6 useful tips to prevent pipes from freezing

Where there's frozen water, frozen or burst pipes can follow.

It’s no mystery in the winter: the main culprit of bursting pipes is frozen water. Namely, how frozen water blocks the normal flow of liquid through the pipes, causing backup and pressure to build. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not expanding ice that actually makes a pipe finally burst: it’s the remaining liquid water finding nowhere else to go but out. Using this knowledge, there’s a few simple tips you can follow now to prevent any watery disasters in the future.

1. Ensure your pipes are insulated. Sure, homes in the north are often equipped with well-insulated pipes. But regardless of latitude, homes throughout the Midwest, especially farther south, should ensure their pipes are properly insulated—especially in vulnerable areas such as attics, crawlspaces and outside walls. If this year’s frigid cold has taught us anything, it’s this: where the cold is less commonplace, so is preparation. So don’t be a victim: avoid costly emergencies by adopting a mindset of better safe than sorry. For advice on insulation, you can always contact a construction contractor.

2. Seal those seams. To keep cold wind away from your pipes, seal cracks and holes in your walls with caulking. Simply walk along the walls of your house and feel for drafts. And for fainter drafts, light an incense stick. When the smoke is offset, there’s a draft.

3. Some doors are best left open. Did you know? Kitchen and bathroom cabinets can keep warm inside air from reaching pipes under sinks or in adjacent outside walls. It’s a good idea to keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to let warm air circulate around the pipes and prevent freezing.

4. Unfasten your hose. If a hose is hooked up to your backyard or the side of your house, remove it and shut off the valve that leads to your outdoor hose. By shutting off your valve and ensuring all water has dripped out, it removes the risk of a freeze.

5. Don’t hesitate to use your taps. As long as water is running and pressure doesn’t build up, there’s a far lower risk of freeze and pipes bursting. Also, it’s okay to let faucets lightly drip where you believe there could be risk of cold pipes. The slight relief in pressure prevents potential buildup within your pipes.

6. Leaving for a trip? Don’t over-lower the heat. While understandably it saves money to lower your thermostat when you’re away from home, it’s important to not be overzealous and allow your home to cool excessively in your absence. A home kept reasonably warm will ensure pipes share the same cozy condition.

Aside from the obvious pipe burst, a telltale symptom of winter creeping into your infrastructure is lowered water pressure—or worse, no water activity whatsoever when you twist your faucet on. While this requires immediate professional assistance, you can also call a professional ahead of time for additional precautionary tips on how to prevent this worst case scenario.

For the best repair and restoration in the instance of water damage and other incidents, contact a certified construction contractor serving homes and businesses since 1987.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Home Improvements Can Lower Insurance Premiums and More.

Whether it’s roof replacement, new siding or simple repair work, improvements to the home not only increase your property’s value and comfort, but can also decrease your insurance rates. Savvy homeowners can take advantage of this one-two punch to ensure that equity is flowing into their homes–while money is flowing back into their wallets. So if you own a home, or if you’re simply scouting for a new home, the following are some helpful pointers to remember.

A simple phone call could do wonders.

It’s important to realize that, while insurance providers try to be accurate, they’re not always able to see and know everything. If you make an upgrade to your home, whether major or minor, let them know. In one case, a homeowner’s insurance rose 30% at renewal time, prompting him to call his provider. In a turn of events, he discovered that they were unaware he’d hired professional roofers to install a new roof. The result? They decreased his rate to 10% lower than it was originally. One phone call made a difference of 40% in his premium, proving that a little communication can really go a long way. When it comes to the house, if you improve it, announce it.

A few good questions might lead to insights.

Even right now one can look at a home for possible savings opportunities. Here’s one good question to ask: Is the roof new? Nothing speaks better to an underwriter than a roof with proof. New roofs are safer for you, but safer for insurance providers to cover. And if a roof is constructed of impact-resistant shingles, you could qualify for further discounts–especially if you live in a region prone to occasional hail or high winds.

Another good question to ask: How’s the siding?
Insurance companies will check a building’s exterior material before insuring the property–and materials such as brick, stone, and concrete or cementious siding are fire resistant and could attract greater discounts. On the other hand, an exterior such as EIFS siding (which looks like traditional stucco but is actually different underneath the surface) is not as fire resistant, or impact resistant, thereby drawing a higher insurance rate. You can always contact a construction professional to get the clearest answers.

And when you do search for the best contractor, ask them: Are they a Haag-Certified Roof Inspector? Do they hold a current certified installer accreditation from the shingle manufacturer? Choosing the right professional with experience already puts you at an enormous advantage in several ways, including insurance. In fact, that’s worth repeating.

A trusted contractor pays off when it comes to insurance matters.

It’s common knowledge that finding a company with experience and great references is crucial in any roofing, remodeling or restoration project. But here’s a lesser known fact: Working with your insurance provider on any home issue becomes far simpler, and more cost effective, when you hire an ethical construction contractor. They not only work with your best interests in mind, but earn the trust of your insurance company and ensure that all parties are on the same page.

A contractor with a sound insurance claim department can communicate directly and knowledgeably with your provider to reach optimum results. They speak the language insurance companies use, and know which materials will fetch greater cost savings for you. Moreover, a good contractor will work on your behalf and make your satisfaction a top priority–unlike, for instance, a public adjuster who works for a percentage of a settlement which becomes needless money out of your pocket. And by working with a company who has simultaneous expertise on both the construction end and the claims end, you’ll achieve results while avoiding any wedge that a public adjustor can drive between you and your insurance provider, hampering your relationship.

At Total Construction, we’ve served homeowners since 1987 with expertise in roofing, remodeling and repair. We work entirely on your behalf to ensure all projects completed on your home–and the savings you receive–are equally satisfying.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com