Winterize Your Cape May County Property
Winterize Your Property!
It's Not Too Late To Winterize Your Cape May County Property
- Have a professional inspect your heating system annually.
- Clean your fireplace or stove and have your flue checked for any buildup of creosote. Be sure other fuel burning equipment is properly vented to the outside.
- Insulate your home properly. If necessary, insulate walls and attics to conserve energy.
- Caulk doors and windows to keep cold air out.
- Install storm windows, or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation.
- Protect pipes from freezing:
- Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.
- Turn both hot and cold faucets to continuously drip a little.
- Keep a wrench near the valves and know how to shut off your water valves if a pipe bursts.
- For more information: "Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes" from the American Red Cross
- Inspect and flush your water heater.
- Clean gutters. Leaves and other debris will hamper drainage.
- Cut away tree branches that can fall on the house during an ice storm or from heavy snow. Notify the utility company of branches that overhang power lines; do not attempt to trim by yourself.
- Replace batteries for smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors. If you did not do this when you set the clocks back, do it now.
- Have a back-up power source in place if you are dependent upon electricity for medical or mobility needs.
- Know where your snow shovel is located and have a supply of sand or a sand substitute.
- Prepare a warm, safe place for your animals in severe winter weather. Make sure any outbuilding that houses or shelters animals can withstand wind, heavy snow and ice.
- Bring pets indoors. Horses and livestock should have a shelter protected from wind, snow, ice and rain. Grazing animals need access to a protected supply of food and non-frozen water.
- Make sure your animals have access to high ground in case you do not have time to relocate them during a flood.
- Be aware of the potential for flooding when snow and ice melt.
- Consider purchasing flood insurance. Homeowners' policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program if you are at risk.
If Power Goes Out
Follow these tips:
- Dress in warm, light layers and wear a cap for warmth.
- Close off unused rooms.
- Eat well-balanced meals for energy.
- Use only safe sources of alternate heat such as a fireplace, a small well-vented wood or coal stove, or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturers' instructions and never substitute one type of fuel for another.
Clearing Your Roof
- Clearing your roof is a dangerous task. Always think about safety first. If possible, do not attempt to clear the roof alone.
- When possible use long-handled rakes or poles.
- If you must use a ladder, make sure the base is securely anchored. Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb.
- Know where the snow is going to fall before clearing the area.
- Make sure you do not touch electrical wires.
- If the job is too big for you, HIRE HELP.
The information in this blog is from Ready.nj.gov (the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management). If you have water damage to your property, call the franchise professionals at SERVPRO of Cape May County, 609-624-0202. We are trained in water removal, dehumidification, and mold mitigation/remediation. We make it, "Like it never even happened.®"
WHY PIPE FREEZING IS A PROBLEM!
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. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
- 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.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
Information for this blog obtained by redcross.org - when you have a water emergency, call the franchise professionals at SERVPRO of Cape May County, 609-624-0202.
Prevent Water Damage in your Cape May County Home.
How to Prevent Water Damage In Your Home.
Preventing water damage is a lot cheaper than paying for repairs. Here are three easy prevention tips.
Water damage is the No. 1 culprit that weakens your home’s foundation and what holds your house together.
Here’s how to prevent water damage using three easy strategies that will give you peace of mind the next time heavy storms hit.
#1. Ensure Good Drainage
Poor drainage weakens your foundation, causing cracks, uneven settling, and pathways for water to enter your home.
Clean your gutters routinely. A clogged gutter will send cascades of water down the side of your house, damaging your siding and foundation.
Ensure your downspouts direct water 5 to 10 feet away from your house.
Make sure your yard is sloped at least 6 inches over a 10-foot span away from your foundation. That slope keeps water from getting down right next to your foundation, where it could cause walls to lean, crack the masonry, and create leaks. (For crawl spaces, keeping water away makes sure excess water doesn’t pool underneath your floor, making for damp conditions that encourage mold, rot, and insects.)
#2. Test Your Sump Pump Regularly
Sump pumps come to life during storms. That’s not when you want to realize yours isn’t working properly. You should check it at least once a year, and ideally perform several checks during heavy storm seasons.
How to test your sump pump: Slowly fill the sump pump pit with water. Watch for the “float” (similar to the float in your toilet) to rise, which should turn on the pump. Then watch to make sure the water level falls.
Test your backup pump the same way, but unplug the main pump first. If you don’t have a backup pump — or a generator — and are on municipal water, get one that runs on water pressure. If you’re on well water, your only option is the battery kind.
#3. Check for Water Leaks and Fix Them
Persistent leaks lead to mold and mildew, rot, and even termites and carpenter ants (they like chewing soggy wood, since it’s soft). Yet if you fix a leak soon after it starts, there may be no long-term damage at all.
How to check for leaks: Check for dark spots under pipes inside sink cabinets, stains on ceilings, toilets that rock, and of course drips.
At least once a year, inspect your roof. Repair missing, loose, and damaged shingles. Repair any cracked caulking and check for leaks around flashing.
So now you know how to prevent water damage — and add years (and lower maintenance costs to your home!). Of course if water damage does affect your home, be sure to call us at 609-624-0202.
September is National Preparedness Month.
Make A Plan.
September is National Preparedness Month. Your friends at SERVPRO of Cape May County want to be sure you are prepared for any disaster and will be sharing information all through September to help you and your family.
First thing’s first. Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
Step 2: Consider specific needs in your household.
As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance. Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:
- Different ages of members within your household
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Locations frequented
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
- Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
- Languages spoken
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
- Households with school-aged children
Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan
Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use them as a guide to create your own.
Emergency Plan for Parents (PDF)
Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household
*Information obtained from ready.gov website.
Be Ready, Cape May County!
SERVPRO® of Cape May County is ready for whatever happens, and we want you to be ready, too! Browse through this BE READY guide as published in the Cape May County Herald. Click here to access the guide.
And remember, we're here for any emergency, just call 609-624-0202.
Hurricane Season is Here!
Living near the coast brings many benefits to those of us who reside in Cape May County. But with all the pros, there are some cons, one of them being hurricane season.
Hurricane season is upon us! The season started on June 1st and the threat will continue until November 30th here in the Northeast. The strongest chance for hurricanes and storm activity begins in mid-August and lasts until about the end of October. Hurricanes can bring speeds up to 200 mph and the storms themselves have been known to stretch across up to 600 miles. Are you prepared for a storm of this size?
Important information everyone should know includes the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A watch means that threatening conditions are possible within the next 48 hours, while a warning means conditions are expected within 36 hours. Stay prepared and informed, that is the best way to get through any potential storms!
Concerned About Flooding Due to Storms?
Here in Cape May County, it’s important to be prepared for water damage. Many of us live on barrier islands where the threat of flood is an everyday concern whether its high tide from a full moon, heavy rains or an intense storm.
Being prepared for flooding and water damage is your best defense. Be aware of the tides and the weather, be prepared to move cars to higher grounds and keep all pets inside when necessary. Be aware of how high off the ground your home is, do you have a crawlspace that would be susceptible to water?
Finally, have a plan in place in the event water damage does occur in your home. SERVPRO® of Cape May County is ready to go 24/7 to assist you. We can be reached at 609-624-0202, we will work to make your situation as stress-free as possible.
Emergency Readiness Plans
Do you own a business in Cape May County? Is your store, office or restaurant prepared for a burst pipe, sewage back-up, fire damage, flood or storm damage?
With SERVPRO®’s Emergency Readiness Plan a trained representative will come out to your building, evaluate how and where to shut off any utilities, exits and entrances, as well as building lay out and square footage. They will then sit with you and create a plan based on your preferences on how to handle any situation that may occur so that you don’t lose precious time by shutting down.
Once your plan is complete, you can receive all of the information in the form of an app on your phone, if an event occurs you will be ready, and so will we!
Our Emergency Ready® Program ("ERP") is a free service. If you would like to take a protective measure for your business call SERVPRO of Cape May County today at 609-624-0202.
Summer Brings Potential for Tornadoes, Be Prepared!
What is the difference between a Tornado WATCH and a Tornado WARNING?
A Tornado WATCH is issued by the NOAA Storm Prediction Centermeteorologists who watch the weather 24/7 across the entire U.S. for weather conditions that are favorable for tornadoes. A watch can cover parts of a state or several states. Watch and prepare for severe weather and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio to know when warnings are issued.
A Tornado WARNING is issued by your local NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office meteorologists who watch the weather 24/7 over a designated area. This means a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar and there is a serious threat to life and property to those in the path of the tornado. ACT now to find safe shelter! A warning can cover parts of counties or several counties in the path of danger.
LEARN MORE AT THE NOAA WEBSITE.
If a tornado does strike, SERVPRO® of Cape May County will be here to help! Call us at 609-624-0202.
There are three types of contaminated water.
There are three types of contaminated water:
Catagory 1:"Clean Water" is from, a clean source like a broken water line; however, if left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3.
Category 2: "Gray Water" may contain bacteria and viruses, and can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated.
Category 3: "Black Water" comes from flooding rivers or sewer backup and may contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals and microbes.
No one wants to end up with category 3 water damage in their home. If you run into a water damage problem, call the trained professionals at SERVPRO® of Cape May County at 609-642-0202 to make the process as stress free as possible. We are here to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!