As Sub-zero Temperatures Grip the Upper Midwest, Homeowners Contend With Frozen Pipes, Potential Nightmare

ServiceMaster Clean Experts Offer Tips for Preventing or Recovering From Expensive Water Damage


DULUTH, Minn., Jan. 24, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As cold Canadian air places its icy grip around the Upper Midwest, homeowners in those states may soon have to contend with one of winter's most costly and damaging exercises: fixing the damage caused by frozen pipes that can burst after temperatures begin to rise.

Of particular concern, experts say, are pipes that run along exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

The disaster restoration experts at ServiceMaster Clean offered these timely winter tips for homeowners in the affected areas to help prevent frozen pipes:

  • Set your thermostat to a consistent temperature for day and night, and if you won't be in the property for a few days, set the temperature no lower than 55 degrees
  • Open cabinet doors so that the warmer air can circulate around your pipes and allow kitchen and bath faucets to drip
  • Run water through the pipes occasionally during the day to help prevent freezing
  • Wrap uninsulated pipes with newspapers, foam or self-adhesive insulating tape
  • Keep doors open between heated and unheated rooms

Using its extensive network of disaster restoration experts across the region, ServiceMaster Clean has positioned local crews, equipment and mobile command centers to assist homeowners impacted by the severe winter weather. Additional resources are ready to respond quickly in the event of flooding or frozen pipe damage in homes and businesses.

ServiceMaster Clean teams are equipped with professional-grade water removal equipment, commercial dryers, fungicides and everything else needed to begin cleanup and restoration immediately in both homes and large and small businesses.

"Each year, homeowners and businesses incur millions of dollars in repairs and remediation from the effects of bursting water pipes and mold damage from standing water," said Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean Disaster Restoration.  "Whenever there's water-related damage, it's important to contact an expert immediately to assess the situation and quickly remove any standing water to prevent additional damage and avoid damaging mold from developing."

What to do if your home or business has suffered water damage:

  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist the drying process until an expert can arrive
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting
  • Wipe furniture dry
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger and place the hanger on the drapery rod
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings and open furniture drawers, closet doors and luggage to enhance drying
  • Move photographs, paintings and art objects to a safe, dry location
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry

Call for professional help immediately. Damage from the water and bacteria growth can begin within hours.

Water damage warnings:

  • Do not use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water.
  • Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.
  • In the event of a flood or significant water leak, be sure to turn the main switches in the circuit breaker box to the off position. Do not go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on.
  • Do not lift tacked-down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinkage.

For immediate water remediation caused by burst pipes, flooding or similar damage, call the ServiceMaster Clean disaster restoration team 24 hours a day, seven days a week at:

• 1-800-RESPOND (1-800-737-7663)
(for residential service)
• 1-866-RECOVER (1-866-732-6837)
(for commercial property or business location)
• 1-800-776-6710
(for large-loss commercial disaster support through ServiceMaster Recovery Management)

About ServiceMaster Clean

With nearly 3,200 franchise locations around the world, ServiceMaster Clean serves customers through a global network of franchises that provide cleaning and restoration resulting from damage caused by water or fire, janitorial services, commercial carpet cleaning, hard surface floor care and residential carpet and upholstery cleaning. Visit our website at .  

About ServiceMaster

With a network of more than 5,000 company-owned and franchise locations, Memphis-based ServiceMaster is one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks.  The company's high profile brands are TruGreen, Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Through approximately 29,000 corporate employees and a franchise network that independently employs over 31,000 additional people, the ServiceMaster family of brands serve more than 8.2 million customers every year and hold market-leading positions in residential and commercial lawn care and landscape maintenance, termite and pest control, home service contracts, furniture repair, home inspections, residential and commercial cleaning and disaster restoration. Go to or for more information about ServiceMaster.

Gina Evans Kamler

ServiceMaster Clean

(901) 597-1380

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