Evidence of Water Damage
When something fails, such as a high-pressure fresh water source to your toilet… or perhaps a leaky drain pipe underneath the kitchen sink… no matter what it may be, you usually know what to do.
You know the drill… clean it up, get it dry, and call a professional water damage restoration company to ensure all is good and there is no possibleway mold can grow. You want peace of mind, and this is the way to get it.
However, sometimes you just don’t know when things happen, when things leak or when water intrusion occurs — because it can be slowly invasive and build up over time.
There are several steps to determining if you have an actual water damage situation and when you mustcall a pro — and when you can do it yourself. Remember, you can’t be too cautious with the well-being of your loved ones.
The nose knows
Damp and wet areas affected by water intrusion demonstrate themselves after a day or two with a very easy to detect odor. It will just smell wet, musty, and unhealthy. If you detect anything like that, it’s time to do some serious investigating. You may not actually see the water intrusion, but no doubt it is probably there.
You can often see swelling materials, such as the particle board under a sink, providing evidence of water intrusion. When things buckle, even if you notice it after the surface has dried, there is potential of subsequent water damage, because if it leaked once… it will again!
You can usually see this in the ceilings and areas around water sources. Sometimes it is around windows. If you detect water marks (think of a carpet under a water fountain in a building) then you need to put your investigative hat on and figure out if it is a big deal or not — and most likely, it will be a bigdeal.
The evidence of water damage can be easy to see, and sometimes it hides and continues to affect surfaces and your health until it becomes a serious issue. If you have any water damage issues or questions, do the right thing. Call your favorite water damage professional company today. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Nooks and Crannies
Your home has plenty of areas for dirt and grime to hide. Locating them may seem easy. Cleaning them effectively is something else.
Most homeowners spend plenty of time sweeping, vacuuming, scrubbing, and cleaning areas that are obviously soiled and become soiled daily. There are areas that can really get gross in a short amount of time.
Your bathroom “work stations” — also known as vanity cabinets — are prime locations for soil buildup.
Let’s spend some time on how to tackle the chore of cleaning the bathroom vanity. One area of the home easy to ignore. After all, who looks in there besides the person searching out some face cream or hand lotion, among other items?
The buildup of residues can wreak havoc over time. Think of hairspray that you use daily and that ends up on the top of the cabinet. It may be easy to clean when fresh but give it 10 or more applications and you have a “goo” that’s not giving up its tenacious hold on the counter. This isn’t to even mention toothpaste and other necessary items that get smeared on the same surface.
Take some time each day — perhaps just a minute or so — to quickly wipe up any residues that land on the surface.
Then, take some time each week — perhaps just five minutes or so — to open up any cabinet doors or mirrors that house storage behind them, remove all objects, and use a household cleaning solution to wipe down all surfaces. After a week, you will still be amazed at how much residue has built up in there. Imagine what could happen after a few months!
And once a month, give your entire bathroom a close scrutiny and look for all those nooks and crannies that can be the host of soil. This could be behind the toilet, in the corners of shower stalls, where the soap resides on the bathtub edge. All these areas could use a good scrubbing each month, if not more frequently.
And all this is besides the typical routine cleaning you no doubt give all your bathrooms.
But when you need some realhelp, from your favorite cleaning service, do the right thing. Give them a call today. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Getting Ready for Weather
For many across the country — and the world — changes in weather patterns, especially from warmer weather to colder weather, means preparing the home for the inevitable intrusion of wind, rain, and more.
What does that involve? One would be weatherproofing, which means you are proactive in protecting your home from suffering from damage. Even a small freezing-cold draft entering a home and affecting a pipe can freeze it and cause it to burst, resulting in a water damage situation.
Here are some easy time-saving tips to ensure you not only save money on your gas or electric bill but also minimize the risk of damage to your home in very cold weather.
This means start looking for openings — any openings — in your home that can allow air or water intrusion.
For air intrusion, check around doors and windows, and this is pretty easy if you just hold a facial tissue up around potential cracks and crevices. If there is any type of air leak, the tissue move and show that.
For possible water intrusion, look for water stains in basements, around windows, any place that seems possible for water to enter your home. Plug any openings you find with quality materials.
Filters and vents
You want the maximum efficiency from your furnace system so change all filters on a regular basis, usually monthly.
Now might be a good time for a professional inspection of your duct work and having the ducts cleaned, if they are soiled.
Replace old weatherproofing
All your doors and windows should have weatherproofing material. With time and weather factors, these weatherproofing strips can and will age and become brittle and fail.
Purchase quality replacement weatherproofing materials and replace them if you notice they are not providing an air-tight seal. It’s not a bad idea to replace them every few years no matter how they appear.
Prevent to protect
With a thorough inspection and a little work on your home, you can prevent issues from arising during cold weather. Spend the time to do it right.
However, if something bad does occur — it happens! — and you suffer from any type of damage to your home, do the right thing and get professional help right away. Call your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Basics of Vacuuming
If you have carpet or rugs, you have a vacuum cleaner. A vacuum is absolutely necessary to keep your valuable carpet and rugs clean of particulate or dry soil.
While vacuuming may seem like a basic housekeeping chore and simple to do, the biggest challenge is getting out the vacuum and actually putting it to use.
How often you vacuum depends on the size of your family, and this includes pets. As a general rule, you should vacuum the main areas in your home, such as the living room, hallways, and other high traffic areas, one time each week per occupant.
For example, if you have four people and one dog in your family, vacuum five times per week, in those high traffic areas. For low-trafficked areas, once per week should suffice. This might seem extensive and perhaps unnecessary, but it keeps your carpet and rugs virtually free of dry soil buildup.
How to vacuum
You might be thinking, “You just plug it in and push it across the floor.” Which is basically what you do. The problem is how fast you move and how much overlapping you cover when running the vacuum.
While you may push the vacuum forward fast, slow down when you pull it towards you. This way the beater bar, if your vacuum has one, has a chance to work loose the soils. Also, overlap several inches from side to side so you have complete coverage of the floor.
Choosing the best vacuum
Quality matters when choosing a good vacuum cleaner. The cheaper ones at department stores may work fine for a while, but they quickly lose efficiency and often break down. Look at the reviews of any vacuum cleaner you are contemplating and spend a few more dollars on a superior model. Your carpet and rugs will be better off in the long run.
Choosing a vacuum with a beater bar is smart. Especially with thick pile carpet, it helps remove more dry soil. Some choose vacuum cleaners with a bagless option. If you use a vacuum cleaner with a bag, change it out when about half full, for maximum efficiency. Purchase plenty of replacement bags and have them on hand for this purpose.
Get with the pros
Cleaning companies, especially those who specialize in carpet and rug cleaning, can help you choose a quality vacuum. Get their input. After all, it pays to call a pro!
When Insurance Fails
Devastating pipe breaks, failing sump pumps, a smoky kitchen fire, the roof leaking from damage from high winds… no one wants to deal with anyof that.
But it does happen, and when it does, you probably do what is natural – you pick up the phone and call your insurance company, most likely your insurance agent, who may direct you to anyone from a central call center to handle your claim, an insurance adjuster, or perhaps to a local disaster restoration contractor they know.
And then the fun begins.
You aren’t sure yet if you have coverage, because the insurance company is dragging its feet. The adjuster isn’t able to come out for a few days, something you can’t believe. You worry, fret, and wonder if the damage to your home will be covered, and if you will have to pay for some (or all?) of the damage. You know you have to cover the deductible, and that’snot cheap.
The work begins. Everyone is in a hurry because if the damage isn’t fixed right away, other issues will surface. The restoration contractor does what he is trained to do, and the work progresses nicely, and eventually all is well again at home.
A few days late, the adjuster shows up. And he delivers a devastating blow. While you have coverage, the cost to repair the damage is more than the insurance company feels is fair, so they will only pay a percentageof the costs. The rest? You have to pay for that yourself.
What can you do?
One thing is to get another opinion. Hiring an independent insurance adjuster to review the job, all the paperwork, and your insurance policy might shed light on the issue and give you more info you need.
Depending on the new information you receive, you can revisit the issue with your insurance company. Taking this information to the insurance adjuster who you are battling with probably won’t do much good. It’s time to go over his head, as the saying goes.
If the difference between the costs of repairs and the offer from the insurance company is high enough, you can also consider a claim to the state entity (such as the insurance commissioner) that has authority and power to help. Many claim to be subject to bad business practices. You might be advised to hire an attorney, all which will cost you more.
The good news is if you hire the very bestdisaster restoration company, they have the experience to help you deal with all of this. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Battle Against Garbage Can Odors
There’s nothing too exciting about garbage cans, except how you feel if you pull a full trash bag out and it bursts and spews all kinds of undesirables all over the kitchen floor.
If you have garbage, such as limp lettuce, fermenting flounder, greasy goat cheese, and much more, you will have odors from it.
Odors naturally occur from bacteria, which is what grows quickly on organic material. And then you have mold adding to the issue. All this fermenting in a dark, damp playground known as your garbage can.
Even if you have a secure trash can lid, the odors have a mind of their own and an evil intent to escape.
There are several things you can do to limit the effect of garbage can odors.
Take out the trash
It may seem simplistic, but most of us wait too long to take out the trash. A smell garbage can inside is terrible – the one outside waiting to be hauled away isn’t much better, but at least it is outside. Make it a practice to take out the trash before the bag is full.
Use quality scented bags
By quality, we mean bags that have a thicker mil rating, as they won’t break as easy. Yes, they cost more and use more plastic. Look at keeping the mil for your trash bag at 2 or above. The scented bags really do a great job hiding, not removing, odors. They mask bad odors and give you more time between taking out the trash before you start to notice odors.
Use baking soda
Baking soda is a typical household fixture. By sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of your garbage can and even in the bag, it helps to limit the odors caused by bacteria. It does this by absorbing odors instead of them being released into the air you breathe.
Give it a hosing
Like all things, garbage cans need to be cleaned. You might say, “I use bags!” but that doesn’t matter. Odors build up no matter what you do, and a good cleaning with baking soda or other cleaning products, and hosing or rinsing out the can, will help keep lingering odors at bay.
And like all things, quality cleaning of the surfaces in your home are better performed by the pros. Do the right thing, call your favorite cleaning company when you need help. After all, it pays to call a pro
Triage Tips to Save Contents
The main goal for protecting your home from water damage situations is to prepare and anticipate what can happen.
This means many things, such as keeping your sump pump in good working condition, repairing leaky pipes and dripping faucets, and ensuring that during cold weather your home is snug and tight against intruding freezing temperatures.
But things do happen. Pipes break, spewing water everywhere. Flood waters can enter your home and wreak havoc while you are away. Leaky plumbing fixtures can slowly cause damage and spawn mold growth.
When this occurs, it affects not only the building materials of your home, such as the walls, floors, and ceilings, but the contents as well. You know, the valuables you care so much about. These can be anything from stuffed animals to books to photographs to electronic equipment and more. Even mementos that just can’t be replaced.
If any of this occurs to you and your home, use these tips for best content triage strategies.
Before doing any type of work in your home after a water damage situation, make sure you are safe. This means your electricity and power sources are turned off (if appropriate and the damage warrants this), and water has been extracted or reduced to a minimum level.
Before starting work, and during the work process, take pictures of everything. What you can’t dry and save yourself will no doubt be replaced with insurance dollars. But without proof, you might have a fight on your hands with your insurance company.
When contents get wet, damage is minimal — for now. Get those valuables up off wet surfaces and do what you can to dry them out and set them where they won’t cause more damage and where they can dry. Depending on the items, move them out into the sun for faster drying. Documents, pictures, and other similar valuables will need careful handling and professional care.
There are some items more valuable to you than others, and emotions can get involved. Prioritize what you are going to save. Odd are, if you don’t call a professional restoration company right away, you aren’t going to be able to save everything. Electronics and other valuables may be beyond saving. Don’t waste time on what can’t be saved. That’s what insurance is for.
When you have any type of disaster situations at your home, whether from fire, smoke, floods, or water damage, do the right thing. Contact your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Removing Blood and Biological Spots and Stains
It’s not a pleasant task, but it’s one that must be handled, and quickly.
Removing blood, vomit, urine, feces, and other biological spots and stains is a fairly easy chore if the issue is caught quickly. But allow the substance to dry, and your job becomes much more difficult.
What impacts the success of removal of blood and biological substance is what it is on. If on carpet or upholstery, the removal is much more challenging as flushing out the contaminant can actually cause irreversible damage to the fabric. But if on clothing or other washable material, the job can be handled easily.
Here are some tips to remove biological contaminants from clothing and other washable fabrics.
Once you discover there is a biological substance on the fabric, scrap away any excess you can and get it into the washing machine.
Remember, something fresh is probably just a “spot” — which is on the outside of the fiber. Give it time, or don’t remove all the substance when cleaning, and that spot becomes a “stain” — which is insidethe fiber, and very challenging to remove.
Pretreat the area
You do this all the time. Pretreating spots means easier removal during washing. For biological substances, this is important. A quality preconditioning product worked into the fabric, and allowed to dwell for several minutes, means the washing cycle will be more effective.
Control the temperature
You might have heard that hot water can “set the stain.” Not always true. The problem is using hot water opens up the fibers and allows staining substances to penetrate. Incomplete cleaning does this as well. To be safe, keep the temperature warm or cold when washing fabrics with biological spots or stains.
After washing, you may notice the spot or stain is gone. Don’t assume that is 100% true. When wet, the fabric may be hiding the spot or stain. Allow it to air dry. Do not put it into the drier. Hot air during the drying process can set any remaining spots or stains. Once dry, inspect carefully. If you see any remaining spots or stains, launder the item again.
As with all cleaning chores, there comes a time when it is time to throw in the towel and call the pros. Do the right thing and let your favorite cleaning company do the work for you. After all, it pays to call a pro!