Recent Water Damage Posts

Water Heaters

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Central Union County has seen countless water heaters cause damage inside homes. A water heater’s useful life varies, depending on the type of water heater, the quality of the unit, and how well it’s been maintained. As long as it’s still heating water sufficiently, without leaks or strange noises, you might still get a few more years of service from it.

A traditional tank-type water has a life span of around 8 to 12 years. An anode rod protects the interior lining by attracting all corrosive particles through a process called electrolysis. When the rod is no longer capable of doing its job. Those particles settle at the bottom of the water tank. This eventually destroys the lining.

A tankless water heater (also called “on-demand” water heaters) can last you up to 20 years, sometimes even more. These water heaters do not continuously work to maintain a supply of hot water, which makes it last longer. Eventually, tankless water heaters will also suffer from corrosion and require replacement.

Make sure to watch for warning signs once your water heater hits it’s second half of life. Some warning signs can be a banging or rumbling noise, tinted hot water, a drop of temperature water, or water pooling around the base of the heater tank can also suggest bad news.

Source: www.bobvila.com

5 Tips to Help Your Home Stand Up to a Flood

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

  1. Close foundation cracks with mortar and masonry caulk or hydraulic cement, which expands and fills gaps completely and costs only a few dollars. Don’t patch solely with mortar or cement, which may crack again. If water is a recurring problem, be sure to investigate other solutions for issues like wet basements.
  2. Invest in a battery-powered sump pump. Sump pumps let you pump water out of your home and can be an excellent defense against flooding — unless they’re powered by electricity and the power is out. Battery-powered sump pumps are a relatively inexpensive ($150-$400) solution.
  3. Move expensive items to a safer location. If you have a second floor or an attic, moving furniture, photographs, and artwork to a higher level will protect your possessions in all but the most severe floods. Elevate furnaces and water pumps when they’re installed, if possible, to a height of 12 inches above the highest known flood level for your area, suggests FEMA.
  4. Anchor your fuel tanks. Unanchored tanks can float, rupture, and release fuel. Once the power sources of system units like furnaces and water heaters are disabled and the units cooled, you can also wrap them in waterproof tarps to mitigate water damage.
  5. Install sewer or septic line check valves. They allow waste to flow only one way. Plan to spend $100 or more per valve to have a pro install them or do it yourself for $10-$15 each to ensure sewage can’t back up into the standing water in your home. Install at a point in the pipe that’s easy to access for repair.

Source: www.houselogic.com

The Importance of Cleaning Your Gutters

7/31/2018 (Permalink)

We are in the middle of summer, and that means there are many projects around the home demanding your attention. One thing that often goes overlooked is your gutters.

Gutter cleaning is an integral part of maintaining your home during this summer. At SERVPRO of Central Union County, we know gutter cleaning is probably at the bottom of your list of things you want to think about.

The problem is, many homeowners wait to get their gutters cleaned until they notice a problem, or so much debris has collected the gutter is tearing from the roof. Unfortunately, this is like waiting to lower your cholesterol until you have a heart attack.

Clogged gutters can wreak havoc with the natural drainage of water away from your home. This can result in damage to fascia, soffit, roofing, or even begin leaking into your home. Additionally, water damage can ruin the very foundation of your home – something you NEVER want to happen.

Looking for Cleaning your home in New Jersey? Contact SERVPRO of Central Union County for cleaning all your home including the gutters.

Common Causes and Signs of Water Damage

7/24/2018 (Permalink)

One of the most probable, and costly, setbacks your home can suffer is water damage. Homeowners and renters across the country lose billions of dollars because of it each year. It can occur at any time. There are a handful of situations that can cause water damage in a home:

  • Problems with your HVAC system.
  • Cracks in your foundation or walls.
  • Severe storms, floods and other extreme weather.
  • Leaky or burst pipes.
  • Malfunctioning dishwashers or washing machines.
  • Roof damage, such as missing shingles or cracked flashing.
  • Drainage problems on your property.

Water damage is recognizable when it’s caused by a flood, but other causes are harder to spot. If you are unsure of what to look for, it can be easy to miss until it becomes a major problem. Here are the usual signs of water damage in a home:

  • Paint peeling from your walls
  • Mold growth (which can look like dark discoloration) on any surface
  • Warping of your floors.
  • A strong musty smell in a room.
  • Sagging in parts of your walls or ceiling.
  • Stains or discolored patches on walls or ceilings.
  • Water pooling in your yard after a storm.

Source: www.budgetdumpster.com/

3 Major Types of Contaminated Water

4/23/2018 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of Central Union, we take the necessary measures to identify contaminated water associated with water losses in your home. There are three major types of contaminated water.

Category 1- Clean Water

Clean water is water that you can drink safely and contains no contaminants or additives. This water can come from your faucet or shower head and is also considered rain water or snow melt. When it comes to water damage in your home, this type of water can come from broken supply lines, tub or sink overflows with no contaminants, appliance malfunctions involving water supply lines, melting ice or snow, falling rainwater, broken toilet tanks, etc. While clean water flooding your basement or floors may not cause an immediate health risk, it can quickly evolve into gray water after prolonged contact with building surfaces, material, and items            

Category 2- Gray Water

Gray water is water that may contain chemicals or contaminants that may be harmful to your health. This type of water can come from dishwashers, washing machines (water mixed with laundry detergent), overflows from toilet bowls with some urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic pressure, broken aquariums, punctured water beds, etc. Gray water can cause even more damage than clean water and can evolve into black water within 48 hours causing even further damage and health risks. 

Category 3- Black Water

Black water is water from sewage or other contaminated water sources including toilet backflows that originate beyond the trap, flooding from seawater, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams, etc. Black water can contain all types of harmful contaminants like bacteria, mold, fungi and viruses that can be extremely harmful to humans.

Source: www.IICRC.org

Water Damage Tips

4/13/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Central Union County is your number one stop for water damage restoration for your residential home.

If you are currently experiencing water damage in your home here are a few first aid restoration tips.

  • After assuring that it is safe, make sure to turn off power outlets and electric appliances in or near flooded areas. Any other electric devices should not be handled while standing in water
  • Remove wet rugs or anything off the floor
  • Mop up as much water as possible
  • Move any valuable items such as paintings and family pictures to a dry area
  • Remove all furniture from wet areas
  • Prop up wet pillows and furniture cushions for even drying
  • Open drawers and closet doors to decrease drying time
  • Wipe down furniture to get rid of excess moisture

Source: www.waterdamagerecovery.net

Storm Chasers

9/11/2017 (Permalink)

– In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it is easy to be tricked by a less than professional repair service. Hiring a “storm chaser” will lead to serious headaches, exorbitant costs, poor workmanship and unfinished work that can leave your home or business in worse condition. To ensure your home or business is restored by a trustworthy and reliable company after devastating flood damage, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has compiled a list of key characteristics to help identify “storm chasers.” “After a flood, home and business owners are in a vulnerable state,” said Pete Duncanson, IICRC Chairman. “Unfortunately, some individuals will take advantage of people’s hardships. These tips will help you identify the warning signs of a flood restoration scam artist.” To help home owners and businesses properly restore their properties following a disaster, the IICRC identifies the following traits of a “storm chaser”:

1. Too-good-to-be-true prices. Often dubious restoration companies will offer low prices to grab your attention, but be wary of surprise costs that will hurt your wallet. Never let the price of the repairs be the sole criterion for choosing a restoration firm.

2. Requesting upfront cash payments. While it can be a regular practice to deposit up to one-third of the estimated price on the day repairs begin, avoid paying in cash or more than the expected payment. Pay by check or credit card, and pay the final amount only after the work is finished and you are happy with the quality of the repairs.

3. A lack of references. References are easy to check and can help you quickly identify if the company is legitimate and provides good service. Research the company online and check feedback on user-review sites such as Angie’s List or Yelp, or ask friends or business contacts if they have had any experience with the firm.

4. High-pressure tactics. Often, a “storm chaser” will arrive uninvited to your door peddling their services. If the contractor is using high-pressure sales tactics, it is best to turn them away politely and shut the door. Technicians should be courteous, thoroughly explain the scope of work and answer all questions. You should never feel pressure to accept their services.

5. Lack of training. Professional cleaning and restoration firms require management and employees to engage in formal training in a variety of cleaning and restoration disciplines, and these educational efforts will be ongoing. Inquire about the formal training and certifications of technicians who will be working in your home or business. Look for organizations that require their technicians to hold certifications from organizations like the IICRC to ensure the work is done correctly.

6. Inability to show credentials. Never hesitate to ask for proof. Ask to see the individual’s certification card, business license and insurance certificate. To verify a company, you can contact the IICRC which is a not-for-profit standards-setting and credentialing body for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industry. Call the IICRC at 1-844-464-4272 to confirm the certification of any company that has contacted you. You can also go to http://www.IICRC.org/locate-a-certified-professional/ to locate a qualified cleaning and restoration firm in your area. Immediately after a storm, a home or business owner should contact their insurance provider for a storm damage assessment by an adjuster. Insurance companies can often provide a list of credible restoration companies. As an international non-profit organization, the IICRC is dedicated to providing advice on proper and safe clean-up, and providing certification to professionals in water damage restoration.

About IICRC The IICRC is an international, ANSI-accredited standard-development organization (SDO) that certifies individuals in 20+ categories within the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. Representing more than 54,000 certified technicians and 6,000 Certified Firms in 22 countries, the IICRC, in partnership with regional and international trade associations, represents the entire industry. The IICRC does not own schools, employ instructors, produce training materials, or promote specific product brands, cleaning methods or systems. For more information, visit www.IICRC.org.

Window Air Conditioner Leaking Water Into House – What To Check – How To Fix

8/9/2017 (Permalink)

Question: I just turned my window AC unit ON today and it is leaking water inside my house. What could be the problem? I had it running for 3 weeks and all of a sudden it started leaking. There is a puddle of water on the window ledge on the inside of the house. Water is on the plastic vent where the cold air blows out. I believe that is where it is leaking but not sure. Can you tell me how to fix this? My carpet is soaking wet, I need this to stop leaking, please help!

Window AC Leaking Water Into House – How To Fix

ANSWER: You are going to check a few things to be sure the ac unit is installed properly and there is no water drainage block present
 Unplug the window AC unit.
 Clean up all the water on the AC unit, on the window ledge, and on the floor of your room.
 Check and be sure the AC is tightly sealed in the window.
 Do you feel warm air coming into the room around the AC unit?
 If you feel warm air coming in you need to seal it correctly.
 Seal in the window AC unit to prevent warm air from entering the room.
 Check to see if the drain holes on the rear of the ac unit are blocked.
 Clean the drain holes to allow water to drip out.
 Make sure the filter is clean and not clogged with massive dirt or dust.
 After cleaning up the water and having it turned off for 30 minutes or so, turn it back on and see if the water appears again.
 If water appears and starts dripping into your room again, check to see if the AC unit is properly sealed in the window.
 If the AC unit is not sealed correctly, the moisture in the air coming in from outside gets condensed by the cold air inside the unit and this extra moisture builds up in AC unit and then leaks.
SO BE SURE IT IS SEALED IN THE WINDOW CORRECTLY.

Here are some other reasons water can drip from a window air conditioner unit:

AIR LEAK – AIR CONDITIONER NOT PROPERLY SEALED IN WINDOW:
If your window air conditioner is not sealed correctly, the warmer air from outside gets inside the air conditioner. When this happens, the moisture that is in the warmer air will be condensed by the colder air inside the air conditioner. When there is excess moisture inside the AC, water will leak. So if this is happening to you, make sure you have a good seal around the window AC.

DRAIN IS BLOCKED – DIRT OR DUST HAS BLOCKED THE DRAIN HOLES:
There are drain holes (drip pan) at the rear of window AC units. They can get blocked from dusty conditions or dirt in the air. When this type of blockage happens, the water that would normally drip out will be trapped and water will leak from the front of the AC unit and at both sides of the unit. Be sure to keep the drain holes clean and free of debris. Also clean the filters or replace them to prevent any type of blockage that may cause a water leak.

OUTSIDE TEMP IS LOWER – HEAVY MOISTURE IN OUTSIDE AIR:
If it is raining or there is heavy moisture in the air outside, water evaporates much less than usual. This leads to excess water moisture in the air conditioner and this will cause water leaks. This is normal for most window AC units and using a drip pan can solve the issue if there is heavy moisture in the air outside.

CONDENSER PUMP NOT WORKING – BROKEN OR CLOGGED PUMP:
If the condenser pump in the AC is faulty or clogged, it will cause water to leak. You can check the condenser/pump if you feel confident. Check for any blockage or loose wires. If the pump seems to be okay visually, you will need to test the pump with a meter to see if it is faulty. If so, you may be better off buying a new AC unit.

The 10 most Common Causes of Rooftop Leaks

8/9/2017 (Permalink)

Let’s face it: No one wants to have to go running for a drip bucket every time it rains. Not only is having to stay on top of the weather forecast annoying and impractical, but that one small drip symbolizes a larger roofing issue – and we all know that roofing issues mean an investment of time and money.

In an effort to save you that investment, we’ve compiled a list of The 10 Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks. We’ll tell you what they look like, why they happen, and how to fix them.

Whether your roof is two years old or twenty keep this list handy. You never know when it could mean the difference between doing a quick repair or a major remodel.

1. Your Flashing Has Cracked

What Does It Look Like: Flashing are thin pieces of metal that are installed under shingles and on the joints of your roof in order to create a water-resistant barrier, which can be concealed or exposed. If exposed, they will look like long runs of sheet metal and, if concealed, they will have a rubberized coating over top. Broken flashing will feature large cracks

Why It Happens: Roofers often use tar to seal the flashing together and that can corrode over time. In the event that your flashing is left exposed, elements like wind and rain could be the reason behind its crack.

How To Fix It: (Via The Family Handyman): Once you locate the source of the leak, pry up the nails used to secure the old flashing. Lift any shingles out of the way and remove the cracked segment. Gently put a new run of flashing in its place, fasten the new flashing in the same pattern as your old piece using roofing nails. Then, apply a coat of roofing sealant to the nail heads.

2. You Have Broken Shingles

What Does It Look Like: Look up! This one is easy to spot. Since shingles are the exterior layer of a roof, you should be able to identify missing shingles by seeing different-colored patches on your roof. Alternatively, you may find the shingles themselves littering your yard after a heavy storm.

Why It Happens: Again, weather. High winds and heavy rains.

How To Fix It: (Via This Old House): Slide a pry bar underneath the row of nails that connects the damage shingle to the one below it. Lift up until the nail pops and then press down on the shingle while you remove the nail. Repeat for the remaining nails. Pull out the damaged shingle, replace it with a new one, and secure it with four new nails.

3. Your Valleys Aren’t Properly Sealed

What Does It Look Like: An area where two planes of roof come together. Since, these areas of the roof are usually sloped, if the valleys are not sealed together properly, rainwater can get inside as it runs down the roof. You can detect a problem by searching for wet spots that run along the seams of your roof.

Why It Happens: A variety of reasons – the sealing may not have been done properly in the first place, it may have cracked when being stepped on, or an excess of rain and ice may have caused it to erode over time.

How To Fix It: This is one of those things that needs to be done by a professional because of its complexity and we do not recommend attempting it on your own. However, your roofer will likely fix the problem by laying a new leak barrier along the valley and shingling overtop.

4. Your Vent Booting Is Cracked

What Does It Look Like: Roof vents are those things that look like small pipes sticking out of the top of your roof. They’re used to expel excess moisture from the inside of the house. Leaks from this area will likely leave corresponding dark spots (and mustiness).

Why It Happens: Roof vents are often sealed by placing some flashing around the opening and slipping a tight, rubber boot over the area where the pipe peeks out of the roof. Over time, the flashing can break or the roof can decay.

How To Fix It: (Via: DIY Guy): Use a knife to remove the rubber around the vent. Use a pry bar to break the seal on any connecting shingles. Slide the new rubber boot under the shingles, over the vent, and bring it down onto the roof. Then, secure the new boot with roofing nails on either side and caulk under the shingles to seal them to the new flashing.

5. You Have Ice Dam Buildup

What Does It Look Like: An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off. The combined weight of the ice itself can damage the roof, as well as the water just sitting on the roof’s surface.

Why It Happens: The heat from your attic (and the rest of your house) is above freezing, which causes some of the snowfall to melt, despite the cold temperatures outside. The water will then run between the roof’s surface and the snow and will refreeze into ice once it hit’s the roof’s exterior edge.

How To Fix It: Invest in a roof rake, which looks like a sideways shovel with a long handle, and use it too reach up onto the roof and remove at least the lower four feet of snow from the roof edge. If you see an ice dam forming, consider treating it with an ice melt product, according to manufacturer’s directions.

6. Your Skylights Were Improperly Installed

What Does It Look Like: Leaks from this kind of problem should be super easy to spot. If you find yourself noticing wet spots or consistently needing to place drip buckets around the sides of your skylights, you’ve found the cause. However, leaks and wet spots near the top of the skylight may be a flashing issue instead.

Why It Happens: There are two main causes for this type of leak. Improperly measuring and fitting the skylights upon installation or decayed insulation along the skylights edges.

How To Fix It: Clear any debris off of the skylight and check for cracks in the window itself. Seal any cracks with a layer of clear silicone along its length, if necessary. If that is not the cause, check the surrounding flashing and replace as needed.

7. Your Gutters Are Clogged

What Does It Look Like: You may be able to see the leaves sticking out of the gutter when you look up onto your roof. But, if not, you should notice the lack of water trickling out of a downspout during a rainstorm.

Why It Happens: Your gutters are meant to help water travel away from the roof. When a blockage forms and they get clogged, that travel stops. Rainwater will then pool in one area of the roof and have more of an opportunity to seep through cracks.

How To Fix It: Sorry, there’s no easy answer to this one. Get up on a ladder, and get in there with your hands. Many recommend placing a large tarp underneath the area where you are working. That way, you can drop any debris as you go and wrap it up for easy disposal later.

8. You Have A Cracked Chimney

What Does It Look Like: Most often, you can look for signs of wear and tear along the mud cap, or mortared area around the top of the chimney. You should also look for any holes in the mortared joints where the chimney connects with the roof. Also, be on the lookout for loose flashing and shingles in the surrounding area.

Why It Happens: Mortar is essentially just a thick mixture of water, sand, and cement. It erodes easily in harsh weather conditions.

How To Fix It: In some cases, all you need to do is find the source of the leak and replace the missing mortar. However, since the materials used for chimney repairs are different than those for standard roofing fixes, it is recommended that you hire a professional handle the repairs.

9. There’s Condensation In Your Attic

What Does It Look Like: A leak is most likely coming from your attic if the space shows signs of mold growth or mildew. A strong, musty odor  emanating from the attic is also a key that water has gotten inside.

Why It Happens: As the uppermost part of your home, the attic is trapped between indoor and outdoor temperatures. When those clash – think hot summers and cold winters – condensation will form and moisture will follow.

How To Fix It: First, treat any mold growth. Then, take the time to isolate your attic to prevent large fluctuations in temperature. Make sure that all of the roof vents are clear from the interior end and install a large ventilation fan, if needed.

10. You’re Using It Too Much

What Does It Look Like: Unfortunately, there is no way to differentiate if this is the cause of the leak. However, all homeowners should be careful with how often they venture out on to their roofs.

Why It Happens: As you can see from the other causes in this post, a lot of roofing material is very fragile. You may accidentally step on a crucial element or crack an already precarious seal.

How To Fix It: Avoid walking on your roof whenever possible. Let that Frisbee go and buy a new one. Hire a professional roofer to do your fixes, since they are trained on how to avoid the most easily-damaged areas.

Whether you have an old roof, new roof, or even a fancy green rooftop, wear and tear is unavoidable. There will be rainstorms, long winters, and heavy winds. But, roof leaks? They are a different story. With the right care regimen, every roof should have the ability to keep your family warm and dry for decades. As you work on home maintenance, refer to this list of the 10 most common causes of roof leaks. You’ll be glad you did when catching a leak early saves you time and money.

Easy Fix for a Leaky Toilet

8/9/2017 (Permalink)

Everything should be as reliable as a toilet. It's not unusual for one to last more than 40 years with only a minimal amount of care. But, occasionally, water will begin to leak out from under the toilet and spill onto the floor, which can lead to serious water damage. But this type of leak is easy to diagnose and fix, even if you've never attempted a plumbing repair.

The leak is usually caused when the seal under the toilet fails. Even if this hasn't happened to one of your toilets yet, this "Home Care" is for you. You'll learn how to install a new wax gasket to create a watertight seal between the toilet and the closet flange and install a new flexible water-supply tube.

Finding the Problem
Water pooling around the base of the toilet is a good indication that the wax seal has failed. But in some cases the problem lies elsewhere. Soak up the water from the floor with a sponge and dry off the toilet with a towel. Wait until a new puddle appears on the floor, then check to make sure the water is seeping out from under the toilet and not coming from a loose supply tube, faulty shutoff valve, cracked tank or sweaty bowl.

If water is leaking from beneath the toilet, you might be able to stop it by simply tightening the closet bolts that secure the toilet to the floor. Use a putty knife or slotted screwdriver to pry off the caps that are covering the bolts. Then use a wrench to alternately tighten each bolt, a little at a time. Be careful not to apply too much pressure; you can crack the toilet's base.

If you're lucky, the leak will stop. If tightening the bolts doesn't help, you'll have to remove the toilet and replace the wax gasket.

Removing The Toilet

Disconnect the water supply tube from the shutoff valve using a wrench. Be sure the valve is closed all the way.

The first step is to turn off the water at the shutoff valve, which is usually located behind the toilet, or in the basement or crawl space directly below it. Turn the handle all the way in a clockwise direction.

Remove the tank lid, flush the toilet and hold down the handle to drain as much water as possible from the tank. Use a sponge to get up the remaining water in the tank; a small paper cup will help you remove any water left in the bowl.

Next, disconnect the water-supply tube by loosening the compression nut on the shutoff valve (step 1). Pry the caps from the closet bolts, then use a wrench to remove the nuts (step 2). If either bolt spins as you turn the nut, hold the top of the bolt with needlenose pliers.

Grab the rim of the bowl directly below the seat hinges, and gently rock the toilet back and forth to break the wax seal. Lift the toilet off the floor (step 3) and lay it on a blanket or piece of cardboard. Use a narrow putty knife to scrape off the old wax gasket from the bottom of the toilet and from the closet flange in the floor (step 4).

Check the condition of the flange to make sure it isn't cracked or bent. After we scraped off the wax, we discovered that a large piece of the flange had broken off. If this happens, you can replace the entire flange (no easy task), install a full replacement flange or fill in the missing piece with a repair strap. We opted for the easiest, least expensive option and used the Gapper Flange Repair Strap (about $5) from Jones Stephens Corporation.

To install the curved metal strap, first loosen the two screws that secure the flange to the floor. Insert a new closet bolt into the slot in the strap, then slide the strap under the flange (step 5). Tighten the flange screws to lock the strap in place. Install the remaining closet bolt in the flange. If the bolts won't stand upright, pack a little wax from the old gasket around the base of each one.

Take a new wax gasket and set it down on the closet flange, making sure it's perfectly centered (step 6). Most wax gaskets are simply a ring of solid wax, but we used Harvey's Bol-Wax No. 5 (about $5). This one has wax surrounding a core of soft urethane foam, and it easily conforms to the flange and toilet to create a superior seal.

Replacing The Toilet

Pry off the rounded caps that cover the closet bolts, then use a wrench to remove the hex nuts.

If the toilet is fitted with an old chrome-plated copper supply tube, consider replacing it with a new flexible one made of stainless steel-enmeshed polymer. It makes the installation a whole lot easier, and it will virtually last forever. We installed a 12-in.-long Fluidmaster supply tube (about $5); other lengths are available ranging from about 8 to 24 in.

Apply a light coating of pipe-joint compound to the fitting at each end of the supply tube, then tighten one end onto the fill-valve shank protruding from the bottom of the toilet tank (step 7).

You're now ready to set the toilet back in place. Grip the bowl near the seat hinges, lift up the toilet and walk it over to the flange. Set the toilet down onto the wax gasket, using the closet bolts as guides. Slip the washers over the bolts and thread on the nuts. However, before tightening them, press down on the rim of the bowl with all your weight to compress the gasket (step 8).

Check to make sure the toilet tank is parallel with the back wall. Alternately tighten each closet bolt until both feel snug. Then, press down on the bowl again and tighten the nuts a little more. Continue in this manner until the nuts no longer feel loose after you press down on the toilet. Again, be careful not to exert too much pressure with the wrench or you'll crack the toilet. Use a hacksaw to cut the closet bolts nearly flush with the nuts (step 9), then snap on the bolt caps.

Your final step is to tighten the loose end of the water-supply tube to the shutoff valve (step 10). Open up the valve and flush the toilet several times. If a leak occurs, press down on the bowl and tighten the nuts a little more. If it isn't leaking, use the toilet for a couple of weeks, then pry off the bolt caps and retighten the nuts. The toilet will often settle after several uses.

The Caulk Question
There's a long-standing debate in the plumbing world over whether you should caulk around the base of a toilet. Most plumbers don't because they're concerned that the caulk would conceal any leaks. However, in some municipalities, the local building code requires homeowners to caulk around the toilet to keep bacteria from growing in the joint.

Check with your building department for the code requirement in your town. If you do decide to caulk, be sure to use a high-quality, mildewproof tub-and-tile caulk.

Step by Step

Very carefully lift the toilet by the bowl, not the tank, and set it down on an old blanket or cardboard sheet.

1. Disconnect the supply tube from the shutoff valve using a wrench. Be sure the valve is closed and the toilet is drained.

2. Pry off the rounded caps that cover the closet bolts, then use a wrench to remove the hex nuts.

3. Very carefully lift the toilet by the bowl, not the tank, and set it down on an old blanket or cardboard sheet.

4. Scrape off all of the old wax gasket from the closet flange. Note that a section of the flange is broken off.

5. Slide a repair strap under the closet flange after loosening the screws that secure the flange to the floor.

6. Set the new wax gasket down on the closet flange, making sure it's centered. Note: Both closet bolts are in place.

7. Connect the new water-supply tube to the threaded fill-valve shank on the bottom of the toilet tank.

8. Press down on the toilet bowl rim to compress the gasket. Tighten the closet bolts, then press down again.

9. Use a close-quarter hacksaw to trim off the tops of the closet bolts. Tighten the nuts before replacing the caps.

10. Connect the supply tube to the shutoff valve. Then open the valve, flush the toilet and check for leaks.

How to Filter Rainwater for Drinking

8/9/2017 (Permalink)

How to Filter Rainwater for Drinking

Believe it or not, rainwater can be filtered into the best-tasting, freshest water you’ve ever had.  In some states, there are literally thousands of homes that rely on rainwater for their sole water supply, and thousands more homes that utilize rainwater for the majority of their watering needs.  

But care must be taken. While rainwater is filtered naturally through solar distillation, some not-so-fresh things happen to the rain on the way back down -- especially once the rain hits our roofs and collects all the organic material (animal feces and all) that collects there.  To return the rain to a potable state once again, there are some time-tested, effective methods we can use for filtration: There’s the short-term fix (great for emergency water situations) and the long-term rainwater filtration method (great for utilizing rainwater for your water needs).  Here’s an overview of both:

THE SMALL-SCALE, SHORT-TERM, SIMPLE METHOD 

If you live in a rural area and rely on a well (and, more importantly, on electricity to provide power to your well pump), or if you are on a municipal water supply and want to have a back-up water source for emergency preparedness, you may want to consider having a short-term filtration solution on hand.  In this case, we recommend ultra-filtration units.  LifeStraw, in our opinion, is the best, most affordable example of this.  Ultra-filtration and/or forward-osmosis technology operates on the principle of reducing a filtration element to such a fine degree that 99.9999% of water-born bacteria cannot pass through, thus making the water that passes through the filter safe for drinking.  In fact, ultra-filtration is so effective that no other filter is needed.

The disadvantage of ultra-filtration, though, is the scale at which this filter can be used. It is great for emergency situations, but for household water options, this method has its limitations.  

 

RAINWATER FILTRATION FOR HOUSEHOLD APPLICATIONS

If you want to utilize rainwater for your home and are looking to install larger-scale filtration, there are a few steps to follow to ensure a fresh, clean, efficient system.  (CAUTION: It is tempting to cut out one or two of these steps, but, in so doing, you’ll put more burden on the other steps and will create more work for yourself down the road.  After working on rainwater systems of all types for a decade, we’ve learned that lesson the hard way.)

  1. First flush filtration: Because the majority of bacteria enters rainwater from a roof and gutter system (where the water picks up fecal matter from squirrels, birds, etc., as well as other organic matter), pre-filtration is a VITAL step in creating and storing a fresh water supply.  First, you’ll want to consider installing first flush filters.  A first flush filter works under the principle that the most contaminated water is the first bit of water that falls from a roof during a rain event (because this is the water that’s flushing off the fecal matter and organics). Please note that the downpipe component on first flush filters should be sized according to the type of roof you have (e.g., asphalt shingle roofs will need more first flush diversion -- and therefore a larger downpipe on the first flush filter -- than metal roofs because they are more gritty and it takes longer for fecal matter to be cleaned from the surface from a rain event).  For roofs that in a clean environment (i.e., not many trees/birds around), it is recommended to flush 12.5 gallons/1,000 sq. ft. of roof area.  For roofs that are more susceptible to organic material and/or roofs with asphalt shingles, a flushing of 50 gallons/1,000 sq. ft. of roof is recommended.

  2. Pre-tank filtration: Next, you will want to consider a tank pre-filter for your system.  While there are many on the market (and several in our store), a lot of the options available are designed for commercial and industrial applications and are not always cost-effective (or even efficient) for residential-scale systems.  In fact, we generally recommend our precast concrete roofwasher to Ohio-region customers as an affordable and highly effective pre-tank filter -- and concrete roofwasher actually has a first flush filter built into it, so it takes care of the first two filtration steps in one unit.  We also have a plastic roofwashing filter available. Even doing something as simple as installing downspout filters can be an effective means of drastically improving your water quality BEFORE it enters your tank.

  3. In-tank filtration:  In-tank filtration is simple to do and can have a big impact on overall water quality.  First rule of thumb is to try to plumb your tank inlets so that they go down inside your tank and empty at the bottom.  Consider putting concrete blocks around the inlet pipe at the bottom of the tank, or install a 90-degree elbow fitting on the pipe.  Doing so act as a “force breaker” and will reduce turbidity in the water, thereby maintaining sediment zones in the tank.  Sedimentation will be most heavily concentrated on the very bottom and on the very top of the water in a given cistern, so if we can reduce turbidity in the water and draw the water from the middle of the water level (using a floating cistern filter), we’ll get the cleanest water from our system.  

  4. Activated carbon: All water will carry with it its own taste and odor, and rainwater is no exception.  To get the best water quality possible, as well as the best tasting water, a granulated activated carbon (or “GAC”) filter is a must for any system.  As a homeowner, you would have the option of going with a simple GAC cartridge filter, or a more thorough and larger household GAC unit. 

  5. Sediment filtration:  Any remaining sedimentation in the water should be filtered out as thoroughly as possible.  Sediment size is measured in microns -- the higher the micron reading, the larger the particulate.  In some states, all rainwater systems that are used for drinking water must be filtered down to at least 5 microns (which is small enough to filter out cysts from the water).  When we are putting in drinking water systems from rainwater tanks, we generally install a two- or three-stage sediment filtration system, starting with a 20-30 micron filter, followed by a 5 micron filter.  When installing sediment filters, always put the higher micron element first, followed by the second highest and so on.    

  6. UV Sterilization: The final step in any rainwater filtration system needs to be disinfection (killing bacteria) or sterilization (sterilizing bacteria so that it cannot reproduce, thereby rendering it harmless).  Even after filtering the water down to 5 microns, bacteria can still be present in the water.  While many rainwater systems use chlorine to disinfect the water, our preferred method for bacteria filtration is ultra-violet sterilization.  We strive for the best possible water quality, and adding chlorine to the water, in our experience, does not lend itself to this end.  UV sterilizers, by contrast, offer a very safe and extremely effective result.  However, UV lamp sleeves need regular (usually every 3 months) cleaning to ensure that the UV light penetrates the water fully.  Cleaning is not difficult and, with all of the above filtration steps in place, can be a very quick process (under 5 minutes).  

Water Damages

7/31/2017 (Permalink)

Water damage can be deceptive. Water penetrates into structural cavities creating trapped pockets of saturation. The detection of water in these areas can often only be discovered with sophisticated moisture detection meters. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage. This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required.

More than just removing excess water, IICRC-certified restorers have the knowledge and equipment to further dry a home or facility (including substructure materials) completely back to preloss conditions. Through timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other issues can be prevented.If water damage has been present too long, mold will occur.

All IICRC-certified professionals have the training and experience to identify moisture sources, evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected), contain damage, remove contamination and dry materials to ensure that mold will not return.

Every technician in SERVPRO of Central Union County is Certified through the IICRC, and experienced in their craft.

Drying Equipment and Tools

7/28/2016 (Permalink)

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time. The key to avoiding costly problems in the future is to handle every water damage as a threat to your property. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals have the equipment, training and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. Your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will answer your call with rapid action and a dull arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools used by your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals.

  • Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls. 
  • Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate reading, allowing SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to monitor the drying process. 
  • Thermo hygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure most also be disinfected and often deodorized. 
  • Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomized liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the sire where odor-causing residues may aciculate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall caviled and other hard-to-reach areas. 
  • Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consist of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles.
  • The bottom line? Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have the training and equipment to help make it "Like it never happened."  

    The High Cost of Plumbing Leaks

    8/28/2015 (Permalink)

    Repair leaks promptly - If you have a leaky faucet, toilet or pipe in your home, fix it immediately before it becomes a much bigger and more expensive problem. Even if it’s a slow leak, such as a dripping faucet, it can account for more than 10 percent of your water usage.

    If you don’t know if you have a leak, your water meter readings can provide the clue. When water is not in use, check the meter twice in a two-hour time span. If the readings change, then there is a leak somewhere in your home.

    If you can't determine the source of the leak but your meter readings indicate you definitely have one, call in a professional plumber. You may have a leaky pipe behind a wall, and if left alone, will cause extensive damage that ruins the drywall, deteriorates the framing over time and causes mold growth. A leaky pipe is also an early sign of a burst pipe, which will result in greater damage to your home.

    Stop a running toilet - A running toilet can cost you hundreds of dollars and is a major contribution to a costly water bill. It is generally the result of broken internal parts. It could be that a simple repair on the valves is needed, or there could be a larger issue.

    "Many people think that showering or doing laundry uses the most water, but actually, the toilet accounts for the largest use of water in a home. If you have a leaky or running toilet, your water bill can skyrocket," explained Tim Flynn, owner. "If you hear the toilet running or it flushes slowly or overflows often, get it checked out right away. Clogged drains waste water as well and can become a major problem."

    Waiting for hot water - If you turn on the sink or shower and wait anywhere from 30 seconds to over a minute for the water to heat up, precious gallons of clean water go down the drain. You are paying for that water to get hot while it runs. Consider replacing your traditional storage water heater with a Tankless Water Heater or installing a Hot Water Recirculating System. Recirculation pumps will get the water to the faucet faster and keep it hot in the line longer. They usually cost approximately $1000, which can be recouped in about two and a half years. Either system will ensure immediate delivery of hot water when you need it and provide significant water savings.

    It's The Water You Don't See

    7/27/2015 (Permalink)

    Even small water damages have the potential

    to cause serious structural and indoor air

    quality issues over time.

    The key to avoiding costly future restoration

    is to handle every water problem as a real

    threat to your property. SERVPRO® Franchise

    Professionals have the equipment, training and

    experience to find and dry unseen water before

    secondary damages occur. The proper equipment

    makes a measurable difference in reducing the

    damage expense during a fire or water loss.

    When time matters, technology and equipment

    must be counted on to perform. Your local

    SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will answer

    your call with fast action and a full arsenal of

    drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools

    used by your local SERVPRO® Franchise

    Professionals.

    • Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.
    • Moisture Meters (pictured) are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO®  Franchise Professionals to monitor the drying process.
    • Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can calculate and create an environment most condusive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized.
    • Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas.
    • Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor causing particles.

    The bottom line? Your local SERVPRO®

    Franchise Professionals have the training and

    equipment to help make it “Like it never even

    happened.” 

    How To Prepare for a Flood

    7/18/2015 (Permalink)

    Floods are the most common disaster for homes in the US. Whether a flood is from torrential rains, flash floods, rising rivers, or a leak inside the home, a flood can cause serious damage to your house. If the horrible images of Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Katrina are still fresh in your mind, you know just how powerful a sudden surge of water can be. According to FloodSmart, every home is at risk of a flood, but regions are usually divided up by low, medium and high-risk areas. Unfortunately, even homes located in flood-prone areas don’t have flood insurance, making the cleanup and recovery efforts even more stressful for homeowners.

    Create a home inventory that you can access during a flood

    It’s a smart idea to have an inventory of your home and personal possessions. Insurance companies require thorough inventories in order to compensate a policyholder. So whether the loss of belongings is from break-ins, floods, fires or other disasters, it’s a good idea to keep an accurate record of what you own. Read this article to learn more about different ways to keep track of your inventory. During an actual flood, it’s a good idea to take photographs of your home (if it is safe to do so). This can also help during the documentation process. Keep a home inventory somewhere safe and accessible, like in cloud storage, and remember that when a flood occurs, you may need to evacuate your home.

    Store important documents and information outside of your home

    Some families like to keep important objects like passports, jewelry, cash or other paper goods in a fireproof safe. But when a flood occurs, these safes may not be accessible. It may be a good idea to keep certain belongings in a safe deposit box at your bank. Of course, if your region regularly floods, you’ll want to ensure that this outside facility is secure from flooding. Keep in mind that if a flood has occurred in your town, the bank may not be accessible for quite some time.

    Advice for the basement or rooms below ground

    If your live in an area that floods regularly, or if you are concerned about flooding, you’ll want to think carefully about which items you store in your basement. If your basement is where valuables are kept, elevate boxes off the ground and consider watertight enclosures. It’s easy to purchase rolling racks with adjustable shelves; these can be perfect for moving things around and keeping boxes up off wet surfaces. If your water heater, furnace, electrical panel or other important mechanical fixtures are located in the basement, consider having them elevated off the ground or moved (at least 12 inches above the expected flood line). Water can seriously damage these items and replacing them can be very expensive.

    Install a sump pump

    Sump pumps are ideal for homes that experience regular flooding, especially in the basement. It may not be able to handle a flash-flood situation, but can be perfect for smaller, seasonal floods. You’ll want to have your sump pump regularly inspected to ensure it functions properly. Many homeowners that install a sump pump also install a backup generator so that the pump continues to operate even when power is cut off to the home.

    Food and water for 2-4 days

    The American Red Cross suggests having at least a 3-day supply of food and water on hand for emergencies. Remember that if your area has experienced a flood, you may have difficulty getting to your local stores and pharmacies and even if you can reach them, supplies may be very limited. It is recommended to have at least 1 gallon of water per day per person during an emergency. Keep these supplies in an area of your home that would be accessible in the event of a flood.

    Have an emergency bag packed

    An emergency bag or box should be filled with first aid supplies, extra medicine (a 7-day supply), food and water, flashlight and batteries, toilet paper, a multipurpose tool, a blanket and any other supplies you may need to cope with a flood. You’ll also want your tools for communicating like a portable radio and a cell phone charger. Some people keep cash in their emergency kits; ATMs may not be functioning during a natural disaster and you may need cash for hotels or transportation. If your region has flood warnings or institutes a flood evacuation, you don’t have time to pack a bag. The idea of this emergency kit is that it should be already packed, easy to carry or transport (in case you need to evacuate) and should be able to tide you over until you reach a more stable area.  There are many online sites that sell ready-to-go bags and emergency kits. Here is a link to the FEMA recommended list of emergency supplies.

    Plan your evacuation with your family ahead of time

    Your family should put together a plan of action in case of an emergency. This could include how everyone should get a hold of each other, meeting points, and evacuation routes. Many city websites have specific pages designed to help families understand their local natural disaster plans. It’s important to read through this information prior to a natural disaster, as your access to the internet may be immediately cut off. As we saw from past events like Hurricane Katrina, flooding can happen quickly and can create an overwhelming feeling of chaos. Some families designate an out-of-state person as the central point of contact during an emergency, as their lines of communication may still be functioning. Having a plan on hand is the best way to feel in control when disaster strikes, particularly if you and your family have to act quickly. Some neighborhood organizations create emergency plans for their specific area. If you have neighbors that live alone or may need extra help during an emergency, it’s a good idea to ask them if they’d like to be included in your family’s plan. Remember to have a plan for your pets as well.