Mold Season + Exterior Surfaces
Most think of mold inside the home as a big problem — and it is. But what about that mold that grows on the outside of your home, such as on vinyl siding and other surfaces? While not as much of a health concern, it’s still a nuisance that must be handled.
Mold typically does not grow on clean, dry surfaces. And most materials, such as the plastic construction materials used on homes, is not a food source for mold. So why does it grow? Because of the dirt, soil, grime, and other organic matter that builds up on surfaces. While your vinyl siding may be vertical, it still gets dirty, and mold will grab onto that and grow like wildfire. And when there are trees and vegetation around your home, they release particles that attach to exterior surfaces and that just makes the problem worse.
The solution? Cleaning. Keeping surfaces clean, physically removing both molds and their food sources, is the best way to keep your home looking good.
While the solution seems simple, unless you have a ranch-style home, reaching all those high surfaces is not easy. You will need ladders, extension poles, and plenty of safety gear. If you have all that, and are ready to get to work, here are a few tips.
Get a good scrub brush, something you can put on a pole, and something that will scrub the surface but not scratch it. Softer nylon bristles are great. Have plenty of garden hose available, with a concentrated spray nozzle. A large bucket, a pump-up sprayer, or a sprayer assembly that you can put liquid cleaning products in, one that automatically dilutes and applies the cleaner to your home. You need all this before you get to work.
Purchase a quality exterior cleaning solution specifically for siding and removing mold. While you can create your own solution with a variety of household products (bleach, vinegar, detergent) what you find at the store is not expensive.
Then get to work. Hopefully on a nice, sunny day. Apply your product with the hose attachment or your pump-up sprayer, allow to dwell for a few minutes. The bleach component in your solution will take time to work.
Scrub the surface and spray it all off. Let it dry and inspect, repeating as necessary. Take your time, section off areas, and you will see fantastic results.
But what about mold inside your home? That’s a different problem altogether. When you see mold inside, contact your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
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!