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Chicago Fire Prevention Week

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Restoration Services ·
Tags: fireprevention
Fire Prevention Week
10/10/2017 fire damage cleanup
In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

Every October, we observe Fire Prevention Month as an opportunity to highlight the ways you and your family can stay safe from fires. As we kick off this important annual event, let's take a brief look at the history of Fire Prevention Month and how you can participate in your own household. With a few basic steps, this October can be your chance to do what it takes to help ensure that a fire never harms you, your loved ones, or your property.

What Is Fire Prevention Week?
The history of Fire Prevention Month begins with the infamous Great Chicago Fire of October 1871. In the wake of this citywide blaze, over 250 people had been killed and more than 100,000 were left homeless. As a result, people soon began creating fire awareness campaigns and sharing fire prevention tips during October, in remembrance of the fire that nearly destroyed an entire city.
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson declared National Fire Prevention Day, and five years later he declared Fire Prevention Week as a national observance. Over the years, this grew to encompass the entire month of October, with the National Fire Protection Association taking a leading role in organizing and sponsoring a month's worth of fire prevention tips for schools, families and individuals.

How Do Fires Start at Home? the great chicago fire 1871
Legend claims that the Great Chicago Fire started in a barn when a cow kicked over a lantern. A barn isn't exactly a house and the cow's owner, Catherine O'Leary, refuted the story, but it just goes to show that mundane occurrences can lead to severe fires. The seasonally dry weather and a city full of wooden buildings conspired for disaster, too, and the real start of the fire was never determined for sure.
Fire Prevention Month is about making sure that you stay aware of how easily fires can start. Take a look at our fire safety and prevention checklist for common risk factors and how you can avoid them. Whether it's a cow kicking over a lantern or kitchen towel left too close to a stovetop, you don't want to risk losing everything over carelessness.

What Fire Prevention Tips Work for Families?
Practicing fire safety at home involves the right mix of prevention, planning and action. Take the opportunity this October to get everyone in your household involved in being better prepared to avoid and react to fires. Here are a few tips to get your family started:
  • Teach kids to stay away from fire at home. You have more fire sources in your home than you might realize. Stoves, grills, candles, lighters and matches – to name just a few – can all cause trouble if mishandled. Make sure everyone knows that flame sources are for adults only.
  • Encourage talking about fire. Explain in age-appropriate terms what might happen if little ones break the rules. Encourage them to calmly and immediately tell you if someone breaks fire safety rules. It's important for everyone to know how serious a danger fire is.
  • Check your alarms, sprinklers, and extinguishers. Older kids can help test smoke alarms and use fire extinguishers. Make sure everyone knows where fire extinguishers are located, and keep their storage spaces clear of debris. Be sure they're stored within reach and will be visible and accessible if a fire breaks out.
Preventing fires at home is important year-round, but Fire Prevention Month serves as a great reminder that simple steps can make a big difference in keeping your family safe. Use these tips to make sure everyone knows the importance of fire safety at home, and don't hesitate to contact ServiceMaster Restore® if your home is affected by fire or smoke damage. Have a safe October!

When Harvey moves out, ServiceMaster Restore moves in

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Restoration Services ·
Tags: harvey
When Harvey moves out, Restore moves in
Rain continues to pelt southeast Texas while ServiceMaster Restore is staged and ready when waters recede. The focus now is on  determining which commercial areas are safe to enter.

Safety remains a concern, especially as the water recede. Fire ants, snakes and alligators, as well as other displaced wildlife, will seek more habitable conditions, which may be close to residential and commercial areas. Heat and humidity are also factors.
Franchise Services President on CNBC's Squawk Box Today
Franchise Services Group President Mary Kay Wegner appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box Tuesday morning to talk about ServiceMaster Restore and recovery and restoration after Hurricane Harvey. See it here.

Holiday Cleaning Tips - ServiceMaster DCS

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Cleaning Services ·

Tips for a Guest-Ready Home:

How deep do you go when cleaning for holiday guests? There are some who take it to the extreme — but you can have a clean home without going overboard.

If you think wiping down countertops and fluffing a few pillows in advance of the guest onslaught will land you on Santa’s “nice” list this   holiday season, check that list twice.

But you can bring your home to sparkling guest-readiness without going overboard. A few tips from the ServiceMaster DCS will keep your home merry, bright, and clean:
  • Scrub your entryway. Wipe down your front door, give the doormat a good shake, and make sure dust and dirt haven’t collected on floors and furniture legs. These are the first things guests will see when they arrive, so keeping them clean will guarantee a good first impression.

  • Sniff out bad smells. If you clean your home and something still doesn’t smell quite right, brew some coffee. The aroma will cover it up.
  • Focus on the kitchen. People tend to gather around the food during the holidays, so make sure your kitchen looks and smells nice. Don’t forget to dust the light fixtures and flush sink drains with boiling water.
  • Whatever you do, don’t neglect the loo. Don’t just wipe surfaces; break out the stiff-bristled brush and scouring powder to really scrub things clean.
ServiceMaster DCS also has a few cost-conscious cleaning tips to get your home holiday ready:
  • Give your garbage disposal some love, considering how much it will “consume” this season. To cut down on odors, chop up a whole lemon — rind and all — and let the disposal gobble it up. Throw in ice cubes to sharpen the blades.
  • How about one soap for everything? If you’ve got a bottle of castile soap, you’re ready for anything. It can be laundry detergent, mopping solution, and shampoo, just to name a few.
  • Make sure you can see the guests coming. Keep windows clean and streak-free on the cheap with an easy mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Wipe down windows with a reusable microfiber cloth.
  • With all your holiday cooking, stovetops and ovens are bound to get dirty. Baking soda and water make a simple scouring solution that can scrub off that baked-on gunk.
  • To save money, make your own bathroom cleaning products. For example, to unclog a drain for pennies, pour half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar down the drain. Cover the drain for at least 30 minutes, then flush it with boiling water.

What are your tips for keeping your home guest-ready during the holiday season?

Happy Holidays from ServiceMaster DCS Staff.

Everyone Can Help Control Mosquitoes.

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Tips ·
You, your neighbors, and the community can also take steps to reduce mosquitoes in and around your home and in your neighborhood.

Conduct mosquito surveillance
Mosquito control plans include steps that are taken before control efforts begin and before people start getting sick with a virus spread by mosquitoes. Professionals need to understand what types and numbers of mosquitoes are in an area. In order to find out this information, mosquito control experts conduct surveillance. Surveillance activities can include:
  • Monitoring places where adult mosquitoes lay eggs and where young mosquitoes can be found
  • Tracking mosquito populations and the viruses they may be carrying
  • Determining if EPA-registered insecticides will be effective

These activities help professionals determine if, when, and where control activities are needed to manage mosquito populations before people start getting sick. If professionals discover that local mosquitoes are carrying viruses (like dengue, Zika, or others), they start implementing other activities identified in their mosquito control plans.

Remove places where mosquitoes lay eggs
Removing places where mosquitoes lay eggs is an important step. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water because young mosquitoes need water to survive. Professionals and the public can remove standing water.
  • Professionals at local government agencies and mosquito control districts may collect and dispose of illegally dumped tires, clean up and maintain public spaces like parks and greenways, and clean up illegal dumps and roadside trash.
  • You, your neighbors, and community can remove standing water. Once a week, items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools birdbaths, flower pot saucers, and trash containers should be emptied and scrubbed, turned over, covered, or thrown away.
  • If needed, a community clean up event can be held to remove large items like tires that collect water.

Control young mosquitoes
Once mosquito eggs hatch, they become larvae and then pupae. Both larvae and pupae live in standing water. Dumping or removing standing water in and around your home is one way to control young mosquitoes. For standing water that cannot be dumped or drained, a larvicide can be used to kill larvae. Larvicides are products used to kill young mosquitoes before they become biting adults.

The public and professionals can use US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered larvicides according to label instructions.
  • Professionals treat water-holding structures and containers in public places, like storm drains or urns in cemeteries. They may also treat standing water on private property as part of a neighborhood cleanup campaign.
  • People can treat fountains, septic tanks, and pool covers that hold water with larvicides.

Controlling young mosquitoes before they become adults, can minimize widespread use of insecticides that kill adult mosquitoes.

Control adult mosquitoes
Adult mosquitoes can spread viruses (like dengue, Zika, or others) that make you sick. When surveillance activities show that adult mosquito populations are increasing or that they are spreading viruses, professionals may decide to apply adulticides to kill adult mosquitoes. Adulticides help to reduce the number of mosquitoes in an area and reduce the risk that people will get sick. The public and professionals can use US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered adulticides according to label instructions.
  • If mosquitoes are spreading viruses over larger areas, professionals spray adulticides by using backpack sprayers, trucks , or airplanes
  • People can buy adulticides and use them inside and outside their homes.

Help Control Mosquitoes that Spread Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika Viruses

Monitor control programs
To make sure that mosquito control activities are working, professionals monitor the effectiveness of their efforts to control both young and adult mosquitoes. For example, if an insecticide didn’t work as well as predicted, then professionals may conduct additional studies on insecticide resistance or evaluate the equipment used to apply insecticides..

Beat The Heat this summer with these heat safety tips

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Tips ·
Tags: beattheheathotsummersafetytips
Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

It's hot outside so make sure and #BeatTheHeat this summer with these heat safety tips:
  • Hot Pets? Not cool! Even with the windows rolled down, only minutes in a hot car can be deadly for your pet.
  • Make sure you drink LOTS of water to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration, heat stroke & more.
  • During extreme heat drink plenty of water, even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
    • Infants and young children
    • People aged 65 or older
    • People who have a mental illness
    • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure

If you must be out in the heat:
  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

Easy Tips to Prevent Water Damage

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Restoration Services ·
Tags: waterdamagewaterdamagerestorationfloodfloodcleanup
Most Homeowners insurance policies cover basic water damage claims up to the purchased limit.

But you know what’s a lot easier than going through the claims process? Preventing the water damage in the first place!

Check out these 5 ServiceMaster DCS suggestions for preventing water damage:

1. Be careful where you plant

Some plants and trees, like weeping willows, have pretty invasive roots. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.

2. Clean out roof gutters

You know it’s on your to-do list anyway, so if you can, take a safe climb up to your roof next Sunday and check out your gutters. If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and whatnot up there, your gutters may not be doing the job you hired them for. And on a rainy day, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. That could cause some serious water damage! So next time you’re doing some seasonal cleaning, make sure those gutters are clean. And if your gutters are too high, be safe and get a professional to check them.

3.  Keep an eye on your water bill

With so many water pipes hidden behind walls and in the floors in your house, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is done. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your monthly water bill. If you see it starting to creep up, or get one that’s uncommonly high, it’s a pretty good sign that you may have a leak somewhere.

4. Use a drain snake instead of unclogging chemicals

No matter how crazy clean you are, from your shower to your kitchen sink, clogs are going to happen. And chances are at some point in your life you’ve used one of those powerful chemical drain cleaners to get things moving again. But as convenient as they may be, most folks don’t realize those caustic chemicals are also eating away at their pipes (and they might not be too good for you either). If you rely on them a lot, you could be setting yourself up for leaks. That’s why owning a drain snake is a good solution to clear away clogs. They’re pretty inexpensive, you can get them at your local hardware store, and they can cut through most any clog you’ll have without damaging pipes or making your eyes red and teary.

5. Never pour grease down your sink

You’ve probably heard this before, but you should definitely avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. It doesn’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. It can still congeal and cling to your pipes, and could still cause some serious damage and blockage.

Some people use detergent to break up grease before pouring it down the drain…and that may help sometimes. But there’s no guarantee that it’ll keep the grease from sticking to your pipes, so why take the risk?

The safest thing to do is just to pour your grease in an empty can, and either let it sit or put it in the refrigerator. Once it hardens you can toss it in the trash and get rid of it. Done and done.

READY FOR WINTER BREAK? Our specialized cleaning services can help.

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Cleaning Services ·
Tags: cleaningservicesschooluniversitycommercialofficebuildingbusinesscleanupcarpettilegroutupholsteryfloors

If you’ve had a busy semester and are looking forward to some much needed time off, imagine how your floors feel. Floors,
carpet, and upholstery can become matted, dirty and stained through normal wear and traffic. Let ServiceMaster Clean®
put the bounce back into your floors and carpets this winter break by performing a restorative cleaning.


ServiceMaster Clean offers a wide variety of cleaning
services for campuses of any size, including hardsurface
floor cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery
cleaning and other specialty cleaning services.

ServiceMaster Clean offers our customers flexible
scheduling, 24 hours a day, based on your
campus’ needs.

We can also serve your everyday janitorial needs and
can assist with dorm room and classroom cleaning.

Our Green For® products have reduced environmental
impact and contain no volatile organic compounds
(VOCs), which have been known to aggravate health
problems such as asthma.

From annual maintenance to regular carpet cleanings
and everything in between, we’re dedicated to
exceeding your expectations.

ESTIMATE, CALL US TODAY:                          

Leave Fire Damage Restoration to the Pros

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Restoration Services ·
Tags: firedamagefirerestoration
Fire Damage: Trust the Experts 
Even after a fire is out, the damage to a home and its contents continues. Much of the material found in furniture and flooring is synthetic and, when burned, can result in complex chemical reactions. In just a few days, those items can go from cleanable to unsalvageable.

The professionals of ServiceMaster DCS are experts at understanding the chemical combinations that can effectively clean and salvage belongings. We can remove soot from at-risk items such as brass, aluminum, chrome, marble, tile and porcelain, as well as in fabrics such as upholstery and carpets, thus helping to avoid additional expenses.

The ServiceMaster Restore fire and smoke restoration process includes:

  1. Emergency pre-cleaning
  2. Content cleaning
  3. Content packout
  4. Wall and ceiling cleaning
  5. Deodorization

Act Fast After Fire Damage 
When a fire damages your property, contact ServiceMaster DCS as soon as the fire department gives the all-clear to return to the building. You can help minimize additional damage and costs by following this advice:

  • Do not attempt to wash any papered or flat painted walls without consulting a professional cleaner. Incorrect cleaning procedures could compound the soot residue problem.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture. Again, incorrect procedures could increase damage.
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked. They could malfunction.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result.
  • Do not touch anything. Soot on your hands can permeate upholstery, walls and woodwork, causing further damage.

The Dos and Don'ts of Dealing with Fire Damage 
When fire unexpectedly damages your home, the first steps you take could mean the difference between a small clean-up and a more severe and costly problem.

Before ServiceMaster DCS arrives on the scene, follow these steps to help keep the damage to a minimum.


  • If the temperature is above 60 degrees, air out the building to reduce smoke odor.
  • Coat formica, chrome, porcelain and aluminum fixtures with vegetable oil to prevent permanent tarnishing or etching.
  • Change the air filter on the furnace if it uses forced hot air.
  • Tape damp cheesecloth over returns and supply registers to capture loose soot in the air.


  • Do not touch anything with bare hands. Oil from hands can permeate upholstery, walls and woodwork, causing additional damage.
  • Do not wash walls. Incorrect cleaning could compound the soot residue.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
  • Do not use electrical appliances.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet.

Leave Fire Damage Restoration to the Pros 
If you experience fire damage, you may be tempted to handle the problem yourself, but don't. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the certification and standard-setting nonprofit organization for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. The IICRC recommends always seeking professional help after fire damage.

What happens once the fire is out?
Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, can cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem. There are many companies that claim to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. 

Why does a fast response matter?
Professionals must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days, the ash will cause walls and upholstery to discolor permanently. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

Is professional help expensive?
Fire damage is one clean-up project that is best left to the professionals. The complexities of synthetic materials combined with the high heat of a fire, smoke and ash create a volatile environment where further damage can occur if clean-up is handled improperly. Potentially, metals may need to be replaced, carpet permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will require replacement. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause. The costs of using a professional restoration company may be far less than the skyrocketing costs of improperly handled clean-up.

This restoration process is very detailed, and it should only be trusted to professional restoration experts like those at ServiceMaster DCS.

If you experience fire damage, contact us at ServiceMaster DCS. We are ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Hoarding Solutions. Restore. Restart.

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Restoration Services ·
Tags: HoardingHoarderClean

Awareness of hoarding has continued to grow since the American Psychiatric Association designated the disorder as a distinct mental illness in 2013. Most recently, Lifetime Television debuted Hoarders: Family Secrets, a new series featuring Matt Paxton and individuals afflicted with the hoarding disorder.

As the only national provider of hoarding recovery clean out services, ServiceMaster Restore® has partnered with Matt Paxton to  develop an exclusive program for helping individuals struggling with the hoarding disorder clean out their home in a compassionate and effective manner. Our specially trained franchisees learn about the hoarding disorder, how to identify potential hoarding triggers, how to properly communicate with hoarders and their family members and ultimately how to manage the clean out process to help obtain successful results. This holistic training program and operational protocol developed by Matt Paxton for ServiceMaster Restore helps hoarders reclaim their lives while making their homes safer to inhabit.

Hoarders are defined as people who "excessively save items that others may view as worthless and have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces," according to the American Psychiatric Association website.
The website continues, "Hoarding is not the same as collecting; collectors look for specific items, such as model cars or stamps, and may organize or display them.  People with hoarding disorder often save random items and store them haphazardly."
Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2 to 5 percent of the population, the American Psychiatric Association website says. Paxton's aunt and grandmother had the disorder. "Everybody has somebody (who is a hoarder)," he said.
You can find a list of local and national resources for hoarding disorder in an accompanying story on this blog.
Hoarding first was recognized as a mental disorder about five years ago. "We like to think that ("Hoarders") helped bring awareness," Paxton said. The official designation as a mental disorder means that more resources, such as education and health insurance reimbursement for therapy, are available for sufferers.

"The only way to fix hoarding is through therapy," Paxton said.

Usually an episode of grief or trauma triggers hoarding, even if the sad events happened decades ago, he said. Hoarders hang onto possessions out of a need for love and compassion. The sad irony is that the self-destructive behavior pushes loved ones away.

There are other factors at work as well. Some hoarders grew up with a "waste not, want not" ethic. Hoarders in their 30s and 40s tend to collect new items purchased on home shopping networks or the Internet. Whether it's newspapers, craft supplies, purses or shoes, the piles have purpose and give the hoarder something to focus on.
Paxton met an extreme coupon clipper whose hobby allowed her to buy discounted items for her family, but her kids couldn't sleep in their bedrooms because the rooms were full of the stuff Mom bought with coupons. "The items became more important than the actual relationship," Paxton said.

Frustrated and angry family members want to swoop in with a Dumpster and a shovel, but that's exactly the wrong approach, Paxton said. Hoarders often become angry at well-meaning efforts to fix the problem.
Appeals to logic don't work, such as pointing out that the mess is unhealthy, grandchildren can't have sleepovers in the affected home, workmen can't make repairs and emergency workers couldn't get in case of fire. "The bad word there is logic. Hoarding is not a logical situation," Paxton said.

"The hoarder needs to be in control," he said. "The hoarder will fight hard for what's left."

The right approach is backing off and bringing in a professional cleaner who specializes in working with hoarders. A professional doesn't have the emotional ties and will be able with gain the hoarder's trust and cooperation.

Paxton became involved with the original show "Hoarders" when an independent production company asked him to become its host. After production ended, he stayed in touch with many of the crew members. About four months ago, he got a text from the production company: "We're on Lifetime. Are you in?" He texted back yes. "We started filming two weeks later," he said.
Does the show exploit troubled people? Paxton asks himself that question, too. He finds the answer in the thousands of emails he gets from hoarders and hoarders' families saying that they or a loved one joined a support group or met with a therapist after seeing the show.
The families profiled on "Hoarders" and "Hoarders" Family Secrets" receive on-going therapy, provided by the show. "That's what makes it OK," Paxton said.

At ServiceMaster DCS, we are here in Chicago Land to assist you in your work with hoarders and their families. Please contact us to receive more details on how we can help.

Plumbing Emergencies

ServiceMaster DCS
Published by in Tips ·
Tags: plumbingwaterdamagefloodcleanupplumbingemergencyplumbingrepair

In a plumbing emergency, you'll need to stop the flow of water quickly. To do this, you and each member of your family needs to know the location of the shutoff valve for every fixture and appliance, as well as the main shutoff valve for the house, and how they operate.

  • If the emergency involves a specific fixture or appliance, first look for its shutoff valve and turn it clockwise to shut off the water to that fixture or appliance only.
  • The valve is usually located underneath a fixture such as a sink or a toilet, or behind an appliance, such as a clothes washer, at the point where the water supply pipe (or pipes) connects to it.
  • If the problem is not with a particular fixture or appliance, or if there's no shutoff valve for the fixture or appliance, use the main shutoff valve to turn off the water supply to the entire house.
  • You'll find the main shutoff valve on the inside or outside of your house where the main water supply pipe enters.
  • In cold climates, look just inside the foundation wall in the basement or crawl space.
  • Turn the valve clockwise to shut it off.
  • Professional Tip If you need a wrench to turn the valve, keep one, specially labeled near the valve so it's handy.
  • If the main shutoff valve itself is defective and needs to be repaired, call your water company; they can send someone out with the special tool that's required to shut off the water at the street before it reaches the valve.

A Leaking or Broken Pipe 
  • Turn off the main shutoff valve to prevent water damage.
  • Make temporary repairs to stop the leak.
  • The pipe will have to be replaced as soon as it's convenient to do so.

A Stopped-Up Sink
  • Shut off any faucet or appliance (such as dishwasher) that's draining into the sink.
  • Unclog the sink using a plunger or snake.
  • DON'T use a chemical drain cleaner if the blockage is total.

A Faucet That Won't Shut Off
  • Immediately turn off the water at the fixture shutoff valve underneath the sink.
  • If there's no valve there, turn off the main shutoff valve.
  • Repair the faucet or, if necessary, replace it.

A Steaming Hot Water Faucet
  • Open all the hot water faucets to relieve the overheated hot water heater.
  • Turn off the gas or electric supply to the heater.
  • Let the faucets run until cold water flows from them (this indicates the water in the heater is no longer overheated).
  • Close them.
  • Call in a professional to make any necessary repairs to the heater's thermostat and pressure relief valve.

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