ServiceMaster Restore Warns Businesses – Cold-weather Damage Due to a Polar Vortex Can Be Devastating

MEMPHIS, Tenn.--()--Brace yourself business owners, potentially record-breaking low temperatures are coming and they can wreak havoc on your business.

ServiceMaster Restore, one of America’s leading disaster restoration companies, said the freezing weather currently gripping much of the country can cause severe problems for business owners, problems that are predictable and often preventable.

“Winter structural disasters are very common, especially when we experience extreme cold or heavy snowfall like we have recently,” said Peter Duncanson of ServiceMaster Restore. Duncanson has been in the disaster recovery business for more than 35 years and dealt with all types of mayhem, from hurricanes to arctic blasts caused by a polar vortex.

“Our franchisees see many of the same types of weather-related disasters every year. These predictable and often avoidable events are especially harmful to businesses because of the damage they do to structures and the long business disruptions they cause,” Duncanson said.

The threat of unexpected natural disasters has led many business owners and managers to obtain pre-event coverage with companies specializing in disaster remediation. Recent research by ServiceMaster Restore shows 36 percent of respondents have disaster coverage for their business. This helps business owners ensure rapid response, faster repairs and less disruption of their business.

According to remediation experts, here are the four most common winter disasters affecting businesses that may require winter weather damage services:

Burst pipes – Burst pipes are a very destructive event that causes expensive water damage to properties, potentially leading to mold and decay. The problem can often be avoided with proper insulation, heating tape and preventive measures like opening cabinets under sinks and allowing faucets to drip, but even the best plans may not prevent all pipes from freezing. Ensure stairwells that are often unheated have warm air flow to prevent pipes from freezing.

Ice dams – Snow and ice on the roof are troublesome. As snow melts and refreezes it can create an “ice dam” that traps melted water on the roof. The trapped water often finds a way through the roof and into the attic, walls and crawlspaces of your property. Water damage, mold and rot may result. Removing ice dams promptly will help avoid or minimize this disaster.

Fires – Cold temperatures bring out the portable space heaters, a frequent cause of fire and smoke damage in homes and businesses (44 percent of house fires are caused by space heaters, according to the National Fire Prevention Association). Portable generators also can be dangerous, as can fireplaces. It is vital that portable space heaters and generators be used safely and according to manufacturer instructions. Fireplaces should be maintained regularly and monitored when in use.

Tree limbs – Falling tree limbs cause significant damage and sometimes personal injury. Limbs laden with ice and snow crash through roofs, damage siding and break windows. The holes they create allow cold air and moisture into the structure, which creates additional problems. Limbs also can fall on power lines, disrupting electric service and sometimes causing fires.

“A lot can be done to help prevent these cold weather disasters, but even the best precautions can’t guarantee your business will get through the winter unscathed,” said Duncanson. “A pre-loss agreement with a disaster restoration company coupled with an emergency plan for your business will go a long way toward ensuring your business won’t be left out in the cold this winter.”

About ServiceMaster Restore
With more than 800 locations around the world, ServiceMaster Restore serves customers through a global network of franchises available 24/7/365 to provide residential and commercial restoration services resulting from damage caused by water, fire, smoke or mold. ServiceMaster Restore is a business unit of Memphis-based ServiceMaster Brands, a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. More information can be found at


Lucy Harrison (901-232-6977)

Release Summary

ServiceMaster Restore says freezing weather can cause severe problems for business owners, problems that are predictable and often preventable.


Lucy Harrison (901-232-6977)