://www.echo-ca.org/sites/default/files/Rain%20on%20a%20House%20Roof.jpg