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Don’t Ignore Those Mysterious Winter Leaks

The winter cold is finally upon the Pittsburgh area.  Flooding, with the exception of the situation down South is a distance memory.  But did you know that over the last few years in Pittsburgh, the winter has yielded far more water damages than Spring and Summer flash flooding combined?  There’s several signs you need to be aware of, and understanding how to deal with them can be the difference between a nuisance and a full blown water emergency.

First, everyone has encountered the inconvenience (or could imagine) of turning on a faucet and nothing coming out.  However, the inconvenience can be much worse, as water freezing expands and could possible cause the pipe to split.  The colder it gets outside, the more likely this could happen, especially around faucets/outlets near or on an outside wall like some kitchen sinks, showers, and toilets.  However other potential sources are not so easily identifiable such as outside hose bibs and sprinkler systems in attics.  If you know you have a frozen pipe, keep a close eye on it and shut off the water to that area of your home if possible.  Once the thaw comes, turn the water back on and check for leaks.  If you are lucky enough to see a small mysterious leak around a sprinkler line or hose bib running outside, get the water shut off to that area (or house is necessary) and call a plumber immediately.  A small leak indicates that the line is thawing and beginning to trickle water out.  Once thawed you will have a major damage on your hands and will likely need help like the professionals at Rainbow International of Plum.  This is especially the case with a sprinkler system that can dump a lot of water into your home or business in a blink of the eye.

A second mysterious leak could be wet wall coverings and flooring around outside walls.  If you start noticing this, it could well be an indication of an ice damn.  An ice damns occur from snow melting from heat loss from the roof of a home and flowing into the gutter where it refreezes and starts moving back up the roof and under the shingles…where it again melts into your home from heat loss.   The action looks a lot like a mini glacier moving uphill.  If you notice this do not ignore.  If accessible and safe to do so remove the snow from the roof, or at a minimum the eaves along the outside to allow the radiant heat from the sun to heat the roof and thaw things out.  Then call a professional like Rainbow International of Plum to do a full inspection and assess the damage.  If the snow cannot be removed, sometimes it is a wait it out game.  Move furniture from the areas, and if possible carpet, to minimize the damage.  Rainbow International can assist you with this and other actions to help minimize your loss.

Finally, if you have a boiler system in your home, be observant of any leaks.  As with any mechanical system, as it works harder, the opportunity to experience a failure increases.  Similar to a sprinkler system, a major break could spill huge volumes of water in your home in a short period of time.  Call a professional immediately upon seeing any leakage around radiators or lines running to it.  If you do have a major disaster, Rainbow International can help.

For any questions, or tips on how to prevent these disasters, please call or email Rainbow International of Plum anytime 24/7.