Spring Weather Causes Burst Pipes

Posted Thursday, March 15th, 2018

It always happens around this time of year. Our Michigan springs are notoriously volatile, with temperatures ranging from sunny and warm one day, to cloudy and freezing the next. While Detroit and Ann Arbor residents don’t have to deal with lake effect like Grand Rapids and Lansing, they still have to contend with weather systems pushing up from the south, which can leave them even colder than the rest of the state! (minus the U.P., of course, since they’re basically tundra until May). Springtime in Michigan certainly isn’t gentle, and this fluctuating weather can be incredibly harsh on your indoor plumbing. This sort of spring weather causes burst pipes, leaving us Michiganders with water in our basements and a mess on our hands.

Freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw – the weather cycle we experience in spring causes a major strain on your water pipes. Why does fluctuating weather cause pipes to burst? Well, when water freezes, it expands. Ice will take up more volume than water, which is a huge problem in confined spaces – like your plumbing!

If you’ve ever had the ice cubes in your ice tray freeze together, you’ve experienced this effect. Even though you put the exact right amount of water in the tray (and it didn’t overflow), the cubes all froze together on the top when you pulled it out of the freezer. What gives? When the water froze, it pushed upwards and out. Having this happen in your ice tray is a minor inconvenience; having this happen in your plumbing can be a disaster!

Expanding ice will push against the barriers of the piping, and, given enough pressure, will actually split the pipe. Not good. The worst part is that you won’t even realize it until the water thaws and starts flowing again. Even a tiny, ⅛ inch split can spill up to 250 gallons of water per day!

Luckily, there are a few Simple & Quick steps you can take to help prevent burst pipes from happening:

  1. Locate and insulate any vulnerable plumbing
  2. Keep your thermostat at a steady temperature – day and night
  3. Let your faucets slowly drip when the temperature drops
  4. Close the garage

That’s why Michigan spring weather causes burst pipes; the up-and-down temperatures make it more likely that your pipes will freeze, which puts them at risk of bursting and causing a massive flood in your basement. Or bathroom. Or kitchen. Or any room that plumbing runs through. While you should be vigilant all year long (like in the winter, for example), springtime is prime time for burst pipes and water damage in your home.

From burst pipes to flooded basements to toilet overflows, Modernistic has been helping Michigan recover from water damage for over 45 years.


Ask Modernistic: Pet Safety Tips for Flooded Basements

Posted Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

If my basement floods, is my pet safe?

Dear Modernistic,

My dogs love being in the basement. Ever since they were puppies and were kept down there during potty training, they prefer to eat, sleep, and play down there most of the time. One thing I worry about is how safe it is for them to be down there in the event of a flood. Sometimes the drain backs up and parts of the basement get wet. It hasn’t gotten too bad yet, but with as wet as the weather has been lately, I just don’t know. Are there any pet safety tips for flooded basements?

Sincerely Worried,

Debbie L.

—-

Dear Debbie,

One thing we really care about at Modernistic is family, and some of the most adorable and vulnerable members of our families are our pets. Making sure your home is scoring high on the pet safety meter can be a full-time job, so let’s help set your mind at ease with these crucial pet safety tips for flooded basements:

1. Keep your pets away from the drain!

Even with common drain backups that may only result in a small amount of water, there are still things you can do to protect your dogs, cats, and other pets. Let’s say for instance you had a light rain, or your washer backed up and you have some dirty water sitting around the drain. Yes, this isn’t a serious flood situation, but even in this scenario, you may want to attach a small steel cage cover or barrier that extends at least a foot around the drain. This will help prevent your pets from drinking any contaminated water that could get them very sick.

2. Make sure they aren’t locked in!

If you are in the situation every homeowner dreads and your basement is fully flooded, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to keep your pets from drinking the water. What you can do though is take some precautions to make sure they aren’t stuck treading water.

One surefire way to make sure your pets aren’t forced to swim for their life is to make sure they have an exit plan. Now, more than likely your basement has stairs, but not all basements have landings on that stairway. If your stairway to the basement does not have a safe space for your dogs to rest on a landing above the flood waters, then make sure to leave the basement door ajar. This is a huge pet safety tip. If your dogs like to get into stuff and show their unruly side in the rest of the house, then we recommend some sort of pet door or gate to keep them out of the rest of the house, while still allowing them to escape the basement in times of emergency.

3. Elevate food and water!

The easiest way to prevent your dogs from trying to drink any contaminated flood water or eat any random floating objects is to make sure their food and water are safe.  A flooded basement can bring up all kinds of nasty things you don’t want your dogs (or anything else) to be eating; things like half-used paint cans, unsecured flammable liquids, dead rodents, and any number of things your imagination can come up with. It’s a good idea to put your pets’ food and water in a safe, high place away from the rising floodwater. Places like the top of the stairs, or a landing if you have one, are perfect.

4. Keep them out of the basement!

…if you can, anyway! If your basement is prone to flooding or you live in a high-risk area, it might be wise to keep them upstairs at all times, just to be safe. In our 40+ years of restoring homes after water damage, we know one thing for absolute certain: You never know when a flood might happen!

If you can follow some of these pet safety tips for flooded basements, your dogs will be just fine. One great thing about technology today is that there are all kinds of in-home cameras you can install to keep an eye on your little furry babies when your away from home too. We hope this helps Debbie!

Sincerely,

The Modernistic Mitigation Team

We love our pets here at Modernistic, and we want to help keep yours safe too. Contact us 24/7/365 for all your emergency water damage and flooding needs!


How To Prevent Ice Dams

Posted Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

“If you seek an ice free roof, just look above you.”

Ice dams on your roof, if you don’t already know, can cause major damage to your shingles, gutters, or even worse, the inside of your home.

The problem is, “What causes ice dams?”

Whether it’s in your home or business, insulation is one of the key factors in how to prevent ice dams.

So What’s An Ice Dam?

Without getting too technical, an ice dam is a buildup of of ice that typically form along the eaves.

how to prevent ice dam

As snow on your roof melts, it drains down the roof towards your eaves, a part of your roof that is not insulated.

With Michigan winters being cold as they are, the water passes over the cold eaves and freezes, causing an ice dam.

Over time, more and more snow melts, causing larger ice dams and more risk for water damage to leak into the interior of your home or business.

 

What Causes Snow To Melt On My Roof?

Just look up….no… not at the sun, in your attic!

Under-insulated attics are one of the major contributors to the formation of ice dams.

If your home or business doesn’t have the proper amount of insulation, heat will escape into the attic, causing the attic temperature to increase. As the attic temperature increases, the roof begins to warm.

Once the roof begins to warm…BOOM!, you have yourself some melting snow, one of the main ingredients for the start of an ice dam.

Now that you know what causes them, here’s how to prevent ice dams from forming.

Got It! Now How Do I Prevent Ice Dams?

Adequately insulating your attic is one of best way to prevent ice dams.

According to the EPA, the average homeowner can save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs by properly insulating their home.

With the proper amount of insulation, more heat will stay in the inside of your home or business, keeping the attic temperature closer to the temperature outside. This will help keep the snow from melting, which will help prevent ice dams from forming.

But before you hire a contractor to inspect your insulation, take a peek for yourself.

  • Check the height of the insulation. If the height of the insulation is at or below the top of the joist, you should add more.
  • Make sure it is even. Check to make sure that the insulation is distributed evenly across the entire attic. High or low spots can be corrected by either adding or removing insulation.

The right amount of insulation will not only help your heating and cooling costs, it will also help prevent thousands of dollars worth of repairs caused by water damage from backed up water in your attic or walls.

Next, learn how to get rid of ice dams if they have already formed.

How To Get Rid Of An Ice Dam

Too little, too late, right? Not so fast! If you spot an ice dam, there are some steps you can take to help keep it under control, or better yet, eliminate it.

If you know that warm weather is in the near future, don’t wait! Yes, warmer temperatures will help snow melt, but when temperatures start to drop, the melted snow will freeze and you’ll end up with more ice dams.

The name of the game is to be proactive and start working at those ice dams now.

  • Rake the Roof! A good way to prevent water runoff from freezing and creating an ice dam is to simply remove the snow from your roof. A roof rake is a safe and common tool used to remove snow from a roof from the safety of the ground. No ladders!
  • Use Panty Hose. Yes, you are still reading about ice dams! Filling panty hose with calcium chloride ice melter and laying it vertically across the ice dam will slowly melt the snow and ice, providing a channel for water to run down the roof and into the gutter. Safety note: Using a ladder when there’s snow on the ground is dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Fight the Cold with Cold. For a temporary fix, place a box fan in your attic and point it at the area of the roof where the ice dam is forming. The idea here is to use the fan to cool the warmer area of the roof that is causing snow to melt.
  • Just DON’T Do It! Avoid using ice melt for sidewalks and driveways. Runoff from these products can damage your plants and other vegetation in the area.

Also, never use a chisel or any other sharp tool to chip the ice dam away. Not only is dangerous to be on ladder at that height in the winter, chipping away at ice can damage your shingles, gutters, and other parts of your roof.

Conclusion

Ice dams can give you fits! With these tips, you should now be familiar with ice dams and the dangers they pose. Of course, it’s always best to get a professional to evaluate your particular ice dam situation before following any of this advice.

Poor insulation, snow accumulation on the roof, and warming and cooling temperatures are all key ingredients for the formation of ice dams and the potential for water damage in your home or business.

If it’s too late and you’ve experienced water damage from ice dams, call the professional mitigation team at Modernistic. For over 40 years we’ve been helping Michigan home and business owners with their water, fire, and mold restoration needs!


Why Customer Delight Matters

Posted Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Customer Delight

In our 40+ years of serving Michigan’s cleaning and restoration needs, we’ve learned a few things about customer satisfaction; namely, you’ll never go out of business if people love your service! That’s why one of Modernistic’s core values is Customer Delight. We want to do whatever it takes to make our customers happy, and that extends to all our mitigation and reconstruction services.   

Info When You Need It

When it comes to customer satisfaction, effective communication is key. Losses can be extremely stressful on a homeowner, and the last thing they need to worry about is if their contractor and their insurance company are on the same page. That’s why we go the extra mile and provide regular updates to not only the customer, but to the agent in charge as well. That way, everyone’s informed and up to date with the progress of the claim. Our goal is to make sure nobody’s left out of the loop!

One Point of Contact

Another way we help facilitate good communication is with dedicated claims coordinators. Have you ever tried to find out the status of a project and had no idea who would have the information you need or how to contact them? Very frustrating. That’s not Customer Delight! That’s why Modernistic assigns a claims coordinator on each claim to act as a point of contact for homeowners, agents, and everyone in between. That way, specific, up-to-date project info is only a phone call or email away! No waiting for a receptionist to relay a message, or getting lost in phone menus; just one call or email to the assigned claims coordinator puts you in touch with the person that has the info you need.  

One Goal

Everything we do here at Modernistic is focused on one thing: Providing service that makes our customers, clients, co-workers, vendors, and everyone else we do business with go “Wow!”. If that falls in line with your business’s goals, let’s have a conversation. Contact your local Modernistic office today!