snowmelt

Higher Flood Risks This Year

April Showers Bring Flood Warnings

heavy rainA couple days ago, it snowed. Twice in one day. As I sit in my office right now, the rain is pouring down. For Utah, this is a lot of precipitation. Experts in Salt Lake City are saying we could get even more snow this spring. This is on top of what is already the deepest snowpack since 2011. On the positive side, we should have an ample water supply this year. It does mean the risk of flooding is up.

How Does a Desert Flood?

Utah is a desert, as everyone knows. Deserts are dry. So how can a desert flood? A bit part of it is what we call Drywash.

Because the soil doesn’t get regular moisture – especially when it’s warmer – it packs down hard. This means that it doesn’t absorb water very quickly. What can’t be absorbed by the soil simply rushes on, carried by gravity towards the lowest and flattest point it can find. As a result, when we do get a lot of water, it tends to build up above the soil very quickly.

What Are The Risks?

snowmeltThe main cause of flooding in areas like Cache Valley and Salt Lake City is from melting snow. In Cache Valley, nearly all of the water that we use comes from snow in the mountains. When there is more snow than usual, it fills up our reservoirs and rivers faster than we can manage it. This causes them to overflow. Once they do, the water just slides away out of control because the soil can’t absorb it. This means that even if you don’t live anywhere near a river, it’s possible for a flood to reach you.

Unexpected rainfall also causes flooding. Our roads, gutters, and drainage systems are built to handle a certain amount of rainfall.  When a storm drops more precipitation than normal, that extra water overflows and spreads into nearby houses and businesses.

There are ways to prepare. We’ve already written an article on flood preparation, so we encourage you to read that. Since it looks like the risks are higher this year, now would be a good time to take some of those precautions.

Flood Cleanup

rental equipmentOur flood cleanup services will come in useful if you find yourself getting flooded because of the extra moisture we’re getting this year. Our fast response will help you get it under control before it can do lasting damage to your home and we go out of our way to locate where the water is getting in and stop it. Then we’ll bring in our dehumidifiers and wet vacs to make sure your house is dry as a bone before we leave.

If you need help cleaning up a flood, then don’t hesitate to contact us. If you live anywhere from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake City, we have offices nearby and can get to you within 60 minutes to ensure that the flooding does as little damage as possible to your home.

floods

Flood Preparation in Utah and Idaho

floods            With winter past its peak and inching toward spring, we can look forward to warmer weather.  While we’re all happy about being able to go outside without so many layers of coats we can’t put our arms down, there is something we ought to be on the lookout for: floods.

Floods are the most common natural hazard faced in the U.S., and Utah is no exception.  Whether it’s the flooding of Ogden in 2015, or the Box Elder Creek overflow in Brigham City last March, floods happen all over.

Causes of Floods

The causes of floods are many and varied.  As a desert region, Utah does not have a lot of consistent rainfall, but sometimes, storms come in and dump a lot of water all at once.  While there are many systems in place to prevent disaster – sewers, drainage basins, dams, etc. – a particularly heavy storm can sometimes drop more water on us than we’re prepared for.  This can cause flooding in houses, especially if they’re at lower elevation.

Storms mixed with the melting snow in the spring can cause rivers to overflow.  If you live along a river or stream, you may not even need to have heavy rain in your area to experience flooding.  If anywhere upstream of you experiences a significant storm, floods are possible.

And on a smaller, more personal scale, a surprise leading cause of flooding in Utah is bad plumbing.  Now that the weather is warming up, leaks from frozen pipes bursting will become apparent.  Although this presents little risk to the community as a whole, it can be quite devastating to a home where it happens.

Flood Preparation

Basement flooding            There are a few things you can do to prepare for floods. First, know how your local government announces flood warnings.  Radio and television will usually announce any warnings. During peak flooding periods, you should be listening for these warnings.

Secondly, take some precautions.  Waterproof your walls, especially your basement.  Have sandbags ready in case you need to lay some down.  Elevate any movable property.  In the case of an emergency evacuation, have a plan.  Have a list prepared of items you need to secure, or take with you.  If time permits, move all of your valuables to an upper floor.  Store insurance policies, important documents and other smaller valuables in a safe-deposit box.

Finally, know what to do when you return.  We’ve already written an article on that subject, so feel free to read that.

We Can Help

In spite of all your precautions, sometimes there is simply nothing you can do to prevent a flood.  Rivers can overflow quite suddenly, giving you no time to put up the sandbags.  Storms can hit equally quick.  And even if warning announcements are made, there’s no way to absolutely guarantee that you’ll hear them.

Floods strike quickly and do a lot of damage. Here at Alpine, we know all about that. We have offices in several locations, from Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls, and are ready to help as soon as you need it.  Since floods do more damage the longer they sit, it’s important to get on them right away. That’s why we promise to arrive within 60 minutes of your call.  We’ll get started as soon as possible in order to save as much of your home as we can.

If you experience flooding this spring – or any time – don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We’ll be there to help you get back on your feet.

Wax Ring

Wax Ring: Problems You Didn’t Know You Had

Unheard of Problems

Everybody’s got problems.  Whether it’s money concerns, health issues, or just Frank next door not returning those yard tools he borrowed, there’s always something going wrong.  It’s easy to fix most problems if you get on top of them right away.  To do that, however, you have to first know what they are.  So I want to let you know about a problem you may not even realize you had: the wax ring under your toilet.

The Wax Ring

Wax RingThe wax ring is an airtight and watertight seal that prevents leakage of fluids and gasses from your toilet and the sewer it connects to.  The reason we never think about this is because generally, it’s not a problem. The wax seal is designed to last as long as your toilet does – up to 30 years or more!  Under normal conditions, you won’t have any problems.  If something DOES go wrong, though, the problems it can cause will be expensive if you don’t take care of them.

The Problems of A Broken Seal

If the wax seal breaks, the toilet will leak. However, most of the water will leak underneath the floor.  This will warp the wood your bathroom tile normally protects, weakening the floor. If left too long, you’ll need to replace the whole floor.  That’s expensive, time consuming, and worst of all, most insurance companies don’t cover it.  They claim you can’t prove who is at fault – you, or the previous owner of the house.  It’s a dirty way to get out of covering a major issue, but it’s what many do. This will often put the repairs completely on you.

3 Signs the Wax Ring Might Need Replacing

 

1. Odors

The wax ring is supposed to be an airtight seal. That means no air from the sewers bellow should be able to get through it into your house.  This is important because aside from the terrible smell, sewer gas contains hydrogen sulfide, which can be harmful to your health.  If you smell a distinct rotten egg odor from your bathroom, then it’s a good sign that the seal cracked.

 

2. Leaks

problemsIf the wax seal cracks, then water from the toilet will start to form puddles around the base of your toilet.  However, a puddle doesn’t automatically mean a broken seal. It can also be condensation on the tank, or a leaky joint where the water line meets the tank.  Before you try replacing the ring, you should check to make sure that these other issues aren’t the real problem.  Either way, water puddles rot your floor. Don’t delay fixing it.

 

3. Wobbling Toilet

If your toilet wobbles, that might mean it’s sitting on a broken flange.  If so, you’ll have to replace it, and that also means replacing the wax ring.  The ring should not be jiggled.  Even if the flange isn’t broken, even if your toilet only wobbles a tiny bit, constant movement weakens and eventually cracks the seal.

Moving Your Toilet

Whether temporarily removing it, or completely replacing the toilet, if you pull the toilet out for any reason, you will have to replace the ring.  Pulling up the toilet , or even just repositioning it slightly, can break the seal apart.  When you replace the seal, be sure that you remove all of the old ring.  It will usually peel off in chunks, requiring the use of a putty knife to remove it all.  If don’t remove all of the old ring, the new one won’t sit right on the flange and will break much faster.

Worse Comes To Worse

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration can help.  If the wax ring cracks and floods, we can clean up the mess and help you restore the damage.  Our experts are ready to act as soon as you call. Since water damage is harder and more expensive to fix the longer it lasts, we guarantee that if you call for water damage we will arrive in 60 minutes to get started on it.  However, you can usually spot and fix this problem before you need our help.  If you notice any of the warning signs that the seal might be going bad, check up on it, don’t ignore it.  Replacing the wax ring is much easier and less expensive than repairing and restoring after flood damage.

Don’t wait.  Hesitation can cost you big time.

plumbing

Fall Plumbing Preparation

PlumbingFall Is the Best

Summer draws to a close, taking its long days of exhausting heat with it.  The cooler weather makes spending time outside more fun here in Utah and Idaho.  The changing leaves will fill the landscape with color.  Fall is a good time to enjoy yourself; however, don’t get so busy enjoying yourself that you neglect winter preparations.   In a few months, the snow will start to fall and the cold weather will lead to problems in your plumbing.

Frozen Plumbing Is No Fun

One of the biggest problems of the winter is when the pipes freeze.  The ice expands and bursts the pipes, which will flood your house as soon as it starts to warm.  That’s a mess you don’t want to deal with, so be sure to take some precautions.

Adhesive Insulation           It’s pretty well known that leaving your faucet running during the night is one way to help prevent pipes from freezing.  This works up to a point, but a better and more reliable method is installing insulation.  This is an easy project you can do yourself.  Adhesive plumbing insulation is readily available at any home improvement stores and is easy to attach.  Just measure the length of the pipes, cut the insulation to the appropriate length with a utility knife, and stick it to the pipes.  It won’t take long and will go along way to keeping the pipes from freezing.

While you’re installing the insulation, keep an eye out for any leaks in the pipes.  Leaks in the pipes greatly increase the chance of the pipes bursting if they freeze.  If you find any leaks, call a plumber to have them fixed as soon as you can.

 

Don’t Forget The Hoses

Freezing water can ruin hoses just as easily as plumbing.  Be sure to disconnect them when it starts to get cold.  Fix any leaking faucets they connect to so you don’t have to worry about icicles over the winter.  Roll up the hoses and store them somewhere warmer than the outside.  Your garage will usually suffice.

 

Inspect Your Water Heater

It’s a good idea to inspect your water heater once a year.  Fall is the best time for this.  You’ll need plenty of hot water over the winter, so make sure your heater is up for it.  Look for rust, puddles of water, or other warning signs.  Check the pressure relief valve to make sure there’s no danger of the heater exploding.  Have a plumber drain and clean any sediment build-up.  All this will make sure your heater is able to last you through the winter.

 

Check The Sump Pump

The sump pump helps prevent basement flooding.  Its position away from the house also makes it a freezing risk and a faulty pump will be a serious problem during a thaw. Make sure the pump is working properly by removing the lid and checking for clogs.  Pour water into the pit to make sure it drains.

 

If Something Goes Wrong

If you take the appropriate steps in the fall, you shouldn’t have any problems over the winter.  In case you do, Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is there to help.  In the event of a flood, whether it be from burst pipes, or unexpected precipitation, cleaning things up fast is vital.  That’s why Alpine has a guaranteed 1-hour emergency response time.  Get in touch with us, and we’ll be there as fast as we can to start the cleanup process immediately.  We save you a lot of time and money by taking care of it before it gets out of hand.  We’ll restore your flooded home to as good, if not better than it was before we arrived.

Flood Damage Restoration

Flood Cleanup Services

Flood cleanup

Water Damage Restoration

It’s always discouraging when a flood invades your home.  If not treated quickly, water damage is disastrous to your home or office.  Here at Alpine Cleaning, we have the knowledge skills and professional equipment to put your mind at ease.  From roof leaks to pipe bursts to toilet overflows, we can take care of it all when it comes to flood cleanup and water damage.  We work quickly and efficiently to ensure that water damage doesn’t ruin your walls, floors, or furniture.  We also work closely with your insurance company to cover your claim and make sure that your water damage restoration needs are hassle-free for you.  When you hire Alpine, you can rest assured that everything will be taken care of; We clean up, deodorize, and quickly reconstruct your home or business when water damage occurs

What is the flood cleanup process?

Many people experience flooding in their basement.  A flooded basement usually ruins the carpet first.  It can also damage walls and sheet rock.  Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is a full service disaster company. We work closely with your insurance company to help you with your water damage restoration needs.  We clean up, deodorize, and quickly reconstruct your home or business when water damage occurs.

Fast Response to Water Damage

Response time is critical when dealing with flood cleanup and water damage.  The brick, hardwood, and concrete will absorb water quickly.  This can cause the materials to rot and warp.  This secondary damage occurs rapidly, potentially causing thousands of dollars of damage.  The longer water sits in a structure, the more damage it will cause.  That’s why here at Alpine, we guarantee a 60 minute response time for all emergency service calls in Utah and Idaho. We will do everything we can to save your structure and also guarantee that your house will pass all meter and monitoring tests, verifying your home is completely dry.  Your satisfaction is very important to us!

Rentals for Water Damage Mitigation Equipment

While we are perfectly willing to help you out, sometimes you want to tackle the job yourself.  For the DIY enthusiast, we also rent out our innovative, top-of-the-line, easy-to-use equipment.  We’ve got everything you need to take care of water damage and get your home or office looking great again.

Get In Touch

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any problems with flooding or water damage.  The longer you wait, the more damage it will do and the more it will cost you in the long run.  Give us a call right away at at 1-855-4ALPINE.  We’ll give your flood restoration job top priority and get a team out there immediately.

basement floods

What to Do When Your Basement Floods

Basement flooding

Basement Floods

When your basement floods, it can be a nightmare.  The whole process of draining the area and preparing the damage can be really intimidating.  Alpine Cleaning and Restoration recommends that you follow these steps so that the clean up is more effective:

  • Stay SAFE and Recognize the Risks! Please DO NOT Risk Serious Injury

A flooded basement can be a serious health and safety risk.  If your basement floods, follow these rules to make sure you stay safe.

  • Avoid going down into the basement if possible.

In severe basement floods (water covering the basement floor to a depth of an inch or more), it’s best to stay out of the basement until the water is pumped out by a professional. Standing water in your basement can contain harmful bacteria, so wear protective clothing if you have to enter the area.

  • DO NOT touch electrical wiring or fixtures.

ALWAYS turn off electricity and natural gas before going into a flooded basement.  Electrical devices other than a battery-powered flashlight put you at risk of electric shock, so avoid using them.

basement floods

  • If it’s safe, Try to Determine the Cause and Shut Off the Failed Plumbing or Water Source as Quickly as You Can!

Heavy rains leading to swollen groundwater levels cause the majority of basement floods.  Some basement flooding is caused by plumbing, or other water source failures. If a water pipe, washer hose, or other pressurized water source fails, it could spew gallons into your basement. In this type of situation, your first step in solving the problem would be to turn off any failed plumbing to prevent more flooding. Sometimes the source of unwanted water is obvious, such as a busted water line. In other cases, water may be leaking into your basement in different areas.  You may need to took carefully to find them.

  • Call Alpine Cleaning and Restoration and We Will Be There to Help ASAP!

 Alpine Cleaning and Restoration Specialists are professionals who come to the rescue when you need someone to pump out a flooded basement.  We have the equipment to dry out your home before rot and mold has a chance to settle in. You will want to have us visit your home within 48 hours to avoid mold growth.  That’s why Alpine Cleaning and Restoration Specialists promises a 1-hour response time to all flooding emergencies.  Get in touch with us and we will be there imediatley.

Frozen pipes

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes

Winter Is Upon Us

Temperatures plummeted in the aftermath of Tuesday night’s storm.  The air is now well below freezing across the whole state of Utah, creating all kinds of problems.  Heavy snow may collapse roofs.  Frozen sidewalks may lead to injuries in falls.  And there’s always that one neighbor who borrows your snowblower and never returns it (looking at you, Adrian!).  These aren’t the only problems, though.  You also have to worry about frozen pipes.

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are a common problem in any winter month.  They can be difficult to thaw out and, if not fixed quickly, could burst and flood your home.  There’s nothing worse than flood damage when it comes to ruining the value of your property, so be sure to protect yourself against frozen pipes.  KSL.com has provided a useful article that provides some pretty good tips for keeping your pipes from freezing.  In addition to what KSL has to say, we’d like to add some extra tips you might find useful.

Additional Tips

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes.  Pipe sleeves, UL-listed heat tape, heat cable, or similar materials can keep exposed water pipes warm.  In a pinch, newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes.  For pipes not normally subject to freezing temperatures ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection.
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.

Give Us A Call

With proper care, you can protect your pipes from freezing over, but there’s always the chance something else can go wrong.  If your pipes do freeze and burst, it will cause flooding when the pipes thaw out.  If you experience flooding as a result of burst pipes, get in touch with us.  We are on call 24/7 and promise a 60-minute disaster response time for just such an event.  We’ll get your house cleaned and dried before mold has a chance to set in.  Afterwards, you won’t be able to tell that any damage ever happened.

Emergency fire damage restoration

Emergency Restoration Tips

What Do You Do In an Emergency?

Fires and floods can do some pretty serious damage to your home.  Even after the dust has settled, the emergency is still only half over.  Now comes the costly and time consuming business of cleaning and restoring your home.  But where do you start?  Here are some do’s and don’ts for general emergency restoration.

Smoke and Fire Damage

Emergency fire restoration

Do’s

  • Blow off or brush-vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets.
  • Cover carpeted traffic areas with towels or old linens to prevent additional soiling.
  • Discard open food packages. The food could be contaminated.
  • If your electrical service is off, clean out your freezer and refrigerator. Leave the doors propped open or place charcoal in the unit.
  • Send clothing with heavy smoke damage to a qualified professional dry cleaner.
  • Clean formica and chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent permanent tarnishing.
  • Wipe residue from porcelain bath fixtures to prevent etching.
  • Wipe the leaves of house plants to remove smoke residue.
  • Change the air filter on your furnace if it uses forced hot air.
  • Tape cheese cloth over the intake and outlet air registers to capture any loose soot in the air. This is even more effective if the cheese cloth is damp.
  • When the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, air out the house to reduce smoke odor.

Don’ts

  • Do not attempt to wash any papered or flat painted walls without consulting your professional cleaner. Incorrect cleaning procedures will compound the soot residue problem.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture. Incorrect procedures could also increase damage to them.
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked. They could malfunction.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result.
  • Do not touch anything. Soot on your hands can permeate upholstery, walls, and woodwork, causing further damage.
  • Do not eat food that has been exposed to fire or smoke.
  • Do not wait to call for professional help.

Water Damage

Emergency flood restoration

Do’s

  • When the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available.
  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe furniture dry.
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings.
  • Open furniture drawers, closet doors, and luggage to enhance drying.
  • Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread them out to dry.
  • If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.

Don’ts

  • Do not attempt to remove chemical stains such as ink or paint.
  • NEVER operate damaged electrical appliances.
  • Do not throw away damaged wood chips or other small articles. They might be helpful for repair.
  • Do not use household cleaning products on fabrics, upholstery, or carpet without consulting a professional cleaner.

Let Us Help

When an emergency hits, response time is critical to avoid permanent damage to your home.  That’s why Alpine Cleaning and Restoration Specialists guarantees that we’ll be there within 60 minutes of your call or e-mail.  Your satisfaction is our first priority and we’ll do our best to get you back on your feet as soon as possible.  Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you.

Storm Damage Restoration

Disaster Strikes!

Have you recently been the victim of a disaster?  Was it a Flood?  A Fire?  Hit by a storm?  Did Adrien borrow your leaf blower again?  We totally understand how that is.  Disasters can strike at any moment.  They’re hard to prepare for and costly to fix.  Insurance helps, but it still takes time for things to get back to normal.

It Could Be Worse

While we don’t want to make light of your situation, we just want to provide a little perspective.  Whatever it is, it could be worse.

A few years ago, the dam at Lake Delton burst when flood waters eroded its foundations.  Hundreds of homes were washed away.  Some were completely destroyed, ripped in half as the lake shore collapsed beneath them.

You don’t need a dam-break to destroy your home, though.  Sometimes, all it takes is a falling tree, as this report shows.  Nature is always the bigger beast.  When we get in the way, it will steamroll us.

But Don’t Worry!

Disaster

Feel free to relax.  A disaster of this magnitude is uncommon.  While there are plenty of disasters that can happen anywhere, they’re unlikely to do this level of damage to your home.  With a bit of common sense and a good insurance policy, you can avoid the complete loss of your home.

Alpine’s Disaster Response Team

Should the worst actually happen, know that you’re not alone.  Alpine Cleaning and Restoration has a disaster response team on call 24/7 to help you recover.  Whether it’s fire, flood, or storm, please give us a call.  In emergencies, we promise to get there within 60 minutes of your call.  We’ll get you back on your feet as soon as possible, saving you time, money and stress.

Get in touch and find out how we can help you today!