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Many of us in Vermont think of water damage as a warm weather problem (think spring floods and Hurricane Irene), but residential water damage during freezing winter weather is more common than you might imagine.

When water freezes, its volume increases by approximately eleven percent (11%), and this expansion exerts a huge amount of force. This force is enough to break concrete or even the metal water pipes under your kitchen sink!

So far, the winter has been mild in Northern and Central Vermont. In Chittenden County in particular, you may still have time to take precautions against winter weather wrecking havoc in your home:

  • Shut off the valve supplying your outside water lines – drain these lines by opening the tap. Leave it open so any small amount of water that might be left in the line has room to freeze and expand without causing any damage.
  • Check water pipes running close to outside walls and in unheated crawl spaces. Put fiberglass insulation between the pipes in your home and the exterior walls to help keep them warm and prevent freezing.
  • Pipes running through unheated spaces should be covered with fiberglass insulation or pipe sleeve insulation.

The disaster resulting from frozen pipes is not one you’ll ever want to relive. The actual damage to the pipe is often minimal compared to the water damage the mess can cause in your home. Prevention is the best cure when it comes to frozen pipes.

Once the cold weather is upon us, there are still some things you can do to prevent frozen pipes:

  • During a cold snap, leave cabinet doors open under the sink so that heated air can warm pipes.
  • Leave bathroom and kitchen doors open to encourage heat circulation.
  • Open the taps just enough so that there’s a slow drip. This will relieve water pressure that could build up between an ice blockage and a closed spigot and rupture the pipe.
  • During extreme cold, keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night.
  • If you will be away from home during cold weather, leave the heat set to 55ºF.

In the event of a flood in your home this winter, time is of the essence. Water will soak into a concrete floor within six to 12 hours and make it much more difficult to dry. And mold can begin to grow within two to three days. Mold can spell trouble with your insurance claim and with your cleanup efforts.

This is where PuroClean comes on to the scene with CPR – Controlling, Protecting, and Restoring damaged property and contents. The restoration professionals at PuroClean are trained in the latest in mitigation technology and procedures. They’ll get you back to normal in no time, so you can get back to enjoying winter.

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