A great seasonal list from our friends at houzz.com. Seasonal maintenance is fundamental to preventing winter water damage. Repairs now will prevent expense later.
Commercial and residential buildings will benefit from early maintenance before cold weather arrives.
- Clean gutters and downspouts.
- Reseal exterior woodwork- fences, pergolas, sheds, and trellises should be inspected and included in the process.
- Check for pest infestation and associated damage- small animals, e.g. mice and squirrels, as well as insects ants, termites, and wasps can present problems and cause damage.
- Roof inspection/repair will protect the building from heavy snow loads and ice dams.
- Chimney inspection, as well as window and skylight inspection will help prevent leaks and water damage.
- Attics and basements shouldn’t be overlooked, particular attention should be paid to attic insulation.
- Wood stoves and heaters should be inspected for necessary repairs/replacement.
- HVAC and heating systems will benefit from service and filter changes.
- Windows and doors should be inspected for replacement and repairs.
- Landscaping, particularly trees and shrubs, will survive winter better protected before harsh weather arrives.
According to the Associated Press/WABI the Maine Bureau of Insurance recovered the following for Maine’s insured-
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Dealing with auto, life and other kinds of insurance can be a headache, and one Maine agency is dedicating to helping Mainers sort it out.
The Maine Bureau of Insurance said Mainers made 6,007 calls last year and filed 790 complaints on issues related to insurance. All told, Maine residents and businesses recovered nearly $970,000 last year with the agency’s help.
Mainers lodged 254 written complaints and made about 2,800 inquiries to the bureau’s property and casualty division, which includes auto and homeowners insurance.
Another 636 written complaints and 3,213 inquiries were directed to the consumer health care division, which includes health, life and disability insurance.
More information: http://www.maine.gov/insurance
The Bureau of Insurance is diligent in assisting policy holders-
Maine insurance regulators say they helped consumers in the state to recover more than $3 million owed to them during the past year. Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa says nearly $2.2 million was recovered by the Bureau’s Consumer Health Care Division, and almost $950,000 was recovered by the Property and Casualty Division. Cioppa says most insurers operating in Maine pay claims properly and quickly. But when individuals or business owners contact the state because of a dispute with an insurance company or agent, the state can often provide assistance. Cioppa said the Insurance Bureau fielded almost 9,000 inquiries and more than 900 complaints during 2012.
State Farm posts this advice for cold winter temperatures and storms-
When the mercury plummets
Even if you’ve taken the right preventative steps, extreme weather conditions can still harm your pipes. Here are a few more steps you can take:
- A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
- Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature—more common overnight—could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
Before you skip town
Travelling in the winter months might be good for the soul, but don’t forget to think about your pipes before you leave. What can you do?
- Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C).
- Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing.
- Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it may be deactivated when you shut off the water.
If your pipes do freeze
What if your pipes still freeze, despite your best preventive measures? First step: Don’t panic. Just because they’re frozen doesn’t mean they’ve already burst. Here’s what you can do:
- If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
- Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. You could be electrocuted.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
- You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
- If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.
Plumbing related water damage is a common occurrence. Often plumbing leaks are designated as minor problems or annoyances rather than serious concerns in need of professional attention.
houzz.com published an informative piece on plumbing repairs and the many reasons hiring a licensed plumber is proactive prevention.
“You might think a running toilet or leaky faucet is a trivial issue in your home, something for your handyperson to take on later when you’ve got other jobs around the house to do. But make no mistake: Never skip a drip. Leaks, even minor ones, can amount to big increases on your water and even heating bill. “You’d be surprised at how much is going down the drain and how much you’re paying by not getting it fixed,” says plumber Scott Campbell of Central Penn Plumbing Services in Pennsylvania.
What’s more, fixing leaky faucets and toilets make up the majority of what most professional plumbers do, and trying to fix a faucet yourself, or hiring your neighbor’s uncle, can lead to serious issues. “It’s a quick and easy fix, but still something you want to call a professional about,” Campbell says.”
Efflorescence may be an indication of of continuing moisture penetration through foundation walls and slabs or it could be residue remaining from construction and curing. Efflorescence is caused by sulfate crystallization. masonryinstitute.org publishes the following-
“…before sulfates can cause efflorescence the salts must be dissolved into solution by water. If no moisture reached the sulfates then they cannot be rendered into solution and migrate to the surface where the water will evaporate, leaving the sulfate salts on the surface to crystallize and become efflorescence. Attention must be given to preventing any soluble alkaline from being rendered into solution by water.”
Keeping downspouts and gutters clear of leaves and debris, to allow water to flow freely away from the foundation, and keeping landscaping at least 2-3 feet from the foundation will aid in preventing foundation moisture penetration.
The most important thing to remember to include as part of fall yard work is to prepare outdoor faucets for winter. Remove hoses and be certain exterior water spigots are shut off. It may be a good idea to have a plumber look at exterior spigots to be certain there is no threat of a pipe break.
Fall is a good time to trim landscaping to keep plants away from buildings and foundations. Gutters, downspouts and extensions should be cleared and cleaned so water will flow freely through them.