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Don't Hate Your Basement!

Considering the extensive flooding occurring right now, it would be easy to curse the day your basement was born.

It’s a dank pit below your feet, in some cases constantly flooding, growing mold and smelling foul.  Condensation forms on pipes and walls, sump pumps get overwhelmed or fail and your precious belongings stored below get ruined….arrgh!

You may swear that you’ll never own a basement again.   BUT… consider the alternatives.  The grass is not necessarily greener without a basement.

Alternative #1 - Crawlspace:  

A crawlspace has all the same characteristics of a basement with 3-5 feet less ceiling height and possibly dirt floors.  Many a cold winter’s day have I spent on my belly crawling around dealing with moisture problems within these places, typically only suitable for raccoons and hobbits.  Utilities are irksome to access (like a broken pipe, electrical or HVAC system) and good luck replacing your furnace filter!  I don’t even want to get started about the all-around nastiness of sewage in a dirt-floor crawlspace.  

 Alternative #2 – Concrete Slab: 

This should work, right?  No pit under your feet…what could go wrong? Many slab homes utilize concrete to install ductwork, water supply lines, drain lines and other utilities, but, much like utilities in any other home, these will fail or require maintenance.  Instead of walking into a basement or scooting into a crawlspace, you are bringing in a jack hammer, the whole time hoping you know exactly where the problem is and that the problem area isn’t under a wall or a cabinet. Not to mention, if a pipe above the slab were to break it just continues to spread horizontally into the living space, tainting kitchens and bathrooms.  Flood waters are often not covered under property insurance and falls under Category 3/black water due to all the fun pollutants it picks up along the way requiring all of the drywall and textiles to be removed that have been touched by the filth.  Hopefully the homeowner has thousands of dollars squirrelled away for such an occasion.

 Alternative #3 – Learn to LOVE (or at least take care of) your basement: 

Although I am not a fan of disaster proofing your home and taking every step of the building process to think “ok, what if I flood?,” there are materials such as fiber mat drywall, vinyl composite trim, nature stone floors that will help minimize damage.  A battery backup with check valve on your sump pump system is a great idea too. Simply put, build to code and mitigate damage quickly using certified professionals.

Mike’s Advice

Obviously my advice is to keep your basement.  Responsible ownership is the key. Think about what you keep and where you keep it. Plastic totes, pallets, or wood blocks minimize damage and make for easy cleanup. Finished areas need to consistently have a relative humidity below 60% with strong foundation walls and floors.  A drop ceiling is always a good idea vs. drywall; drop ceilings make for slick access to utilities and it is simple and inexpensive to replace damaged tiles.  If you are going to frame up and install drywall and insulation, build away from walls to allow the foundation to breathe. Keep in mind, though, with all due respect to the Transamerica pyramid, there are no disaster proof buildings, especially when it comes to water damage.

Don’t give up! Basements are still the best, as frustrating as they may be.  If managed carefully, (a big ‘if’) crawlspaces can be effective spaces for storage and access to the utilities. However, the addition of a basement is typically a better investment during new construction.


Mike Bowman is a Production Manager for PuroClean Professional Services in Brunswick, OH and is a Master Fire & Smoke Restorer, Water Restorer and Textile Cleaner having served North East Ohio for 12 years. He has been asked to speak about restoration for the Red Cross and has been an instructor for the TMC Group in both the United States and Canada. He can be reached at: mbowman@puroclean.com

Tobacco Smoke Odor Removal

Tobacco Smoke Odor Removal


Restoration professionals are often asked if they are able to remove cigarette or tobacco smoke odors. For instance, a home may need to be deodorized when it is being sold; an apartment may need the service between tenants; an automobile may need odor removal; etc.


The EPA says that Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is the mixture of smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, plus the smoke exhaled by the smoker. It is a complex mixture of over 4,000 compounds, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals, and many of which are strong irritants. ETS is often referred to as "secondhand smoke," and exposure to ETS is often called "passive smoking."


The smoke from tobacco clouds the air and sticks to every surface of the area. It is not only seen in the air; people can also see, smell, and feel a yellowish-brown, sticky substance that is left on all surfaces and furniture in areas where smoking has taken place. This extremely hard-to-remove residue discolors painted surfaces and plastics. It can permanently change the appearance of wallpaper, blinds, paint, and many other items in the area. The smoke can penetrate into furniture, carpets, walls, windows, and every other nook and cranny in the area. And the building’s HVAC system will carry the smoke odor and the residues throughout the structure. The contaminants are not only unsightly but can off-gas odors that many people simply find unbearable.


The end result of long term smoking in enclosed areas is much the same as that of an actual fire. Unfortunately, one difference is that the smoke from a fire is sometimes much easier to remove from walls or other surfaces than tobacco smoke. Removing tobacco residues can be a real challenge. It is very time consuming, as residues are present throughout the entire home, business, or other affected area.


Restoration professionals, insurance professionals and property owners should be aware, at the beginning of a tobacco-smoke cleanup project, that there is no magic bullet that just whisks away residues and smells. Though it would be nice to be able to plug in a “magic” machine or spray some “miracle” liquid to eliminate tobacco smoke problems, such products simply do not exist. The only effective way to remove tobacco residue and smell is through very thorough cleaning and then sealing all structural surfaces. Even though residues may appear to be concentrated in only one area, once cleaning starts it will normally be found that all areas are contaminated, and cleaning all surfaces will be necessary to remove contaminants and odors. The very tiny particles of tobacco smoke find their way into all areas. The cleaning process will always include deodorizing agents to help with that process. Even after thorough and successful cleaning, it is usually necessary to seal surfaces with a sealant designed to lock in the very last of the stains and odors. It is important to recognize that a normal “primer” is not sufficient, and a product designed to seal smoke residues is required. Finally, the surfaces will be ready to paint, refinish, or to apply new coverings.


The “soft” things in a home such as upholstery, bedding, window coverings, clothes, etc. will need special attention. Because they absorb odors so well

and are often easily damaged, they will be very difficult to successfully restore and may require outside specialists. Testing should be conducted to evaluate the success of such efforts. In many cases, the decision is made to simply replace these materials and items.


After the restoration professional has finished the cleaning, it may be necessary to use specialized, professional equipment to help remove the very last of the odors, often in areas that cannot be cleaned (inside joints, inside walls, etc.) This will often involve hydroxyl generators or ozone generators. Both are professional equipment that create molecules which can follow the smoke into tiny spaces, and both processes effectively destroy the malodorous particles.


As with every property loss, PuroClean Professional Service can help bring property back to a pre-loss condition. PuroClean Professional Services technicians are highly trained and skilled in procedures not only to remedy tobacco smoke odors, but to return property owners to their restored property cost-effectively and in the shortest time possible.


Regardless of the circumstances — dealing with tobacco smoke or other fire/smoke damage, water damage, mold, or biohazard remediation — call your local PuroClean office, PuroClean Professional Services @ 866-944-PURO (7876). For all property damage situations, these professionals are standing by. They will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage and will then provide restoration services to return the property to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible. PuroClean Professional Services has well-trained professional technicians who provide the latest state-of-the-science services to all property damaged from water, fire, smoke, mold, and other disasters.


After the Fire is Out...

The fire is out, and the smoke has cleared. The fire department is gone, and the home owners are left with a disaster on their hands. It is important to have a professional mitigation company that can meet the required professional standards in service while recognizing the importance of extending true compassion and understanding.


After a fire is extinguished, a homeowner’s first obligation is to call the insurance company. This is most likely the first, and probably the only time, they will have to deal with this type of situation. They are distraught, stressed and traumatized. They need help.


So, what do you say to them? What suggestions can you make to begin the process of not only restoring their property, but also helping to restore their lives?


Safety is always the first concern. You want to ensure that the homeowner does not enter and walk around in the structure, which could expose them or other occupants to hazards. This can be a problem because smoke darkens the structure and obstructs the view of identifiable safety concerns. There may be compromised structural components, falling debris or even electrical-safety issues. Depending on the severity of the loss, the homeowner or other occupants may need to consider leaving the building.


In addition to the structural hazards, it is also important to consider health issues, especially in exasperating any respiratory ailments or concerns of the homeowner or others living in the damaged structure. Every fire generates particles of incomplete combustion (PIC’s) that remain in the air and on surfaces after the fire is out. Many of these PIC’s are known as carcinogens. They range in size from 0.1 to 4.0 microns. A micron is 1/1,000,000 of a meter—takes the thickness of a dime and slices it 1,000 times! Because of their very small size, PIC’s are easily inhaled.


The homeowner should consider leaving the structure, at least temporarily, especially if someone already has a known respiratory concern (infants, seniors, diabetics, asthmatics, etc.) If the homeowner decides to leave, have them secure the property to the highest extent possible. The next step is to get the professional mitigation company involved immediately! The sooner they start the restoration process, the easier it is going to be to assess, evaluate and act on the damage. The faster the response is, the greater the chance of saving property and possessions. For instance:



Plastic and marble surfaces begin to permanently stain. "The most effective way to ensure maximum service and outcome is to recommend a mitigation company you know and trust."



Metals tarnish, grout stains, fiberglass yellows and furniture yellows.



Flooring stains, fabrics are lost, and wood furniture finish is compromised.


And, the list goes on. The faster a professional can begin, the faster the occupants can return to a restored and healthy environment, and the better the homeowner can manage the loss to keep restoration costs as low as possible.


A professional mitigation company’s personnel know how to allay the many concerns and fears that a homeowner has after a fire. A prompt, knowledgeable and sympathetic response will go a long way in explaining the process and assuring them of the best possible outcome. The most effective way to ensure maximum service and outcome is to recommend a mitigation company you know and trust. Explain to the homeowner that they will be contacted; then call the mitigation company with the necessary information and let them make contact. Check with your client to confirm contact, but if you’ve made the right referral, the company should have already made contact letting them know what to expect—and that they will be on the site in a matter of hours.


Another responsibility of the homeowner is to document the personal items they have lost and try to attach a value. Take a moment and think of all the things you would hate to lose if a fire occurred in your home. Your customers are experiencing those emotions for real. They should review what was in the affected room or rooms and begin documenting losses as soon as they are able. A professional will take the time to communicate with the insured on the processes that will take place, how their property and personal items will be protected, and work with them on getting their lives back together.


The responsibility of the professional Smoke and Fire Company includes:

• Respond rapidly to the customer

• Communicate the procedures and secure an authorization

• Scope the damage and provide a detailed estimate

• Control and contain to prevent continuing damage

• Prevent cross-contamination

• Properly clean and process the entire job

• Process and properly dispose of wastes

• Provide effective odor control

• Provide an environment ready for any final repairs


From the time the first call is received until the mitigation is complete, a professional mitigation company is essential in handling the claim and in managing the cost.




PuroClean Professional Services


866-944-PURO (7876)




What to do after the storm

“April showers” are sometimes much more than just a bit of rain. Spring weather can include a wide range of weather activity - including serious storms with severe winds that can cause serious structure damage and heavy rainfall that can cause over-the-ground flooding, or even flooding from streams and rivers.

The storm season is upon us! If you experience damage of any size, these tips may help you get your home back in order more quickly. Keep this advice handy for quick reference.


  • Call your agent as soon as possible.
  • Take photographs of the damage.


When checking your home or business for damages, watch out for fallen power lines, standing water that may be electrically charged, and wild animals driven into the open.

Plumbing:   Check pipes inside and outside your home (i.e. irrigation systems). Within your home, there are usually shut-off valves in specific areas near toilets and under sinks. If necessary, locate the master valve and shut off all water to your home. If sewage is backing up in the shower or under the toilet, it probably means your main sewer line is clogged or broken. Don’t make the problem worse by using other sinks or toilets. Call a professional for assistance.

Roofing: Check your roof for missing shingles. Even if only a few shingles are lost, do not risk life and limb by going onto your roof. Call a professional roofer, contractor or handyman. They have the skills, tools and equipment to do the job safely and properly. Have them do a temporary “fix” to stop rain coming in, until a permanent solution can be arranged.

Electrical:   Most damage to electrical systems comes from water. Appliances exposed to water should be disconnected from their power source and serviced before being used. Check for frayed wires and watch for sparks. If you have structural damage or see exposed wires, call an electrician. Keep the power off – there is the possibility of electrocution if you turn the power on yourself. Exterior breaker boxes are typically rain-tight but may not withstand a major storm – if you suspect water has infiltrated the box, call an electrician before turning on the power. Avoid metal fences - they may carry a charge from fallen or dangling utility wires. If a limb or tree has fallen on a power line near your house, turn off the power and call the utility company. If the limb touches your property, it becomes your responsibility. Call an electrician. Do not attempt to cut or clear fallen trees that are around power lines.




For flooding problems, your best plan is to call a professional restoration company. If you decide to do-it-yourself, here are some tips that may help: because of contaminants (such as sewage, oil, pesticides, etc.), take precautions and wear boots, gloves, eye protection, and a respirator; minimize the damage by removing standing water (pump or squeegee the standing water and use a vacuum only if it’s a true wet-dry vacuum); remove everything absorbent that has been contaminated by flood water (carpeting, carpet padding, furniture, drapes, etc.); use air movers and dehumidifiers to dry out the area; throw away all medicines, cosmetics, and foods - even canned goods - if they have been submerged in floodwaters; check for hidden moisture behind wallboards, and take out damaged portions to avoid mold; and clean floors and cabinets by washing them with detergent, then disinfect with a disinfectant from the grocery or hardware store. Remember, keep a photographic (or video) inventory of anything you must throw out.



Don’t! Clearing away a broken tree or a large downed tree can be dangerous. A professional should be contacted.    



Automobiles can easily be damaged by floodwaters, tree limbs, or falling debris. If an automobile is damaged: notify your insurance agent; cover broken windows if the car appears salvageable; and list valuables in your car that have been lost or damaged.



Unfortunately, storms and natural disasters bring out those who take advantage of the situation. But by following a few practical guidelines, you can help protect yourself from additional loss: try to work with local or known contractors (verify with the Yellow Pages); don’t pay for work until it is finished and you are satisfied (if a reasonable down payment is required, get a written contract detailing all the work to be performed); pay with a check or a credit card. Beware of a contractor who tries to pressure you. If an offer is only good “now or never,” find someone else. Obtain written estimates for all proposed work that include proposed scopes and prices. Also, beware of charity scams that might use a storm to make their pleas for donations more plausible; only give to organizations you know and recognize.

Regardless of the circumstances – damage from storms or floods, or damage from fire, smoke or even mold, call your local PuroClean office@ 866-944-7876, the Paramedics of Property Damage™. These professionals are standing by to mitigate the loss and prevent further damage, and to provide restoration services to return the property to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible. All PuroClean offices have professional, well-trained technicians who provide the latest state-of-the-science services to all property damaged from water, fire/smoke, mold, and other disasters.

PuroClean Professional Services

866-944-PURO (7876)




Cleaning Contents after a Fire

Fires destroy billions of dollars of property in the United States and Canada every year. In 2009:

• There were 377,000 residential fires in the United States, or 78% of the total number of structural fires.

• A residential fire occurred every 84 seconds!

• $7,796,000,000 of property losses occurred in residential properties, alone.

(Source: National Fire Protection Association Report, August 2010)


While some fires are a total loss and there is nothing, or very little, left to save, many fires are much smaller in scope. In some cases there is little structural damage to the home. Even in those cases, however, there is usually significant smoke/soot damage to the contents of the home. And, when the contents of a home such as furniture, kitchen utensils, dishes, toys, clothing, bedding and draperies, or other personal items are damaged by smoke/soot mitigating the damage, cleaning and restoring the contents to its pre-loss condition is a job for restoration professionals.


The first concern in every fire situation is safety. Restoration professionals will take steps to make sure all workers and others entering a structure after a fire are safe. It is important to ensure the structure is sound before any evaluation is done or work begins.


Smoke/soot particles are Products of Incomplete Combustion (PIC). Many are dangerous and many are proven carcinogens. In most cases, consideration should be given to wearing a respirator, such as an N-95 or N-100, and gloves or other protective clothing which will protect people entering the structure adequately. Ventilation can be very important and if at all possible, the contaminants in the air should be evacuated to the outside.


PICs may start to degrade affected contents in hours, just a few days, or perhaps a week or so, depending on the item affected. It is important to evaluate items quickly and begin cleaning procedures as quickly as possible.


After safety concerns are addressed, the next issue to resolve will be which items are to be cleaned and where. Most soft goods such as bedding, clothing, and draperies will be taken to a dry cleaning or laundry facility for processing. Remaining items will be sorted as to whether the items are suitable for the restoration process or are to be discarded. Careful records should be kept of all discarded items for later consideration for compensation by the insurance company. With restorable items, the restoration professional may decide conditions in the home are severe enough to warrant removing the smoke/ soot damaged items to a controlled environment outside of the home for cleaning. This process is referred to as a “pack out.” If this is done, careful records must be kept for items taken, location of the items, and condition of the items when removed. Inventory lists should be kept on stored items. In other circumstances, the restorer may determine that conditions allow for cleaning and storing the contents within the home, or perhaps the garage.


A restoration professional will evaluate the contents in every room to determine whether they should be replaced, or can be successfully restored to a pre-loss condition. Cost, sentimental value, and antique value are all considerations. In many cases, if they have not been damaged directly by the fire or by excessive heat, they do not need to be discarded. They can be restored. A professional will perform testing to determine the appropriate product and mix ratio to use on each content item. Today’s restoration professional will use environmentally friendly products for all cleaning and restoration processes. This is an important consideration when choosing a restoration company.


Food items must be treated with the utmost discretion. Any open items should be discarded.

Unopened items in original packaging that were away from the heat can be considered safe. If there is any doubt, discard the items. Again, a full inventory is very important.


Many plastic items are easily damaged by fire. Melting is the most obvious situation where a plastic item will not be able to be restored, but many plastics bond with the smoke/soot in the air. This discoloration is permanent and cannot be removed.


Removing the source is always the first step in every odor control situation. Often, the cleaning already accomplished by the restoration professional will eliminate any odor from the fire. If there is a hint of odor remaining, then the professional will consider the best method of controlling that odor as an additional step in the complete restoration effort. This could include ozone or hydroxyl deodorizing, as appropriate.


Regardless of the circumstances — dealing with fire/smoke damage, water damage, mold remediation, or even biohazard remediation/cleanup — call your local PuroClean office (866-944-7876), the Paramedics of Property Damage™. For all property damage situations, these professionals are standing by. We will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage and will then provide restoration services to return the property to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible. All PuroClean offices have well-trained professional technicians who provide the latest state-of-the-science services to all property damaged from water, fire, smoke, mold, and other disasters.

 PuroClean Professional Services

866-944-PURO (7876)



Cleveland Area Service Firm is Hiring Now!

WANTED: Business Development Associates!


Responsible for marketing to local trade professionals. Email resume to PuroCleanProServices@PuroClean.com if interested.

- 3-5 years experience marketing to licensed trade professionals (plumbers, general contractors, real-estate agents, etc).
- Established relationships with local trade professionals.
- Paid vacation, health benefits, 401k



Wanted: Field Technicians

Overview: The Production Team Leader provides disaster cleanup services following water, fire/smoke, mold, biohazard, and other property damages. Responsibilities include: Cleaning, drying, remediation, demolition, job management, etc.

Requirements: Background and driving record checks. Strong communication skills.
Benefits: Paid training, paid vacation, health benefits, 401k.

Contact us at PuroCleanProServices@puroclean.com

Drying Hardwood Floors


In today’s homes, finished flooring materials are becoming more popular than carpet. The success of the restoration process, as a result of water damage, may be dependent upon the following circumstances: response time, flooring type, replacement value, type of wood, type of finish, method of installation, amount of moisture, and the degree of damage already evident. A restoration professional will be able to properly evaluate the floor and implement a plan that will help to ensure its salvage ability.


As in all water related incidents, time is crucial. The longer the moisture remains left untreated, the greater the potential for permanent damage. Hardwood flooring will absorb moisture more slowly due to the porosity of the product. A restoration specialist will be ready to respond at any time of the day or night to the emergency.


Inspection is always crucial when evaluating a hardwood floor for drying. Hardwood flooring comes in a variety of species. Oak, pine, maple, and cherry are just a few. More and more exotic species are being utilized in flooring. Every variety poses different challenges in the drying process due to the different levels of moisture absorption. There are also varieties of flooring that look like wood but are not. These floors will sometimes be manufactured with a laminate on the surface and a substructure consisting of particle board. When moisture seeps beneath these floors, drying is effectively impossible due to the inability to remove the moisture from beneath them as a result of the laminate surface acting as a vapor barrier. A restoration professional will be able to properly evaluate the floor for drying ability.


The initial installation method of the hardwood flooring must also be assessed. Original installation may have been nailed, glued, or it may have been installed in a floating method. Nailed floors may cause the lifting of the nails from the substrate if enough cupping and distortion occurs as a result of water absorption. The moisture may allow for the release of the glue if the floor has been glued onto the substrate. If the floor is of a floating type, it may not be true wood and may be a laminated product. A qualified restoration professional will be aware of these differences in installation.


Tongue and groove hardwood flooring may “cup” when moisture has been absorbed. With the use of surface and/or subsurface drying methods and proper dehumidification, airflow can be forced beneath the surface of the floor (either in a positive or negative manner) to allow for the removal of this moisture. It may also be necessary to access the floor from below to allow for faster drying. Effective drying of a hardwood floor is a slow process. It will sometimes take 7 to 10 days to allow the floor to release enough water to halt the forced drying process. A restoration specialist will know that to remove all the absorbed water from the floor will result in excessive costs and must allow nature to assist in the process.


A professional restoration specialist will continue to dry the hardwood flooring until the moisture content is reduced to within 4% of the dry standard of the floor. At this point in time, nature will remove the remaining water, although slowly. This time frame may be anywhere from three to six months. Education in this process is paramount for a successful job to be performed, and the restoration professional will be able to educate the homeowner and all involved parties in this process.

After the drying of the hardwood has been completed, damage to the finish of the floor may be evident. Finishes such as waxes and polyurethane may inhibit the evaporation of the absorbed moisture. They will sometimes have to be removed in the drying process to allow for moisture removal. If the hardwood floor cups slightly, the finish may check and crack due to the movement of the wood product. This is a normal part of the drying process and should be expected. A qualified restoration specialist knows that the true value in the floor is in the wood product. After complete drying has been accomplished, the floor can be re-finished.


Hardwood floor drying is a specialty. PuroClean restoration professionals have the necessary knowledge to properly evaluate the various types of floors and also have the required specialty equipment to enable the salvage ability of the hardwood floors.

PuroClean Professional Services

866.944.PURO (7876)



Freezing Weather and Water Damage


Property damage caused by freezing weather occurs more frequently and creates greater damage than is commonly thought. When water freezes, its volume increases by approximately eleven percent (11%), and this expansion exerts tremendous force. This force is sufficient to break concrete or even steel! When even a small amount of water enters a structure and freezes, the resulting expansion further damages and weakens the structure, allowing more water to enter. The damage cycle continues until the source problem (the initial entry point) is repaired.

A number of variables, acting separately or in combination, contribute to freeze damage. A drop in temperature, the type of building construction, the amount and quality of insulation, the direction and force of wind, and other weather-related conditions are all contributing factors.

An occupied building is not completely free from freeze-related damages, even when it is constructed to withstand freezing weather and is properly maintained and heated. However, a significant amount of freeze damage occurs when a building is not occupied, especially if the owners are gone for an extended period and the heating system is not on during the freezing weather. In northern climates, many people go south for the winter. They "winterize" their homes before they leave by draining the plumbing system and adding antifreeze to plumbing fixtures. Frequently, this is not completely effective, and the owners find freeze damage when they return.

Draining the plumbing system needs to be thorough and complete. If a water line sags or bows, it can result in a low spot that is nearly impossible to completely drain. To be most effective, draining the water lines should be accompanied by the use of compressed air to blow out the lines. If this is not done, some amount of water will remain and will freeze in the low points of the lines, which may cause the pipes to break. The damage is then discovered only after the water is turned back on and escapes from that break. Virtually all plumbing lines are placed inside of walls and are not visible. As a result, a freeze-caused leak is only discovered when water damage to floors, carpet, walls, or ceilings becomes visible. Occasionally, the sound of spraying water can be heard by an occupant, but by then it may already be too late. The leak would have already caused some degree of damage.

People living in the south usually consider themselves immune from this type of damage. Because of this sense of security, construction in the southern parts of the country often does not adequately take into consideration that fact that the temperature does occasionally drop below freezing. When that happens and the property is poorly insulated, damage will occur.

Winter wind, snow, and ice storms frequently damage electric power lines and equipment, resulting in interruptions of electric power. Most heating systems depend on electricity, and when the power goes off, so does the heat. In severe cold weather, this can result in extensive freeze damage before power is restored.

Buildings that are poorly designed and do not withstand weather well can contribute to their own damage. Many old buildings are not insulated at all.

Back then, to avoid freezing, plumbing lines were commonly run along the inside of interior walls and ceilings, rather than enclosed within the walls. In some cases, many lines simply ran inside of un-insulated walls. During renovation of some old homes, blown or foam insulation has been added into wall cavities between interior and exterior wall surfaces and between each stud. This process, many times, served to insulate heat away from pipes that were located inside of walls and adjacent to the exterior wall surfaces or in attics, actually making them more susceptible to freezing.

The type and age of the plumbing system is also a factor. Rust or corrosion weakens pipes, making leaks easier to occur. When freeze expansion occurs, such pipes will often split open. As thawing begins, or when the water is turned back on, this situation will result in water damage.

There is also a form of direct damage that can occur from extreme cold, even though no moisture is present. Most building materials and personal property are unaffected by cold alone, provided they are dry. Extremely cold temperatures can damage some sensitive computers and other electronic components. In northern climates, temperatures commonly fall below zero and occasionally dip to minus 40 to even 50 degrees. The contraction associated with those extremely low temperatures can congeal Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and fuel oil, causing heating system failure.

Regardless of the circumstances – if water damage occurs from freezing or other sources, call your local PuroClean office. These professionals, known in the industry as "The Paramedics of Property Damage," will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage. Following the highest standards in the industry, PuroClean provides peace-of-mind through its own form of "CPR" – Controlling, Protecting, and Restoring damaged property and contents. All PuroClean offices have professional, certified Technicians who provide proven state-of-the-science services to all property damaged from water, fire, smoke, mold, and other disasters.

PuroClean Professional Services

866-944-7876 (PURO)



Be Careful...Be Thoughtful

Cleveland, OH (Grassroots Newswire) January 1st 2011 -- As winter weather sets in, and cold temperatures cause water to freeze and expand, homeowners are at a risk of damage from frozen pipes. Whether a pipe is plastic or metal, it cannot withstand the pressure caused by the expansion of freezing water.


According to the American Red Cross, pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to the severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing. Pipe freezing is a particular problem in warmer regions where pipes often run through uninsulated or underinsulated attics or crawl spaces.


PuroClean, known as “The Paramedics of Property Damage,” is a professional mitigation company specializing in property restoration and responding to water damage emergencies that can be caused by frozen pipes. Emilio Soli, owner of PuroClean Pro Service serving Northeast Ohio, says, “This time of year, we experience an increased number of property emergencies due to frozen pipes.”


To help property owners reduce the risk of frozen pipes, Soli provides property owners with the following tips:

  • Make sure all pipes in unheated areas are insulated
  • When it is extremely cold outside, let cold water drip from the faucet because running a small amount of water helps prevent pipes from freezing
  • Keep the heat on if you are going away during cold weather
  • Keep the thermostat set at the same temperature both during day and night
  • Add insulation to basements, attics and garages to maintain higher temperatures


About PuroClean PuroClean is a leader in property damage restoration and has earned the trust of property owners, insurance professionals and home service providers throughout the United States and Canada since 2001. Backed by a comprehensive network of more than 300 franchise offices and a national training and business support center, each PuroClean office responds promptly to property emergencies demonstrating a high degree of professionalism and compassion. PuroClean certified technicians are thoroughly screened, insured and trained in utilizing the latest in mitigation technology and procedures throughout the remediation process while operating under a strict code of ethics. In addition to serving the needs of property owners, PuroClean offers hundreds of continuing education classes each year to insurance professionals and property service providers nationwide. Last year, PuroClean trained more than 10,500 insurance professionals nationwide helping them earn their continuing education credits. For more information on PuroClean, please contact Emilio Soli at 866-944-PURO (7876) or visit purocleanproservices.com. 


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