The Backup Differences

Storm Water Backing Up

In many older houses with basements (mostly pre-1980), there is a perimeter foundation drain outside the exterior wall, at the level of the basement floor, next to the footings at the time the house was built. A pipe was usually installed from the perimeter foundation drain to the street where it was connected to the city storm sewer system.

This can become a problem as the city storm sewer system becomes too small when more development causes more rain runoff. When this happens, the rainwater in the sewer system can get so high that water flows backwards toward the house.

Usually, the installation of an interior perimeter basement drain system connected to a sump pump will take care of the problem. If it doesn’t, the (more expensive) alternative is to dig up and cap the pipe that is running from the house to the street from the perimeter foundation drain. However, this is not always possible; many times, this pipe is also draining sanitary waste from toilets and sinks in the house.

Sewer Water Back Up

If the water is coming up through floor drains or sink drains in the basement, then the problem is often water backing up from the municipal sanitary sewer system. During heavy rains, combined sewer systems can become overwhelmed with water. This can cause sewer water to back up in the system and sometimes into homes.

There are other possible explanations, too. Sewer backups can be caused by individual service lines being plugged by grease, waste, tree roots, breaks in pipes or saturated ground. Sewer mains can also be plugged by vandalism or large items dropped down manholes. This kind of flooding is an enormous problem for homeowners, as it’s largely out of your control and probably means fecal waste backing up into basements. Not only is it disgusting, but it can also be a serious health hazard.

In order to keep your individual lines clear, you can install backflow preventers that help stop sewer water from flowing backward into the house. Proper maintenance of your individual lines – for example, pouring tree root killer down your toilets once a year – can also go a long way in preventing sewage backups. Still, the problem is often out of your control. Sewage in your basement means a major cleanup and a lot of uncertainty about future problems. If it’s something you’ve seen in your home, you’ll have to get your city government involved. At the very least, be aware of the problem and don’t leave anything valuable near your downstairs drains.

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Top 5 Things About Flood Insur

Most of the country is in some kind of a flood zone, a designation that indicates the area’s risk of flooding – some are just more severe than others. So, what does that mean for you as a homeowner? It means you are at risk of flooding, even if it hasn’t happened in your area in recent memory. And, it also means that you may want to consider buying flood insurance.

Here are five important things to know about a policy for flood coverage:

  1. It’s a separate policy. The typical homeowners insurance policy does not offer any coverage for flooding. None. But, you can likely purchase a separate flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. A few carriers in Florida also offer private flood insurance as an alternative. Your independent agent can help you find coverage in your area.
  2. Different flood zones have different flood insurance costs. The zone in which you reside will help determine your flood insurance costs, along with other factors. And, yes, the more severe the flood zone, the higher your insurance rates may be.
  3. Your lender may require it. If you purchase a house in one of the more severe flood zones, your lender will likely require you to carry flood insurance as a condition of your loan. If you purchase the home with cash or pay off your mortgage, it will be up to you whether or not you carry the coverage. Just be sure to discuss any major insurance changes with an independent agent first.
  4. Flood insurance is not just for coastal areas. Take, for example, the flooding just this year in West Virginia, Texas and Tennessee. It all goes to show that even if you don’t live near the coast, a flood could still devastate your area – and your home.
  5. What your policy covers will depend on the policy itself. Most people who buy flood insurance want dwelling and contents coverage. Be sure you understand what you’re buying and how much coverage you’ll have. An independent agent can help.

Keep in mind that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) periodically updates its flood zone maps. Even if you have flood insurance now, you may want to check whether it is still insuring you at the level you want. If you don’t have flood insurance and you think you could benefit from it, be sure to contact an independent insurance agent.

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4 Easy Steps When Pipes Burst

There are four steps to take when a pipe bursts in your home.

1. Shut The Water Off

First thing, turn off the water flow when you suspect a pipe has broken, even if you don’t know where the water’s coming from. You’ll find the stop tap on the water main. It is typically located under the kitchen sink or where the main service pipe connects to your house. Every family member should know the location of the water shut-off stopcock for emergencies. Once the main water switch is off, you’ll need to drain the pipes. To do this, run the cold water on all the faucets. Be sure to flush each toilet at least once. Shut off the hot water heater. Once the hot water system is off, go back to each faucet and run the hot water to drain that supply. When there is no more running tap water, the leak will stop.

2. Locate The Pipe 

After draining all the excess water, locate the burst pipe. Inspect the damage and consider where the pipe is located before you run off to the home improvement store. Regardless of the damage or size of the break, a major water pipe will take more time and effort to replace because it holds more water and leads to additional connections, as opposed to a single pipe under the bathroom sink.

3. Repair The Pipe

Fixing a rupture or crack in non-main pipes is usually fairly straightforward, but it can become expensive depending on the mending material you choose. If you’re capable of fixing the pipe yourself, then the repair will be easy and cost effective.  Otherwise, you’ll need to call a plumber in who can properly repair the pipe and maybe even offer solutions to not allowing the pipe to freeze again.

4. Water Restoration

If the water from the burst pipe is on the walls or ceilings as well as the floor, contact a professional water restoration company. Simply using fans and open windows to dry a soaked area is an invitation to mold, mildew, and even serious illness for your family. You will also want to shut off the electrical power to that area of the house as a precaution against shocks.  Be careful of whom you hire, because franchises and inexperienced contractors can cause more damage, or try to max out insurance policies with doing very minimal work.  A good water damage restoration company will be prompt, and return the home to pre-loss conditions in a cost effective manner.

MoldSolutions24-7.com

Water Damage in Wayne Pa

Overlooking routine maintenance to heaters/air conditioning units can lead to several problems, including water backups and leaks.  Condensate lines often leak from either being clogged or the pumps breaking.  The pictures below show damage to a finished basement where the unit leaked for some time prior to being discovered.

Heavy Rain Safety Tips

It is important to remember that floods caused by rain can occur anywhere, with floodwaters rising gradually or flash floods striking suddenly. Water is a powerful force that can easily overtake vehicles and people.

Safety tips for driving in heavy rain:

  • If you must drive in the rain, drive slowly and steadily.  Pull over and stop if it is raining so hard that you cannot see.
  • DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOODWATERS!
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling.
  • One foot of water will float most vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles — including SUVs and pick-ups.
  • Stay away from water that electrical or power lines have fallen into; electric current passes through water easily.
  • Stay off your cell phone unless you must report severe injuries or call for help.

Safety tips for walking or cycling on urban trails:

  • When rain is falling, it’s best not to walk or bike near a river or stream, even on Denver’s paved urban bike and walking trails; water flow can quickly increase and flooding can occur without notice.
  • Move to higher ground and never go into a culvert! If you are on a streamside trail during a rainstorm use the alternate trail up to street level to avoid underpasses and culverts.
  • NEVER take shelter in a culvert, under a bridge, or in an enclosed space, especially in low elevations by rivers and streams. Always go to higher ground out of the flow of water.
  • Do not walk or bike through moving water. Six inches of moving water can cause a person to fall.
  • If lightning is present, do not stand under or near an isolated tree or group of trees.
  • Never allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches or viaducts, storm drains or flooded areas.

Localized street flooding:

  • In underpasses and some areas that are geographical low-points, water cannot be expected to disappear down the storm inlets instantly; the pace and volume of the rainfall may be too quick and too great to immediately drain off. It takes time for the system to accommodate the rainfall.
  • If you know that your street tends to flood because it is located in a low point, be sure to move your vehicles to higher ground whenever rain is forecast.

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Mold Covered Hardwood

Pictured here is a couple of photos showing water damaged hardwood that was left after the initial loss and not treated.  Several weeks later, the flooring buckled and mold began to grow on top and under the flooring, as well in the basement.  It is imperative to address any water loss or water damage in a home immediately to prevent further damage and the high possibility of mold growth.