How to Shut Off Your Water in an Emergency
There’s nothing that can get a person to move faster than to have a pipe break in a home, with water spraying everywhere, soaking everything, and ruining furnishings, flooring, documents, and more.
The “moving faster” part of this unwanted exercise is often the frenzy with trying to find and turn off the water source, the main water feed into the home, and that location is usually not top-of-mind until the moment it is urgently needed.
Turning a valve off and saving your home is a simple concept, but if you don’t know where to find that valve, extensive damage will occur.
With most properties in warm climates, the main valves are often outside, easy to access. But in colder climates, those valves are inside, either in a basement if the home has one, or in a utility area, out of the way. And often, none of them are marked.
In addition to the typical shut-off valves, most homes have a main valve in the yard, an underground area with a cover that can be removed and give you access to it. Sometimes a special tool is needed to operate the valve.
But if you own a typical home with a basement, you have an advantage. The main shut-off valve is most often found near the front, on or near the wall closest to the street, where the water feeds into the home. If you have a private well, it should be on the side of the well, on that wall. If the valve isn’t on that type of wall, it may be near the furnace or water heater.
If you have a crawlspace, you may have a disadvantage. The valve may be in there, in that tight space that is usually full of cobwebs and dirt. You might have to go in there to reach the valve. But make sure it is in there; do that right now, so you aren’t trying to reach a valve that turns out isn’t in there at all.
When you do find the valve, you have to turn it. Turn clockwise, like when putting a screw into a board or a lid onto a jar. The valve may be rusty, difficult to turn. Lack of use makes the task more difficult. You can use a wrench to do it but be careful not to break the handle of the valve.
If, or more precisely, when a pipe breaks and you have resulting water damage, do the right thing. Contact your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to be Flood Safe and Savvy
One of the worst times for many when it comes to the possibility of a flooded home is during springtime, when the ground is thawing, snow is melting, and then relentless rain starts pounding down.
Hopefully, your roof is leakproof, your foundation is up to the task, and your sump pump (if you need one) is chugging along faithfully. Water is intrusive and can find the weakest spot in your home and create all types of damage and costly repairs.
There are ways to be flood safe and even flood savvy by paying attention to advice and guidance from the experts.
The first thing to do is logical and you are probably already doing it: Watch the weather. Monitor your favorite news source for weather alerts and updates, especially when you know a storm may be brewing and coming your way. You can set automatic alerts easily. And understand weather event terminology. There’s a big difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A watch means flooding may occur. A warning means weather conditions are prime to create flooding.
You can prepare your home for possible flooding. While you should always vacate your home and find a safe place if severe and dangerous weather is coming your way, most weather issues won’t dictate evacuation. But all weather-related issues should prompt preparedness, which may include checking all doors, windows, openings to your home, and checking your basement or first floor areas for items that can easily be damaged in a flood. Put them up high — just in case. Going through and picking up soggy items that could have been safely put on a shelf is not a task you have to face if you think ahead.
Be prepared for power outages. Have plenty of fresh food and water on hand in the event you have to wait out the storm.
Remember, floods are the most common natural disaster that affects the most people. They can be caused by a variety of events, including hurricanes, heavy rain, high winds combined with rain, and even thawing snow. Just a small amount of water in your home where it doesn’t belong can cost thousands of dollars in damage. Make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy covers flooding that could possibly occur in your area. Don’t assume you have flood insurance as part of a normal insurance policy.
If the unthinkable does occur and you suffer from a flooded home, do the right thing. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Does Carpet Cleaning Kill Fleas?
With spring weather comes all types of pests, from those emerging from hibernation to those who thrive in warm weather. And some of them end up where they don’t belong: In your home.
One pest that tends to really stick around when it invades your home is the flea. The world has some 2,000 types of fleas, and they are found virtually everywhere. And when you spot one, you might notice how fast they are. They are said to have an acceleration rate some 50 times faster than a rocket. They seem to fly, but they are really jumping, and more than a foot in distance at times.
Fleas live by consuming blood, as their main meal. If you have a dog or cat, which is a flea’s best friend and food source, and your pets go outside, odds are you will face a flea in your home from time to time. And even if you have no pets, they can attach to you when you venture outside and come back in.
The big question is, how do you get rid of fleas? Many feel that laundering items and deep cleaning the home will do the trick. And since your pets lay on the carpet, a good carpet cleaning should kill fleas.
That’s not entirely true.
Fleas are tough. If you try to submerge one in water and let it go, it will pop out and survive. If you clean a surface, normal soap and water won’t kill them, either. While steam cleaning a carpet may kill some fleas, there is no guarantee that the entire flea infestation will be handled.
You must remember that, depending on the state, province, or area you live in, killing fleas falls under the pesticide umbrella. A licensed pest control expert is the best qualified professional to handle a flea infestation issue.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t value in having your carpet cleaned, especially by a professional. A thorough, professional deep cleaning of your carpet will physically remove many contaminants, from soils to bacteria and even fleas and their larvae. The hot water, detergent, and physical action of cleaning flushes them out. What you have remaining is a nice, fresh, clean carpet. And don’t forget to launder other items that may have fleas.
It's especially important to have your home cleaned after the pest control expert has done his work.
Do the right thing. Call your favorite cleaning company with any questions. After all, it pays to call a pro!
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 Condensation Works
Not many consider condensation a danger to the belongings or the actual structure in their home, apartment, or commercial building. After all, a little moisture on surfaces isn’t a big deal and can easily be wiped off.
Right? Maybe, but that’s not the entire picture. Even water in very small quantity can be an issue.
Water comes in several forms, such as gas, liquid, and solid. Condensation is formed when molecules of water vapor combine to become liquid water. This happens when water vapor meets colder air and surfaces.
The danger is when this collects in areas prone to condensation, such as your basement. But this isn’t limited to basements. Condensation can collect on surfaces that can be damaged by moisture in virtually any part of the home or office. Condensation threatens metal items that can rust, natural furnishings, such as those made from wood or fabric, books and papers, and other personal items.
While most often think of rainwater, broken pipes, and leaky basements as sources of water damage, condensation can be a hazard as well, but with the slow effect of it, you don’t notice the damage until it is too late.
Here are a few easy tips to limit the impact of potential condensation.
Dehumidify: A simple household dehumidifier is a great device to remove moisture from the air and reduce condensation. The disadvantage is they use quite a bit of electricity, so purchase one that is efficient.
Insulate: Pipes, especially cold-water pipes, can build up condensation and then drip down onto areas adversely affected by moisture. By wrapping your pipes with insulation, you may stop this from happening.
Ventilation: Monitor the humidity inside and outside your home. You might open windows if the weather permits it and humidity is lower outside, or you could run the HVAC system and keep the humidity down with mechanical methods.
Keep moisture away: Ensure your downspouts are working properly and ground water is directed away from foundations. Water seepage can be insidious and very damaging over time, so proper maintenance is important. Make sure windows and doors are properly sealed and weather stripping has been installed, especially in humid areas.
But when anything happens that involves water intrusion and resulting damage, do the right thing. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. They know what to look for and the best way to protect you and your family from more damage and even potentially toxic issues such as mold. After all, it pays to call a pro!