Blog – Document Recovery

Water Damaged Documents and the Danger of Freezing Pipes

Imagine 25,000 gallons of water flooding through 13 stories of residential and commercial property. Last January, this terrible situation befell Huntington Towers, a mixed-use building in Champaign, Ill. The deluge of water was released when frozen pipes burst on the building’s 13th floor. The pipes were exposed to extremely cold temperatures when an access door blew open during a nasty storm. Fortunately, the building’s tenants were able to return within three days of the emergency, thanks to the efforts of a firm specializing in disaster recovery.

Documents, computer equipment and furnishings can all be heavily damaged when this kind of flooding event occurs. Although it is possible to bounce back from such a disaster, it is a headache to figure out how to restore wet documents and property. Here at Polygon, we are passionate about restoring our clients’ water damaged documents. Still, we’d rather help you avoid frozen, burst pipes in the first place.

Here’s the problem: Water expands about 9 percent as it freezes. Therefore, if water flow isn’t shut off during extreme weather conditions, it will likely freeze in pipes, causing them to expand and often resulting in serious plumbing damage and flooding.

Business owners and building managers can avoid flooding (and the water damaged documents that go with it) by protecting pipes against freezing.

Keep all exterior doors closed. If your maintenance routine doesn’t include regular perimeter checks, consider installing an alarm system to automatically tell you when temperatures drop dangerously low.

Prepare for cold snaps. If a stretch of extremely cold weather is headed your way, prepare by draining irrigation systems. Also, turn off the water supply to any pipes that aren’t thoroughly insulated. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation to reduce heat loss.

Maintain a tight heat envelope. Ideally, all interior temperatures should be warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Sealing up cracks around windows and doors will lower your energy bills while preventing heat loss.

If a pipe does break and your office is strewn with crucial water damaged documents, call Polygon for help with your disaster recovery. Documents are our specialty – we know how to restore wet documents like we know the backs of our hands. You can trust us to save your company’s most valuable documents if flooding should occur.

[ Photo by: Jimmy_Joe, via CC License ]

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