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UltraClean Blog

UltraClean is Flooded!

Phone calls are literally flooding in at UltraClean. Residents all over Boise and the Treasure Valley are having water damage issues.

What’s causing all the damage?

Frozen Pipes

Burst pipes are the number one reason people are calling us right now. With the inconsistent subfreezing temperatures, the sporadic snow fall, the slick ice, and dangerous freezing rain we’ve been seeing a lot of water damage as a result from pipes freezing and then bursting.

A pipe that has burst can dump out 200-300 gallons of water an hour. To put that number in perspective, think about a hot tub. In less than 2 hours, you could fill an 8×8 6 person hot tub with the water that has flooded your home.

Ice Dams and Icicles

We have received several phone calls about water damage on the ceiling. If you’re noticing any discoloration, odor, or leaks in that area, you could have an ice dam on your roof.

Ice dams occur after a heavy snowfall and several days of freezing temperatures. Warm air from inside your home leaks into the attic and warms the underside of the roof. This causes the accumulated snow and ice on the roof to melt. The melted water then drains along the roof, under the snow, until it reaches the cold overhang. The overhang tends to be at the same temperature as the outdoors, and the melted water refreezes to form an ice dam and icicles.

The ice dam can cause damage to your roof, which will result in water leaks to the inside of your home or business. They can be very dangerous, especially when super slick freezing rain has put an extra layer of ice on everything.

Washing Machines

If you took an average of the whole year, the most common water damage that homeowners deal with is from their washing machines – it is the most common claim filed on a homeowners policy. Water damage caused from a washing machine leak is very expensive and very messy to clean up.

Here are some washing machine flood protection strategies; starting with the least expensive:

  • Turn the water off to your washing machine after every load.
    Cost: Free
  • Get a washer floor tray – If you can’t afford to replace or repair your leaking washing machine right away or want to protect against future leaks, slide a water catching tray under your washing machine to catch drips and leaks. It’s a simple, inexpensive way to prevent water damage to your floor from a leaky washing machine.
    Cost: around $20.
  • Replace the water supply hoses – Over time, water supply hoses can become brittle and burst. Check them periodically and replace your old hoses with the new auto-shut-off connector hoses. They protect against catastrophic water damage by automatically shutting off the water supply to the washing machine if excess water flow is sensed.
    Cost: $20 each.
  • Install a flood protection device – An automatic water leak detection device prevents flooding by immediately shutting off both the hot and cold water supply to the washing machine when sensors detect a water leak. These devices are quick and easy to install by homeowners and provide 24/7 protection against damage caused by washing machine floods. Some options even sound an audible alarm.
    Cost: less than $150.
  • Install an automatic washing machine water shutoff valve and leak sensor – This “intelligent” valve does it all to protect against catastrophic water damage from a burst inlet hose connected to a washing machine that is in use or unattended. It allows water to flow only when it senses that the washing machine is turned on and stops water from flowing if the machine is turned off. It also stops water from flowing if it senses excessive water flow or detects a leak. Easy to hook-up yourself.
    Cost: under $200.

If you find yourself confronted with a leaky washing machine or a burst pipe, contact UltraClean. With our 24/7 service response, we will resolve the issue, remove all water damage, and have your home or business back to normal quickly and cost-effectively.

How to Prevent Water Damage From Snow Melt and Rain

Treasury Valley winters are known for subfreezing temperatures, freezing rain, snowfall, and ice. With these cold, wet conditions throughout the winter, residents of Boise, Meridian, and surrounding areas may be facing a risk of flooding and water damage from thick slush and quickly melting snow and ice as temperatures rise.

To avoid water damage and expensive repairs, try these simple steps to keep your home safe:

  • Remove large accumulations of snow from areas where it could melt and enter your home.
    Shovel snow away from the perimeter of your home. Also consider clearing decks, patios, and driveways that slope toward the house.
  • Clean snow and debris from ground drains and gutters. Make sure drains near your home, typically around the driveway, as well as gutters are unblocked. Ice and compact snow can create dams that keep water from draining properly.
  • Consider where snow will go when it melts. The combination of melting snow plus rain can create extreme runoff conditions. When shoveling snow on your property, think about which direction it will drain when it melts. You may want to dig channels to divert water to the nearest drain.
  • Do not get on a ladder and do not attempt to climb onto your roof to remove snow. If you see the snow melting and dropping off the edge of your roof, that’s a good sign. It indicates ice dams are probably not developing. In extreme circumstances, if ice dams need to be removed from your gutters, call a professional water damage company.

You should also know what categories of water damage are covered by your insurance policy when considering home maintenance. Not all household water damage is treated alike. For example, freezing pipes may be assessed differently than seeping snow. Check your policy or call your local agent to determine what water damage is covered for your home.

Most importantly, at the first sign of dampness inside your home, contact UltraClean immediately for professional help before long-term damage sets in.

There Is No Such Thing As a Mold Free Home: 7 Ways to Make Your Home More Mold Resistant

Mold. The very word is enough to make a person cringe.

Yes, mold can be good — it’s essential in making brie and penicillin, for example, and necessary for the decomposition of organic matter in nature — but it can also be very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home.

Mold spores spread easily and can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper, and even in places you can’t see, such as the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, and above ceiling tiles.

Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and, rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health. So what can you do if you’re concerned about mold growth in your home?

The best approach is preventing mold before it becomes a problem. The key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control.

Here are seven ways to curb moisture indoors, and the mold growth that thrives on it.

  • Dry wet areas immediately and call a professional. Mold can’t grow without moisture, so calling for help right away is necessary to address the root of the problem. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, or even a simple spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can’t be completely dried and schedule a time for a professional team to come out and evaluate the situation. 

“The number one reason we get sent out for mold related jobs is because the water damage was not properly handled in the first place. Why call a plumber or a contractor to come dry your flood? Would you call an eye doctor to perform your heart surgery?”  – Brandon Wright, UltraClean

  • Identify problem areas in your home and correct them. You can’t mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the areas most prone to moisture exposure? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak?

    Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, applying mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. When not addressed fast enough, it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem as soon as possible. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more expensive down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.

  • Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure a simple activity like cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mold by providing proper ventilation, like an open window or exhaust fan, in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside, not the attic. Use AC units and dehumidifiers, especially in humid climates, but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. 

  • Monitor humidity indoors. We recommend keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent. You can detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture. For example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows. 

  • Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement. If there are any holes near your foundation, fill these areas to avoid water from pooling next to your home. 

  • Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.

  • Improve airflow in your home. As temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows, and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.

Do you suspect you might have mold in your home? Or do you just want to ask us a mold question? Whether you want someone to come in and fix it for you, or you are a “do-it-yourself” kind of person, UltraClean can help! Give us a call at (208) 887-4740, contact us for advice or service 24 hours a day, or send us an email.

Risk of Flooding for the Treasure Valley

After weeks of subfreezing temperatures, freezing rain, snowfall, and ice, the Treasure Valley faces the risk of flooding and water damage from thick slush and quickly melting snow and ice. To avoid water damage and expensive repairs caused by winter weather, you can take these simple steps:

  • Remove large accumulations of snow from areas where it could melt and enter your home. Shovel snow away from the perimeter of your home. Also consider clearing decks, patios, and driveways that slope toward the house.

  • Clean snow and debris from ground drains and gutters. Make sure drains near your home, typically around the driveway, and gutters are not blocked. Ice and compact snow can create dams that prevent water from draining.

  • Consider where snow will go when it melts. The combination of melting snow plus rain can create extreme runoff conditions. When shoveling snow on your property, think about which direction it will drain when it melts. You may want to dig channels to divert water to the nearest drain.

  • Do not get on a ladder and do not attempt to climb onto your roof to remove snow. If you see the snow melting and dropping off the edge of your roof, that’s a good sign.  It indicates dangerous and problematic ice dams are probably not developing. In extreme circumstances when ice dams are growing and need to be removed from your gutters, contact us to professionally assess and remedy your problem.

It is also beneficial for you to know what is covered by your insurance policy. Not all household water damage is treated alike – freezing pipes may be assessed differently than seeping snow.  Check your policy or call your local agent to determine what’s covered. At the first sign of dampness inside your home, call UltraClean immediately for professional help before long-term damage sets in. Reach us for 24 hour service at (208) 887-4740, contact us for advice, or send us an email.

The Dangers of Icicles on Your Roof

As beautiful and decorative as they may look, those large stalactite icicles are more than a winter ornament for your home. Sometimes known as ice dams, the giant icicles hanging from the eaves of your roof are not only dangerous to people walking underneath but they are often a sign of a serious problem for future water damage.

Icicles occur after a heavy snowfall followed by several days of freezing temperatures. Warm air from inside your home leaks into the attic and warms the underside of the roof. The increased temperature causes the accumulated snow and ice on the roof to melt. The melted water then drains along the roof, under the snow, until it reaches the cold overhang. The overhang tends to be at the same temperature as the outdoors, and the melted water refreezes to form an ice dam and icicles. These collections of ice dams can cause damage to your roof, resulting in water leaks to the inside of your home.

Ice Dam Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Don’t get on your roof to solve the problem. This is a dangerous job that should be handled by a professional.
  • Don’t stand on the ground to “chip away” at the ice. This could cause serious damage to your roof, and not to mention, serious injuries to yourself.
  • Do check to make sure your attic insulation is not blocking roof ventilation.
  • Do call a trained professional to safely remove the ice build up without causing damage to your roof.

This time of year can wreak havoc on the structure of your home. The sub-freezing temperatures, snow, and ice make for a dangerous combination for both your home and family. UltraClean is here to help. Give us a call at (208) 887-4740, contact us for advice or service 24 hours a day, or send us an email.