Frozen Water Lines: ServiceMaster by Rice Helps Winter Woes

February 28, 2014 5:33 pm

Water Damage Due to Frozen Pipes? ServiceMaster by Rice Helps Iowa homes

“Frozen water lines.”  If only I had a dollar for every time I have heard those words over the last month or so.  A frozen water line often times ends up a broken water line which means water damage.  Though frozen water line losses are not as popular as the large rain events where a lot more properties are affected, these losses can and usually are larger than the typical rain driven events we often see in the spring.

Water Damage Happens Ehen You Least Expect It

The main reason waterline breaks are so much larger is due to the constant water pouring on to the property and it is not stopped until the water main has been shut off.  A lot of times this happens at night or when folks are at work which means, you guessed it, A REALLY LARGE WATER DAMAGE LOSS.  These losses have been known to damage or destroy furnaces, water heaters and other appliances as well.  Another reason these losses are typically larger than rain driven losses is because unlike most rain driven losses that happen in the lower level of the property, frozen water lines do not discriminate, which means water lines on main levels and upper levels freeze and break as well and you can imagine the destruction a water line on an upper level of a property can do.  Many times when the loss occurs on the main or upper levels of a property, ceilings have to be dropped, meaning sheet rock has to be removed due to saturation and having access to the structural framing of the property as well.  Many times during a rain driven event, we have to take out sheet rock on the walls in the basement, usually 2 to 4 feet depending on how far up the wall the moisture has wicked.  When the source is a broken water line from up above, there are often times when all sheet rock on walls and ceilings have to be removed due to saturation.

Water Damage: The longer you wait, the more it costs

The category of loss for a broken water line starts out as a category 1; however that can change due to different scenarios.  If a category 1 loss has not started mitigation within the first 72 hours, it will become a category 2 loss. If mitigation has not started within 144 hours, that loss becomes a category 3 loss, then anything and everything that can absorb that category 3 water has to be thrown out.  The category one coming out of the pipe can also change due to what it comes into contact with once it hits the floor.  Dirty floors and carpet can quickly change the loss to a category 2 as well.  (So make sure you call the experts at ServiceMaster by Rice to professionally steam clean your carpets and floors today!)

Colder winters mean more frozen pipes & water damage

With the frost line being much lower than it has been in years, there has been an increase in water main breaks this year as well.  Many times when water mains break it backs up sewer systems into people’s homes which in turn need our services.  This is a delicate situation as these losses are category 3 losses or often times referred to as a sewer back up rider on your policy (see your agent for details).  Category 3 losses are the worst ones as every porous item (items that can absorb water)that comes into contact with this sewer water needs to be disposed of immediately due to health hazards according to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification or www.iicrc.org.  Delicate, because often times we run into situations where wedding photos, baby photos, sentimental pieces, even wedding gowns have been affected by a category 3 water loss.  These items have to be disposed of and these folks are usually upset, often times brought to tears.  Cardboard boxes don’t protect your items.  There are many different plastic or NON-POROUS type containers out there at your local hardware or big box store. These containers, preferably stored off the floor will help protect your items in the event of a category 3 water loss, AKA sewer back up.

For severe water losses and water damage restoration, call ServiceMaster by Rice. We service the western half of Iowa, so whether you are in the Des Moines area, Spencer, Cedar Rapids, Carroll, Storm Lake, or Fairmont, Minnesota, you can get help and get your house or business back up and running. For help with water damaged or flooding in your home due to frozen pipes, contact us today!