Dryer Vent Safety
Your washing machine and clothes dryer are valuable appliances, and they need maintenance from time to time.
One very important component to maintain and keep clean because of the danger of fire is the dryer vent system.
The vent system is the gateway for moisture-laden air to escape from the dryer to the outside of your home. The vent hose that enables this can be very short, perhaps just a foot or two in length, to several feet, depending on the distance from the dryer to the outside wall. The longer the hose run, the more lint that can build up in the hose, increasing the possibility of a fire.
Besides a visual inspection, pay attention to how long it takes your clothes to dry. If it seems it is longer than when you first purchased your washer/dryer, it may be due to lint buildup in the vent hose, restricting air flow to the outside. If you have to restart your dryer because your clothes are just not drying, that should signal an inspection and cleaning of your vent hose.
Inspection and cleaning
Disconnect the electricity to your dryer before doing any work and remove the lint trap and make sure it is clean. Pull your dryer away from the wall and unhook the dryer vent assembly. You will need a tool for this, most likely a screwdriver. Carefully use the hose from your vacuum cleaner, insert it as far as you can into the hose, thoroughly vacuuming. Also vacuum the section of the dryer the hose attaches to.
Also inspect and clean the assembly from the end of the vent hose to the outside of the home. Go outside, if possible, and inspect the opening. You might even find a bird has tried to nest in the opening, and occasionally bees or wasps have attempted to take up residence. You will need to clear out anything that can block the air flow to the outside.
If you aren’t able to clean the entire hose, such as if it is too long, it’s better to play it safe and just replace it all. Lint buildup inside the hose can overheat and catch fire, and you must avoid that at all costs.
And if the unthinkable does happen, and you have a fire in your home — or smoke damage — do the right thing. Call a professional restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Removing Hard Water Stains
Unsightly hard water stains can affect many surfaces and can be a challenge to remove.
Hard water stains are based on the mineral content of the water in a building or home. It all comes from the ground, so if mineral content is high in ground water, then mineral content in the water you use is going to be high.
Water softeners will solve this issue, but without a water softener system, you will occasionally deal with hard water stains and the challenges inherent with removing them.
Typical spot removers or household cleaners will not affect hard water stains, because they are mineral based. Here are some tips to remove them safely and enjoy a household free of hard water stains.
You will see hard water stains on sinks, around faucets, and even on textiles that are affected by a plain water spill. They are usually white but can be colored stains as well. If the stain is significant, you can even feel the texture of the stain. This means a bit more work may be involved removing the stain.
If the surface allows it (make sure you don’t scratch a hard surface and damage it) try scraping away the bulk of the hard water stain, if it has built up enough for you to do this.
For a cleaning agent, start safe and use plain white vinegar. Apply the vinegar to the surface and allow several minutes dwell time, remembering that vinegar can temporarily adversely affect copper surfaces. Scrub carefully and see if the vinegar is reacting with the hard water stain. This may remove most hard water stains.
If that doesn’t work, obtain a stronger acid, such as from your hardware store, that is for cleaning purposes. Wear safety gloves applicable for strong acid cleaners. Apply carefully and this should remove the hard water stain.
You can keep increasing the strength of the acid cleaner until the stain is removed, but always be careful with skin contact and vapors. Follow manufacturer directions.
As with any strong cleaning agent, neutralize after cleaning. This can be with a water rinse and drying with a towel. Very strong acid cleaners should be neutralized with a product for that specific purpose.
But when cleaning challenges are beyond your abilities, do the right thing. Call a professional cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Musty Basement
Fixing a musty basement is a chore that must be done quickly yet can be very frustrating. Trying to chase down a musty odor is not easy. It’s a restoration project that is crucial to you enjoying your home.
A smelly basement is notjust an odor problem; it usually indicates something more severe is going on. What you are smelling could be just damp materials, but it could also be mold growing, and the off-gassing of that process. This isn’t pleasant nor healthy.
There are several steps you, as a homeowner, can take to help fix this issue.
Doing some simple cleaning can accomplish quite a bit. Keeping things clean – and dry – is key to curbing the smells that can come from a basement. Take the time to inspect all the materials in your basement and take out and clean those that might be damp or have an odor. A little suspicion goes a long way.
Most likely, these items that could have odor issues are porous materials, such as clothing, bedding, and similar items. Have your carpet cleaned professionally, if there is carpet in the basement. Using a home carpet cleaning machine might actually do more damage than good. Hire a pro.
Look at the sources of potential musty odors. Windows that are drafty, walls the seep in water, anything that can create odors should be inspected and addressed. Remember that musty smells usually come from mold growth.
Although you may think that your basement is nice and dry, it might not be. The only way is to monitor the humidity level. You can do this with a hand-held device, the type your restoration pros use, but that may not be practical for you. Those devices can be very expensive.
Better yet is to set up a dehumidifier that has that information on it with its display. This way, you can run the dehumidifier as needed to keep the humidity at the level you want it to be. The lower the humidity, the less you should experience musty odors in the basement.
And the absolute best way to know if those musty smells from the basement are due to water intrusion, or other restoration issues, and what to do about them, is to consult with your favorite water damage professionals.
After all, it pays to call a pro!