Steps to Prevent Mold Growth in Your Vacation Home

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As summer approaches, you start heading towards your vacation home to unwind and make the most of your weekends. You probably have plans to visit a beach nearby and enjoy sunbathing. But as you enter your vacation home, you smell the dampness in the air and observe mold growth on the walls. This breaks your heart with disgust and you probably take up cleaning tasks instead of enjoying your summertime.

Such things are likely to happen particularly when any place is left unattended for few months. Mold growth can easily happen on wallpapers, wood products, carpets, fabric, ceiling tiles, cardboard, drywall and insulation. In order to ward off the last minute disappointments due to mold, you must take certain steps to prevent it. Here’s what you should do.

1. Remove unnecessary items

Removing clutter and unnecessary items out of the house is the first step that you should take. This is because if your house is dumped with several unnecessary items, it becomes difficult for your HVAC system to circulate air. Moreover, the supply grilles get blocked and condensation is caused causing mold growth on the walls. Also make sure that you get rid of all the items that have mold on them so that it doesn’t spread any further.

2. Get rid of stranded water

Find out if there are small water puddles in and around the house. Check around places like sump pumps, freezers, basement doors, water tanks etc. There is also a possibility of foundation leaks and ground water dampness. If you aren’t an expert in checking these things, consider hiring water damage restoration professionals. Remember that stranded water can cause a lot of moisture leading to mold growth and you will definitely not like the results.

3. Check the size of AC unit

Even if you rarely use the air conditioner at your vacation home, you must ensure that it is of the right size. A small unit can prove to be quite expensive and a big one will start and stop incessantly which wastes a lot of energy. This can cause temperature fluctuations. Try installing HVAC unit of the right size. It will definitely make a difference.

4. Set up a dehumidifier

As the name suggests, a dehumidifier removes excessive moisture from the air. And needless to say, the chances of mold growth will lessen if it is installed at the right place. There are whole house humidifiers available in the market. These can be attached to the furnace and have the capacity to take care of air circulation in the entire house. As it can be connected to a drain, you don’t even have to empty your tank. If your house is around humid areas or a beach, a dehumidifier is all you need.

5. Get in touch with professionals

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If you observe a lot of mold growth, there is no need to get upset or distressed. As such, mold inspection and removal can be taken care of in a better way by professionals. They also have all the necessary equipment to eliminate mold from your surroundings. Find out about the nearest water restoration company in your area and ask for a quote. As these companies work 24/7, you can call them anytime and they will provide you with all the mold remediation and restoration help you need.

Your vacation home is your second home. So make sure you take the above steps and deal with mold growth at the earliest!

What All Can You Do to Help Your Neighbors After a House Fire?

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With announced emergencies and expected natural disasters, you can probably keep yourself prepared with evacuation plans and emergency kits. But when it comes to fire accidents, no one is prepared. If anyone in your neighborhood has experienced a fire, you must lend a helping hand in a genuine manner. Sometimes, we are also willing to help but we are reluctant and don’t know what exactly should be done.

If you think that they are struggling too much, you should take advice them to get in touch with a reliable fire damage restoration services provider. But there are a few things that you can also do. We have come up with certain ways in which you can provide help to your neighbors.

1. Visit them often

You might not have been to your neighbor’s place before or they might have come across to you as unapproachable. However, you shouldn’t back out during the times of need. Don’t be hesitant to knock at their door and express your concerns over whatever happened. Keep checking in and try to know if they need your help with anything. Showing up during the times of need will make them feel that they have supportive people around them.

2. Don’t just say it, do it

People are often heard saying things like “Sorry to know about it. Let me know if I can help you in anyway.” But try not to stop at these formalities. Sometimes, the person may be reluctant to ask for help and may feel awkward to ask what they need. Encourage them to speak up and be more open and communicative. Run errands for them, offer to drop and pick up or make phone calls to fire restoration companies for them. It will prove to be a huge relief for them.

3. Offer financial support

“A friend in need is a friend indeed” they say. If you believe in being there for someone in need, don’t refrain from helping in every way. Even if your neighbors have insurance, it can take a while until it gets processed and approved. See if you can offer financial support or write a check for them so that it can take the financial pressure off their shoulders.

4. Donate furniture

Fire can cause irreparable damage and everything can burn to ashes. There might be a possibility that your neighbor’s beds and sofas have burned and they sleep on the floor. During such times, you can give away the extra furniture you have and render some help. Lamps, chairs, school supplies etc can also be given so that the bare necessities can be taken care of.

5. Provide with groceries

After fire damage, your neighbors can get really busy with restoration and cleaning. During such times, they cannot prioritize grocery shopping or having meals on time. Ask them if you can do grocery shopping for them or invite them over for dinner. It will also help them get over their exhaustion.

Carry out the above mentioned steps with no sense of obliging and you will definitely bring a smile on the face of your neighbors. We hope you do the needful. Keep safe!

Some Frequently Asked Questions on Water Damage Answered

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Water Damage is not a pleasant experience for any homeowner. There can be several reasons responsible behind the occurrence of water damage. These include natural disasters, roof leaks, poor drainage systems, septic tank overflows, pipe bursts, foundation leaks etc. Knowing about the causes, consequences as well as the methods to handle water damage can help you to take care of such situations easily. Through this article, we intend to answer some of the commonly asked questions on water damage. Though you should always hire professional water damage restoration services when faced with any critical situation.

What makes water damage dangerous?

When there are floods or flood like situations, water gets into the house from outside and sewage backups. This water contains contaminants like bacteria and viruses. If you do not get rid of this water within 48 hours, it can lead to mold growth and cause structural damage to the house. The mold growth should also be curbed to prevent it from spreading further. These post flood symptoms make water damage quite dangerous.

What should be done after water leak or flood?

The first and the most important step to take after flood or water leak is to get in touch with the nearest water damage restoration services. It is better not to wait for long during such situations as it can cause irreparable damage to the walls, wood and carpets of your house. You must also shut down all the electronic utilities to keep away from the hazards. In case of structural damage, it is better not to enter the house unless it is repaired.

How do certified professionals help?

Professionals working in the field of restoration services have several years of experience in handling water damage. As a part of the procedure, they either get rid of the damaged materials or restore them. These materials can include anything right from upholstery, carpets and baseboards to fragile woods and drywall. Once these items are gotten rid of, they start drying out water from the waterlogged places and sanitize all the affected areas. Mold-infected areas are disinfected so that it doesn’t spread further. Dehumidifiers and air movers are used to implement these procedures.

Does the Homeowner Insurance cover water damage?

Homeowners insurance offers coverage when the damage is accidental. For eg, pipe bursts or water heater ruptures. Flood damage, irrespective of the source of water is not covered by standard insurance policies. Several reasons can be responsible for flooding including storms, overflowing rivers as well as sewer backup. However, you can always purchase flood insurance through National Flood Insurance Program. Water damage caused by lack of maintenance is not covered by insurance agencies.

The best way to stop water damage from happening is to take preventive measures. In case of naturally occurring floods, you must follow the guidelines laid by the government so that there is lesser harm to life and property. We hope that answers to the above questions must have given you insights on dealing with water disasters. Keep safe!

5 Rarely Known Factors Responsible for Causing a Home Fire

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When there is a fire in the house, it is often assumed that it started from the kitchen. However there are many other places and resources that can be responsible for causing fire. Through this article, we will acquaint you with these unknown stimuli and rarely known fire hazards. Here’s a brief about each one of them.

1. Laptops

There are times when you work for hours together on your laptop. And sometimes, you leave it switched on and get busy with other things. It is possible that heat from the laptop gets underneath the materials it has been put upon (Bed, pillow or couch) and starts a fire. To prevent this from happening, you should ideally mount your laptop on a stand or put a fan table below it. Also, when you are not around, switch it off or put it on a non-flammable material.

2. Dishwasher

A fire causing from dishwasher is quite a rarity. But it isn’t impossible either. If your dishwasher is faulty, water can drip into the internal wires of a machine. Make sure you maintain your dishwasher and get it serviced at regular intervals so there are no water leaks or fire hazards because of it.

3. Glassware

It may sound to you like a myth, but fish bowls, glass door knobs and jam jars have also been responsible for reflecting sun rays enough to cause a fire. So it’s not just a magnifying glass that can start a fire. When light is refracted by a glass on objects like curtains, paper or any other flammable item, fire can start over the time. Make sure you keep the glassware away from the areas where they are likely to cause a fire.

4. Dust

Dust particles under beds and furniture can be a cause of fire if they come in contact with electrical sockets, electronics and heating appliances. Such situations can occur if sparks fly towards the dust particles and spread the fire gradually. To eliminate this possibility, make sure that you vacuum under the bed and couch regularly.

5. Batteries

Inappropriate disposal of 9-volt batteries in the garage and basements has often been responsible for causing huge fire accidents. If these batteries come in contact with any kind of metal and the metal touches other flammable object like paper or dust particles, fire can start in no time. So make sure you keep these batteries away from metal objects. Information about safely disposing them can be easily found on the internet.

Although these are little known factors responsible behind a home fire, you must know about them to be able to prevent such situations from happening. However, if there is a fire and you are not able to put it off, you must get in touch with your nearest fire station. After the fire has been put off, you can avail of professional fire damage restoration services which will help you recover important objects and make sure that minimal damage is caused.

 

Ways to Extinguish Different Types of Small Fire

Ways to Extinguish Different Types of Small Fire

Fire, be it a small or huge one, can prove to be dangerous and deadly. According to National Fire Protection Association, there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States in the year 2015 and they caused 3,280 civilian deaths. It goes without saying that you must call 911 whenever there is an accidental fire and it puts the lives of you and your loved ones at risk. After the fire has been extinguished, you can also consider hiring fire damage restoration professionals to lessen the amount of damage caused due to fire.

There are different types of fires that erupt in your surroundings and different ways to extinguish them. Let us acquaint ourselves with each one of them and know how to deal with them as and when they occur.

Cooking fires

This is the most common kind of fire that erupts in any house. Whenever there is a cooking fire, consider shutting the oven off, cover the pan with lid or use Type B extinguisher. Try not to move the pan as it can spatter oil and spread the fire further. Also, turning the exhaust fan on is the last thing you should do as it can add oxygen to the fire. If there is a fire in the oven, try to cool it off by keeping the door closed. This is because if the fire comes in contact with the air, it can grow worse. You can also sprinkle a lot of baking soda on the food.

Fire caused due to electrical equipment

As people are quite used to extinguishing fire with water, they make a huge mistake of pouring water over the fire caused by electrical equipment. This leads to further accidents as water is a good conductor of electricity. So avoid committing such mistakes any cost. During electrical fire, pull the plug out from the socket (if possible) or switch off the appliance. You can also control the fire by covering it with blanket or Type C extinguisher.

Television

You may have never imagined a Television being caught on fire. However, there is a possibility of it being on fire when the air around it doesn’t have enough space to circulate causing a lot of heat in the area around it. Even when there are other objects close to it like candles, curtains or knickknacks, the heat from the TV can ignite these objects causing a fire. When a TV catches fire, the best thing to do is to unplug the cord and try to put the flames down with a fire extinguisher. Refrain from using the blanket as it can spread the fire further.

Fireplace wood stoves

If you use fireplace stove, there might be chances of it catching fire. To avoid this, use dried wood and refrain from using flammable liquid. Once the cooking task is over, dispose the cool ashes in a metal container. Also when the cooking process is on, don’t leave the fire unattended. Don’t keep flammable materials near it and keep the glass screen closed.

These fires might start small but can turn into an unimaginable tragedy if not controlled in a right way. We hope that the above guide will be of great help in controlling small fires.

DIY Steps to Keep Water Out of Your Basement

DIY Steps to Keep Water Out of Your Basement

Be it a small crack or a huge one, water always finds its way. And there are several reasons as to why water enters your basement. Flash floods, drainage problems, and appliance failures are some of them. When water accumulates in the basement, it becomes a ground for mold and termites to grow. If you want to avoid this from happening, you can get in touch with one of the water damage restoration companies. You can also indulge into some DIY steps for preventing water getting into your basement. Here’s what you can do to keep the water out.

Seal those gaps

As mentioned above, water has a tendency to leak through cracks. If there are gaps around plumbing pipes or concrete walls, water can enter into a basement. Make use of polyurethane caulk or hydraulic cement to seal those gaps. Check if the water still enters after sealing. If it still does, you might have to resolve the groundwater problem as mere sealing won’t work.

Keep downspouts away

The downspouts that help you to get rid of excess water should be kept five feet away from the house. You can do so by adding metal or plastic extensions to the downspouts. You can also install an underground drain pipe so that the gutter runoff remains far from your house.

Waterproof the basement walls

Moisture and condensation often form on the basement walls. Apply sealant on the walls to avoid this from happening. Apart from this, you can also waterproof the basement walls with silicate based concrete sealers, concrete coatings, plastic sheets or waterproofing paint. Also consider waterproofing the outside walls of the basements so that you can fill the gaps in the foundation if there are any. This process might prove too expensive as you will need to excavate around the house.

Invest in a sump pump

When you install a sump pump, it will protect your basement during floods by pumping the water out.  If the level of water in the basement goes up, the sump pump is smart enough to discharge the water outside the house. But before installing one of these for your house, conduct research on how to find the right sump pump and use it.

Get the rain gutters cleaned

When the gutters are blocked, it results into the water pouring in your home’s foundation creating the risk of basement flooding. Hence, make sure that you get rid of leaves or branches, debris etc and check if there are any loose particles from the asphalt roofing in the gutters. If there are any loose gutter straps, you must tighten them. In case of any gunk in downspouts, you can get rid of them by pouring a lot of water with the help of garden hose.
If your basement is already flooded, you must get in touch with the water restoration service provider so that you do not have to deal directly with floodwater. If not, you can take the steps mentioned above and protect your basement.

DIY Steps to Keep Water Out of Your Basement

DIY Steps to Keep Water Out of Your Basement

Be it a small crack or a huge one, water always finds its way. And there are several reasons as to why water enters your basement. Flash floods, drainage problems, and appliance failures are some of them. When water accumulates in the basement, it becomes a ground for mold and termites to grow. If you want to avoid this from happening, you can get in touch with one of the water damage restoration companies. You can also indulge into some DIY steps for preventing water getting into your basement. Here’s what you can do to keep the water out.

Seal those gaps

As mentioned above, water has a tendency to leak through cracks. If there are gaps around plumbing pipes or concrete walls, water can enter into a basement. Make use of polyurethane caulk or hydraulic cement to seal those gaps. Check if the water still enters after sealing. If it still does, you might have to resolve the groundwater problem as mere sealing won’t work.

Keep downspouts away

The downspouts that help you to get rid of excess water should be kept five feet away from the house. You can do so by adding metal or plastic extensions to the downspouts. You can also install an underground drain pipe so that the gutter runoff remains far from your house.

Waterproof the basement walls

Moisture and condensation often form on the basement walls. Apply sealant on the walls to avoid this from happening. Apart from this, you can also waterproof the basement walls with silicate based concrete sealers, concrete coatings, plastic sheets or waterproofing paint. Also consider waterproofing the outside walls of the basements so that you can fill the gaps in the foundation if there are any. This process might prove too expensive as you will need to excavate around the house.

Invest in a sump pump

When you install a sump pump, it will protect your basement during floods by pumping the water out.  If the level of water in the basement goes up, the sump pump is smart enough to discharge the water outside the house. But before installing one of these for your house, conduct research on how to find the right sump pump and use it.

Get the rain gutters cleaned

When the gutters are blocked, it results into the water pouring in your home’s foundation creating the risk of basement flooding. Hence, make sure that you get rid of leaves or branches, debris etc and check if there are any loose particles from the asphalt roofing in the gutters. If there are any loose gutter straps, you must tighten them. In case of any gunk in downspouts, you can get rid of them by pouring a lot of water with the help of garden hose.

If your basement is already flooded, you must get in touch with the water restoration service provider so that you do not have to deal directly with floodwater. If not, you can take the steps mentioned above and protect your basement.

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Summary

There are several reasons why water may enter your basement. Flash floods, drainage problems, and appliance failures are some of them. This article lists down some DYI steps to deal with such situations.