Frozen Pipes Prevention Tips

Take these steps to avoid the problem altogether.

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to cover the outdoor furniture, rake up the remaining leaves, pull out the parkas and snow shovels, and start thinking about eating some turkey and pumpkin pie! And more importantly, it’s time to keep your family safe in the chill of the season.

We don’t know what Mother Nature has in store for us this winter, but it’s bound to dip below freezing sooner or later, so it’s also time to think about how your pipes will do in the colder weather and make sure you don’t come home to any unexpected and unpleasant surprises. Pipes that aren’t properly insulated can freeze and burst, causing damage and flooding (that can also mean mold growth!) The good news is that this is usually avoidable, and an ounce of prevention now can prevent pounds of pain later!

Protect pipes exposed to the outdoors

Be sure to disconnect all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets. These water-lines are the most susceptible to damage during the cold winter months, and taking these precautions will ensure that there will be nothing to freeze. It is also recommended that you wrap pipes nearest to exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or heating tape, protecting these exposed pipes from the worst of winter’s cold sting.

Protect indoor pipes

Get your home ready for the winter cold by closing all windows near water pipes and cover or close open-air vents and insulating outside walls and uninsulated areas of your home. Drafty windows, door frames and basement areas can allow cold in, and if there are pipes in those areas, they’ve vulnerable. Caulking or sealing those areas will not only protect your pipes, but save you money on your heating bill!

Use your heater to your own advantage

Although it’s tempting to supposedly save money in the winter by keeping the heat very low, or even turning you heat off when you travel for the holidays, these habits can inflict fatal damage on your pipes. It is recommended that you keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher at all times, and this rule applies to your basement as well. While keeping your heater on at all times may seem to be a waste of money, it will save you loads of it in the long run, as it will prevent frozen pipes and pipe bursts in your future.

Maintain healthy conditions for your faucets and kitchen pipes

The first step to ensuring that your home doesn’t freeze over is allowing airflow to move freely throughout the house so that one room doesn’t become colder than the rest. By keeping cabinet and interior doors open, you allow heat to spread evenly throughout your home, so that it reaches each room and under-sink pipe in your household. In addition to this, if a certain pipe has given you trouble or is in a particularly cold area of your home, it’s important to keep that faucet dripping slightly with lukewarm water. It’s annoying, we know, but the age-old trick rarely fails. With water moving, the pressure from a small, frozen area in a pipe can’t cause it to burst.

Prepare for the worst

In case of an emergency, make sure that you know how to keep the damage to a minimum. Be sure that you can identify the main water shut-off in our house and on your water heater. This will prevent further occurrences of bursting pipes or flooding in your home, and give you the peace of mind of knowing that even if the worst comes, you are prepared.  

We hope these tips will help keep you and your pipes safe, dry and toasty warm this winter. But if you ever have a problem, your property restoration experts at Hays + Sons are just a phone call away.

Back-to-School is a Great Time to Practice Emergency Readiness

The backpacks are packed, the buses are running, and your mornings have gotten back into the back-to-school groove. As the lazy, carefree days of summer come to an end and everyone gets swept back up into their own routines, it’s a good time to think about emergency readiness. Schedule a family meeting to make sure everyone in the household is on the same page when it comes to family safety and what to do in the case of an unexpected event. Here are some things to keep in mind as your family gets back in the swing of homework and school activities.

 

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Twelve Quick Tips for Fireproofing Your Kitchen

Kitchens are the hearts of the home. They’re the place where morning coffee is brewed, family meals are prepared and birthday cakes and holiday cookies are baked. Kitchens are also the place where half of all house fires that require fire restoration start. In order to make sure that all your kitchen memories are happy ones, it’s important to take steps to fireproof your kitchen to keep your family safe and prevent fire damage to your home. It only takes a few minutes, and an ounce of prevention now can save you loads of trouble and stress with fire restoration down the line.

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Six Ways to Reduce Stress When a Weather Disaster Occurs


Your home or business has been damaged by a storm or weather disaster. You thought it would never happen to you, but it did. In the aftermath, it’s hard to feel like things will ever be right again. It’s only natural to feel anxiety and stress in the face of the damage. You’re overwhelmed. You want things to get back to normal, and you don’t know where to start.
Here’s a list of six things you can do to take care of yourself and those around you while you head down the path back to normalcy. You’ll be there before you know it. 

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Ice Dam Damage From Winter Weather

Ice and icicles are a part of winter, and they can be beautiful as they catch the sun or create interesting formations. However, winter weather damage from snow and ice accumulating on your roof or hanging off your gutters and eaves is downright dangerous and can cause major damage to your roof. Winter storm damage can even result in leaks coming into your home, through ceilings, walls and insulation.
In order to avert disaster, it’s important to know how winter weather and storms can damage your home. Snow and ice that build up on the eaves of your home cause a barrier between the warmth of the interior of your home and the cold air around it. This causes the insulated snow between the layers to melt, and that water flows down to your eaves and gutters where it freezes again, forming ice dams.
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Furnace Maintenance: Don’t Take Your Furnace For Granted

Winter has us firmly in its grip now and the new year is off to a frigid start. Unless we can escape to warmer climes, bundling up and dreaming of spring are our only options. With the thermometer plunging to record lows, it’s certainly no time to take your furnace for granted, and furnace maintenance is key. 
It’s easy to forget about your furnace as it chugs away in the dark corners of your basement. Continue reading “Furnace Maintenance: Don’t Take Your Furnace For Granted”

Top 10 Holiday Safety Tips | Hays + Sons


Lights and decorations add to the festivity of the holiday season. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree trimmed with twinkling lights, stockings hung over the fireplace and maybe even some over-the-top lights on the exterior of your house (ala Clark Griswold.) Continue reading “Top 10 Holiday Safety Tips | Hays + Sons”

My Basement Flooded… Now What?

With unpredictable winter weather ahead, the opportunities for water-related disasters are plenty– pipes can freeze and burst, rain and melting snow can raise groundwater levels, sewers can back up, or tiny cracks in your foundation can allow water to seep through the walls as the snow builds up along the side of your house. Continue reading “My Basement Flooded… Now What?”

September is Disaster Preparedness Month

Remember the blizzard of 2014 when nearly 12 inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours, and grounded many people to their homes? For nearly a week, time stood still, some lost power and we learned about being prepared.
It’s true that disasters don’t happen everyday, but given Indiana’s seasonal climate, it’s not impossible to experience flooding, tornados and even massive snowstorms like the blizzard of 2014. Therefore, being prepared pays.Blizzard
September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and a good time to share our five tips for preparing your family and home for disasters. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but we hope these tips will get you thinking about what’s most important when it comes to protecting your most valuable assets.

Develop your plan, know the risks

Your first goal in disaster preparedness includes making a plan, developing roles and responsibilities for each family member, and not forgetting pets. It’s also a great time to check your insurance policy, and have home maintenance completed. However, perhaps the most important step is taking action. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes features a disaster risk map that can identify the most likely perils for your state.

Identify vulnerability, make home improvements

When disaster strikes, you want to ensure your home is airtight. After all, a safe home not only decreases vulnerabilities and saves money, but it also protects against the unthinkable.
It’s easy to assume nothing will happen, but disasters such as floods, tornados and snowstorms that are common in Indiana can quickly become a nightmare. Consequently, we always recommend a home assessment, and making improvements before it’s too late. Consider installing storm doors and shutters, building a safe room or inspecting to your roof.  As well, it’s always wise to devise a plan for what might happen should you lose power. For instance, do you have a back-up generator? Enough water? Batteries? Given Indiana’s seasons, these small, yet mighty protections could be safeguarding you and your family against possible property damage.

Make a kit

Being prepared, and ensuring your family’s safety is essential. This means along with developing an emergency plan, you also should organize a kit consisting of water, food, medicines and first aid, a battery-powered or hand-cranking radio, extra batteries, a flashlight, whistle, cellphone and cash.  Although this is a basic list, additional items to include can be found on Ready.gov. We cannot stress the importance of being proactive.

Create an inventory, be organized

Although it seems tedious, taking inventory and making a catalog of your personal property is necessary. Think of it this way: When a disaster of any kind strikes, you want to establish normalcy. This critical step could help in getting fair insurance reimbursements and simplifying the recovery process. Also, if disaster aid is needed, your catalog will make your application process seamless.

Practice makes perfect

Our final step includes implementing your emergency plan with a simulation exercise. By this, we mean addressing emergency communications, planning your exit strategy, and determining how to turn off utilities. Addressing these tasks not only identifies weak areas, but it’s also helpful in starting conversations about disaster preparedness.
When it comes to preparing your home and family for a disaster, being informed, prepared and proactive goes a long way in weathering the so-called storm. Disaster preparation takes time, and it’s true that plans don’t materialize overnight. But, taking initiative now during the calm before can offer you peace of mind later. Don’t wait. Act now.
For more tips on preparing your family and home for disasters, visit the American Red Cross and the Centers For Disease Control.

Would you Refer or Wouldn’t You?

Once a job is complete we survey our clients to learn from their experience. Of all the questions asked, there is one that is the most critical to Hays + Sons. “Are you likely to recommend Hays + Sons?” The industry average is 85%, currently Hays + Sons clients are answering “YES” 94% of the time. This is a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication our team puts forth on a daily basis. Thank you to our referral source and thank you to our team.
Have a safe weekend!!