Measuring Moisture After a Flood
When the unthinkable happens and your house suffers from any type of flood, you want to know how extensive the damage is. There is the obvious squishy carpet to tell you part of the story, and the visible standing water such as you might have in a basement. But do you really know how far water has intruded?
Water intrusion can go into all types of areas, such as under hard floors, in walls, filling the ductwork, wicking up surfaces and going places not even close to the original flooded area. It can destroy HVAC systems and valuable furnishings and belongings.
When that happens, some of the items damaged are discarded and replaced, hopefully by your insurance company. But even when things seem dry, are they? If you don’t take care of all the moisture, you could have a buildup of malodors, musty smells, and even mold growth that can be extremely costly to remediate. If you wait too long and then see a little mold, there can be much more behind the surface that you will have to remediate.
All this means it’s important to have the “right stuff” to find moisture.
Restoration professionals have the equipment needed to detect and pinpoint moisture. Moisture hunting should never be a guessing game. After there has been a water damage or leak, it is critical to be able to gauge how much moisture remains in walls, floors, and ceilings, and any other affected areas. Bacteria and mold growth is no joking matter. It can even damage the actual structure of your home.
Moisture meters help detect this moisture. The pros use different types. One is the pin moisture meter that has two metal probes that penetrate the surface to take a moisture reading. When activated, an electrical current will flow from one pin to the other and measures the resistance. Another type is the pinless moisture meter. These work by an electromagnetic sensor pad put on the surface, and it takes a moisture reading, measuring down as far as 1.5 inches in some cases, depending on the meter.
Using a professional restoration company helps with many aspects of repairing a flooded home, one of them with your own stress level. When something as devastating as a flood occurs, it can have a devastating effect on you and your family.
Do the right thing when you have water damage. Call your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Three Cleaning Products You Already Have
When you are cleaning your home, you need cleaning products. While you use some traditional products specific for your cleaning tasks, you may have some others in your home that can do the trick.
Here are three that you no doubt have somewhere in the kitchen and can use to keep your home fresh and clean.
One of the most famous of all time is Dawn, and you’ve seen the footage about birds in oil spills being cleaned up with this detergent. Water by itself is a great cleaning solution, but it doesn’t work very well on oily soils. You need more power. While Dawn is often mentioned, almost generically, any dish detergent is a grease-cutting tool. A few drops in water gives you a quick, effective cleaning solution for greasy surfaces, such as countertops. You can use a few drops in a bucket as an effective window washing solution if you use a wand and squeegee. There are many uses; a quick Google search shows you dozens of them. Just be sure to wipe away or clean off the detergent residue because that can attract more soil.
While most put baking soda in the refrigerator or cabinets (with the lid open, of course) for deodorizing purposes, some use it as a scrubbing additive, when you need a little more than elbow grease. It works on toilet bowls, sinks, and all types of surfaces. It’s a two-fold product, for cleaning and also deodorizing. Stinky trash can? A small container of baking soda left inside will help. It works as an odor absorbent, capturing malodors and freshening the air. Try it out!
Sometimes, an acidic solution is needed for cleaning, such as for nicotine residues or smoke, and for neutralizing some soils. Some use it as a deodorizer. It also cleans out any appliance that runs water through the system, such as coffee makers. Vinegar can remove lime scale, soap scum, and even rust if given enough time. Vinegar may have a strong odor, but it can’t be beat for handling some specific cleaning challenges. Just hold your nose!
Of course, your favorite cleaning company knows all about these products, and more. The tricks and hacks that make them the pros. When you need help, call them. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Restoration Mistakes… Exposed!
The word “restoration” has many meanings. If you Google “water damage restoration” you might come up with topics such as “iPhone dropped in toilet” and similar unthinkable tragedies. But for the purpose of today’s topic, we are going to concentrate on what the pros call “disaster” restoration, such as from water flooding your basement, pipes breaking, a kitchen fire, mold, and similar restoration projects for your home.
When you have water damage
The mistakes begin when you think you can simply use your wet/dry vacuum and such up the water and put a fan on it. It’s not going to dry out what you can’t see, such as in the walls, the carpet cushion, and other areas where the water has affected. When things are wet, it takes real effort to get it dry, clean, and odor-free. Be smart and make sure you know where the water went, and how wet it really is. Sounds like a job for the pros, right? It is! They have the moisture sensors, meters, and equipment necessary for the job.
When you have a kitchen fire
A house fire is one of the most devastating disasters that can happen to you. But there are some fires that are relatively small and manageable, such as the common kitchen fire, which happens when cooking goes wrong, and flames pop up.
One of the worst mistakes is not having a proper fire extinguisher, one that hasn’t reached its expiration date. Make sure the expiration date is still in the future, and that the class of extinguisher is for kitchen and grease fires and can be used on electrical fires. This means no water extinguishers of any type. Most multi-purpose extinguishers are acceptable, but make sure you have what you need.
When you find mold
Some people are sensitive to mold spores, and others aren’t. The main thing is to get a professional to inspect and give you the advice you need. While cleaning mold from a shower is one thing, finding it in the basement or on a wall is another. Be smart and have a healthy fear of mold contamination. Mold exposure can lead to all types of health issues for some people.
No matter the disaster you face, though, restoration pros are ready to help. Do the right thing and consult with your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Cleaning Mistakes… Exposed!
If there is one thing you value and appreciate, it would be efficiencies when you clean your home. You want your time to be well-spent and effective as you clean your home and keep it looking great and a safe haven for your family.
And you want your efforts to really count, your cleaning to do just that… clean. Get rid of the dirt and make it all look good. Yet all too often we make mistakes with our cleaning process and can even do more harm than good.
Here are a few cleaning mistakes… exposed!
Carpet spot removal
When you see a spot on the carpet and grab your favorite carpet spotter, give it a squirt or two, you might then scrub the spot. Perhaps with a brush. When the spot doesn’t budge, you might scrub harder. That is a big mistake! When you scrub the carpet you are going to fray the fibers, damage the texture, and can even make the spot worse. When carpet spotting, apply your spotting solution, work it in gently with a white towel, and blot away the spot. If the spot remains, call your favorite carpet cleaning company.
Doesn’t everyone spray their glass, whether a mirror or window, and then use a cloth or paper towel and wipe in a circular motion? We all do. But there is a better way. Spray your solution on the window, use a towel to clean smudges and dirt, spray it again and use a squeegee to remove the liquid. If you don’t have a squeegee, avoid the circular motion with your towel. Go horizontal, and then vertical, until the glass is clean. This helps avoid streaking.
It’s what you don’t see that can be harmful. Some rely on a sensor telling them their vacuum bag is full. Others wait until they can see it is full, to the brim. You should change your vacuum bags when about halfway full, never more than 2/3 full. The longer debris, soil, dander, and other contaminants are in the bag, the greater the odds you will have foul odors from what’s “growing” inside the bag. Spend a little more time and money on your vacuum and keep it happy with a fresh bag.
When you start cleaning, it’s always smart to get good advice. And the best advice comes from your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
4 Steps to Finding a Reputable Disaster Restoration Company
When water, fire, mold, or any type of damage occurs to your home, your safe haven is turned upside down and the one thing you want to do is turn back the clock. Since that isn’t possible, let’s look at how to find you some help, and keep it affordable at the same time.
One thing to remember: Unless the issue is minor, such as a pipe breaking while you are staring at it and you turned off the water supply within five seconds, you will probably need help from trained pros — plus the financial support of your insurance company. After all, that’s why you pay premiums.
Here are four simple things you can do.
Call your insurance company
Get the claim on record, give your agent a call and get the paperwork started. If you don’t, you may find down the road issues with coverage and paying for repairs. If disaster happens, call the insurance company.
Search and call a professional restoration company
Your insurance company may have a list of preferred companies or even say you must use someone in their network. That isn’t true. It is your home, and your coverage, and you have a lot of influence on who comes into your home to do the repairs. While you can get a recommendation from your insurance carrier, it’s your decision — look at local companies, analyze their reviews, and if you can, use companies that have been referred to you by someone you trust.
Make sure they are certified
Proper training in water damage restoration, fire and smoke cleanup, mold remediation, and other restoration jobs is a must. This often means certification, and you might look for companies that have training by the IICRC or the RIA, two globally recognized certification organizations. No matter what, you want to use a company that has proper training. This is a great way to do that.
Are they responsive?
If you contact a company and they don’t answer their phone or call you back right away, you might wonder if they will show up to do the repairs. Sure, they may promise on their website they are a 24-hour-a-day company, seven days a week… but if they are, why don’t they answer their phone? You don’t want to be chasing a company to do the work they promised you to do.
When disaster strikes, don’t try to handle it all alone. Get help from a reputable company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to Find the Best Carpet Cleaning Company
Keeping your floors clean in your home should be a priority, as a dirty floor is not only unsightly but also unhealthy. A clean floor in your home is a constant challenge because a busy family has plenty of foot traffic to add soil to surfaces.
When you need your carpet cleaned, and other related services such as hard floor care, tile and grout, marble, etc, you have options. Some of them are easier than others; the goal is to keep your home looking great without too much effort on your part — unless you like to clean!
Most homeowners have deep cleaning of floors set on a schedule, often every six months or annually. While you sweep, mop, and vacuum sometimes several times a week, that deep cleaning is a specialized task that really gets the soil out.
Option 1: Do it yourself
Let’s not kid ourselves. Cleaning carpet is tough work and takes a specialized machine to do it. It can be backbreaking work as you are bent over, scrubbing and cleaning, filling, and dumping the solution in the machine. Hard floor cleaning is not much easier if you do it right, such as deep cleaning the grout. You need professional-quality cleaning products and the know-how to do it right.
Option 2: Hire a professional cleaning company
While this will cost money, and you will pay more for higher quality cleaning, you get the very best for your home. Professional carpet cleaning companies typically do it all: carpet and rug cleaning, hard floor care, tile and grout, furniture cleaning, and more. They are highly trained professional, often certified, and can clean all your surfaces in your home with expertise. Besides doing great work, they often move furniture and get the job clean and dry quickly, so you are not inconvenienced at all. There are many methods of cleaning, as well, and a consultation with a professional company can help determine the best way to care for your carpet or other surfaces.
And to find the best company, get referrals, look at online reviews, and make sure that the company you choose has an excellent reputation, not only with cleaning but also with customer service.
Is it time to have your carpet cleaned, or other surfaces? Do the right thing. Call a professional cleaning company today. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Asbestos: Just How Dangerous Is It?
Asbestos is a scary word, much like lead in paint. It’s part of many construction materials, from vinyl floor tiles to the backing materials of building products, to roofing and siding. It has even been used as insulation and wrapping for pipes in older homes, and some oil and coal furnaces have asbestos insulation.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber and can only be positively detected by an expert with a microscope. It is used as a strengthening material and is a natural insulator. It’s also fire resistant, so you can see why it was so popular years ago.
Asbestos was officially banned in July of 1989, by the EPA. A phase-out has made asbestos less likely to be found, but in older homes, structures, and some building materials, it’s still a concern. You want to be safe. So knowing if you have asbestos and how to deal with it if you do is important.
Why is it so dangerous? Because it is a cancer-causing substance. Those who have been exposed have experienced breathing issues. Besides causing cancer, it can also scar your lungs. You might have seen advertisements from lawyers asking for clients who have been exposed to asbestos. It is deadly.
If you do have asbestos materials in or on your home, if left alone, there should be no issues. But if disturbed, asbestos material may release fibers that can be inhaled into your lungs. They remain there and cause health issues.
If you determine there is asbestos in your home, leave it alone. There is no danger unless fibers are released and inhaled into the lungs.
If you decide to do any type of remodeling, especially in an older home, it’s smart to know what materials you are dealing with. A building inspection by a professional is smart, gives you peace of mind, and ensures you are safe.
If you do have asbestos, those trained to handle it are real pros. They will know what to do to correct the issue. Many asbestos professionals can also conduct home inspections. When buying an older home, it is critical to have this done, and while mortgage companies require this, make sure they look for asbestos as part of the inspection.
If you have any type of damage to your home, such as from flood, fire, wind… anything, and materials are damaged, your disaster restoration company will know what to look for and how to handle everything. It’s what they do best — take care of you and your belongings. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to Remove a Mustard Stain
Mustard, like most condiments, is a slippery thing. When you put it in your sandwich, on your hot dog, or any food that fits the mustard profile, you enter the danger zone. Something is likely to come flying out and splat right on a white garment or fabric.
For some reason, things that stain land on light colored items. Murphy’s Law maybe.
Why is mustard such a tough stain to remove? Because of the natural dye called “turmeric”. It is why mustard is usually yellow, sometimes a light brown. When it lands on fabrics, it goes inside the fiber and stains it. Other condiments, such as mayonnaise and ketchup, can also stain, but not as much as mustard.
Before doing any cleaning, remove or scrape off as much residue as you can. When you start the cleaning process, you are at the point of no return. Once the fabric dries, any further efforts are probably going to produce minimal results.
With garments, it’s possible to wash them and mustard may come out. It may not. In the washing machine, some use chlorine bleach, although there is always a chance of removing other colors. The big picture here is do not put anything in the clothes dryer if the stain is still visible. The high heat may set that stain.
For carpet and upholstery, carefully wiping off the mustard and using a neutral spotter may help. But professional cleaning is recommended. If you start working on a mustard stain and you don’t remove all of it at one time, it makes it much more difficult to remove later on. It is always best if the pros do the work from the very beginning.
As with all cleaning projects, presoaking is important. Allow your cleaning solution, spotter, whatever you are using time to work. Use warm solutions, not hot.
Using peroxide on mustard stains often works as the bleaching agent in peroxide will either remove or at least lighten up the stain, while usually not affecting the natural colors in garments or fabrics. Wet out the area, and if you can, cover it up with plastic or foil, to keep it wet for an hour or two. The longer the peroxide solution has to work on the stain, the better the results. Rinse completely when you see good results.
Mustard is tough. No way around that. Besides being careful with your next hot dog, if a mustard disaster strikes, do the right thing. Call a professional cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!