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ServiceMaster Grand Rapids Tips & News

Tags: Water Damage

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Preventing Frozen Pipes

When a house's water pipes freeze, it can lead to disaster! A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.

Burst water pipe

The three main causes of frozen pipes are:

  1. Quick drops in temperature,
  2. Poor insulation,
  3. And thermostats set too low.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hoses, 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.

What you can do now to prepare your pipes for winter:

  • Inspect all pipes in your basement, attic, or storage areas that might be near an open window or poorly insulated wall. Check if these pipes have cracked and/or are leaking.
  • Inspect the perimeter of your building. Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. If items like garden hoses are left attached in the cold, frozen water may back up into your home’s plumbing and crack your pipes.
  • Insulate your plumbing system. Wrap pipes at risk for freezing with heat tape. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and only use products approved by an independent testing facility. You can also use heat sleeves to help insulate your pipes during cold-weather months.

Always know where your plumbing shut-off valve is located, and make sure everybody in your family knows where it is as well. If your pipes burst or if the temperature is dropping quickly, make sure you can quickly shut the valve off.

What to do if your pipes freeze

If you suspect that a pipe is frozen but hasn’t cracked yet, you may be able to thaw it out before extensive water damage from busted pipes occurs. Try using a hair dryer to thaw out the pipe. Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire...

If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house, leave the water faucets turned on, and call the professionals right away to fix the pipe.

If there is any water damage, our water damage restoration services can work fast to mitigate additional damage. With the proper knowledge, expertise and tools, our team at ServiceMaster Grand Rapids will extract, dry, and complete the clean-up, helping you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.

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Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips

ServiceMaster Grand Rapids knows that any emergency, like water damage, can leave us feeling frustrated and anxious about what to do next. Timing is of the essence when it comes to water and flood damages, because you need to act fast and take the right steps as soon as possible.

Call Insurance Company

Who Do I Call First?

The first two calls to make after a water damage event are to your insurance agency or representative, and then to us at ServiceMaster Grand Rapids. Once you’ve let your insurance company know about the water damage problem, they can begin the claims process. Then after you call ServiceMaster Grand Rapids,  we can begin the water extraction process and clean up as soon as possible. Immediately begin documenting the damage and keeping records of what may need to be replaced.

What Should I Be Documenting?

Take as many photos and videos of the damages as possible BEFORE any type of cleanup or restoration has begun. Your insurance claims adjuster will want to see how severe the damages were before restoration takes place. Do NOT throw anything away, even items that seem unsalvageable. Your claims adjuster will need to inspect these items and their level of water damage as part of the claims process. 

Gather the necessary information needed to file a water damage insurance claim. This information may include, but isn't limited to:

  • Date of water damage 
  • Location of damage 
  • Contact information for the property owner 
  • Your personal contact information, if you're not the property owner 
  • Cleanup and remediation estimates Receipts for all cleanup, repairs and other related costs 
  • Receipts for lodging and meals if you had to leave your home before or during cleanup and repair

How Do I Know What My Insurance Will Cover?

Go over your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy. If you cannot find this paperwork or it was damaged during the flood, your insurance company or agent can provide you another copy. Pay special attention to the declarations page! It will give you important information regarding your particular policy’s water damage coverage, deductibles, limitations and exclusions. Make sure you are also aware of any claim filing deadlines.

The average homeowners insurance policy doesn't cover floods and might not cover other types of water damage either. If you planned ahead and purchased a separate flood insurance policy, you may also be covered for water damage caused by a broken pipe, sewer backup or failed drainage tiles. It's important to know exactly what your homeowner's insurance policy does and doesn't cover regarding water damage, so always check your policy first.

When you experience water damage or severe flooding, you need help – fast. That’s why ServiceMaster Grand Rapids has technicians on call 24/7 to help you need when you need it most. Call us right away at (616) 988-4357.

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