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Frozen Pipes in the Forecast?

With all of the cold weather that has been running rampant this winter, it is important to be aware of frozen pipes. This is a reality, and can happen to many homeowners when they least expect it. The temperatures are not expected to reach above single digits for the next week or so, so it is important to stay on high alert and make sure that the heat in your house is at or above 55 degrees at all times.


Also, try to keep your cabinet doors open where pipes are located so that warm air can circulate and keep the pipes warmer. If you haven’t already, you should also look into pipe insulation or heat tape which can be found at your local hardware store. If you have in fact discovered that your pipes are frozen, you will need to try and thaw them. This can be done by wrapping towels soaked in warm water around the pipes, or by using a hair dryer to evenly distribute the heat along the length of the pipe.

Luckily, the Plumbing Gurus have got you covered for all of your frozen pipe needs. We can arrive quickly to stop any more water from entering your property, secure the pipes, and then fix them accordingly. We also maintain equipment to quickly dry out your home and remove the water if you have sustained water damage.


Winterize Your Plumbing System For Cold Weather

If you aren’t prepared, the harsh chilly winter months can do some serious damage to your homes plumbing system. Frozen pipes can lead to broken pipes, which can then lead to more complications and even a flooded home or basement. Being preventative is your best bet to combat any issues that might arise during the cold winter months. Here are some tips to help you prepare your plumbing for this chilly season!

  • Fix Any Existing Leaks

It doesn’t matter how small the water leak is, it can still turn into a big problem when the temperatures begin to drop. You should start off by checking all pipes that will be exposed to colder temperatures both inside and outside. If you wait for the water to freeze, damage can also be caused to surrounding pipes as well, and the damage will be more significant at that. Now if your pipes are already insulated, feel for moisture that may have been soaked up by the insulation.

  • Insulate Exposed Pipes

Insulating any pipes, both indoor and outdoor, that will be exposed to cold temperatures is the best way to combat frozen and cracked pipes. You will want to make sure that they are insulated well, and to find any pipes that may be exposed this winter season, check your crawl space, garage and attic. A good rule of thumb to go by is if you can see the pipe, it needs to be insulated or wrapped with insulation foam. Pipe wrap insulation is pretty inexpensive, is fairly easy to install, and it can save you on heating costs as well as keeping your pipes protected against harsh temperatures.

  • Swamp Cooler

Next is an evaporative cooler, which is also known as a swamp cooler. This is another source of water that will definitely need to be drained before winter hits. To do this, you will need to first turn off the water and the power to the unit. You can then drain out the water and the supply line that leads to it. This makes for a perfect time to clean out the interior and also change the padding! Lastly, you will cover the cooler with a cover or tarp to keep it insulated.

  • Pump Your House

If you maintain a well at your house, planning and prepping is the key to having a successful and worry free winter season. For added protection, insulate any pipes in the pump house. A heat source is also need to keep the temperature of the pump house above freezing.

  • Outdoor Hose Bibs

Protecting the outdoor hose bibs from the cold is one of the most important preventative steps to take for the cold season. You can begin by removing hoses that are connected to outdoor faucets, as this ensures that water isn’t trapped in the hose bib where it would essentially freeze and crack the pipes due to extensive pressure.  Also, drain water that the hoses may have in them before you store them.

  • Irrigation System

If you have a sprinkler or irrigation system, then you know that water can collect inside of them and freeze during cold weather. To winterize your sprinkler system, turn off the water and flush out any collected water by turning on each valve. You can also hire a professional to do this for you.

  • Locate Water Main

Lastly, you should know where your water main is in case of an emergency. If you undergo the unfortunate event of a burst pipe due to freezing, you will want to be able to shut off the water quickly to minimize the current damage and prevent further damage from occurring.


15 ways to deal with water in your home

If your plumbing system has failed and you are left with water damage, do you know how to handle the situation? Here are 15 easy steps to help you through the process before calling a licensed professional in the water damage restoration field.

1) Turn off the water at the point where the water damage has been caused, whether it was a broken appliance or a pipe. In some cases, it might be necessary to turn off the water at the main which is usually outside of the home or in the basement if you have one.

2) Call your insurance agent after discovering the water to ensure you have coverage for this loss. Even if these instances occur duing the night, most companies have a 24 hour emergency line available to meet emergency needs (removal of standing water). It is important to follow the instructions that the insurance agent gives you so that your claim doesn’t become voided.

3) Move any dry furniture, upholstery, or other valuables to safe areas of your home that weren’t affected by the water damage.

4) Remove the water with a wet dry vacuum if it isn’t dangerous to do so. Only proceed with this step if a professional restoration firm isn’t on their way or if your insurance company tells you that it’s okay. By removing the water quickly, you are helping avoid mold issues in the long run.

5) Cut away wet carpeting with a carpet knife and place it outside where mold won’t have the chance to grow or transfer to any other moist surfaces on your property.

6) Remove the items that are soaked with water and place them in a dry area, such as your garage, or a covered area outside. This will be easier when it comes to cleaning these items later or throwing them out. If any of your valuables were in boxes that have gotten wet, remove them immediately so that you can salvage them.

7) Get rid of any small or completely soaked items that cannot be salvaged after you have taken a complete home inventory and taken photographs of the damage. Later, it would be beneficial to retrieve receipts of the manufacturer’s warranties for the insurance process. Don’t get rid of expensive furnishings such as furniture, electronics, or antiques until your insurance company has warranted you to do so.

8) Remove any wet baseboard and kick plates by pulling them away from the wall with a crowbar.

9) Cut away at any wet wallboards or paneling, cutting at least 12 inches past the wet areas so that mold cannot have a chance to grow, but make sure not to cut through any wiring or piping within the walls.

10) Remove and discard wet ceiling materials.

11) Pull out and get rid of any wet insulation.

12) Sanitize all surface areas and flooring by wiping them down with an appropriate anti-bacterial cleaning solution and sponge.

13) Aim fans at any wet surfaces to help eliminate any moisture from your property. If the weather is mild and not muggy, you can speed the process up by opening the windows.

14) Clean the furniture and any personal items once you are authorized to do so by your insurance company. For any valuables or antiques, consult a professional on the proper way to clean or restore them.

15) Set up an appointment for home repairs once it is approved by your insurance company.

If you have undergone extensive water damage, it is always in your best bet to contact a certified professional in the field. They have the knowledge, experience, and proper equipment to rid your home of water and any lingering moisture.

Plumbing Tips for the Summer Months

The transition from spring to summer is an exciting time for all homeowners, but that also means that it’s time to avoid any potential problems with your plumbing, drain, and sewer systems. The summer months can bring many issues to your plumbing systems, but if you are prepared properly, you can avoid these issues and have a hassle free summer season. Here are some tips to get your home ready for warm weather while saving energy and money as well.
During the summer, there is more outdoor activities which means there is the opportunity for more dirty clothing. Be sure to check all washing machine hoses for any bulges, cracks, or leaks, and make sure to remove drier lint on a regular basis. It is also a good idea to move your machine at least four inches from the wall to prevent any kinks from occurring within the hose, and never leave your home while the washer is running. A good rule of thumb when wondering when your hoses should be replaced is about every three years.

Summer can be humid, and in humid weather, your ductwork may begin to sweat and create condensation. If your drains aren’t clear, this can cause a backup. Any leaks in the seams can also create condensation. If you have any installations in your attic, be sure that there is no water present in the drain pan. If there is water present, you should call for help from a professional as it could save your ceiling from collapsing.

The warm weather calls for cookouts, but it is always important to monitor what you put down your kitchen disposal after these get-togethers. Most systems are not equipped to handle any type of cornhusks, celery, banana peels, or any other string-like foods. A couple other items to stay away from would be fats or cooking oils because they’ll form clots in your piping. Run cold water at full pressure for 15 seconds before, and after, you put anything down the disposal to flush it through. You should never put stuffing, potato mixes, or any other “add-water” foods down the drain, as they will create an instant clog when you add water to them to flush them through the system.

You can save money on your summer vacation by turning down the temperature of your water heater as well.

A common occurrence during this time of the year is sewer backups. This is due to summer rainwater entering sewer pipes through the cracks and crevices. New tree growth can also cause sewer backup issues if roots are drawn toward the sewer line as a source of nutrition. You should have a plumber inspect your sewer lines to let you know if you are susceptible to a sewer backup issue, or to see if damage has really occurred. Either way, your plumber will be able to help you determine the best kind of solution for proper drain cleaning techniques.

Extreme cold weather makes a return to the midwest this week

Many people living in the Midwest are thinking of putting away their parkas and thermal undergarments with hopes of an early spring. However, forecasters are warning it’s too early to store away winter clothing as yet another blast of arctic cold is pushing its way down from Canada. It appears as though last week’s thaw was just a tease for the Midwest and Northeast as a new polar vortex is going to push temperatures far below what’s normal for this time of the year.

Waves of cold air are going to push down from the Arctic Circle to send temperatures plunging downward in the northern Rockies, Midwest and Northeast this week. This will result in several days worth of temperatures in the teens and single digits in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Valley that includes the Twin Cities of Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit and Buffalo. The lows overnight will be below zero and even as cold as -30 near the border to Canada. The temperatures will struggle to rise above zero this week during the daytime hours in places like Fargo, North Dakota and St. Cloud, Minnesota.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that a much-dreaded polar vortex is set to return this week to the Midwest and Northeast where people are very weary of winter and extremely low temperatures. The service warned that people living in those portions of the country should be ready for temperatures that are between 10 and 30 degrees colder than what’s normal for this time of the year.

Wind chill advisories have been put into place by the NWS from Montana to Minnesota and Iowa. The combination of frigid air and wind will make it feel as though it is -35 degrees in those areas. The low in Chicago is expected to dip below zero Tuesday and to -10 in the Twin Cities. People living in the Plains, Midwest and Northeast are growing very tired of persistently cold weather even though a cold winter is not unexpected in those areas of the country. But, with the seemingly endless series of bitterly cold days coupled with regularly falling snow, many people are simply craving a break and are dreaming of some warmth.

The cold temperatures and regular, heavy snowfall that has dominated the Midwest this winter have caused all types of problems. There have been many cases of home and businesses flooding this winter due to frozen water pipes which burst, furnaces that won’t start and even a shortage of natural gas that’s pushed the price per unit upwards. There has also been weather-related chaos on roadways as well as vehicle starting problems this winter season which has many people such as the millions who live in the Midwest completely fed up with winter.

Winter Storm Orion Makes Its Rounds Across U.S

Winter weather is still in the forecast for much of the Midwest and northeast, but now, the west is also in for some precipitation, as well as some very heavy snowfall. Winter Storm Orion will be delivering some much needed snow to the western mountains of California. This snow will continue to fall at low elevations, and this could create some travel hassles. This winter storm cell will continue to pour light amounts of snow to parts of the Midwest and Northeast over the weekend.

Washington, Oregon, and Vancouver have all seen some snowfall in the areas of lower elevation. 11.5 inches was even recorded in Corvallis. In Portland, they recorded about 4 inches of snow, which made that day the fifth single day snowfall total in the city since 1940. Another cold front will make its way into Oregon on Friday, which will allow more inclement weather to affect the western Region of the U.S.

In the next few days, northern California will see significant amounts of rainfall and it will stay consistent. California has been undoubtedly been going through a drought recently, and this large cell of precipitation will help alleviate some of those dry conditions. In the Sierra Nevada, snowfalls will reach about 4 feet higher by the end of the week. States like Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, and Colorado will also see snowfall due to Orion. This snow is expected to fall in areas that are abnormally dry according to the U.S Drought Monitor.

On the warmer side of Orion, it will produce heavy precipitation of 1 to 3 inches throughout the weekend to the lower elevations of California. This cell will produce the heaviest rainfall of the winter thus far. On Saturday, light snow is predicted for Iowa, parts of Illinois, and Minnesota. This cell of light wintry mix will then head into the Midwest and Northeast.

This winter has been tough for many residents living in the Midwest and Northeast, but next week is supposed to lighten up snowfall wise. The cold temperatures will continue, as this season has been below average temperature wise. You should always take precautions in the winter time when it comes to keeping your home winterized. This will help fight against any cold weather issues that could occur on your property. It is also a good idea to keep an emergency kit when the weather is quite cold in case of a power outage.

For any further updates on Winter Storm Orion, check the Weather Channel or your local weather authority.

The Process of Properly Thawing Frozen Pipes

This year, residents all over the Midwest have been dealing with below average temperatures and heavy accumulations of snow. When subzero temperatures occur, it makes pipes an easy target for freezing. When pipes freeze, it can become a hassle if they are not thawed quickly, and the right way. When pipes are frozen, they have a higher chance of bursting, which can then cause water damage to your home or business. The reason why pipes burst is because water has a unique component to it that when it freezes, it also expands. When this frozen water expands, it puts an extensive amount of pressure on the pipes. It does not matter what kind of pipes they are, the expanding water can still cause the pipes to break.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are ones that are exposed to the severe cold. This could be anything from outdoor house bibs to water supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that are along walls of the exterior of your home or business with little to no insulation are also subject to freezing.

Now, there are a couple ways to prevent frozen pipes if you have not already done so. It is always a good idea to insulate your home before the weather conditions get too cold. But, because it is already so cold out, anytime would be good to insulate your pipes so that they don’t freeze, and in turn, burst!

First, you should check around your home and other areas where water lines are present and unheated. The basement, crawl spaces, attics, garage, kitchen cabinets, and bathroom cabinets would be a good place to start. Both hot and cold pipes should be insulated. To insulate your pipe, you can use items such as a pipe sleeve, heat tape, or heat cable. Also, if you do not want to spend much money on these items at your local hardware store, you can also use newspaper. This material can provide a small level of insulation to provide protection on exposed pipes. ¼” of Newspaper can make a difference in your pipes freezing or not.

If you turn on your faucet and only a trickle comes out, you more than likely have a frozen pipe. Pipes against exterior walls and where your water service enters your home are the most susceptible for freezing in subzero and frigid temperatures. When you detect a frozen pipe, you should always keep the faucet open. When you begin to treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through this area. When the water is running, it will help the ice melt.

From there, you need to apply heat to that section of the pipe using an electrically charged heating pad. You can also use an electric hair dryer, portable space heater, or even wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water can help. DO NOT use a blow torch, propane heater, charcoal stove, or any other device containing an open flame. After you have figured out your method, apply the heat until the full water pressure is restored.

If you cannot detect the frozen area, you should call in a professional such as the Plumbing Gurus to help you thaw the pipe safely, because if you do not know the proper techniques, you may end up causing more damage than good, and causing the pipe to burst. If you need any further help, call the Plumbing Gurus today!

Polar Vortex Makes Another Round in Midwest This Week

Over the last month, the Midwest and Northeast have undergone excruciating cold temperatures and heavy snowfall. Just as the temperatures were beginning to warm up, they will just as quickly fall yet again. The “polar vortex” that overtook many of the Midwestern states is coming back for another round, and does not plan on leaving anytime soon. Temperature in the upper Midwest have already dropped to below zero, and they will not be rising anytime soon according to the National Weather Service. Many people believed that this so called “polar vortex” was what as breaking records and wreaking havoc, but that is not true. A polar vortex is an area of low lying pressure that usually stays around the Arctic throughout the winter season but does not normally reach the United States. It is the cold air surrounding this pattern that has been causing damage to homes, accidents on roadways, and in severe cases, even death.

Residents in the Midwest are already beginning to experience this chill, as temperatures are dropping into the subzero category already. There have been many temperature records that have broken this season, but below-average temperatures, including those of this month, are definitely in the forecast for this week. This will include residents living in the East, Midwest, and South. Unlike the last cold weather pattern that only lasted a couple of days, this cell could remain hovering over the United States for longer than a week. This is because there are many cold fronts that will take turns dominating each other, therefore extending the system. Cities like Detroit and Chicago will be experiencing quite cold temperatures. The highs for Detroit this week are only predicted to be in the teens, while Chicago could see a high of 28 on Saturday.

This pattern will then move onward into the Northeast by Tuesday. Because these temperatures are below zero, it will definitely increase the chance of large snow accumulations. According to Bob Oravec with the National Weather Service, Washington D.C can expect 3-7 inches, while New York City can expect 4-8 inches. The snow will be able to stick around for an extended amount of time because of how cold these temperatures are going to be. To the displeasure of many, these cold and windy conditions will continue on into the weekend. Because this pattern is hitting an area of large population, even more damage is to be expected on roads and on properties all over the country.

The Southeastern states are not left out of the mix. States like Georgia and Alabama could possibly see temperatures lower into the teens throughout the week and into the weekend. West and Southwestern states such as Texas and Arizona can rest easy through this exciting new weather pattern, as they will continue to see dry and warm conditions throughout the week. Stay tuned to your local weather channel to receive any updates that may occur in your area!

Suffering from a broken, burst or frozen pipe, our team of professionals can help with all of your emergency plumbing needs, 24/7 local service to Oakland and Macomb County Michigan.

Midwest Slammed with Subzero Temps and Heavy Snowfall

Over the weekend, the Midwest got slammed with another winter storm. This system was a combination of heavy snowfall and brutally cold temperatures. The states that got hit the hardest include Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin thus far. Other states have also been impacted by this large system as well.

Indiana: This state has received over 15 inches of snow, and the wind gusts reached up to 35 mph. This means that snow drifts were quite possible, and made driving conditions quite difficult. The governor of the state, Mike Pence, urged residents to stay inside and at home if it was possible. Although the sun was shining, the roads were still very hazardous to drive on. The state also issued a code red, meaning that only emergency vehicles were allowed on the roads. Many of Indiana’s schools, business, and offices were closed on Monday, and some remain closed on Tuesday after a foot of snow was dumped on the state. Almost 40,000 homes and businesses did not have power on Monday afternoon after trees knocked down power lines.

Ohio: Ohio also received a whopping amount of snow for the most of the state, and many parts received up to 14 inches. This caused the need for school closures, and many schools, among Ohio State University and University of Toledo, were closed.

Michigan: There have been at least six deaths across the state due to inclement weather. Governor Rick Snyder urges the state’s residents to stay safe and warm. He also told reporters on Monday that the snowstorm had ended, but now the state is facing record cold temperatures. Michigan has experiencing subzero temperatures since Monday. State offices were closed on Monday, as well as many businesses and plenty of school districts. Some businesses and schools plan to stay closed on Tuesday as well because of the subzero temperatures that are hitting the area hard.

Wisconsin: Residents in this Wisconsin are dealing with temperatures of lower than 50 degrees below in some portions of the state. According to officials, it has been the coldest conditions they have had in almost 20 years. Many children wore extra scarves and extra mittens to brave these miserably cold temperatures. These extreme temps caused hundreds of schools, government offices, and businesses to close. Many places even announced on Sunday that they would be closed both Monday and Tuesday. Many shelters in the area expanded hours in their locations around the state, providing food and a warm place to stay for those who needed it.

Many flights were delayed as well due to these brutal winter weather conditions, and many airports are beginning to provide cots to people whose flights have been delayed for many days. Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia were also affected by this polar vortex, but not nearly as harshly as the upper Midwestern states.

New Year and Record Cold Temps Across the United States

Cold weather has been especially brutal in 2013, and the beginning of the year will continue on these arctic cold temperatures. For many cities east of the Rockies, the first week or so of 2014 will feature much more of the bitter cold air coming from the southern region of Canada. The chill is expected to continue to be miserable for many residents living in the north-central states. International Falls, Minnesota, which is already known as the “Icebox of the Nation” has reached the 30’s below zero in December, setting a new record. On Thursday morning, the city set a daily record low temp of 42 degrees below zero.

The core of this cold air system will remain focused on parts of the Midwest and Northeast as we end this week. Friday morning, lows will stay in the single digits and teens below zero. These extremely cold temperatures will affect parts of the Upper Midwest and Northern New England. New England has also been dealing with brunt of each winter storm this season, receiving the most snow. Lows in the single digits and teens above zero will be more than common among the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, and along the I-95 corridor of the northeast.

Areas from Boston, to New York and Philadelphia will see highs in the teens on Friday, while single-digit highs will overtake areas just to the north and western regions. Subzero highs will grip much of northern New England and the Adirondacks. Into Friday night and Saturday morning, these lows will plunge into the single digits again in states like New York and Massachusetts. New York City and Boston will deal with widespread lows of 10 to 30 below zero. Unfortunately, another cold air system will arrive this weekend and will continue on into the next week.

This will send temperatures 25 to 40 below zero across the Midwest by the start of next week. Near the Canadian Border, North Dakota and Minnesota may see highs in the teens below zero, but a few places may possibly fail to warm above – 20 by Sunday and Monday. Minneapolis will see lows in the -20s for the start of the next full workweek. In Chicago, the high temperature wise may even fail to warm above zero. This will be the first time in almost five years! These miserably cold conditions are expected to move southeast into the Ohio Valley, and into the Northeast by the middle of next week. The morning lows on Tuesday may reach down below zero as far South as the Ohio River, if not further. Lows for the southern states could include single digits and the teens above zero.

In situations like these, it is important to be prepared for any type of emergency that may occur. Having an emergency plan and kit on hand is always a good idea. Also, stay tuned to your local weather authority for any changes that might occur in your area.