Recent Posts

Why is the Close Your Door message so important now?

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

Modern synthetic construction materials, home furnishings, and contemporary layouts allow fire to spread and become toxic much faster – like three-minutes-or-less-to-get-out faster.

But a closed door can slow the spread, reduce toxic smoke levels, improve oxygen levels and decrease temperatures dramatically – and that could make a life-saving difference in your home.

Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford  has specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition. They also can remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet. 

Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide Detection

11/20/2019 (Permalink)

A smoke detector is a device that senses smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial security devices issue a signal to a fire alarm control panel as part of a fire alarm system, while household smoke detectors, also known as smoke alarms, generally issue a local audible or visual alarm from the detector itself.

Smoke detectors are housed in plastic enclosures, typically shaped like a disk about 150 millimeters (6 in) in diameter and 25 millimeters (1 in) thick, but shape and size vary. Smoke can be detected either optically (photoelectric) or by physical process (ionization), detectors may use either, or both, methods. Sensitive alarms can be used to detect, and thus deter, smoking in areas where it is banned. Smoke detectors in large commercial, industrial, and residential buildings are usually powered by a central fire alarm system, which is powered by the building power with a battery backup. Domestic smoke detectors range from individual battery-powered units, to several interlinked mains-powered units with battery backup; with these interlinked units, if any unit detects smoke, all trigger even if household power has gone out.

The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms. The US National Fire Protection Association reports 0.53 deaths per 100 fires in homes with working smoke alarms compared to 1.18 deaths in homes without . Some homes don't have any smoke alarms, some don't have working batteries; sometimes the alarm fails to detect the fire.

Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide detection

Carbon monoxide sensors detect potentially fatal concentrations of carbon monoxide gas, which may build up due to faulty ventilation where there are combustion appliances such as heaters and cookers, although there is no uncontrolled fire outside the appliance.

High levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) may indicate a fire, and can be detected by a carbon dioxide sensor. Such sensors are often used to measure levels of CO2 which may be undesirable but not indicative of a fire; this type of sensor can also be used to detect and warn of the much higher levels generated by a fire. One manufacturer says that detectors based on CO2 levels are the fastest fire indicators, and also, unlike ionization and optical detectors, detect fires that do not generate smoke, such as those fueled by alcohol or gasoline. CO2 fire detectors are not susceptible to false alarms due to particles, making them particularly suitable for use in dusty and dirty environments.

Check and Test both alarms on a Schedule.

Check with your local Building Code Enforcement, with more details on both items...

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

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:

Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.

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.

How to Protect Pipes From Freezing

Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing 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.

Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.

Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the 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.

Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

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.

ICE DAMS: Several quick fixes but only one cure.

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

ICE DAMS: Several quick fixes but only one cure.

An Ice Dam is a hump of ice that forms at the edge of a roof under certain wintertime conditions. An ice dam can damage both your roof and the inside of your home. It will put gutters and downspouts at risk too.

Ice Dams are a common sight in Northern New England winters, and Home Partners has dealt with quite a few. There are several things you can do to avoid getting an ice dam or to reduce the risk of damage after one has formed, but there’s really only one cure: a combination of better sealing, insulation, and venting in the attic and eaves.

HOW DO ICE DAMS FORM?

An ice dam forms when the roof over the attic gets warm enough to melt the underside of the layer of snow on the roof. The water trickles down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eave of the roof, which stays cold because it extends beyond the side of the house. There, the water freezes, gradually growing into a mound of ice.

The flatter the pitch of the roof, the easier it is for an ice dam to get a grip. Gutters at the eaves can also trap snow and ice. If snow and ice build up high enough in the gutter, it can provide a foundation for an ice dam.

WHAT DAMAGE DO ICE DAMS CAUSE?

When an ice dam gets big enough, melted water backs up behind it and seeps underneath the shingles. Eventually, it will drip into the insulation and down into the ceilings and exterior walls beneath the eave, ruining sheetrock and paint. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, windowsills, cars, pets, and people. If the roof sheathing stays wet, it can form mildew and start to rot

DEALING WITH EXISTING ICE DAMS

1. Remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small chucks. Do NOT use an ax or other sharp tool! You’ll cut through the shingles. Instead, tap lightly with a blunt mallet. This is slow, dangerous work, so hire someone experienced at roofing. Even if you do it safely, the chunks of ice can take pieces of shingle with them.

2. Clear out gutters and downspouts. Again, this is ladder work and an easy way to damage either plastic or metal gutters and spouts.

3. Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice melter. Do NOT use rock salt! It will damage paint, metals, and plants beneath the eave and wherever the salty water drains.

A good trough-maker is a tube of cloth (a leg from an old pair of panty hose works well). Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam. It will slowly melt its way down through the dam, clearing a path for the underlying water to flow free.

The 15 Must-Do's of Fall Yard Cleanup

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Autumn means football games and visits to the local pumpkin patch. It also means it’s time to get your yard ready for winter. The right preparation now will save you time and energy when spring rolls around, and will keep you and your family safe in the yard year-round. Make sure you get the most out of your yard next year by following our checklist of fall cleanup musts.

1. Clean out debris.

Fallen leaves and weeds are the perfect place for pests to settle in for the winter. Clear out flower beds to keep the critters at bay. Pay special attention to rose beds, as their foliage can foster disease over the winter.

2. Till the vegetable garden.

After the final harvest, pull out old vegetable plants, remove debris, and completely till the whole plot. If you compost, now is the time to add a layer of compost to help nurture your soil for planting next spring.

3. Trim Rogue Branches.

Trim up any large or out-of-place tree branches that may cause trouble during the winter. You don’t want any branches breaking and falling during the snowfall to come.

4. Clean out the gutters.

Not all fall cleanup is in the yard. This is the perfect time to clear leaves and other debris from rain gutters. Check for proper drainage, clear out any blockages with a small garden trowel, and rinse with a hose.

5. Dry everything out.

Drain all water from hoses, fountains, and drip irrigation systems, and store them in a dry place. Water left standing over the winter may damage your equipment.

6. Aerate.

Break up soil to keep water from pooling and guarantee that nutrients will reach the roots over the winter. A garden fork will do the job for small yards, but larger yards may require a walk-behind aerator, which should be available to rent for a reasonable price.

7. Feed the lawn.

Send your yard into winter with the nutrients it needs to survive the long, cold sleep. Add a fall lawn fertilizer with high phosphorous content to encourage root growth and enjoy a lush, green lawn come spring.

8. Rake and mulch.

Don’t let fallen leaves get the best of you; if left unattended they can suffocate the grass. Rake them up, shred them, and use them as mulch for young trees, shrubs, and flower beds. You might even be able to skip the raking part if you use a lawn mower to mulch the leaves in your yard.

9. Prune trees and shrubs.

Trim any dead branches and cut back overgrown trees and bushes. If you have blooming perennials like clematis or roses, now is the time to prune them and train the branches.

10. Give it one last mow.

Set your mower to a low setting and give the lawn a close buzz before winter sets in. This helps the soil dry out more quickly in the spring, which leads to a lusher lawn.

11. Divide and cut back perennials.

If your perennials really took off this year, go ahead and spread the love. Divide plants and add them to other beds where they will also do well. This saves money and time in the spring. Fall-blooming perennials like chrysanthemums shouldn’t be divided now — wait and divide them in the spring.

12. Protect cold-sensitive plants.

Keep sensitive perennials, shrubs, and roses in top shape through the cold days of winter. Add mulch to the base and wrap plants in cloth barriers to prevent damage from freezing. Depending on the hardiness of the plant and your climate, you can use a single sheet or blanket or wrap them in a combination of cloth and plastic.

13. Plant bulbs, shrubs, and fall annuals.

Some plants do best when planted in the fall. If you want to add new shrubs or spring bulbs like hyacinth, now is the time to get them in the ground. Fall annuals like pansies are also a great addition to keep some color in your yard as other plants go to sleep.

14. Protect the deck.

Prevent the growth of mold and mildew by giving the deck a good power wash. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one from a garden store. Once the deck is clean and dry, add a weatherproofing stain to protect the wood from moisture damage over the winter.

15. Clean tools and store them.

Don’t throw your gardening tools in the shed and forget about them until spring. Take time to give them a good cleaning and add a light coat of oil to prevent rust during the cold season.

If you follow this checklist you’re bound to have a wonderfully winterized yard that will be ready to wow you with lush, green bounty once the warm weather returns.

The Acidic Nature of Smoke and Soot Require Special Cleanup

11/18/2019 (Permalink)

After a fire, soot damage is very typical. Soot can be a black flaky or oily or powdery substance which forms from incomplete combustion. Fine carbonized compounds cling to surfaces in your home like ceilings and walls, plus your possessions. Soot can be difficult to remove, and sometimes it is not possible to restore the surface to its pre-fire condition.

There are two types of sediment you can find after soot damage home – oily and dry. A quick check you can do to discover the type of residue you have is just to run your finger over a soot-covered surface. It is oily residue if it smears. Try not to make a mess. Better yet, leave it to us to inspect and clean.

You need an experienced fire damage restoration team working with you to clean the soot from your home thoroughly. SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford is standing by to help you as soon as the fire is out and everyone is safe. The longer you leave the smoky substance sitting in your home, the more damage it does. 

Heat from the fire pushes the soot and can cover everything in its way. Smoke looks for a kind of equilibrium and travels until its energy is used and it goes to cooler temperatures. When tested, soot can always be found on the acidic side of the pH scale. Acidic materials are destructive to a majority of elements found in nature. Over time, they keep degrading materials by oxidation which leads to discoloration, etching, corrosion or pitting. Stains over metals can yellow and soften. These reactions are ongoing from soot residues until they are removed. 

We can clean up oily residue with special degreasing agents, while we clean dry soot with cleaning sponges. Sometimes, soot will be oily in one room and dry in another. It all depends on the kinds of materials that were burned, so we check ahead of time before we begin remediation. 

Many varying types of damage occur after a fire, including water damage from firefighting efforts, but soot damage continues to eat away at the surfaces it is covering if left untouched.

Contents Restoration

SERVPRO  of Woodbury/Deptford Professionals specialize in restoring contents damaged by water, fire, or mold. Their expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. They pretest your belongings to determine what items they can restore to pre-fire condition. They use several methods of cleaning your contents, including:

  • Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
  • Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
  • Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
  • Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
  • Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.

Move-Outs/Pack-Outs

If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning due to fire damage, SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford Professionals can conduct an organized, efficient move-out of the affected area. A move-out has several benefits, including:

  • A quicker remodeling process
  • Protecting items from potential damage
  • Protecting contents from further on-site damage

When restoration is completed, they will work with you to coordinate the move-in according to your needs. The services offered upon move-in may depend on your insurance coverage. 

Electronic Cleanup

Fire-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by fire. Smoke residues can contain acids that corrode metal surfaces. If the residues are not removed, corrosion causes electronic failure in the device. A SERVPRO Franchise will coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including:

  • Television sets
  • DVD players
  • Computers
  • And more

The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. Electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician.

Document / Photograph Drying

When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water or fire, extreme caution should be taken to help ensure the fire damage does not destroy the document. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-fire damage condition, SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford Professionals can save a great deal and help minimize additional damage.

Depending on the type of documents and the level of fire, smoke, or soot damage, they have five options for the restoration of documents:

  1. Air Drying
  2. Dehumidification
  3. Freezer Drying
  4. Vacuum Freeze Drying
  5. Vacuum Thermal Drying

Contents Claim Inventory Service

When a fire emergency strikes, the damage can often feel overwhelming. SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford can help ease the worry and confusion during the recovery process by offering our Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS), which provides a detailed and accurate list of your belongings. They take a room-by-room inventory of your contents, including digital photos, and in some instances, bar coding. Learn more about the Contents Claim Inventory Service.

Our Contents Claim Inventory Service:

  • Preloss list and value of contents
  • Detailed and accurate report
  • Better information to settle claims quicker
  • Assistance with burden of proof for claims
  • Peace of mind when you need it most!

Refrigerator Water Line and Drain Hose Leaks...Prevention Tips!

11/18/2019 (Permalink)

The refrigerator is one of the hardest working appliances around the home, so when one breaks down or suffers a leak, the experience can have consequences. If you find that your fridge’s water line has a leak, there are a few simple steps you can follow to troubleshoot the problem and have it running again in no time.

What To Do When Your Refrigerator Water Line Leaks

The first step is to identify the leak. The refrigerator water line connects the household water supply to a refrigerator with an ice maker or water dispenser. The water line typically runs at the back of the fridge. Once the leak has been identified, here is what you can do to fix the problem.

  • Turn off the valve that supplies water to the refrigerator and then unplug the refrigerator to turn off the appliance. You will likely find the water shut off valve located beneath the kitchen sink or  in some cases, behind the refrigerator itself.

If the valve is located behind the fridge, carefully pull the appliance away from the wall and turn off the valve.

You will now have to loosen the compression nut that secures the supply line to the water intake valve. This can be done with the assistance of an adjustable wrench by turning the nut counter clockwise and then disconnecting the supply line.

Once loosened, remove the compression nut to disconnect the supply line from the valve.

If the supply line is broken or torn in places, replace the old line with a new one making sure that its length and dimensions are the same as the original water line. Material choices range between copper, plastic and stainless steel water lines. 

  • To fix the new water line in place, thread one end of the supply line to the shut off valve under the sink and tighten until it is snug in place. When using a copper or plastic line, make sure to first slide on a compression nut secured with a compression sleeve or ring onto the end of the line. A stainless steel water line comes with a built in rubber gasket that stops the connection from leaking.
  • Thread the other end of the supply line to the water intake valve and tighten it until snug.
  • Turn on water and check for any leaks. If there is still a drip, tighten the nuts a bit more.

Purchasing a new water line

When the line is badly damaged and needs replacement there are a few things to keep in mind. For instance, one of the factors at this point would be to choose a line material that will offer durability and long lasting utility. Another is the price tag attached to the new purchase.

Plastic water lines

In terms of materials, plastic lines are the most cost effective but also least durable. The biggest threat lies in these lines cracking, clogging or leaking, causing water damage. While plastic lines may seem to work well in terms of flexibility, especially where space behind the fridge is tight, many people do not prefer this type of line material.

Copper water lines

Another option is to go with copper water lines that yield superior sturdiness but are also more prone to kinkiness. A more flexible version of copper lines is available to allow pushing the tubing into position giving it some flexibility to work well in cramped spaces.

Stainless steel water lines

As an alternative stainless steel braided lines can be considered. Braided steel is a tough, non-kinking option to the more pliable plastic and the ¼ in flexible copper lines. Stainless steel also happens to be the most durable option but will tend to be the most expensive as well.

Whether the leak in your refrigerator water line is caused by a plastic, copper or stainless steel water line, remember that you can always access the professional service of our experts at Tidal Wave in Atlanta to come and resolve all water damage concerns at your home.

Time is Crucial When it Comes to Water Damage

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

A Fast Response Is Crucial

In many cleaning and restoration situations, immediate action is needed. With over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency.

An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Water is particularly invasive, quickly spreading throughout your property and being absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, etc. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals arrive quickly and start the water extraction process almost immediately.

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes:

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

Use Food Coloring to Diagnose a Water Leak in the Toilet Tank

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

If you have a heavy leak in your toilet, it's easy to diagnose—the faint sound of the toilet tank constantly replenishing is a dead give away. What about a slow leak? Diagnose it with food coloring.

If you have a slow leak in your toilet tank, hundreds of gallons are just slowly and silently cascading down the side of your toilet bowl every month. Fortunately you can easily detect if the uptick in your water bill is from a slow leak or not.

A simple test for toilet water leaks, place a half dozen or so drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. Leave the toilet alone for a half hour or more. Come back and check to see if the water in the bowl of the toilet has become tinted with the food-coloring dye from the tank. If it has, you've got a leak between the tank and the bowl.

How to check your toilet for leaks

  1. Remove the toilet tank lid.
  2. Drop one dye tablet or 10 drops of food coloring into the tank. (Dye tablets are often available for free through local water Providers.
  3. Put the lid back on. Do not flush.
  4. Wait at least 10-15 minutes, and then look in the bowl. If you see colored water, you have a leak. If not, you don't.

Basement Water Issues, Sump Pump Malfunctions, and Water Damage

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

Standing water on the floor is easy to see. Less obvious signs of problems include:

Unexpected increases in your water bill

  • Stains on walls, floors or ceilings
  • Damaged or warped flooring
  • Warped bottom panels in under-sink cabinets
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Corrosion on plumbing valves and fittings

Deal with problems as you find them. Clean up any water or moisture, locate the source and make repairs. Tracking down a leak isn't always straightforward — water can travel along components in the building structure, so the indications of the leak may be in a different part of the home than the leak itself. If necessary, contact a professional roofing contractor, plumber or water damage restoration specialist to help with identification and repair.

In addition to the damage that water causes, it can encourage the growth of mold on walls and floors — where it's readily visible — and in ductwork, attics and crawl spaces — where you might not notice it. A musty odor is a sign that mold may be present.

 If the affected area is larger than 3 feet by 3 feet, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends you find a professional mold remediation contractor. For smaller areas, you can clean nonporous surfaces with commercial cleaning products, soap and water or a solution of a cup of bleach to each gallon of water. Follow the instructions and safety precautions for the cleaning product you use and wear appropriate safety gear. Porous surfaces such as drywall need to be replaced. For more information on mold in the home and how to clean it up

Inspecting common sources of water leaks and taking some simple preventative measures can be an effective way to reduce the risk of water damage and mold.

Plumbing

  • Every 6 to 12 months, inspect water lines, shut-off valves and fittings for fixtures such as sinks, toilets and tubs and for appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and ice makers. Check for cracks, loose connections, kinks and corrosion. If you find a leak, turn off the water to the fixture or appliance until you can make repairs.
  • Check around toilets to make sure water is not leaking at the base — an indication that the wax ring between the toilet and floor might need replacing or that there might be a crack in the base.
  • If the temperature drops near the 20°F mark, allow faucets connected to vulnerable pipes — those not protected in insulated spaces — to drip. This helps minimize the risk of burst pipes by relieving pressure if the pipes freeze.

Appliances

  • Replace washing machine supply hoses at least every five years. Consider using stainless-steel mesh hoses. Keep the machine properly balanced — over time, an unbalanced machine can move, pulling free the hose connections.
  • Consider turning off the water to the washing machine when it's not in use.
  • Don't operate a dishwasher or washing machine while your house is unoccupied.
  • Follow the manufacturer-specified maintenance for your appliances, including your water heater. Have the water heater inspected every couple of years.

Roof and Gutters

  • Have your roof inspected every three years by a professional, but also check routinely for damage you can see from the ground — such as broken and missing shingles or damaged flashing. A poorly maintained roof can lead to leaks in the home and additional damage to the roof itself.
  • If your roof doesn't have a drip edge or drip cap, consider having one added. This component helps keep water away from the roof deck and directs runoff into gutters.
  • Keep gutters clear and well-maintained. Gutters that overflow, leak or don't drain properly allow water to seep into your roof and into your foundation, crawlspace or basement.
  • Make sure gutter downspouts direct rainwater away from the home's foundation. Use extensions to carry water at least 6 feet from the house.

Exterior Walls and Foundation

  • Inspect the exterior of your home. Caulk around gaps at plumbing and ventilation entry and exit points.
  • Check to see if roots from shrubs near your home have caused damage that can allow water to enter the foundation. You may need to remove shrubs that are close to the house to prevent problems. Roots can also damage and block in-ground pipes, causing leaks near the foundation and sewer backups in the home.
  • Keep shrubbery beds and other landscape features sloped to direct water away from the home.
  • Look for evidence of erosion or settling at the foundation that can indicate water problems.

Additional Tips to Avoid Water Damage

  • Have your attic ventilation and insulation inspected annually and seal gaps that allow warm air into the attic — such as those around access doors and light fixtures. When warm air collects in the attic, it can lead to the formation of an ice dam — ice around the eaves that causes water from melting snow and ice to back up under the shingles and leak into your home.
  • If you have a sump pump, test it several times during the year. Follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions.
  • Check your water pressure with a pressure gauge; typically these screw onto a hose bib. The pressure in an average home is around 50 to 70 pounds per square inch (psi). Higher pressure causes extra stress on pipes and fittings and can lead to leaks.
  • Inspect tile and grout around showers and tubs. Make any necessary repairs.
  • Check for leaks around windows during rains and seal any you find.
  • Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to move excess moisture out of the house. Moisture in the air can condense on cool surfaces and cause problems.
  • Locate your water shut-off valve so you can quickly turn off water to the home in an emergency