With temperatures now hitting the freezing mark or below, it is time to think about your homes most vulnerable asset during the cold weather months, your plumbing. Your entire homes plumbing system can be effected by the extreme conditions brought on by snow, ice, and plummeting temperatures. being knowledgeable about the various issues you can encounter during the winter months can help you to possibly prevent serious damage to your plumbing systems. Lets examine some of the winter issues that you may encounter this year if you are not prepared. Any of these issues could result in the need to contact a master plumber.
This is the number one culprit when it comes to winter time plumbing issues. Most times frozen pipes are completely preventable. The problem starts when the temperatures dip below freezing levels, combined with high water pressure from your water main. You can start to tell if your pipes have frozen over due to reduced water flow. If you notice any change in your water pressure or water flow, this may very well signal you have one or more frozen pipes, if so it is time to call a master plumber. To prevent frozen pipes, at night you can leave your faucets and water taps on a slow drip. You can also install foam pipe covers over every pipe in your home, which will insulate your pipes from the cold. If you do end up with a frozen pipe, do by all means shut off the main water valve while awaiting assistance from a master plumber.
Failing hot water systems
This is a rather common issue during the winter months, one that is more annoying than it is destructive. Did you know that water heating issues ranks among one of the top reasons why plumbers are called any time of the year? Yet this problem peaks during the winter months. To help prevent this, you will want to make sure that the water temperature is high enough on your water heater when winter sets in. Having your water heater checked before winter will help to ensure that you never run into this issue when the deep cold sets in. If you use a gas water heater, always ensure that the pilot light is lit. If you feel that your water heater is not hot enough, call a plumber right away.
A water line leak or break
This is one of the most devastating plumbing problems you could ever experience when it comes to a residential plumbing emergency or a business plumbing problem. A water line leak or break will cause devastating damage to your home or business, the sad part is for most of the victims of this during the winter, it was completely preventable. Do not become part of this statistic. Disconnected garden hoses during the winter, as if you leave it connected and temperatures dip below freezing, ice will form in your house, and this will cause pressure to build up. This pressure can make a major leak, resulting in thousands of dollars in damages pretty quickly. To prevent this issue, disconnect all outdoor hoses, and drain your outdoor pipes. You can also use shut off valves in your home to drain water away from your pipes, if you have these valves available.
Sump pump discharge line issues
If your sump pump discharge line is located outside, be sire to keep this area clear of snow and ice. Failure to do so could cause water to back up into your home, and freeze, damaging your sump pump system.
Ask any home owner who has had a mold problem, and they will tell you mold destroys your home, presents health hazards, and is expensive often times to remove. While mold is needed in nature, after all it is what causes organic matter to decay and turn into soil, and it also makes drugs and cheese, mold present in your home is a clear and present danger. While an IICRC certified mold restoration company can remove any mold present in your home or business, it is far better to simply prevent mold growth in the first place. Lets go over some simple mold prevention tips that can help to keep your home or business mold free.
To begin to prevent mold, we must first understand how mold grows, where it grows, and under what conditions that mold grows. Mold is a member of the Fungi family. Mold reproduces via spores, which can go airborne, and these spores can lay dormant for years, awaiting better conditions to take hold, grow and reproduce. These mold spores are very hard to get rid of once they take hold in your home or business. This is not to say that homes should be or ever can be mold free, indeed every building has some level of mold present. It is only when the levels of mold present indoors exceed the levels of mold expected outdoors that mold is an issue.
These mold spores can take hold anywhere, behind drywall, carpets, on cement walls, wall paper and more. Besides eating your building materials, mold can easily cause health issues, depending on various factors. Not all mold will make you sick, and black mold is in truth no more dangerous than any other type of mold. Yet some molds can and will make you sick, especially if you have a weakened immune system or any type of breathing problem. Mold only needs moisture and a cool temperature to really spread out. Moisture is your key enemy when it comes to mold, as without excessive moisture, there can be no mold infestation.
So now we understand how mold grows, where it grows, and under what conditions. Now we can make plans to begin mold prevention. While nothing can mold proof your home or business 100%, you can make your structure resistant to mold, and lessen the chance of a mold colony forming in your home. To begin you need to identify any problem areas in your home or business. Problem areas are areas with any excessive moisture, think for example about your basement, AC ducts, your bathroom if it has a shower, and any room where condensation forms on the window. Mold prevention begins with water proofing your home as much as possible. Basements for example you can install weeping tile systems to drain excess water. You can install a dehumidifier with your heating and cooling system to remove excess moisture from the air. Other factors to look into is making sure your gutters and downspouts are fully functional, and that none of your plumbing is leaking.
Dry any wet areas the moment you notice wetness. Water pooling in your basement after a storm, water from an appliance failure, leaky pipes or any other source needs to be addressed at once. Never leave carpets, furniture or clothing wet. Even your laundry should never be left to sit wet, put them into the drier right away, it does not take much for mold to begin to form, and as stated earlier mold can quickly spread.
You also need to ensure that your home or business has proper ventilation in order to remain mold free. Key areas for ventilation are your basement, bathroom, kitchen and laundry room, as these areas tend to have higher than average moisture in the home. The reason being that all of these rooms have one thing in common, water is used in them. Make sure that any appliances that use water have venting to the outside, and not into your attic or crawlspace. If you use an air conditioner, make sure you receive an AC tune up yearly to ensure that water is not pooling up inside, and that its ventilation is working as expected. Try to keep your homes humidity level to between 30 and 60 percent, if you are not sure of your humidity levels, consider buying a moisture meter for your home.
You can also buy mold resistant building materials today. In the past drywall was a key area that mold could easily form, but today mold resistant dry wall is available. Consider replacing older building materials with newer mold resistant materials. Today you can purchase mold resistant Sheetrock, cement, and paint, as well as the aforementioned drywall.
You also need to consider the drainage of your property. If water tends to pool or collect near your foundation, this is an issue that can cause mold, and also property damage by wearing down your foundation. If this is the case, consider consulting with a construction professional or master plumber to look into your drainage options.
During the cold weather, mold can also form. The key factor here is that during the cold months, air holds less moisture, yet your home will still have moisture. Instead of collecting in the air, this moisture will collect on your walls, building materials and personal possessions, a key breeding ground for mold. Make sure your air circulation is increased between rooms. Things that can help air circulation are keeping doors between rooms open, and letting fresh air into the home.
These are all things that can help prevent mold in your home or business. If mold still forms in your home, consider a consultation with Jarvis Construction, we have been in the mold remediation and removal business for over 30 years strong. We provide a wide range of services, including mold testing, IAQ testings and mold removal.