Greetings all! We anticipated a surge but nothing could have prepared us for what is going on right now in Tulsa or across the country. I wanted to give you all some insight and tips that you can pass along and use yourself.
EXPECT LONGER THAN USUAL WAIT TIMES
All restoration companies are in an overwhelmed state right now, some not accepting new jobs, and some have a waitlist. We are currently on a 2-3 day wait time for mitigation. Stay on the waitlist but mitigate what you can until you have a professional help you.
ODRs surge started on Tuesday when fire suppression systems finally succumbed to the 0 to -10 degree lows and 4 degree highs. We had anticipated the thaw to bring the bulk of work on Friday but just warming up to 16 degrees on Tuesday was enough to burst those pipes. Most of the pipes in homes that are bursting now come from just any gap of freezing air hitting those pipes. Pex will expand and contract so it is better but the joints sometimes give way. Copper does not give and gets old. City water mains are also having lots of problems.
What can you do while waiting?
If you suspect you have frozen pipes (turn on the water and nothing comes out), turn your water off at the street or where it comes into you house.
Then check with the city to see if it is a water main that is affecting your neighborhood. You may see evidence of this with water in the streets.
Once the temps are up above freezing you can turn the water back on and test all your faucets to make sure it operates at the same pressure as before. If it does not, you make have water spilling from a busted pipe and you need to find it.
Then call a plumber to fix that pipe or fitting. Plumbers minimum charges are $250-$300. Many plumbers are also experiencing longer than normal waits due to a shortage of the parts that failed on so many lines.
If you figured out you had the busted pipe because water is coming out of all orifices of your home or business, I am so sorry.
MITIGATE FURTHER LOSS
Get the water turned off. Call a plumber to set up repairs. Assess your safety. Call ODR. 918-992-4ODR. Remain calm and breathe. Call your insurance agent, you may need to set up a claim.
Move contents to a safe place. Get wood leg furniture off the wet carpet. Put plastic barrier between furniture legs and floor.
REMOVE EXCESS WATER
Remove standing water. If you own a shop vac, extract as much water as you can. Turn on the heat, hot air holds more water vapor than cold. Leave the HVAC unit fan “on” . If you have more than one unit, turn all units fans to “on” and it will help with the overall. You need to momentarily open the doors to allow the excess moisture to vent outside. This can be achieved with a 5-10 minute prop the doors open during the driest parts of the day. Turn on ceiling fans and set up box fans on wet areas. If you have a hole in the ceiling from sheetrock falling down, what we would do is put up a barrier with 3-6mil plastic so you are not trying to heat the attic. You can use cardboard if the area is small enough.
ASSESS WET BUILDING MATERIALS
I recommend leaving this to the professionals but this is our next step. We measure it with moisture meters to determine if it may be successful at drying. Wet carpet pad needs to be pulled and discarded. Carpet needs to be assessed as it can often times be installed with new pad and cleaned. We remove wet building materials that we cannot save like drywall and insulation. We sometimes remove baseboards and drill holes in the lower walls under the baseboards. We will apply anti-microbials in many cases as deemed necessary.
CAVEAT – HAVE A PROFESSIONAL ASSESS
These are only the first steps and this is not an all inclusive list and may not get your house completely dry. Some areas look ok and they may not actually be. We use moisture meters and thermal cameras to check building materials. Just today we looked at a job that the homeowners did themselves and the bottom foot of the walls were still wet. So even though you have to wait, stay on the list and make sure you are dry.
PUTTING IT BACK TOGETHER
Once the home is back to equilibrium with moisture control, then phase two can begin with rebuilding. You will want to have a qualified contractor to put together a scope and estimate for you. Your insurance adjuster will be doing the same, or rely on your contractor If everything looks reasonable.
I hope this is helpful for you all. I tried to write this earlier this week but the phones are ringing off the hook. These times are so trying. We will get through this. Let me know if I can help you or if you have a special circumstance. My team is doing all this work and I am working on the phones and coordination.