Preventing Water Damage From Appliances
The story is all too common: you’re sitting in your living room enjoying a quiet evening, and suddenly water starts pouring from the ceiling. Or you walk into your basement to discover water everywhere from a broken water heater.
Common culprits for water damage are washing machines, water heaters, and other appliances in your home. About 30% of all home water damage situations are caused by appliance failures.
SERVPRO is equipped to handle any water damage, but we would prefer to help you prevent those unfortunate situations. Here are some practical things you can do to keep your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heaters from causing problems in your home.
Most water heaters hold between 40 and 120 gallons of water (unless you have a tankless water heater). That amount of water can cause significant damage. A broken water heater may also be a fire hazard. And, if too much pressure builds up in the tank, it can explode!
A common culprit for water heater malfunctions is sediment buildup. When sediment collects at the bottom of the water tank, the heating element has to work overtime and water can get trapped as it heats up and moves through the sediment.
If you have a gas water heater, sediment buildup can cause the heating element to overheat, damaging the tank or leaving burn marks. Sediment buildup in an electric water heater can cause the heating element to burn out.
Signs you should have your water heater serviced:
- Popping sounds: All appliances make noises, but if your water heater is making sounds like popcorn popping on a stove, that is an indication that sediment is building up in the base of the water heater.
- Cold showers: if you seem to be running out of hot water faster than usual that is a symptom of sediment buildup or that the heating element inside the tank burned out.
- Rotten egg smell: Hydrogen sulfide has a potent rotten egg smell and very unpleasant taste. It doesn’t pose a health risk and usually occurs in well water, but water heaters have been known to cause the offensive odor when the magnesium rod in the water heater mixes with bacteria in the water to produce hydrogen sulfide. If the smell comes from both hot and cold water, then it’s likely your water. If the foul smell is only coming from the hot water, then your water heater is likely to blame.
75% of water heaters fail at or before 12 years of age. On average, water heater leaks and failures cause between $3,000 and $5,800 in damages. Routine maintenance on your water heater will prevent catastrophe and keep it running strong for many years.
Washing machines—both front loaders and top loaders—are one of the leading causes of water damage in homes and rank among the most expensive causes of water damage, averaging over $5,000 after the insurance deductible is paid. Mold is often a secondary problem after washing machines leak.
There are several things you can do to avoid costly washing machine catastrophes.
Avoid overloading and using too much detergent: One of the most common causes of a washing machine leak is shoving too much into the washer. Similarly, using too much detergent can cause excessive suds that will spill out of the machine and cause water damage.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about maximum load sizes and recommended amounts of soap to use. If you do find a leak, clean up all the water, then run a quick cycle with no clothes and no laundry detergent. If you don’t see any leaks, the load of laundry was probably too big, or you used too much laundry soap.
Supervise your laundry: Avoid running the washing machine while you are away or asleep. If catastrophe strikes, you want to be around to react quickly.
Turn off the water supply: Did you know washing machine manufacturers recommend turning off the hot and cold water supply after each use? People rarely do this, but it is an excellent way to avoid water damage. If you don’t turn off the water supply after each use, you should at least turn off the water supply when you plan to be away for an extended length of time.
Inspect the hoses frequently: Washing machines have three rubber hoses: one for hot water, one for cold water, and a drain hose. One ruptured hose can let hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water into your house! Mark your calendar to inspect the hoses regularly. Look for cracks, kinks, blistering, or signs of leaks.
Even if the hoses are still in good condition, consider replacing the rubber hoses every five years. Stainless steel braided hoses last longer and are much more resilient than standard rubber hoses at an affordable price.
Install an emergency shutoff kit: The emergency shutoff kit is a device that installs directly onto the water supply valves. It senses when the washer is turned on and opens the water supply valves, then closes the water valves at the end of the wash cycle. A sensor also sits on the floor and closes the valves if it detects a water leak.
For around $150 you can have peace of mind that if your washing machine malfunctions the emergency shutoff kit will prevent water from flowing freely into your home.
Dishwashers make life so much easier… until they malfunction and spill gallons of water all over your kitchen. Often tile or linoleum in front of the dishwasher prevents water from leaking out into the kitchen. That means a slow leak under the dishwasher can go undetected for months or years!
Taking the kickplate off and inspecting under the dishwasher twice a year will ensure everything is in good working order and avoid costly water damage.
Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent water damage from your dishwasher.
Use the right soap: Using the wrong kind of soap can cause too many suds to develop during the wash cycle. This usually results in water dripping out from the edge of the dishwasher door. If you open the door during the wash cycle and see a lot of suds, you should use a different detergent or you might be using too much detergent.
Check the water valve: Remove the kickplate and inspect the water inlet solenoid valve. If there is any corrosion or rotting around the valve, turn off the water supply and have the valve replaced.
A bad water valve usually starts with a slow leak under the dishwasher that is difficult to detect. If the water valve breaks, the anti-flood switch cannot close the water valve, and water will fill the dishwasher and continue to run until the water supply is turned off.
Check the door seals: Over time the door seals wear out or become damaged. Sometimes soap scum can prevent the dishwasher door from sealing properly.
To clean soap scum and residue off the door seals, use white vinegar or Lime-Away. Pay extra attention to the bottom of the door; this is where soap scum, hard-water calcium buildup, and food particles tend to collect and cause problems.
Developing a habit of regularly checking and maintaining your appliances will help you catch problems before they become serious. But, if disaster does strike and you experience water damage caused by an appliance (or any other source), call SERVPRO. We will restore everything to normal as quickly as possible!
3 Holiday Home Safety Tips You Should Employ
The holidays are finally here!
This is the perfect season to get together with your family and make merry.
Unfortunately, the holiday season is also a time when people are most likely prone to different accidents. Many homeowners get so engrossed in the merrymaking that they forget about the many risks that come with the holiday season. And we know you love your family and wouldn’t want anything unfortunate to happen to them.
Here are several ways you can keep them safe during this joyful season.
Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe this Holiday Season
Here are some important tips you should employ to ensure your home is safe during the holidays:
1. Make Your Absence Known to as Few People as Possible
Do you remember the critically acclaimed “Home Alone” movie? Do you remember how the burglars tried to take the advantage of Kevin’s home when the family was away? Thank goodness Kevin was home!
If you are planning to travel away from home this holiday, ensure that you inform a few trusted individuals only (possibly close friends and neighbors).
You never know what intentions people might have once you leave for vacation. If you publicize your absence on platforms such as social media, burglars might find their way into your home and steal all your precious belongings.
2. Check and Replace Any Faulty Switches and Naked Wires
This is another area you should look into keenly. Electric faults are some of the leading causes of fires in our homes.
This holiday ensure your wiring system, switches, and electronics are working properly. If you notice anything fishy, it’s best that you call a professional. DIY electrical projects can be life-threatening.
It is also wise to switch off the lights and other appliances that aren’t in use when going to bed. Sudden electrical surges damage your household electronics and start a fire.
3. Do Some Home Cleaning
A clean home is a safe home.
If your items are cluttered all over the floor, you run the risk of slipping or falling.
Moreover, nobody wants to stay or visit a filthy home. So, it’ll be important to start your holiday cleaning as soon as possible before your guests start visiting.
Contact SERVPRO for Professional Home Cleaning Services in Rutherford County
Why stress yourself with all the hectic cleaning tasks, when you can have professionals do all the heavy lifting.
With highly skilled technicians and the right equipment, SERVPRO offers efficient home cleaning and emergency restoration services in Rutherford County. You can always count on us!
Tips to Prepare your HVAC for the Summer
Your home’s air conditioner is one of the most critical components on your property during the summer season. The outdoor air temperatures can soar, and this can dramatically impact your comfort level inside the home as well as your health and well-being. You may rely heavily on your HVAC system to keep your home’s interior cool and comfortable. However, because your HVAC system will be used heavily throughout the summer, it is important for you to follow a few usage tips for your air conditioner.
Schedule Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance service should be scheduled for your HVAC system before the summer months arrive. This type of service can be used to clean various components as well as to replace aging or worn out components before they cause a complete breakdown. Through maintenance service, you can enjoy clean air in the home, improved energy efficiency and fewer repair issues throughout the peak summer season.
Adjust Your Thermostat
You should also spend a few minutes adjusting your programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat makes it easier for you to moderate usage of your HVAC system and to control temperature in the home for comfort. Program higher temperature settings during the day when you are away from home and do not need the home to be as cool. Then, program cooler and more comfortable settings in the evening and nighttime hours when you will be at home.
Clean Your Air Ducts
Your HVAC system works by transporting climate-controlled air through air ducts and vents. These ducts can accumulate many particles over time, including dust, dirt, pet dander, bacteria and more. They can affect your indoor air quality as well as the efficiency of your HVAC system. A smart idea is to have your ducts professionally cleaned once per year if you live in a climate that demands heavy usage of your cooling system.
As you can see, there are several steps that you can and should take at the start of the summer season to prepare your HVAC system for the heavy usage that will occur in the months to come. While you can adjust your thermostat on your own, you need help with the other steps described here. The team at SERVPRO of Rutherford County is available to travel to your home and assist with your preperation. Now is a great time to schedule your appointment with the hardworking technicians at SERVPRO of Rutherford County.
Effective DIY Alternatives to Running an Air Conditioner
Open your windows and give your HVAC a break!
During the warmer months of the year, it is common for residents in Rutherford County to leave their AC unit on throughout the day and night. While this can create a cool, comfortable indoor environment for you and your loved ones to enjoy, it can also yield high energy bills. The last thing you want is to pay a fortune on energy bills, and you may be looking for a reasonable alternative to this. The good news is that there are a few steps you can take to avoid relying on your AC unit for cool air throughout most of the summer and beyond. Here are some tips from SERVPRO of Rutherford County to keep your cooling costs down this season.
Use the Ceiling Fans
When you run your AC unit frequently, you increase the need of having to call a repair service. This is because extra wear and tear on your AC unit's various components can take its toll. You can save energy costs and prevent unnecessary repair issues from developing by turning on your ceiling fans. Take time to install ceiling fans in rooms that do not currently have one. Then, turn all ceiling fans on throughout the home, and leave all doors open. This can create a cool, gentle breeze flowing through the home. With this breeze, you may not need to run your AC unit at all.
Open the Windows
While the days may be very warm during the summer months, many nights are mild and pleasant. Some are even cool. You can open your windows at night to allow a cool breeze to filter through your home. This can negate the need to have AC air blowing through your air duct system at night. You can use the ceiling fans in conjunction with the open windows for the greatest effect. Close your windows in the morning to trap the cool air inside the home. Close the blinds to prevent the sun from heating up your home during the day.
There may still be some very warm days when you must close your windows and turn the air conditioner on. However, when you follow these easy steps, you can control the temperature in your home without relying so heavily on your AC system. Through these tips, you can decrease energy consumption and reduce the chance of having to call a team AC repair services.
Call SERVPRO of Rutherford County to schedule air duct cleanings as well. This keeps your HVAC running at peak performance when you do need to cool your house down!
How does your HVAC work?
Do you know what makes your HVAC tick?
Even though many of us rely on our HVAC systems every day, very few people know exactly how these machines keep our homes comfortable. These complex systems use compressors, blowers, and ducts to keep your home at a consistent temperature throughout the year. Here is a closer look at how your climate control works and what you can do to make sure that it lasts for as long as possible.
The Basics of Central Heating and Cooling
HVAC systems are typically comprised of a few primary components including an outdoor unit, a filtration system, ducts, a thermostat, and exhaust outlets. When the thermostat is set to a specific temperature, it will send electronic signals to the outdoor unit to turn it off and on. The unit then heats or cools the air until it has reached the desired temperature. These units are designed in many different ways, but most use a refrigerant to alter the temperature of any air that the blower brings in.
As the air is blown into the ducts, it will come out of all the open vents throughout your home. If the thermostat recognizes that the ambient temperature matches the settings, then the entire system will turn off. In some new models, outlets are used to vent any dangerous exhaust fumes. Many newer models are also classified as split systems, and that means they have two sets of thermostats and outdoor units to control the temperature settings in different areas of the home.
Keeping Your System Running Smoothly
In addition to scheduling regular service calls with a contractor from SERVPRO of Rutherford County, you also need to carry out some maintenance tasks on your own. That begins with changing your air filters as often as possible to prevent your system from overheating. If the air filters become clogged, then the system must work much harder to push air through the vents. Over time, that will cause your energy bills to skyrocket and reduce the air quality within your home.
Homeowners should also inspect their systems once every few weeks for any signs of damage, mold, or mildew. When you open up the vents and look into the air ducts, there should be little or no debris clinging to the walls. The outdoor unit should be carefully inspected as well to make sure that there isn't any rust or damage from wild animals.