The Devastation of Ice Dams
As temperatures change, water freezes, then melts, and refreezes against. Often, as water moves down a surface, you see icicles form. While icicles might be beautiful to look at, when they are hanging from your roof or gutters, they can cause devastation inside your home. What you see might be the start of an ice dam, which can be the root cause of a water damage.
How does it happen? After all, don’t most water damages occur from broken pipes or sudden heavy rain? Not always.
How ice dams form
In the winter, where temperatures drop below freezing, snow melts and then the water runs down the roof and then hits the cold roof eaves and gutters and freezes into ice dams. These tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause melting water to work its way under the shingles, and into your home—instead of off the roof like it normally should.
This can damage interior walls, insulation, woodwork, ceilings… it can warp your floors and even lead to mold forming inside your home, where it does not belong. But all of this can be prevented with a little planning.
Preventing ice dams
In the short term, you can put some ice melt products (calcium chloride), much like you would put on the sidewalk, on areas where ice may build up. You can sprinkle these liberally on the eaves and in the gutters. Some recommend putting the ice melt products in socks or pantyhose and laying them up on the roof, so it crosses over the eaves and gutter. No matter what you do, think safety first and be very careful on ladders or when accessing anything high.
In the long term, insulating your attic should be a priority. Have it inspected to ensure you have the right type and amount of insulation materials. If you can keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves, you stop the formation of ice dams. You do this by increasing ventilation in the attic and plugging every possible air leak that might warm the roof, which melts the snow. We all know everything must melt, but premature melting is the issue here.
But when and if water damage happens, you need help before things go from bad to worse. Do the right thing and call your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Dust Control Made Easy
The amount of dust that builds up in a home varies greatly from one house to the next. Even the most fastidious of homeowners will have dust somewhere in the house.
Dust itself is complicated because it can come from many different sources. It can be skin cells, pet dander, fibers, soot from your furnace, pollen, even particles known to be carcinogens depending on the air quality where you live. Think about this: Every time you cook something, you put particles in the air, and it has to land somewhere.
Dust. You can’t avoid it. But you can remove it. Here are a few tips to create a dust-free home (well, almost dust-free).
Top to bottom
Most of the time, the best, efficient method to clean is from the top down. It’s how the pros do it and it is a good way to avoid having to clean surfaces twice. Let gravity be your friend. Using quality cloths also traps dust and particles so that will help in the cleaning process as well.
Reaching really high surfaces, such as on the top of cabinets or the top of ceiling fan blades, requires special extension tools. You can always grab a ladder, but think safety first. Using a tool to reach high areas is safer and works great.
Stuff you need
Besides extension tools and quality cloths, using microfiber cloths work well for most because the cloth itself grabs soil and dust and holds onto it. The construction of microfiber cloths positively charges them, which attracts the negatively charged dust. Think magnets. It works! Plus, you can wash microfiber cloths and use them over and over again.
Some prefer natural materials, such as lambswool dusters or cotton cloths. That’s fine, they all work, it just depends on what you want to use.
Compressed air may be necessary to reach into crevices where a cloth or tool just won’t work.
A good vacuum is another tool that helps. With special attachments, vacuuming surfaces picks up dust and collects it all in the vacuum bag.
Keep it dust-free
When you are done, you can also rub a dryer sheet onto surfaces to keep dust from sticking. Many do this with their baseboards, which are very susceptible to dust since they are close to the ground.
And don’t forget, when you need cleaning done right, do the right thing. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Previous Water Damage Concerns
When your home is the victim of a water damage event, such as from a leaky roof, when a pipe breaks, a basement floods from heavy rains, whatever the cause… you know when it happens, unless you are on vacation and discover it when you return home.
When water damage occurs, you are quick to clean up the mess and call a professional water damage restoration company. That’s smart home ownership.
But what about when something happened in the past and it wasn’t cleaned properly, or you didn’t even know about it? Such as when you purchase a home, and the previous damage wasn’t disclosed? The longer damage remains, even if hidden and unnoticed, the worse it becomes.
What can you do? Of course, when purchasing a home, asking a lot of questions is important, and a home inspection can reveal what a casual observation will miss.
When buying a home
When you are looking at a home to buy, or even rent, be sure to ask about any previous water damage or other structural issues. Ask about the cause of the damage, and how extensive. A fresh-water leak is much different from a sewage backup, and you need to know this. Was the damage cleaned by the homeowner or a professional restoration firm?
Ask a professional if there is the potential of long-term effects from the previous damage. You want an honest opinion. You do not want to purchase someone else’s issues that should be resolved before you purchase the home.
What can you do?
When you own the property or even if you rent, you have options. Having the previous damage inspected by a professional is a way to protect your family and loved ones. After all, we all know that water damage can lead to mold issues and possible exposure to mold spores. Only a pro will know the extent of the damage and have the proper remediation plan.
Remember: Any damage can be repaired. While it is best to dry out and clean up after a storm or water damage issue, even if months or years go by you can have damaged materials replaced. There is no cost too high that should stop you from doing the right thing and protecting your home and family.
And when in doubt about anything related to disaster restoration issues, water damage, mold contamination, whatever it is, do the right thing. Call your favorite restoration company for a consultation. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Toilet Brush Choices
While toilet brushes are rarely a hot topic at meetings, parties, or social events, they are extremely important in every home, building, and facility. Without toilet brushes, especially of high quality, the situation in the restroom can get downright messy — really fast.
Cleaning the restroom is not a chore many people look forward to, but it is a necessary task. Cleaning the toilet or commode is something you need to do regularly, because if you skip it, even in the short term, the “buildup” will be something you will soon regret.
Even with the very best toilet cleaning products or chemicals, applying them does help with cleaning… but without a way to scrub the inside of the toilet, your success will be limited.
A quick internet search will reveal that you have many options when it comes to toilet brushes. You have long handled brushes; short-handled brushes; plastic; metal; wood; stainless steel; anti-slip grip; extended reach; and many more.
And that’s just the handles.
For brushes, you can choose from silicone; natural; yarn (which can be natural or synthetic); even disposable. The material used for scrub brushes is extensive.
The main thing is to choose one that works for you. Consider how often you will use them, in how many restrooms, the type of chemical for cleaning. Obviously, the more caustic the cleaning chemical, the more damage to natural materials.
Don’t skip the brush holder, either. It needs to completely encase the brush but also be able to breathe, so it can dry out. It needs to be stable, secure, so it doesn’t fall over. Keeping the entire toilet brush/holder ensemble clean and disinfected is the way to keep everyone healthy.
Online reviews are a great way to find what’s best for your home.
When you find the very best combination of toilet brush and holder, nothing lasts forever. A good rule of thumb is to change it all out every six months. A synthetic combination will last longer than a natural material combination, as synthetic material isn’t as absorbent, but all materials should be occasionally replaced. Bacteria can build up in the tiniest of crevices and even the most diligent homeowner can miss potentially harmful contaminants.
Of course, when it comes to anything related to cleaning, it’s always best to consult with your favorite cleaning company, and use them for the toughest challenges, such as your carpet and furniture cleaning chores. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to Remove Ink Stains from Clothes
Has this, or something similar, ever happened to you?
You put on a nice, fresh shirt and head out the door. When you arrive at your destination and are chatting with friends or colleagues, someone points at your shirt and asks, “What’s that?” You look down, and a small blue or black spot is starting to grow. That’s right, the ink pen in your pocket is leaking.
Or perhaps your nice, fresh shirt or other item of clothing has a small spot on it, and you learn it was from simply touching an ink pen to your shirt and the ink transferred to it. It’s small, but everyone sees it.
An embarrassing moment, one you wish you could have avoided.
This type of stain doesn’t just wipe off. It takes a lot of effort to remove an ink stain, and if you don’t do it right, you will just make the situation worse. Ink spreads and migrates out, creating a bigger stain as you work on it.
While not an easy task, here are some tips to make ink stain removal a little easier for you. But remember, this isn’t typical cleaning, it’s aggressive, so there is always the chance of damaging the fabric.
Hair spray: Using an aerosol version, alcohol-based, apply liberally to the stain. Work it in and dab at it with a white paper towel. Hair spray sometimes works because the alcohol disperses some inks. Wash immediately.
Acetone: The ingredient in traditional nail polish removers, acetone is a very dry solvent that will work on ink. When you saturate the ink stain, it will dissolve and migrate so be ready for that, working your way from the outside in, to limit spreading. In addition to acetone, other liquid dry solvents, such as rubbing alcohol, can be used. After application, wash immediately.
Detergent treatment: Use a product meant to pre-treat laundry and apply to the ink stain liberally, work it in, from the outside in to limit spreading, and then wash immediately.
No matter the type of treatment you use, washing the garment will help remove more of the ink. Be sure to wash separately, and do not dry the garment until you are satisfied with the ink removal results. When you dry an item of clothing, attempting to remove more of the stain is often futile.
And remember that true fabric cleaning experts know how to remove ink stains. When you have a challenging cleaning situation, do the right thing. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How Evaporation Works
When something gets wet or damp from water damage in your home or even at work, the longer it is wet or damp, the worse the damage over time. Evaporation, while a simple principle we all benefit from every day, is an important scientific concept that you can manipulate to work better for you.
First to consider is what evaporation is… it’s an activity that occurs when a liquid substance turns into or becomes a gas. Think about when you boil water, and you hold a glass above the pot. What happens? The glass gets wet. That’s because evaporation is occurring in the pot and the gas is moving up onto the glass you are holding. You also see condensation on windows. That’s because evaporation put water into the air as a gas and now it is coming back to a surface. Many energy sources increase the rate of evaporation, such as when you put a wet item outside on a sunny day.
For evaporation to occur, the surface of the water must be exposed so there can be an escape of moisture. For any water damage situation in your home, exposing wet or damp areas is critical. Running a fan on an object that has moisture inside, and the air can’t get to that area, is worthless. This is why a professional water damage company will work to expose all wet or damp areas affected by a flood or leak and allow that moisture to escape — into the air and then into a dehumidifier.
The more energy you apply to a wet area, the better the evaporation. You must remove the moisture from damaged items, building materials, and other affected areas to avoid a musty smell and mold that can develop in a short amount of time. That energy can come in the form of air movement (running a fan), adding heat (professional restoration companies use this technology) and ventilation (opening windows so air can move, running the air conditioner or furnace system).
Really, although evaporation is a simple process and we rely on it (imagine if you never dried off after a shower!), it is also a science. When anything gets wet in your home that shouldn’t, don’t wait for things to dry on their own. At minimum, contact your favorite disaster restoration company and ask them what they think you should do. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Cleaning Up the Medicine Cabinet
Although springtime is generally the accepted time of the year to clean out the medicine cabinet, it is something you should do on a more regular basis.
Medications, drugs, and other items can expire between annual cleanings, and it’s important to keep on top of what makes you healthy and happy.
If you take a peek inside your medicine cabinet, you will find all types of items, some of it medicine, some of it not. Look at all expiration dates, from prescription drugs to over-the-counter products, toothpaste, sprays, and more.
Here are a few quick tips to consider as you start rummaging around in your medicine cabinet (or wherever you tend to store your products):
Date check: Look at the expiration of everything in the cabinet. Although it is generally accepted that the expiration date is usually before items become obsolete, it’s safer to go by the date. Discard any items beyond the expiration date.
Quality: Look at how your items are stored. If not in airtight containers, the quality may have taken a hit. Look at the color, check the consistency… is it the same as when you purchased these items brand new? If not, it’s time to replace them.
Unmarked goods: Some people like to put things in baggies and other containers that aren’t marked. If you aren’t 100% sure of what’s in that baggie, discard it. Be safe.
Discarding items: Just throwing drugs, pills, and other items into the toilet is a bad habit. Flushing it away might damage the environment. Instead, properly dispose of any items that you are replacing in the trash, preferably in a sealed bag in case the trash spills or moisture gets into what you are discarding. That can cause an unwanted reaction (rare) or create an odor (more common) that you might find distasteful.
The big picture: Although items that are beyond their expiration date may not harm you if you use them, they may not help you, either. The effectiveness of the item diminishes over time, and if you consume products that aren’t helping you, you are wasting your time.
And when it comes to cleaning anything in your home, it’s always a good idea to consult a cleaning expert. Call your favorite cleaning company today with any questions you have. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Where There’s Mold…
Where there’s mold, there is usually an underlying condition that you must discover and remediate, and quickly. Mold occurs because of conditions that allow it to grow, and some types of molds are tenacious.
Recently, we considered the difference between mildew and mold and what the EPA has to say about what we need to know.
And while the cleanup of mold and mildew may seem basic at times, there are situations when removal and cleaning can be challenging to tackle. Here are some important points to consider and remember… to play it safe means consulting and usually hiring a professional mold remediation company.
Toxic or non-toxic?
Mold is a common problem and as a fungus it can appear in different areas for many different reasons. Usually because of a dark, moist condition. But just because you find mold doesn’t mean it is necessarily toxic. After all, everyone has different reactions to substances. What may be harmful to one person may not be to another.
But always be safe and when cleaning up mold, wear gloves, a respirator, and proper personal protective equipment that a mold remediation expert would recommend.
Most of the time, the mold you find, such as in a bathroom, a windowsill, or other common areas, can be easily cleaned. It is unlikely you will call a mold remediation expert to take care of the mold growing on the grout in your shower. Just be safe and wear a mask and gloves, and use products designed for removing small amounts of mold.
Mold is a type of soil. It’s organic growth. No need to panic, just be smart about cleaning it up. After all, if you were in the garden and saw some mold, you wouldn’t run screaming into the house. Simply applying a cleaning product for mold and mildew removal, scrubbing and wiping it up, completely, often fixes the issue. But sometimes, the mold has grown into surfaces, such as baseboards, walls, or even the subfloor that you discover as you replace flooring material. When that occurs, removing and replacing affected areas is often the best solution.
Hiring a pro
If the mold appears significant, and you have some doubts on removing it, it’s best to call a professional. A mold remediation company utilizes technicians who are trained and have experience in safely removing larger amounts of mold, or the types of mold that are known to affect more individuals with mold allergen sensitivities.
Who pays for all of this? Sometimes, your insurance company, if the cause of the mold is from a water damage situation. Talk to your favorite restoration company about all of this. After all, it pays to call a pro!