Archive for Water Damage

A Pre-Vacation Checklist: 5 Ways to Protect Your Home Before Vacation

Summer is quickly heating up, and so is the wide variety of activities we’ll all have to keep up with. There are pool parties, backyard BBQs, beach trips, biking, camping and many other ways to have some summer fun. Maybe you have a week-long getaway to Disney World planned, or a trip to the Florida Keys or Yellow Stone National Park. No matter what your plans are to enjoy your summer, be sure to do the necessary prep work to make your home vacation-proof before leaving on that week of relaxation to avoid any disasters. Here is a final checklist we’ve come up with to help make this process go as smoothly as possible.

STEP 1: Turn water off to washing machine

Washing machine hoses can quickly flood a house if they burst. It’s good to turn off the water to them so they don’t stay pressurized and possibly burst while you’re gone.

STEP 2: Check your sump pump back-up

Sump pumps are really important if your basement floods. But like anything else, they can fail, and most homeowners don’t realize this until they really need them. It’s important to check your sump pump before vacation to ensure you’re protected and you minimize damage in the case of a house flood.

STEP 3: Remove any spare keys from hidden spaces outside

This will help to ensure that anyone who may be curious won’t have a means of entry. If you’re planning on having someone check on the house while you’re gone, give them a spare key directly to make sure they’re the only ones with access.

STEP 4: Unplug any counter appliances

These appliances can use unneeded electricity while you’re out of town. They also pose a fire threat. It only takes a few seconds to unplug, so it’s well worth the time to protect your home.

STEP 5: Have a light on a night timer inside the house

Keeping a light on inside your home while you’re out may use a small amount of electricity, but it’s important to make your home appears inhabited and not empty to possible intruders. There are timers you can plug into your walls that turn your lights on and off at scheduled times. Tools like this will help you conserve energy, and also make it look even more like there’s somebody home.

This house checklist should help you ensure your home is safe this summer during those fun getaways. Taking these easy precautions will help to minimize your chances of disaster while you’re out. Your vacation will hopefully be a stress- and disaster-free relaxing break. But don’t forget, if disaster happens to strike, Sams is here for you 24/7!

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What to Do When a Sump Pump Fails (And How to Prevent It)

You head down to your basement and find a flood. You didn’t know that last night’s rainfall ended up in your lower level. Whether it’s finished or not, you’ve got a headache on your hands.

It does not take a lot of water to create thousands of dollars of damage. Flooding or water in a basement can lead to a whole host of issues from property damage to dangerous mold. These conditions will need to be addressed with water removal and restoration services. Even if your basement has been dry in the past, that does not mean that problems will not occur in the future. A properly functioning sump pump can help eliminate the worry and headache of a flooded basement.

What Is a Sump Pump and How Does it Work?

A sump pump is a small pump that is typically installed in the lowest part of the basement or crawl space. A sump pump pumps water out of a sump pit and away from your house via a hose to prevent flooding and water damage. Sump pumps are typically installed with a specially constructed sump pit, which is a hole with a gravel base about two feet deep and 18 inches wide. When the ground is saturated from excess rain or flooding, the pit fills with water which triggers the pump to turn on. Once the pump is on, it moves the water out of the pit through pipes that run away from your home and foundation.

Sump pumps turn on automatically through a pressure sensor. When water exerts more pressure on the sensor than air does, the pump is activated. Automatic pumps have an option for you to activate the pump if the pump should fail to work.

How to Maintain a Sump Pump

While sump pumps are very reliable, they are also a very important piece of equipment that need regular maintenance. It is important to do semi-annual checks on your sump pump.

  • Since sump pumps are plugged into a power source, it is important to check that your outlet and power cord are in working order. It is also important to make sure that the ground fault circuit interrupter is not tripped due to damp conditions. Periodic checks on the GFCI are necessary.
  • Check to make sure that the pump itself is standing upright. The pump vibrates during operation which can cause it to fall over and no longer function.
  • Pour a bucket of water into the pit to make sure the pump starts automatically and the water drains quickly once the pump is running. This is a great way to determine if you need to have your pump serviced.
  • Consider a backup power source in case of a power outage which can occur during a storm.

What to Do When a Sump Pump Fails

When a sump pump fails, you need to take immediate action. If a heavy rain occurs, water can creep into your basement and you will need to remove it quickly. Even a small amount of water can cause a lot of damage. That’s why the Sams team is ready 24-hours a day in case of an emergency. We offer complete water removal and restoration services to get your home back in order as quickly as possible. We’ll assess the situation, remove debris, secure your belongings, extract the water, bring in heavy duty drying equipment, and apply an anti-microbial disinfectant to remove germs and odor and help prevent the growth of mold and mildew. The Sams team can then make any repairs to your carpet to return it to its pre-loss condition.

We hope these tips will help you keep your sump pump in working condition during our rainy months. But when disaster strikes, know that the Sams team is here for you! Call our 24-hour hotline emergency number at 636-949-8229 and we’ll assist you with your cleanup and restoration needs.

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Frozen Pipes: What to Do and How to Prevent

The thought of pipes freezing may seem a bit melodramatic, but it isn’t far-fetched. In fact, it happens more often than you probably realize. Water that freezes during the winter in an unprotected pipe expands, and that expansion can rupture. And we all know how our St. Louis weather can be unpredictable, so it’s smart to be prepared. We’ll cover prevention later. But if you’re reading this article, you’ve likely already discovered a frozen pipe and are looking for a solution.

What to Do if Your Pipes are Frozen

STEP 1: Apply Heat

Adding heat to a frozen pipe helps speeds up the process of melting the ice. Try wrapping a heating pad around it, blowing an electric hair dryer on it, or plugging in a space heater nearby to achieve the quickest results.

STEP 2: Open Your Faucets

To thaw a pipe, you can start near your faucet. In order to do this, you want to make sure your faucet is still on. Identify the frozen water supply pipe, and from there, you will be able to locate the blocked area. As you begin to treat the pipe, the water will help melt ice in the pipe as it passes by.

STEP 3: Turn Up the Heat

Turn up the thermostat in your home to impact pipes hiding behind the walls. Many people like to lower their thermostat when they’re out of town, but be sure to keep your house at around 60 degrees or higher to ensure the pipes don’t freeze.

As the pipe begins to thaw and water begins to flow from the faucet, allow the faucet to stay open for a few minutes. Make sure that all the ice is clear from the pipe. Once everything is all clear, cut off the faucet and check the line for leaks. From there, you will be able to decide if you need to replace or repair the pipe.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Taking preventative measures before the wicked winter weather hits, allows you to reduce and eliminate all cold-weather threats. Some pipes are more prone to freeze over others. Pipes that are against exterior walls have little or no insulation and are subject to freezing. As your thermometer starts descending, make sure you pay close attention to the condition of your pipes. Being prepared may help you avoid the messy and costly expenses that frozen pipes can bring. To that end Sams has a few suggestions on how to prevent water pipes from freezing and how to thaw them if they do.

Draining – Taking instructions from manufacturers or installers, drain all water from the swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines. Do the same for hoses and store them indoors. Make sure to keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.

Inspection – Check around your home for other areas where water supply lines may be located, particularly in unheated areas. Pipe insulation can happen in the basement, attic, garage, kitchen and unexpected spaces. You want to check for hot and cold pipes. Low temperatures can affect all pipes in your home.

Installation – Heat tape and heat cable can go a long way toward preventing exposed pipes from freezing. These materials can be applied directly to pipes and provide significant protection from cold weather. They can be used to keep your pipes warm in areas that don’t have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

Prevention– During cold snaps (below 32 degrees) allow a faucet to drip slowly, moving water will keep the pipe from becoming blocked with ice and freezing. Also leave cabinets doors under sinks open to allow the warmer temperatures in your home to reach those pipes and keep them at a reasonable temperature.

When disconnecting your water/garden hose, make sure to cover all the outside faucets. If you plan on being away for a while, shut off your water supply that connects to you washer. Lastly, close all windows, to prevent combined wind drafts and freezing temperatures from freezing your pipes faster.

What to Do if a Pipe has Burst

The best solution for frozen pipe burst clean-up is to hire experienced and trained water damage restoration technicians. Water damage that seeps into the floors and drywall causes moisture that will rot the wood on walls and floors. At Sams, our water extraction and anti-microbial application techniques is incredibly effective at minimizing future mold and mildew problems.

If you’re ready for a proper inspection and assessment, contact us today. If you experience a water disaster, don’t fear. We can help.


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What to Do When You Discover a Burst Water Pipe

When the worst of winter weather comes to town, the risk of water freezing and pipes bursting comes with it. There are number of very effective steps you can take to prevent water pipes from bursting. But even those aren’t completely fail-safe. If you discover a burst water pipe in your home, there’s little time to sit around and think about how to approach it. You need to move quickly to address the issue and minimize damage.

Here are the 4 steps you should begin taking immediately when you discover a burst pipe in your home.

Step 1: Turn Off the Water Supply and Identify the Leak

When you discover a burst pipe in your home, your first priority should be to stop the flow of water through the pipes. To do this, find the main water shut-off valve. This valve is typically located in a basement or crawlspace, near your water heater. Once your water supply has been turned off, you will still have pressurized water in your pipes. To relieve the pressure and drain the water, open the faucets throughout your home. This is a critical step to preventing additional freezing.

Water from the burst water pipe can sometimes come into contact with electricity. Before entering any flooded area in your home, turn off the power and ensure that the structure of the area you’re entering is sound.

Step 2: Call a Licensed Plummer to Fix the Burst Pipe

The moment you’ve discovered a burst water pipe isn’t the time to debate whether or not you need professional help. You do. A professional plumber will assess the burst pipe and determine if repair or replacement is the most appropriate course of action.

Step 3: Remove Items from the Area to Prevent Additional Damage

After you’ve turned off the water supply and contacted a professional to address the burst pipes, it’s time to mitigate additional damage to furniture or other materials in the room. Some items will be salvageable, and others will not. Items you keep should be wiped down with a clean cloth to remove any moisture.

Sams has put together a list of Quick Action Safe Water Clean-Up Tips at the bottom of this page to ensure you’re taking the right safety precautions before cleaning up after a burst pipe or other water related emergency.

Step 4: Contact Sams for Restoration

Burst water pipes can put you and your family in greater risk of mold and mildew exposure if you don’t correctly address the water damage. Sams provides 24-hour water damage restoration services to home and business owners in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties. That means no matter when you discover your burst pipe, you can reach out to our team at 636-949-8229.

Our technicians are formally trained in water restoration and have the experience and knowledge to quickly remove water from the air and building materials in your home, reducing the chances of mold and mildew. Our company is fully insured with an emphasis in Liability and Mold. We can work directly with your insurance company, or provide a competitive proposal if water restoration isn’t included in your insurance policy.

After the restoration process, we can also identify and advise on the construction repairs needed to return your home to its prior condition. When a water pipe busts, time is of the essence. Acting quickly can minimize the risk of further damage and health issues for you and the people you care about.

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5 Tips to Prevent Pipes from Bursting in Cold Weather

Between freezing rain, snow, and low temperatures, the winter brings with it plenty of reasons to look forward to spring and summer. Among the most frightening risks we face this time of year is the possibility of pipes in your home or business bursting. Burst pipes bring water damage and major unplanned expenses.

While there’s no way to guarantee you won’t have a water pipe burst on the coldest days of the year, there are a few preventative measures you can take in advance to minimize the odds.

5 Tips to Prevent Pipes from Bursting in Cold Temperatures

Tip #1: Keep at-risk pipes warm

When temperatures dip, the pipes most at risk of bursting in your home are those near outside walls or windows. One way to prevent bursting is to keep those pipes warm. Insulating accessible pipes is a relatively affordable and practical way to keep them warm enough to prevent bursting. There are a number of other products available too, including heat tape and electric heating cable designed to keep pipe temps up and minimize the risk of freezing and bursting.

Tip #2: Allow warm air to circulate

Most people don’t consider the pipes under their kitchen or bathroom sinks to be at risk of bursting. After all, they’re inside your home where you’re keeping the temperatures nice and toasty. But because they’re frequently located along exterior walls and spend most of their time behind closed cupboard doors, they do face the risk of freezing. On the coldest days of the year, it’s a good idea to open up cupboard doors to allow the heat from your home in to warm the pipes. We also recommend keeping your interior house doors open to encourage warm air circulation throughout your home.

Tip #3: Run your faucets at a trickle on cold days

Have you ever noticed that lakes freeze before rivers in the winter? That’s because one of the best ways to prevent water from freezing is to keep it moving. If you have exposed pipes at risk of bursting, determine which faucets they are distributing water to. Once you’ve identified the faucets, turn them on and leave them on. Even running water at a trickle on a cold day can keep it moving through the pipes enough to prevent freezing and bursting.

Tip #4: Keep the building’s internal temperature up

A penny saved is a penny earned. We get it. But one of the most dangerous things you can do on the coldest days of the year is dial back your thermostat to keep your furnace from running nonstop. The few dollars you save on heating bills will not add up to enough to cover the cost of a burst pipe. If you’re planning to be away from home for multiple consecutive days in the winter, do not turn your furnace off while you are gone. Experts recommend you keep your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent a plumbing disaster while you’re away.

Tip #5: Keep cold air out

Cold air is the enemy when it comes to preventing your pipes from bursting. So any steps you can take to keep it from entering your home will protect your plumbing system. Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Look for openings around windows and doors and seal any cracks or gaps where cold air can make it into your home.

What to Do if a Pipe Bursts

Sometimes, even when you’ve taken all the precautions, the unthinkable happens. If you do identify a burst pipe in your home, your first call should be to a local licensed plumber who can diagnose the issue, repair the pipes, and prevent further damage.

Your second call should be to the Sams team. Our professional water damage restoration services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We’ve perfected the water damage restoration process and know exactly how to safely clean up existing damage without causing additional harm. The Sams team has helped families and businesses throughout St. Charles County and the St. Louis region make the best out of a bad day, and we can help you too.

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What to Expect in the Water Damage Cleanup Process

If you’re dealing with water damage, it’s not a pleasant experience. Hopefully you never encounter the ‘splish splosh’ of unwelcome water under your feet in your home or business. But thanks to bursting pipes, summer storms, winter freezing and faulty appliances, it sometimes happens. And if it happens to you, it’s incredibly valuable to have someone you can trust who specializes in water damage cleanup.

The Sams team are experts in the residential and commercial water damage cleanup process. In this blog, we’ll explore what you can expect from our crew if you ever face a water damage situation.

No Two Water Damage Cleanup Situations are Alike

The Sams water damage cleanup process begins with a thorough inspection and assessment.  Once we understand the extent of the damage, we will walk through a plan to explain how we’re going to attack the issue and ensure we’re all on the same page.

From there, we begin removing damaged debris and moving salvageable furniture and materials to prevent further problems. We then use tools to measure the moisture content in the building materials of the room so we know what we’re up against and can begin to prioritize the tasks at hand.

Water Extraction and Moisture Removal

To perform the water extraction process, we use a powerful truck-mounted system to pull the water directly out of the space. This is one of the most critical steps to the restoration process for preventing future damage. But in addition to the standing water our extraction process removes, it’s important that we also remove any moisture from the air, furniture, and building materials in the room. We utilize high-powered drying equipment and dehumidifiers to get rid of the moisture that isn’t as visible as standing water, but equally conducive to mold and mildew growth. All the while, we continue to monitor moisture content to measure our progress in the drying process.

Mold and Mildew Prevention

The most important steps to avoiding mold and mildew is water extraction, evaporation, and dehumidification. But to go one step further, we also apply an anti-microbial solution specifically designed to prevent mold and mildew. The solution the Sams team uses is registered with the EPA, USDA/N.S.F and approved for use by professional cleaners and restoration experts. This added peace of mind ensures that when your space looks safe and normal again, it actually is.

Carpets Repaired and Construction Needs Identified

Water damage can wreak havoc on carpet and padding. But replacing your carpet is not the only solution. The Sams team specializes in returning commercial and residential carpet back to its pre-loss condition after water damage. We have a number of proven strategies for repairing and extending the life of your damaged carpet.

You will also likely need some construction repairs completed to get your space back to normal. Once we’ve extracted the water and ensured the room is safe from future mold and mildew issues, we will walk through the construction repairs needed. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing what needs to be done, so you can coordinate with a contractor to get the work completed.

Water damage doesn’t care about your plans or schedule. It’s an uninvited and unwelcome guest that shows up with little warning. The most important thing you can do is address it quickly. For water damage restoration services, the Sams team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can always reach out online, but for immediate water damage restoration services give us a call at 636-949-8229.

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Sams for your Whole Home!

If you’ve driven around the St. Louis area, chances are you’ve seen our bright yellow Sams vans.  We love our vans, and how bright and conspicuous they are.  For many, seeing the yellow van on your street means that your neighbor is getting their carpets cleaned.  However, what you may not realize is that carpet is only ONE of MANY SERVICES we offer.  We can take care of cleaning your home from top to bottom and really everything in between – we do it all.

Here is a comprehensive list of the services we offer:

  1. CARPET CLEANING – this is our most popular service. We use state of the art equipment and the latest methods to thoroughly clean your carpets to leave them looking like new.
  2. CARPET REPAIRS, SPOT and STAIN REMOVAL – if you have a tear or discoloration, spot or stain, do not give up on your carpet. We are able, in most cases, to repair and restore the carpet and save you money.  We can also take care of pet stains and odor control for your home.
  3. UPHOLSTERY FURNITURE CLEANING – a giant stain on your couch can send you into a panic, but with our services, we are able to do our best to remove the toughest of stains making your upholstered furniture beautiful once again.
  4. AREA/ORIENTAL RUG CLEANING – from hand-made to machine-made rugs, we have an area/oriental rug cleaning plant that cleans and repairs them all with our sister company FrenchTown Rug Cleaning Co., division of Sams Carpet Cleaning & Repairs. As Certified Master Rug Cleaners, we take every type of rug through a detailed cleaning and repair process.  Most often these rugs are heirlooms passed down from generation to generation and with that in mind, you can count on us to take care of them!
  5. AIR DUCT AND DRYER VENT CLEANING – having clean air ducts and dryer vents are both important for air quality but can also be important to prevent fires. This service can be set up to occur once a year or every 2 years depending on how often you change your filter, any new or remodeling construction happened in your home, allergies to dust, and so many other scenarios so that your family can breathe easier.
  6. TILE and GROUT CLEANING – sometimes you really don’t notice how dirty your tile and grout can be until you remove that area rug underneath your kitchen table. No worries…Sams is there to provide services that will leave your floors and other tiled areas spotless.
  7. 24 HOUR WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION SERVICES – nobody wants to be the recipient of water damage in their home. It can be a scary and overwhelming experience.  The Sams crew will put you at ease and return your home to a safe and clean state.  We are here for you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in your time of emergency!

We would love to help you start the New Year off with a clean home.  We are a phone call away for any questions you have and we’re standing by to schedule you for one or more of our services.  It’s always a great day when the Yellow Sams Van shows up at your house!


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Protecting Your Home from Water Damage

While April Showers will bring May Flowers, they can also bring big trouble for homeowners in Missouri.

Flooding can be a tragic experience for anyone but with a few simple steps and our phone number close at hand, you will be ready for the worst Mother Nature can throw at us.

  1. As the rains pick up and the weather warms, get outside and walk around your home.
    • Check gutters, drains and downspouts for debris.
    • Look for low areas around your foundation which may collect water. Try to fill these areas and slope away from the house.
  2. Check your sump pump and consider adding an inexpensive moisture alarm.
  3. Keep valuables and easily damaged items in your basement in plastic tubs as opposed to cardboard boxes.

Should water make its way into your home, don’t you worry. Sams Carpet Cleaning & Repairs is one call to our 24-hour live service line that will put you in touch with our team of trained and certified Restoration Specialists.  Restoration Specialists will assess your water damage, walk you through the claims process, and provide you with the latest in state of the art restorative drying techniques to leave your home back to its previous condition, clean, and safe.  For more information about our water damage restoration services, check out our page!

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When Disaster Strikes: What to Do When Water Floods Your Home or Business

Most would say water is the natural remedy. At Sams Carpet, we know that water can also be a natural disaster. Floods are unpredictable, and in addition to causing property damage, they can really take a toll on your emotions. When water enters your home or business, it’s imperative that you take quick action to avoid health and safety hazards. Here’s what you should do if you experience flooding and water damage in your home or business:

  1. Call a Professional as quickly as possible
    We have the equipment and expertise to dry out the structure, can assess the damage done, and will determine whether materials can be saved or need to be removed. A professional can also assess whether there is mold or contaminants that would need to be removed. We offer a 24 hour restoration services. Our technicians have extensive experience, IICRC certification, and are formally trained to protect your home and furnishings. The sooner you call us, the sooner the water is removed and mitigation techniques are employed to prevent further damage and return your property to its pre-loss condition.
  1. Disconnect Power, Remove Electronics and Furniture
    Electricity and water don’t mix. Be sure that your home or business power supply is disconnected even if the power company has turned off electricity in your area. The electricity must be turned off at the main beaker box, but If you have to step in or through water to get to your electric box, don’t do it! You need a professional, so call an electrician.
  1. Dry out the affected area
    We will extract the water with a powerful truck-mounted extraction system. This is an extremely vital first step in the drying process to help prevent further damage. If the structure is not properly dried out, there is a higher likelihood that mold will form (and who wants that?)
  1. Disinfect
    When the materials in your home or business have dried, we will apply a Microban Disinfectant to protect against germs and odor and kill allergy and disease causing germs, bacteria, mold and mildew. Basically, fight off all the gross crud that you don’t want in your home.
  1. Waterproof
    Before you start to repair or rebuild, consider some waterproofing measures that can be easily worked in during the rebuilding process. Mount high shelves for storing valuable items if you don’t have the option of moving them from the ground. This same method can be applied to other household appliances including entertainment equipment and electrical sockets. Replace wooden floors and carpets with ceramic tiles or concrete. Rugs are also a good alternate for carpets, which are easy to move away. This time don’t just build it back, build it better.

Before you start doing anything, call your insurance company, inform them of your plans, and take pictures of the damage. We have exceptional relationships with insurance companies and we would be happy to guide you through the claims process or answer any questions you might have. At Sams, we are insured with an emphasis in Liability and Mold for your protection. If your insurance policy excludes your water damage restoration, we will provide you with a competitive proposal. Some things aren’t worth repairing and may call for a recovery plan.

I know we don’t want to think about water damage in our home or business, but be prepared! If disaster strikes, you know who to call. We will be happy to get your property and items back to their previous condition or better, while giving you peace of mind.

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