Home Repair After the Recent Winter Storms
In Feb. 2021, winter storms caused power outages throughout Texas. Millions of people were driven out of their homes or forced to find ways to shelter in place. Unfortunately, winter storms can cause serious long-term damage to homes without power or heat.
Now, the city of Austin has announced a new home repair program. This program aims to help low-income families whose homes have been damaged by the recent storms.
Extreme winter weather can cause many kinds of damage to a home. This guide will talk about what kind of problems your home might be experiencing and what services you should look into, especially if you qualify under the home repair plan in Austin.
Freezing temperatures, especially in unheated buildings, can cause pipes to freeze. This could lead to them bursting and causing enormous damage around your house. When the water in your pipes turns to ice, it continues to expand until the pipe breaks. This usually happens further along the pipe where there is less ice. Unfortunately, this means that the pipes are likely to spray water throughout your home.</P.
This can cause damage to your belongings as well as your home itself. That is not even to mention the fact that you will need to replace your pipes before you can have running water in your house again. Burst pipes also have the potential to damage electrical wiring, putting you at risk of electrocution.
Who Should You Call If You Have Burst Pipes?
If you have a pipe burst in your house due to extreme freezing temperatures, there is unfortunately quite a lot of repair work to be done.
The first thing you should do if a pipe bursts in your home is shut the water off. The damage has already been done, but you can at least minimize it from this point forward. Depending on where the leak is and how bad it is, you might need to shut off your power as well.
At this point, you should call a plumber. Unless you really know what you are doing, don’t try to fix the leak on your own. A certified professional will know how to fix the leak and minimize ongoing damage. What is more, they will know how to do that while keeping your family safe.
What Steps You Need To Take To Repair The Damage
They can help drain the excess water from your home and get things dry again. Unfortunately, they can’t replace your possessions. But on that note, there is some good news.
If you have homeowners’ insurance, it will probably cover the cost of water damage from burst pipes. Although pipe leaks usually aren’t covered since plumbing maintenance is the responsibility of the homeowner, unforeseen or unavoidable water damage — like water damage from a burst pipe — is another story. Such an event is probably covered by your policy. This will likely save you thousands of dollars and help you replace many of your possessions.
Sadly, the damage that water can do in a home is extensive. Even when your home still has heat, it can be a challenge to minimize. When your home is cold, it can be a huge challenge to address the water damage.
The very first thing you should do — before professional services arrive — is simple: reach for your mop. Clean up as much of the water as you can. While you don’t want any kind of excess moisture in your home, even that is better than standing water. This will reduce your chances of getting mold and mildew in your house.
If you have heat, turn it up. This will reduce the chances of pipes freezing or bursting. Let your faucet drip to facilitate movement through your pipes.
Next, you need to start drying the water. A professional crew can do this much more effectively, since they have industrial tools meant for just that. But it is a good idea to do as much as you can until they get there. In the case of water damage, time is of the essence.
Put fans around the house. This will start the drying process and help move heat around the rooms.
What Will Water Damage Restoration Services Do?
Water from burst pipes and other incidents can cause mold and mildew as well as structural damage. Water damage restoration services exist to minimize this damage as much as possible. Time is of the essence, so don’t hesitate to call professionals.
They will use industrial equipment to pump water out of your home and dry any soft surfaces. You can expect to have fans running around your house to dry out carpets, furniture, bedding, and other textiles.
Unfortunately, you will probably have to throw many items out. Keep a careful inventory of the possessions you lost so you can submit them to your homeowners’ insurance.
Water damage restoration professionals may also recommend that you call an electrician if your home’s wiring has been damaged by water.
Roof damage is another common problem after severe winter temperatures. Snow, ice, and wind can also wreak havoc on your roof.
Snow can be particularly damaging if you live in a region like Texas where homes are not equipped to handle winter weather. As snow gathers, it can cause structural damage, even causing your roof to fall in.
Once the temperatures rise, you are not out of danger yet. As old snow compresses and begins to melt, you may incur water damage. A leaking roof can be a serious problem.
That is not the only damage your roof can incur. Oscillating temperatures can crack your chimney. While this isn’t necessarily an emergency, it should be addressed as soon as possible by a roof repair service.
Other roof damage, however, needs urgent repair. Cracks, leaks, and holes absolutely cannot wait. Roofs are also particularly vulnerable to damage from nearby trees and other structures during the winter. If there are strong winds in your area, you may have another object hit your home and damage your roof. This, of course, is an emergency and needs to be repaired immediately.
When Should You Call Commercial Roofing Services?
If you know or suspect that your roof has been damaged, don’t wait to call a roofing company. These professionals are trained to look at not only surface damage, but internal damage as well. They can spot if you have a structural issue, especially one that could put your family in danger or cause long-term problems with your home.
It is a good idea to have an inspection done by a roofing contractor even before you contact your insurance company. They can give you a clearer idea of what kind of damage your home has suffered and what claims you can file to get repairs covered.
If you notice any leaks or water damage in your home or if another object has hit your roof, don’t hesitate to call a professional.
HVAC damage is also common after freezing temperatures. This is not just because of frozen pipes — it can also affect the way your home’s entire heating or cooling system functions.
You may find that your home is heating unevenly or poorly after freezing temperatures. This can lead to certain rooms being much colder than others. If you notice your home doesn’t seem to be moving heat effectively through the rooms, you may want to call an HVAC repairs service.
Similarly, freezing temperatures can cause HVAC systems to freeze altogether. This is usually because the cold causes components in the system to be damaged and stop working altogether. Commonly, the heat pump can accumulate frost buildup. With extreme buildup, it can cease to function, causing the entire system to freeze.
Lastly and most dangerously, leaks in your heating system can cause carbon monoxide leaks. This is a more common problem in winter that can quickly become deadly. If you suspect that there is damage to your heating system, do not hesitate to contact an HVAC repair service.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is impossible to detect without a working alarm. It can cause nausea, lethargy, headache, and other serious symptoms. This is most serious when a leak occurs at night while the occupants of the home are asleep. If this happens, death can occur.
When Should You Call An HVAC Specialist?
Call a heating and air conditioning repair service if you notice that your heater is malfunctioning. This includes heating the home unevenly, not heating at all, or freezing over. In particular, watch out for signs of leaks and other damage. This could be an indication that you are at risk of a carbon monoxide leak. Make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors installed around your home and test them regularly.
Sump Pump Damage
Sump pumps are yet another part of your home that may suffer damage during winter storms. These have a tendency to freeze over and force water back into your home, causing burst pipes and other water damage.
This goes hand-in-hand with the contrast in temperature between a warm home and freezing outside. This contrast can increase the risk of water damage as well as the potential to grow mold and mildew in your home.
If your home has a sump pump, you will need to make sure that you winterize it properly every year to reduce this risk. However, some conditions cannot be anticipated, such as the extreme winter storms in Texas this year. Winterizing your sump pump involves removing the extension hose when temperatures get below freezing.
If you have a sump pump and your home has sudden water damage during freezing temperatures, contact a sump pump repair service right away. Speed is of the essence during issues like this. Waiting any amount of time will only increase the extent of water damage in your home.
Another sign that your sump pump might be damaged is flooding in the lower levels of your home, such as the basement, laundry room, entryway, or garage.
What Do Sump Pump Repair Services Do?
When you call a sump pump repair service, they will diagnose the problem in your system and repair it to minimize the ongoing damage. They may also help you winterize your system to protect it in the future.
Depending on the service you hire, they will probably help you drain the water from your home. However, they are not responsible for fixing the water damage from a leaking sump pump. For that, you will need to call a water damage restoration service.
Some people also try to tackle this restoration on their own. Depending on the extent of the damage, it may be possible. You will need to invest in some industrial rentals, such as water pumps, fans to dry the room out, and mold control.
If your sump pump break happened due to unforeseen circumstances like the recent winter storm, your homeowners’ insurance may cover the cost of the repairs. You may have to show proof that you maintained the system properly, including winterizing the pipes when temperatures dropped below freezing.
However, if you can prove that this damage was incurred unavoidably and not because of a lack of maintenance, you could potentially be saving a huge amount of money.
Recovering From The Winter Storm
These services, including insurance coverage, may not be available to everyone. Millions of people through Texas have been left with home damage after the winter storm of Feb. 2021. For those that do not have access to home repair services, programs like the home repair program of Austin may help. To find out if you qualify, contact the city of Austin.