Redefining Restoration

Preventing Floods in Your Home

When it comes to flooding, no home is 100% safe. Flash floods can strike with zero warning. Your family might be able to escape the rising waters, but what happens to your home?

Preventing flooding in your home

Elevation Is Your Friend

Even if your house isn’t at the top of a hill, you can still safeguard many aspects of it. Since water flows down, raise your home’s heating & cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems. Find out the height of your property’s projected flood level, and make sure furnaces, water heaters, circuit breakers, and other vital equipment are anchored above that level.

The same thing goes for essential components outside of your home, too. Get HVAC units, generators, and similar equipment off the ground if you can. Don’t ever let electrical units sit on the ground.

Keep Your Pipes Flowing the Right Direction

It doesn’t take a flood to overload most sewer systems; even moderate rainfall can cause major problems, backing up pipes and sending raw sewage right up and into your home. Yuck! Don’t want to find yourself stuck in a stinky situation? Talk with a licensed plumber in your area, as well as your local water utility about back flow prevention devices. Any plumbing lines that enter your home should have proper preventers installed.

The Lay of Your Land

When it rains, or when you irrigate your lawn, does water tend to pool in certain places? The slope of your property can be a blessing – or a disaster – in a flood event. Make sure the land surrounding your home is designed and landscaped to divert water away from the structure, not toward it. Likewise, always make sure your roof, gutters, downspouts, and foundation are well maintained.

Have a Plan in Place … NOW.

Taking preventative steps is always a smart idea, but they’re not always bulletproof. Sometimes, the rains just keep falling. That’s why your smartest idea is to have a plan in place, just in case. Know what to do with furniture, electronics, and high-value items in your home, like moving them upstairs or at the very least off the floor. The same goes for irreplaceable items like family heirlooms, works of art, and photo albums. Make sure your circuit breaker is clearly labeled, and learn how to shut off the electricity to your home. Have an escape plan prepared, and practice this with your family – and don’t forget about your pets!

Unfortunately, Indiana is no stranger to floods affecting families and communities across our state. Van Rooy Restoration in Indianapolis encourages you to plan ahead and take the necessary preventative steps now. We never want to see it happen, but if your home is affected by a flood or other natural disaster of any size or kind, we’re here and ready to help get your family’s life back to normal as quickly as possible. Learn more about our many home restoration and repair services today.

How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing (and How to Thaw Out Frozen Pipes, Too)

Winter – have you had enough of it yet? While most of us worry about warming up the car for those brutal morning commutes, many overlook a cold weather hazard that’s right under our feet at home. We’re talking about frozen plumbing pipes. This common problem can lead to major (and expensive) damage if ignored, so keep reading for tips on how to prevent it, and what to do if you find your pipes already frozen.

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Preventing Frozen Plumbing Pipes

Frozen pipes are bad, but it’s what can happen to the pipes themselves that makes things go from bad to much worse. Water expands as it freezes, and this can cause pipes to burst, no matter what type of plumbing materials you have. When that ice melts, your home can flood.

To keep water flowing through your plumbing during bouts of extreme cold, try the following tricks:

  • Open cabinets under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms. This will help the warm air in your home circulate through those confined spaces. If you have chemicals and cleaners under there, be sure to move them out of reach of children and pets.
  • Allow faucets to leak a little bit. Even a slow drip can help protect pipes from freezing.
  • Don’t set your thermostat below 55 degrees at night, or while you’re away from home for an extended period.
  • Invest in electric heat tape from your local home improvement store. You can wrap the tape around exposed sections of plumbing and plug it in to keep things warm.
  • For a cheaper investment, consider adding pipe and in-wall insulation.

Thawing Already-Frozen Plumbing Pipes

Did you turn on a faucet, only to get a trickle or nothing at all? You probably have a frozen pipe. Time is very important in these cases. Here’s what to do ASAP:

  • Keep the affected faucet open/turned on. This will help speed up melting once you begin to treat the pipe.
  • Check plumbing in your basement, crawlspace, or other exposed area. Look for frost or ice on the pipe’s exterior for signs of internal freezing.
  • Use a space heater (hair dryers also work well) and place it near the pipe. You can also wrap pipe with that heat tape we mentioned above, or towels soaked in hot water.
  • Continue heating until water pressure is restored at the faucet. Check other fixtures in your home and repeat these steps if they appear frozen, too.
  • If you find breaks in the pipe, turn off the main water supply to your home immediately.
  • Plan Ahead and Be Prepared

Simple preventative steps should help you “weather” these cold months until spring arrives. However, if your home suffers any kind of water damage, remember that Van Rooy Restoration in Indianapolis is here to help. We specialize in water damage restoration and repair, and will get your home back to like-new condition in no time at all. In addition to disaster recovery, our team offers many Indiana home improvement services that can better protect you from future dangers. These include roofing, remodeling & construction, and more! Browse our website for more helpful information, and contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your home.

Ice Dams: How to Safely Remove and Prevent Them

“Those icicles have been known to kill people!”

Remember that quote from A Christmas Story? It’s one of the many memorable lines from one of the best holiday films of all time, which is most likely playing on some television channel as you read this.

Although young Ralphie had to think fast after he nearly shot his eye out, ice really does pose a number of serious winter threats. In today’s post, we’re focusing on ice dams. Keep reading to find out what they are, and how you can remove and prevent ice dams from forming in your gutters.

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Identifying Ice Dams

Ice dams form when melting snow turns into ice at the edge of your roof. Snowmelt may occur on a sunny day, or from heated air in your attic or upper floor. Over time and with enough snowfall, those chunks of ice turn into literal dams by blocking water properly draining. Ice dams can form in gutters. If those gutters get heavy enough they can break, acting as a slide for massive “missiles” of solid ice. Ice dams can also form underneath roof shingles, causing water leaks and other major damage to your home’s interior and exterior.

Removing Ice Dams Safely

Just as it works on your walks and driveway, ice melt can be an effective tool against ice dams, when it’s used the right way. If you discover an ice dam, make sure to use calcium chloride ice melt. Melts made of sodium chloride or other ingredients may damage your roof.

Using a roof rake, first remove a few feet of snow starting at the edge of your roof. Once the ice dam is uncovered, fill old socks or pantyhose with the calcium chloride ice melt, and place across the ice dam. Let the solution slowly melt the ice. It’s also a good idea to cover any decorative landscaping such as plants or bushes if they are directly under the ice dam. Melting calcium chloride may damage shrubbery.

Another thing you can do to stop ice dams from getting bigger is to place box fans in your attic under where ice dams are forming outside. The cooler air created by these fans will freeze water on your roof in mere minutes.

Preventing Ice Dams

Because they form from melting snow, the most effective way to prevent ice dams is to prevent snow from accumulating on your roof. Roof rakes are long devices, which allow you to stay on the ground while pulling snow off the roof. Be sure not to let snow build up over entryways, garages, decks/patios, sidewalks, and driveways.

Adding insulation to the ceilings and floors of your attic can help prevent escaping heat from your home and therefore ice dams, too. Extra insulation has the added bonus of helping lower your utility bills. Another trick is to seal air leaks and insulate HVAC ductwork.

Whether it’s removing them or preventing them, working to remedy ice dams and snow accumulation can be a dangerous job, especially if you have a multiple-story or split-level home, or a steep roof. Do you have a home that may be prone to ice dams? Has an ice dam already caused damage to your home? Contact the pros at Van Rooy today! From roof repairs to renovations and more, we can help protect and restore your home in no time at all.

They may not shoot your eye out, but it never hurts to keep an eye out for ice dams. Happy holidays from Van Rooy Restoration!