Drying out Water Damaged Papers
With the arrival and impact of electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, many have given up their favorite pastime of reading paper newspapers and books. But if you look around your home, you may still find plenty of books, documents, and valuable paper products that you prefer over the electronic variety — or that you just can’t get rid of.
Many of these items end up in the basement or other storage areas, and just when you least expect it, can become damaged from moisture, a broken pipe, flooding from storms, or a failure of your sump pump. Water damage can come from many sources. When that happens, it’s time to dry everything out, and that’s not always easy.
The first step is to wipe off and remove as much excess water that you can, without damaging the paper.
For loose papers, such as documents, lay them out individually on absorbent cloths and then carefully blot. If using paper towels, make sure they are pure white, with no color print on them. Loose papers are fairly straightforward to dry. Some air movement from a small fan can help the drying process. After drying, you can compress the papers to flatten them out.
For books, very carefully open the covers of each book, and stand your books upright on a stack of several, absorbent pure white paper towels. Place several layers of absorbent towels inside the covers, and gently close them. Allow the towels to pull moisture from the pages; replace them as they get wet, checking frequently. As you progress, carefully open pages, perhaps every 20-30 pages or so, and place more towels or cloths inside those pages, closing the book, allowing moisture to transfer into the towels or cloths. Keep the book on its sideas you do this.
Eventually, as the book dries, you can open the pages, and put the book in front of a fan to continue drying out the pages.
What if you have many books or documents, and they are valuable and must be saved and you don’t have the ability to do it yourself? That’s when it’s time to get some professional help. Put your damaged documents or books in the freezer. It’s now time to contact your favorite disaster restoration company for help. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Danger of Lightning
When warm weather arrives, most of us are subjected to interesting weather patterns and storms. Some of those can include dangerous lightning storms.
While lightning storms can occur at any time, it is more common in warm, muggy, turbulent months, also known as summer. In the United States, some estimates indicate that there are more than 30 million lightning strikes that reach the ground. These can cause property damage, injuries, and even death for those in the path of a bolt of lightning.
The first consideration for lightning storm activity is safety. Anything outside a building is subject to a lightning strike. Remember, lightning is naturally seeking a path to the ground, and if you are out in the open, you might end up being that path. Some feel that cowering under a tree or similar “protection” is going to help. Lightning is not always predictable. You may be hugging a tree and the tree is the path the lightning chooses to get to ground. That means you are in danger.
It’s always best to get inside. Seek shelter in a building that can protect you. Most of the time, it’s your own home. And besides the possibility of lightning striking you, other dangers, such as wind, rain, and flooding, can be dangerous to you as well.
While inside during a lightning storm, avoid contact with items that can conduct electricity: Pipes, cords, electronics such as televisions and computers, items that you use every day but should avoid when there is a chance of lightning striking your home.
After the storm, it’s time to inspect and test what might have been affected. You may have electronic devices that have suffered from the burst of electricity common to lightning storms. You also may have damage to property from the high winds the storm might have generated. There could be flooding in your basement or other areas of the home. Remember, even a well-built home can have water intrude, especially if it is driven by high winds. Check your sump pump, if you have one, is still operating. If it was affected by an electric surge, it may not work properly.
Any resulting damage should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, which means repairs should be paid for. Do the right thing. Contact your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!