Recent Water Damage Posts

How To Prevent Pipes From Freezing

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen pipe. Prevent frozen pipes to avoid further damage in the pipes of your Surry, VA home.

Winter can take a toll on your home in Surry, VA. One of the most common problems homeowners face when a big freeze hits the area is frozen pipes. Not only does this issue keep water from getting where it needs to go, but it can also cause a great deal of damage to the space around the fissure. Here are several ways you can keep your pipes from freezing and tips on how to handle the mess if they do.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Winterize Your Home

Before the first freeze, your maintenance plan should include getting your house ready for cold extremes. There are several tasks you must check off your list to prepare for winter:

  • Tune-up furnace
  • Replace old insulation
  • Check for air leaks in windows and doors
  • Make sure the attic is properly ventilated

Winterization makes good economic and ecological sense by saving energy, but that's not the only benefit. By taking measures to keep cold air out of your home and warm air inside, you are more likely to avoid a pipe freeze.

Keep Pipes Warm

Even if your plumbing is located within an exterior wall, you can still avoid frozen pipes by keeping them warm. In addition to the insulation in the wall, you can insulate the pipes themselves, giving them extra protection. Heat cables can also be wrapped around pipes to keep them from freezing. For extra warmth, consider keeping cabinets open and a small drip going overnight.

Keep Thermostat Consistent

When you see your utility bill start to skyrocket during the winter, it can be tempting to turn the heater off during the day while everyone is at work or school. This can end up costing you more trouble and money in the long run, though. Pipes can freeze even when the sun's out if the temperature is cold enough. Keep your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees throughout the season to protect them.

Safeguard Outdoor Faucets

Some of the most vulnerable pipes in your home are the ones attached to outdoor faucets. Since you probably don't use your garden hoses often when it's cold outside, detach them from their water sources and store them for the winter. Then drain the line that leads to the pipe so that no water can get trapped and bust the pipe. Cover the faucet to protect it from the elements.

Clean Up Quickly

Despite your best preparation, pipes can still freeze, especially if your area experiences blackouts that cause you to lose power to your home for many hours. If this happens, you may still be able to avoid extensive damage by turning off the water main and warming exposed pipes with a hairdryer. If this doesn't help, the pipe burst may be inside the wall. Call a plumber as soon as possible to fix the pipe, and contact water damage mitigation specialists to remove ruined materials and restore the structure surrounding the pipe.

There are many things you can do to prevent frozen pipes in your home. Take the necessary precautions and keep trusted professionals on speed dial to protect your home during winter.

7 Reason Why You Should Change Polybutylene Pipes

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

Changing polybutylene pipes. Consider changing polybutylene pipes to avoid water damage.

Older buildings often carry higher insurance premiums because these buildings are more likely to experience problems caused by aging or outdated systems. One such example is polybutylene pipes. If your building has this type of plumbing, there are several reasons you should consider changing it.

1. Chlorine Can Break Them Down

Public water supplies contain chlorine and other antibacterial agents that can break down these pipes causing water damage. The pipes become brittle and flake as they age and are particularly vulnerable at the fittings due to micro-fractures. These micro-fractures can lead to a leaking or burst pipe.

2. Pipes Can Not Be Repaired or Exchanged

Because of the numerous problems created by their use, manufacturers stopped making polybutylene pipes more than a decade ago. This means that when problems develop with your pipes you can not simply repair or replace a section of the pipes. Because you don't want to have to schedule a plumber in South Boston, VA, to put new plumbing in when your existing pipes start to break down, it is better to replace them before problems develop.

3. Damaged Pipes Can Degrade Water Quality

Flaking pipes may leach chemicals into the water lowering its quality. This could create a liability issue for your business. For this reason, most commercial building owners choose to replace these pipes before they become a problem.

4. May Be a Code Violation

The use of this type of plumbing is a code violation in many parts of the United States. You may need to replace your plumbing to get your building up to code.

5. May Lower Resale Value

Buyers may be reluctant to purchase a building that has this type of plumbing because of the cost of replacing the pipes and the difficulty they have in finding insurance. This may make your building more difficult to sell or drive the sales price down.

6. Higher Insurance Prices

Because of the high number of water restoration claims due to pipe failure, many insurance companies will not insure a building that has this type of plumbing. If you don't replace the pipes, you may have to seek insurance in a high-risk market, which typically costs more.

7. Ruptured Pipes Can Cause Substantial Damage

Whether your pipes have a slow leak or burst suddenly, they can cause substantial damage to your building. Slow leaks may rot flooring and stain walls. They can also lead to higher water bills and mold growth. A sudden burst can dump a large amount of water into your building before you can get the water source shut off. This can cause substantial damage to walls, floors, inventory, carpets, equipment, and anything else it comes in contact with. Additionally, the sudden loss of water service may force you to shut down your business until the water service is restored.

Because of the high rate of failure, it can be a wise decision to replace polybutylene pipes before they begin causing problems. This allows you to schedule your downtime, rather than having to pay high prices for emergency plumbing services.

Storm Services and Your Insurance Agent

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a person restoring a home. The cost of restoration after a flood may be included in your insurance coverage.

Storm restoration services are an essential part of recovering from flooding due to storms. A quick response is crucial to preventing long-term, deep-seated damage. As a homeowner in Emporia, VA, your insurance coverage may include the cost of restoration services:

  • Water removal
  • Flood damage cleanup
  • Repair and restoration
  • Damage mitigation
  • Mold cleanup and prevention


Schedule a quick response from cleanup and restoration professionals to catch small problems before they get larger and keep costs down.

Cleanup and Restoration

Arrange for Insurance Coverage

If you don't already have flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or provider. You may qualify to benefit from the National Flood Insurance Program that is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ask your insurance provider about this part of your storm response.

Speed Up Your Claim

Once your policy is in place, there are steps you can take to speed up your storm restoration claim:

  • File your claim as soon as possible after the damage has occurred.
  • Provide your agent and insurance adjusters with necessary information as thoroughly and quickly as possible.
  • Take pictures, write out an inventory, and keep all receipts. The more organized and clear your records, the faster and more accurately your claim can be handled.
  • Consider hiring your own adjuster. This second perspective comes from a professional working for you rather than for the insurance provider.


In addition to taking these steps, you should keep family members, friends, and pets out of the damaged area. It's easy to cause secondary damage to an area that has been weakened by water.

Choose Reliable Professionals

Storms often occur with very little warning, and the resulting flood damage could be devastating to your home and community. This means your chosen storm restoration professionals should have solid backing from their corporate office.

This central resource can lead to a faster response to your home, speedier claim resolution, and a smaller timeframe from the beginning of the damage to the completion of restoration and repairs.

Tips on Responding to Water Damage

5/20/2021 (Permalink)

South Boston Home with Roof Leak A roof leak can be a big problem unless you are able to clean up the damage quickly.

Water damage to residential and commercial properties can be very challenging and costly for property owners. From general plumbing issues, like overflowing toilets and bathtubs, to forces of nature, like hurricanes and storms, there are many things that can cause flooding. Although some flooding may appear to be easy to clean up and restore on your own, there are many unconsidered benefits of hiring a professional to do the repairs for you. 

Prevent Mold from Spreading

While you may think you’ve dried all the water caused by flooding to your property, you may have missed some. Any water or moisture left behind can cause mold to grow and spread throughout your property. A water damage restoration company, like SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston, is trained to properly clean areas when water moves that a homeowner may not be able to get to; like between walls, under floorboards, and those other hard-to-reach places. These professionals can save areas that would have had to be replaced without proper cleaning. And, in areas where mold has already developed, a professional can clean it properly to prevent the mold spores from spreading.

 Avoid More Damage in the Future

If someone who is inexperienced cleans an area and/or property that has been affected by water, it is possible that mistakes can be made, and the damage can become worse and escalate if it is not handled correctly immediately. Trained professionals in this line of business are able to use the proper techniques to ensure that the cleanup and restoration process is done the right way, the first time. They can also help to prevent further damage or problems from developing.

Identify Hidden Signs of Moisture

An experienced restoration professional will be able to use state-of-the-art tools to identify hidden signs of moisture that could have become future problems for home and business owners.

Get the Best Restoration Results Possible

At SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston our goal is to make it, "Like it never even happened."® Our technicians will be able to replace and restore flooring, insulation and dry wall using the highest quality materials available to them, for a wonderful finished product! 

Handling a Toilet Overflow

4/30/2021 (Permalink)

Image of cartoon of a flowing toilet A toilet overflow can cause severe damage.

Toilet overflow does not happen every day but it is a common enough occurrence. Most often the cause is a clog that needs to be snaked out or forced through with a plunger. In more rare instances, the overflow is the result of a backup and sewer damage, which will require the help of a water mitigation company in Surry, VA. However, it is necessary to focus on the more common issue before worrying about backups. There are a few steps to dealing with the aftermath of an overflow.

3 Steps To Handle a Toilet Overflow

1. Stop the Flow of Water

Before calling a sewage company, especially if the water has not flooded the bathroom yet, see if you can stop the flow of water. Remove the lid from the tank and press down on the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank — do not worry, the water is clean. With the valve pressed down, lift the float to stop the water (This is only useful if the water started to overflow immediately after a flush). If the water still does not stop, turn off the valve at the back of the tank.

2. Deal With the Clog or Problem

If the water level stops rising in the toilet, it is safe to say you have a clog in the waste line, meaning you likely do not have significant sewer damage. You can use a plunger or a drain snake or auger to attempt to remove the clog. If neither tool is helping, you might need something with more power or greater reach, meaning you will need the help of a professional.

3. Call a Professional for Help

If the flooded toilet is the result of a clog, professionals will have augers with significantly longer reaches than a typical house snake. However, depending on the depth of the problem and if the water stopped rising, you might have more problems than a simple clog.

While sewer damage is not the most common issue for a toilet overflow, it can happen. Always remember that a professional water mitigation service has the tools and skills necessary to help.

How to Protect Your Home or Business from Breached Pipes

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston would like to offer homeowners some helpful household tips.

Did you know, that per the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the average cost associated with a breach in your pipes could be up $5,000 – or more if there are water damage expenses associated with the breach? Did you also know that pipe insulation, which is something a homeowner can easily install around exposed piping, costs as little as fifty cents per linear foot?

Take a look at the following places in your home for possible standing or leaking water:

  • The pipes along your home’s exterior walls,
  • Under your kitchen and bathroom and bathroom sinks,
  • In your attic and in the crawl spaces under your home

Some simple signs to help you spot a breached pipe you are the following:

  • Wet spots under your sinks, cabinets and counters,
  • Clogs throughout your home.
  • Slow moving drains,
  • Wet spots or puddles and/or sewer odors within your yard.

Every homeowner should know where the main water stuff off is for their home in case of an emergency. This shut off is normally located just outside the house. If you cannot locate your shut off, you need to ask someone such as a plumber or the builder so they can show you where it is located.

If you should happen to experience water damage due to a burst pipe in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston. We are available 24/7 at 434-262-6792 – the safest way for you to prevent damage is let the professional handle the clean-up!

Water Damage in Your Home – Types and Categories

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston we know that water damage is the leading cause to require water restoration needs. Here we will explain a few basic types of water damage and how they can affect your property and your health. 

Many times, when people hear “water damage”, they imagine it to be caused by flooding of a nearby river, storm surge from the ocean or another natural disaster. But, while these events can cause water damage, often times water damage in homes is more commonly caused by: 

  • Overflowing toilets
  • Leaking appliances, including the refrigerator, washing machine, ice machine, etc.
  • Overflowing showers, bathtubs or sinks left running without attendance
  • Leaking or broken pipes behind the walls and ceilings
  • Property draining issues
  • Leaking roof or compromised exterior
  • Damage from rain, wind and/or storms 

Now that you know the ways water can enter your home, from both internal and external origins, it is important to now know what kind of water you are dealing with. At SERVPRO, we recognize water in three different categories. 

  • Category 1 – We refer to this type of water as “Clean Water”, because it has originated from a sanitary source. Generally, this type of water will not pose a health risk to you or your family.
  • Category 2 – This category is also referred to as “Grey Water”, meaning that the water may contain some contamination. It is not safe enough for human consumption and can pose a health risk if ingested.
  • Category 3 – The final category, as called “Black Water”, is a type of water that is entirely contaminated and may contain harmful materials and other disease-causing organisms. 

Each of these categories of water comes with its own guidelines of do’s and don’ts on how to handle them to ensure minimal property damage and risk to you and your family’s health. Water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston have advanced training, knowledge, and hands-on experience to handle these types of emergencies.

If you are in need of water damage restoration, call us today at 434-262-6792.