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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Eight tips on how to prevent a water damage during a holiday vacation

1/2/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Media offers eight steps to help homeowners have peace of mind while on vacation during the holiday season.

SERVPRO of Media, PA, a leader in property damage cleanup and restoration, is aware of seasonal hazards and restoration services that might be needed in the event of property damage at homes in Penn Wynne Wynnewood, PA, and nearby areas.

A holiday vacation can be a time of renewal and refreshment for the upcoming year. However, leaving home unoccupied can be unnerving. What if something goes wrong? Worry and anxiety have the potential to ruin time away from work, spending time with the extended family, celebrating the holidays, reflecting on the past year, and planning for the year ahead.

Below are some helpful tips to prevent water damage and to help vacationing homeowners avoid worrying about their homes.

Water damage is the second most common reason homeowners file an insurance claim. The fact that there are many causes of water damage may explain the frequency of insurance claims. Water damage may be caused by the following:

  • Heavy rainfall and localized flash flooding
  • Roof damage from high winds in combination with heavy precipitation
  • Overflow from clogged gutters that floods the basement or crawl space
  • Icy weather
  • Leaking pipes
  • Appliance malfunctions (burst supply lines)

A water intrusion is always disruptive, inconvenient, time-consuming, and usually involves some expense to clean up and restore. When that leaking water pipe or clogged HVAC condensate pan has been dripping for days or weeks, the damage can be extensive. Water flows from a burst supply line at about five gallons per minute. A much slower leak of 5 gallons per hour will dump 120 gallons of water per day onto the kitchen or bathroom floor. If the bathroom is upstairs, the homeowners could be in for a disheartening surprise when they walk through the front door to find two weeks of water, almost 2,000 gallons, in their flooded home. A minor water leak has escalated into a major catastrophe, including extensive advanced secondary damage. Carpets, rugs, flooring substrates, HVAC ducts, insulation, walls, ceilings, baseboards, and anything touching the wet floor can be ruined by extended contact with water and moisture.

Steps to prevent water damage in the home while on a holiday vacation

These eight steps can help guard a house against most types of water damage and enable the entire family to relax and enjoy the holiday vacation with family and friends.

Step #1: Conduct a thorough inspection for leaks at least two weeks before departure

Check the home for leaks in time enough to make any repairs before leaving for the vacation. The inspection should include the following:

  • Pipes and connections under all sinks
  • Supply lines and connections to the dishwasher, washer, and refrigerator
  • Water heater (Check for cracks, rust, and moisture in the leak pan.)
  • Roof (Look for damaged or missing shingles, clogged gutters, and damaged or missing vents.)
  • Attic (Check for signs of a roof leak or water damage due to overflow from clogged gutters.)
  • Basement and crawl space (Scan the basement or crawl space for signs of a leak.)

During the inspection, sniff for any moldy or mildewy smells. This first step is the most critical since the goal is to identify and resolve any existing water leaks or water damage before the start of the holiday vacation.

Step #2: Shut off the water supply to the entire home

Dramatically reduce the risk of water damage by shutting off the water supply at the main water valve. Run the faucets and flush all toilets to drain the pipes. This action will prevent pipes from bursting in case of freezing weather.

If circumstances do not allow the water to be shut off at the main valve, then shut off the valves to the appliances with supply lines, such as the washer, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Include supply lines to toilets and faucets in this step.

Step #3: Conduct a gutter check

Clean out the gutters before departure. By the time Thanksgiving and Christmas arrive, most of the leaves should be off the trees. Ensure any leaves, sticks, or debris are not clogging the gutters. Downspouts should be connected and extended six to ten feet from the home's foundation. The grade around the house should slope away from the foundation at about one inch per foot for at least ten feet.

Step #4: Test the sump pump

Clear out any debris in the reservoir. Listen for strange sounds in the pump. If a backup system is not in place, consider upgrading before the vacation begins.

Step #5: Insulate exterior faucets and exposed water pipes to make them freeze-proof

Keep the home’s temperature high enough to prevent interior pipes from freezing. Open the doors to cabinets with sinks.

Step #6: Leverage leak-detection technology to prevent water damage

This technology is affordable, effective, and often can be installed by the savvy homeowner.

Step #7: Have a family member or friend check the home once or twice

Leave written instructions for what to do in an emergency, including telephone numbers of a plumber, electrician, and property damage cleanup and restoration company. Include the location of the main water valve, the thermostat, and the electrical panel.

Step #8: Pre-qualify SERVPRO of Media.

SERVPRO of Media is an excellent choice for the dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration professional that will be contacted in case of water damage or other types of property damage. The SERVPRO team is available 24/7, 36 days a year, including all holidays. A crew can be onsite in about an hour or so. A detailed estimate with full documentation, including images and video, will be provided. SERVPRO of Media can handle the insurance claim process from beginning to end.

Contact SERVPRO of Media to learn more about the company’s seasonal hazards and restoration services. The office can be reached by phone at (610) 566-5720 or by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com.

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