Proper Water Damage Cleanup in Cedar Rapids

Snowing, Freezing and then Leaking

Require Proper Water Damage Cleanup In Cedar Rapids

Across eastern Iowa and southwestern Wisconsin, we average about two and a half feet of snow per year. While the beautiful white drifts create wonderful photo opportunities, the freezing temperatures can create dangerous conditions for your Cedar Rapids home. Frozen pipes can lead to leaky pipes and severe water damage. 

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. Expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including copper, iron or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of the material, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

Freezing frequently are those pipes exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines. We at Challis know that pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are at high risk. Also vulnerable are water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.

water damage cedar rapids

Why Are Fluctuating Temperatures SO Dangerous?

Frozen pipes seldom cause damage. It is thawing pipes that do. Not all freezing pipes burst, but when one does, the water expands when it freezes, adding considerable pressure on unyielding plumbing pipes. That pressure can cause a tiny leak at a joint or crack on a length of pipe, unleashing the full flow of water inside your home.

Before doing anything, you must shut off the water supply to that section of plumbing (or the entire house if that’s the only option) because the real trouble begins after the thaw. That’s because the frozen water may be acting as a plug, preventing water from spilling out of the cracks in your pipes. When that plug is thawed, water gushes out. It’s a good idea to be ready with a mop, bucket, and towels in case there’s a plumbing leak. Or call Challis to handle the problem for you.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

Here are some tips for unfreezing pipes, according to the Red Cross.

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Bonus Tip

Not only should homeowners know where the main shut-off valve is located, they should have it inspected the next time Challis or a plumber is on site. If your home has an older gate-style valve, it might be worth the money ($200 to $400) to have it replaced with a more reliable ball valve. Once a year, rotate them back and forth to prevent sticking.

Call Challis Restoration for Your Water Damage Needs

The team at Challis Restoration in Cedar Rapids understands the restoration and recovery process – from first-aid measures and emergency response to technical services and total reconstruction. If you have any questions regarding water damage cleanup, storm damage restoration, sewage damage repair, or flooding cleanup, please contact us.