Renting vs. Buying Temporary Containment Walls

The world of construction and design is always advancing as innovative, cost effective, and sustainable solutions are introduced into the marketplace. Temporary modular containment walls are the perfect example of this. Modular containment walls—like our SHIELD WALL™ system—are a versatile and adaptable alternative to traditional drywall and poly sheeting containment methods. 

Temporary modular containment walls offer a variety of benefits to commercial construction and renovation projects, from an aesthetically pleasing appearance to a more efficient set-up. Modular containment systems can be installed significantly faster than traditional methods, saving time and reducing labor costs. These reusable walls are constructed with eco-friendly materials, meaning less waste and faster cleanup at the end of a project. 

The flexibility, speed, and cost effectiveness of temporary modular wall systems have redefined the way contactors contain dust and other airborne pathogens during construction. From hospital construction to office space renovations and many other projects, and whether buying or renting,  temporary modular wall systems provide a practical and sustainable alternative to older containment methods. While purchasing the walls is an excellent multi-use solution, renting can also be an attractive option.

Renting Modular Containment Walls

Though the upfront cost of modular containment systems may seem comparable to traditional methods, time and labor savings in addition to reusability make them the most cost-effective solution. In fact, our SHIELD WALL™ containment walls can pay for themselves in as few as two or three uses, depending on the scope of the project. Purchasing modular containment walls outright is an easy decision for some while others, especially those with short-term projects, or those who do not have the storage space between jobs, may benefit from using a rental service that provides the containment walls alongside a quick installation and teardown service.

Renting the walls can reduce the initial investment, which is helpful when you're looking to control costs while still reaping the benefits of modular containment solutions. For some companies, the expense of renting may fall under a different budgetary spend, making it easier for approvals. Renting also allows contractors to try the modular walls before purchasing to assess how they will work in different spaces and help make decisions about whether they’re a good long-term investment.
For some, purchasing modular containment walls outright is the best option, but those with short-term projects may benefit more from leasing or renting the walls. Companies can work with a knowledgeable team of experts to help determine what will work best for their project. These experts may ask key questions, such as:

  1. How many projects do you have that require containment?
  2. Do you have space to store modular walls between projects?
  3. What is the length of time between the start and finish of a project? 
  4. Do you have the staffing to install and maintain the walls?

While purchasing the walls is an excellent long-term solution, renting can also be an attractive option. And, with a knowledgeable team of IAQ experts on staff, Abatement Technologies’ consultants can help guide you through the selection process and help determine if renting is the best financial route for your needs. 

Blog #5 – DUCT-PRO®: Cleaning the Return

Abatement Technologies® is the industry leader in quality duct cleaning solutions. Our high-performance DUCT-PRO® packages utilize HEPA-AIRE® equipment to clean HVAC duct systems faster and more efficiently than other methods. Abatement Technologies’ equipment uses our exclusive source removal duct cleaning process, meaning our equipment captures dirt and debris to provide complete air duct cleaning and decontamination. Our source removal duct cleaning process is designed to work with the tools and procedures professional duct cleaners need to follow the NADCA recommended steps for cleaning air duct systems effectively.

We have created a blog series based on our official DUCT-PRO® training videos to guide users through the proper DUCT-PRO® processes and procedures. In our last post, we covered the proper steps for agitation to remove debris and dirt from the ductwork. Here we’ll cover the procedure for cleaning the return.

Attaching the Vacuum

Check the power vacuum filters after the supply system has been cleaned and clean or replace them if necessary. It’s also a good idea to check the moisture filter and drain it if needed. After examining these areas inspect the ductwork and furnace layout to determine the best locations for hookups. Taking the time to complete this step now will save time later in the process.

To attach the vacuum, the duct cleaning professional will cut a hole in the return plenum on the upstream side of the filter and then attach the quick connect collar. The filter should be removed if it is upstream from the vacuum hose. Then the zone bag can be put in the main duct above the coil, preventing air from being pulled through the previously cleaned supply side of the system.

Cleaning the Return 

The return duct system should be cleaned using the same procedures that were used on the supply side. Duct cleaning pros should keep in mind that return systems are typically much dirtier than the supply side and require more brushing and air sweeping. It’s important to properly clean the equipment after use. Place the air hose from the power vacuum in the blower compartment and air wash the blower compartment with the DUCT-PRO® air booster gun when all the duct work has been completely cleaned.

Sanitizing can begin once the return is clean, it’s important to read the label and follow the manufacturer’s directions accurately before using any sanitizer. Be certain the product has an EPA registration for its intended purpose, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding personal protective equipment (PPE), and ensure all grills and registers are covered before sanitizing. Adding a drop cloth around the work area to prevent damage to the flooring surfaces is also a good idea.

Air Duct Sanitizing 

These instructions are for non-porous duct systems. Due to the porosity of the material, there are no sanitizers with EPA registration for use in porous ductwork such as duct board or lined duct.

The sanitization process is generally conducted using a ULV fogger which produces a variable flow from light fog to a heavy mist, adjusted at the nozzle. The correct output is a mist that will quickly wet the entire surface without creating puddles.

A good practice is to fog the branch runs with slight negative pressure in the duct system. This not only helps pull the fog through the ductwork but also helps to prevent the sanitizer from entering the room, and can be accomplished by attaching the vacuum to the original hookup point. If the duct system is small, adjust the airflow of the DUCT-PRO® HEPA-AIRE® vacuum for better coverage before fogging. Allow all surfaces to dry before restarting the air handler.

Want to learn more about our DUCT-PRO® equipment and packages? Click here - https://abatement.com/usa-duct-cleaning-process/

 

Blog Series #4 – DUCT-PRO®: Agitation

Abatement Technologies® is the industry leader in quality duct cleaning solutions. Our DUCT-PRO® source removal cleaning packages utilize our HEPA-AIRE® equipment to clean HVAC duct systems faster and more efficiently than other methods. Abatement Technologies’ equipment uses our exclusive source removal duct cleaning process to capture dirt and debris and provide complete air duct cleaning and decontamination.

Our source removal duct cleaning process is designed to work with the tools and procedures professional duct cleaners need to follow the NADCA recommended steps for cleaning air duct systems effectively. We have created a blog series based on our official DUCT-PRO® training videos to guide users through duct cleaning processes and ensure the equipment is used properly and efficiently.

We’ve looked at the methods for duct cleaning and air sweeping in our previous posts. 

In this installment, we’ll cover agitation—a process for dislodging the extreme buildup of debris prior to air sweeping.

Methods for Agitation 

Manual brushes or whips with add-on rods are some of the most used tools and methods for agitation. The procedure is similar to chimney sweeping, with the brushes swept horizontally instead of vertically. The DUCT-PRO® power rod system is used with compressed air and has lengths of connected rods with three different flexibilities. Each rod has a special fitting that connects to various whip heads.

The DUCT-PRO® power brush system is a powerful method of agitation in large ducts and for commercial applications. This system is driven by its own power source and enables the use of both compressed air and brushes for optimal performance. The remote-control setting allows cleaners to operate the compressed air, rotation, and speed functions. The brushes can be turned both clockwise and counterclockwise to clean both sides and bottom corners. 

There are many advantages to the system, including brushes of different sizes and bristle stiffness designed for various duct types. The softer brushes should be used for inline duct and duct board and stiffer bristles for metal. It is important to do a thorough examination prior to cleaning to determine the condition of the ductwork. 

The DUCT-PRO® power brush system offers contractors the unique capability to use both forward and reverse compressed air, allowing cleaners to brush and air sweep at the same time.

Power brushing eliminates the need for an extra access hole and speeds up the cleaning process while producing excellent results. 

We’ll explore the proper steps for cleaning the return side of the ductwork in our next blog.

Want to learn more about our DUCT-PRO® equipment and packages? Click here - https://abatement.ca/duct-cleaning-process/

Blog Series #3 – DUCT-PRO®: The “Push” Method

Abatement Technologies® is the industry leader in quality duct cleaning equipment. Our DUCT-PRO® source removal duct cleaning process provides contractors with the tools needed to follow the NADCA recommended steps for cleaning air duct systems effectively. With DUCT-PRO, contractors can benefit from a faster and more efficient cleaning process and customizable duct cleaning packages, and Abatement Technologies® can help contractors select a package that is suited to their needs.

It’s important to understand the role each piece of equipment plays in the duct cleaning process to ensure their efficiency and proper use. In previous blogs, we’ve explained the necessary equipment and prep work and the process for cleaning the HVAC supply. In this blog, we’ll explain the methods for duct cleaning, beginning with the “push” method. 

Conducting the “Push” Method

Once the grills have been covered in the preparation stages, duct cleaning professionals can begin the “push” step of the process using specialized air tools and nozzles operated by the DUCT-PRO® AIRE-SWEEP® portable air compressor. The duct cleaning professional should give the furthest grill an initial air wash using a light blast from an air booster gun, then clean the entire grill completely. In this step, many duct cleaners will also wash and sanitize the grills.

The branch duct will then be cleaned using a forward air sweep. This step uses a nozzle that has holes pointing in a forward direction, which pushes the debris forward toward the main duct and to the power vacuum. Forward air sweeping should be done until the branch is clean. Another common method of branch cleaning is the reverse air sweep method, which is usually done if the ductwork is in the basement and affords easy access. 

Once each branch is clean, the grills should be replaced and the main duct can be cleaned. This process typically involves the use of the reverse air sweep.  However, in an attic or crawl space, the forward air sweep is used. 

Cleaners will often need to air sweep each section of the ductwork several times before they’re considered clean. The cleaners will know the section is clean when they no longer hear or see debris being pulled through the clear power vacuum hose.

In the event of extreme debris, agitation may be required to dislodge the buildup prior to air sweeping. We’ll explain the proper tools and systems for agitation in our next blog.  

Want to learn more about our DUCT-PRO® equipment and packages? Click here - https://abatement.com/usa-duct-cleaning-process/ 

Blog Series #2 – DUCT-PRO®: Cleaning the Supply

Abatement Technologies® is leading the duct cleaning industry with our quality equipment and innovative solutions. Our DUCT-PRO® source removal duct cleaning packages provide the tools professional duct cleaners need to follow the NADCA recommended steps for cleaning air duct systems effectively.

Our DUCT-PRO® cleaning process has been designed to create new business opportunities for contractors. It is faster and more efficient than other solutions on the market, and our customizable duct cleaning packages can accommodate each contractor’s unique requirements. We have developed a process to ensure duct cleaners select the right package for their needs and can customize everything from the vacuum to the AIRE-SWEEP® portable air compressor, agitation devices, and accessories.

It’s important to understand the role each piece of equipment plays in the process to ensure their efficiency and proper use. Our team of Aire Guardians at Abatement Technologies have® created a video series to provide users with the information needed to clean HVAC duct systems quickly and efficiently, leading to a profitable indoor air quality business. 

To accompany the training videos, we’ve created a blog series to help break down the steps and process for using DUCT-PRO®. In our last post, we covered the proper protective equipment and prep work needed to efficiently clean ducts. Here we'll discuss the proper steps for cleaning the supply side of the ductwork. 

Steps for cleaning the supply

The duct cleaning professional will prepare to clean the supply side by cutting a 12-inch access hole.  If cutting a 12-inch hole is not possible, the largest possible size should be cut, keeping in mind that the larger the hole, the better the airflow. If the duct is constructed with duct board instead of sheet metal, it's important to hold the hole cutter blade at a 45-degree angle (similar to cutting the top off of a pumpkin) to achieve a good fit when replacing the piece at the end of the project. 

This access hole is typically cut into the plenum, as high above the coil as possible. Sometimes, the hole is cut into the main duct close to the plenum. It’s important to cut the hole high enough that the cutting doesn’t damage the coil. It’s a good idea to protect the coil by covering it with a tarp or piece of plastic to prevent debris from falling into it during the cleaning process. 

Once the access holes are made, a quick connect adaptor is screwed over the holes using zip screws to hold it in place. The contractor will then use flexible ducting to attach the quick connect collar which will be held in place using the locking collar. Duct tape can be used in this step to attach the quick connection to the duct board. 

The contractor should check all damper settings in the branches and main ducts before beginning the cleaning process to ensure they are all open. With the DUCT-PRO® power vacuum connected to the supply, the duct system can be turned on to create a strong airflow through its supply.

In our next post, we’ll share how to properly conduct the push method in duct cleaning. 

Want to learn more about our DUCT-PRO® equipment and packages? Click here - https://abatement.com/usa-duct-cleaning-process/ 

Blog Series #1 – DUCT-PRO®: Preparing for the job

Abatement Technologies® is the industry leader in quality duct cleaning solutions. Our high-performance DUCT-PRO® packages utilize HEPA-AIRE® equipment to clean HVAC duct systems faster and more efficiently than other methods. Abatement Technologies’ equipment uses our exclusive source removal duct cleaning process, meaning our equipment captures dirt and debris to provide complete air duct cleaning and decontamination.

Our source removal duct cleaning process is designed to work with the tools professional duct cleaners need to follow the NADCA recommended steps for cleaning air duct systems effectively. Abatement Technologies® DUCT-PRO® equipment is designed for contractors looking to expand their existing business. DUCT-PRO® enables professionals to offer duct cleaning as an add-on service, which can lead to more business opportunities and higher revenue. 

It’s important to understand the role each piece of equipment plays in the process before starting a duct cleaning business. Our team of Aire Guardians at Abatement Technologies® has created a video series to provide users with the key information needed to safely start using DUCT-PRO®. We’ve created a blog series to accompany our training videos and help break down the process for using DUCT-PRO®. In this blog, we’ll discuss the proper accessories and equipment needed for the job as well as the necessary prep work for their optimal performance. 

DUCT-PRO® Accessories & Equipment 

We recommend beginning any duct-cleaning project with personal protective equipment (PPE) including safety glasses and respirators. Additional recommended PPE includes cut-resistant gloves and sleeves to reduce injuries when reaching through ductwork with sheet metal cutouts. 

Once the proper PPE has been identified, it's time to identify which duct cleaning method is right for the job. Our  DUCT-PRO® system uses the state-of-the-art source removal duct cleaning push/pull method. The “push” mechanism is achieved with high-velocity compressed air tools while the “pull” mechanism is accomplished by creating powerful airflow through the air conveyance system with the use of the HEPA-AIRE® portable vacuum included in the DUCT-PRO® package from Abatement Technologies®.

Duct Cleaning Prep Work

Next ensure the furnace, AC, and duct systems are turned off and will remain off for the duration of the project. It’s also good practice to turn off the air handling unit at the thermostat as well as the circuit breaker to prevent accidental startup. It’s important to be aware of, and adhere to, all local regulations regarding gas pilot lights and other utilities before beginning any project.

The duct cleaning professional should conduct a thorough inspection of the project site to identify any potential safety concerns and determine the layout of the ductwork once the systems have been turned off. During this process, the duct cleaning professional will examine the condition of the ductwork and determine the type of air handler used so they can develop a plan for hookup points and air sweeping procedures. It’s important to understand how to clean the supply and return duct networks to avoid pulling debris through the heat exchanger and coil. To separate the supply and return, simply pull out the furnace filter and insert an inflatable zone bag into the air handle to isolate the supply and block airflow. 

Grill masking tape should be used to seal off the registers and increase airflow through the branch being cleaned. It’s important to keep the furthest two or three vents uncovered during this step to allow air into the ductwork to create airflow. The airflow will be inadequate for transferring debris to the power vacuum if all vents are covered.

Our DUCT-PRO® HEPA-AIRE® portable vacuums are designed to pull large volumes of debris through the duct system and filter all of the contaminants before exhausting clean air from the vacuum. For optimal performance, the vacuums should be placed as close to the furnace as possible. 

When the filters become dirty, audio and visual alarm cues will signal that airflow has been reduced and it’s time to change them. Most operators prefer to change the HEPA filter every one to two years of use. 

Check out our next blog post to learn more about duct cleaning with our DUCT-PRO® specialty tools!

Want to learn more about our DUCT-PRO® equipment and packages? Click here - https://abatement.com/usa-duct-cleaning-process/ 

Hospital Surge Capacity Readiness: Keeping Patients Safe with Containment Solutions (ICRA 2.0)

Respiratory illnesses are on the rise across North America. A surge of COVID-19 cases combined with viral strains of the flu and RSV has made it a particularly fierce season for all kinds of respiratory infections. Healthcare facilities are seeing an increased need for critical services and supplies and are quickly running out of space, while the number of patients with respiratory infections is only expected to grow.

Infection control risk assessment (ICRA) requirements call for six feet of spatial separation between infected sources and susceptible hosts, so building cubicles and barriers may be necessary in waiting rooms, triage areas, and treatment spaces. In addition, it's best practice to use single-bed room accommodations for patients whenever possible. If single rooms aren’t available due to capacity constraints, it's important to ensure the same ICRA spatial separation recommendations are met. 

Containment Products

Modular temporary containment barriers like our Shield Wall™ system are gaining traction in the healthcare construction industry due to their adaptability. The system can be configured to create anterooms or standalone patient areas. Temporary containment solutions are easy to set up and an excellent option for quickly creating emergency quarantine areas and patient intake spaces, especially when combined with a HEPA air filtration device. Modular containment systems like Shield Wall™ are durable with fully wipeable interior and exterior surfaces, making them easy to sanitize and an ideal solution for critical care environments.

HEPA Air Filtration Systems 

Containment barriers are effective for enclosing a space but can’t eliminate what’s already in the air.  Portable air filtration units can be added for infection control and to reduce healthcare associated infections (HAIs).  They contain HEPA filters tested and certified to provide 99.97% or higher efficiency overall against 0.3-micron particles. Using temporary containment walls combined with a HEPA air filtration system like our HEPA-CARE® portable models, healthcare facilities can quickly convert almost any room into a CDC-compliant patient isolation room. Our available ceiling-mounted models place the filtration system completely out of the way of patients and staff, while portable air scrubbers (PAS) like our PRED750 are lightweight filtration options that can be brought into small spaces with minimal disruption.

Assessing Your Current Response Plan 

Preparation is essential for maintaining healthcare facility operations and delivering quality patient care amid any crisis. Periodically reassessing preparedness levels can help healthcare facilities identify gaps and prioritize future purchasing requirements. 

Abatement Technologies offers a complete range of products designed to help adapt existing healthcare spaces and combat surge capacity restraints. Our fully-trained Aire Guardians are ready to help recommend an affordable preparedness package to cover the needs of your facility in supporting both your staff and your patients.

Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions are essential in managing surge capacity. 

7 Ways to Use SHIELD WALL™ for Temporary Containment

Temporary modular walls have grown in popularity in recent years as a reliable alternative to traditional solutions, like drywall and poly sheeting. Due to their reusability, flexibility, and cost savings, temporary wall systems are a great solution for a variety of projects. 

At Abatement Technologies, our SHIELD WALL™ containment solution has been successful in a wide range of commercial construction projects–both inside and outside of healthcare. Here’s a quick look at some examples of how industry experts are leveraging  SHIELD WALL™ temporary walls to protect people from airborne contaminants during construction in occupied settings. 

Hospitals and Long-term Care Facilities

Infection control and reducing healthcare associated infections (HAI’s) has become a central concern in healthcare construction. In the US and Canada, code compliance is required in all healthcare facilities. Many regulations and standards require containment barriers, like our SHIELD WALL™ solution, to prevent pathogens from entering patient care areas. For a complete solution, SHIELD WALL™ is used in conjunction with our high-efficiency, HEPA-filtered portable air scrubbers, and monitoring equipment to effectively isolate, capture, and control airborne dust particles and pathogens. Additionally, SHIELD WALL™can be easily configurable to create anterooms and patient isolation rooms.

Schools

Schools and college/university campuses environments support a range of interests and activities for a large and diverse population. When construction or renovation needs arise, they often can’t be put off until a break or summer recess, requiring construction to occur in occupied spaces. During these projects, it’s important to minimize the disruption of construction noise and prioritize safety for all. Our SHIELD WALL™ temporary containment solution not only blends in with its surroundings, its superior sound attenuation significantly reduces noise to allow projects to move forward without disruptions. 

Data Centers

Data centers are not only massive investments, they’re integral to the operations of many organizations. With various pieces of sensitive equipment and hardware, even the tiniest particle of dust can cause serious damage, risking the integrity of stored data. Because of this, it's important that a modular containment solution, like SHIELD WALL™, is used to prevent any damage to the equipment. And to further protect equipment, SHIELD WALL™ is used in conjunction with air filtration devices to keep the area pressurized and monitored, ensuring electronics are dust free for optimal performance. 

Airports

Airports today have become more than just a center of transportation—they’ve become a hub of commerce and development. In fact, according to the FAA's Air Traffic Organization (ATO), approximately 2,900,000 passengers fly in and out of U.S. airports on any given day. And, to keep up with the traffic, airports are constantly undergoing renovation and construction. However, while construction is underway, navigating flight checkpoints and finding the right terminal can be challenging for even the most seasoned traveler, especially those unfamiliar with the terminal’s design. Simple signage and barriers can be confusing, and don’t always discourage people from entering.

 With a containment solution, like SHIELD WALL™, airports can effectively conceal construction areas to appear as if it’s a regular wall within the airport. This eliminates potential confusion and helps travelers safely navigate around the construction site. 

Malls

Modular wall systems in retail and mall construction is a practical way to keep the stores not involved in the project open to the public, without sacrificing the aesthetic of the store fronts. Instead of the traditional drywall with branded logos, temporary containment walls offer retailers a reusable option that doesn’t sacrifice the safety of shoppers. If branding the area under construction is required then custom graphics can be easily applied to the temporary walls letting shoppers know what’s “coming soon”.

Residential Buildings 

When renovations are required in residential buildings, like apartment complexes and other multifamily housing, concealing the construction area is essential in protecting the safety of tenants. And, minimizing noise and disruptions is a valuable bonus. Our SHIELD WALL™ temporary containment solution not only effectively protects tenants from breathing in any potential harmful pathogens, its superior sound attenuation protects tenants from noise disruptions.

Office Spaces 

Think outside of the box, or in this case, outside of the cubicle! During construction and renovations, it’s important to find a balance between getting the work done in an efficient manner without disrupting office production. As the central location for many companies, a productive work environment leads to successful operations. Because of this, it's crucial to maintain a quiet workplace throughout the duration of the project. 

Additionally, SHIELD WALL™ is so flexible that it’s not just used for construction purposes. Many facilities have used the modular system to easily construct temporary cubicles for additional overflow work space.

A versatile solution for any industry 

From malls to healthcare to multifamily housing, schools and office buildings, and even data centers, temporary containment wall systems are designed to protect. Our SHIELD WALL™ containment system is trusted by leading contractors across North America to protect people in occupied spaces from potential infections and disruptions of renovation. 

Ready to learn more about how SHIELD WALL™ can help you get the job done? Contact us today! 

Renting Smart with Abatement Technologies

Contractors looking to build their equipment inventory inevitably end up asking themselves – do I rent or buy this piece of equipment? Concerns like budget and storage constraints can make buying new equipment a burden. And, for the contractors who rarely use certain pieces of equipment, renting can be the most cost effective option. 

But because of the nature of construction, it’s important that contractors have access to the equipment they need, when they need it. And because construction projects can be unpredictable, rental companies need to have a full inventory that is ready to ship out at a moment's notice. 

Abatement Technologies: A One-Stop-Shop 

For companies like Century Building Materials, having an equipment provider that operates with the same sense of urgency is a must. And, leveraging Abatement Technologies as a one-stop-shop for their rental equipment needs, Century Building Materials is able to single-source a wide range of equipment, cutting down on the time and effort needed when working with multiple vendors. 

Abatement Technologies helps supply rental companies with equipment like:

  • Negative air machines  
  • Portable air scrubbers
  • Monitoring equipment
  • Containment barriers
  • And more!

Meeting Renter Needs

By helping rental companies offer innovative products to renters, Abatement Technologies helps ensure renters are meeting industry standards and requirements. Specifically, in healthcare, it’s essential that contractors take the proper measures to protect patients. For some, this can mean updating practices and equipment. 

For many years the materials needed to contain construction areas were disposable materials, like drywall and lumber. However, by renting a modular containment wall system, like SHIELD WALL™, the wall can be returned at the end of the project and rented repeatedly.  

Around the Clock Customer Service

Abatement Technologies offers rental companies the support needed to provide high quality equipment to customers, at any time. And, with Abatement’s rapid order fulfillment capabilities, rental companies can ensure products are readily available for customers whenever and wherever they need them. With a knowledgeable staff on hand, Abatement Technologies offers a consultative approach to its customer service to find the right solution for each need.  

Century Building Materials and Abatement Technologies - A Case Study

Want to learn more about how Abatement Technologies supports an equipment rental company? Click here to read about Century Building Materials’ partnership with Abatement Technologies to readily provide rental equipment to its customers. 

Winter Maintenance Guide: Frozen pipes

A Winter Maintenance Guide to Preventing Frozen Pipes 

As the weather gets more frigid with each passing day in many parts of the world, it's important to be prepared for freezing temperatures. Frozen pipes are notoriously known to cause a significant amount of damage every year, and can result in thousands of dollars in damages if not handled correctly. When water freezes and expands, pressure builds, and vulnerable pipes are likely to burst. The smallest crack in a pipe can spew hundreds of gallons of water, resulting in flooding, mold, and structural damage. Unlike winter storms, bursting pipes are largely preventable with the right preparation. Here are a few tips on how to prevent frozen pipes, how to thaw frozen pipes before they burst, and how to avoid water damage before it’s too late:

Preventing Frozen Pipes

When temperatures drop below -6° C for at least six consecutive hours, pipes are at a risk of freezing. In order to mitigate the risk, it’s crucial to consider the following:

Insulate pipes: Pipes that are exposed, pipes that run through exterior walls, and pipes that are located in unheated crawl spaces, attics, and basements are all highly susceptible to freezing. To build thermal protection around pipes, it’s important to use materials like tubular foam, pipe wrap, and heat cable to raise water temperatures by -15.56° C.    

Seal leaks: Air leaks around electrical wiring and vents allow frigid temperatures to make their way around vulnerable pipes. Look for cracks around the building and tightly seal with caulk, weatherstripping, or additional insulation materials to keep cold air outside.

Keep consistent temperatures: Thermostats should be kept at a consistent temperature throughout the day and night. Dropping the temperature indoors at night may offer a lower heating bill, but adjusting below 12.78° C during extreme cold can cause a devastating strain on both pipes and furnaces.   

Thawing Frozen Pipes

If only a few drops of water trickle out of a faucet when it’s freezing outside, there’s a good chance the pipes are frozen. In this stage, it’s not too late to take action before they burst:  

Apply heat: Slowly apply heat using an electrical heating pad, a space heater, or hot towels. Be cautious of using appliances in areas of standing water to avoid electrocution. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, gradually moving towards the coldest portion of the pipe.   

Keep water running: While treating the pipes, keep faucets turned on to allow a consistent flow of water. As the frozen area begins to melt, running water will assist in preventing pressure buildup and blockages that can cause a burst. 

Check all faucets: If one pipe is frozen, it’s likely not an isolated situation. Check all faucets around the building for dripping water and repeat the heating process until all water pressure is restored.  

After Pipes Burst

When frozen pipes go undetected and untreated, ice blockages will likely cause pipes to burst. After the burst occurs, it’s critical to take immediate action. 

Contact a water restoration expert: When it comes to mold and bacteria, time is the enemy. Everything that comes into contact with water must be properly dried, cleaned and disinfected within 48 hours to avoid residual damage. Trained professionals know the quickest, safest, most efficient ways to salvage the building and its contents by measuring and recording temperature, moisture, and humidity.  

Shut off water: Locate the main water supply and shut it off to stop the heavy flow of water. Leave faucets on to relieve the pipe of remaining pressure and cold water. If the leak occurred near any electrical sockets or fuse boxes, it’s crucial to turn electricity off.  

Remove standing water: The longer water stays in the building, the higher potential for mold and mildew issues. Remove as much water and moisture from the area as possible, while waiting for the experts, using a durable dehumidifier and high-speed air mover. Carpeting, drywall, rugs, cloth, and other porous materials are the most vulnerable to damage. 

But if disaster does strike, check out our blog on Disaster Restoration Solutions.