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.

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.