Winter Prep Tips. Floodserv of McAlester, OK.
It’s coming. For some, it may already be here.
The looming arrival of winter, for many in colder climates, means it is time to think of preparing the home for the invasion of frigid temperatures, gripping winds, icy rains, heavy snows, and all the other issues that come with the harshest season of the year.
Getting your home in shape so it can battle the winter elements does take some time, planning, and preparation, but the payoff is worth it. A number of issues — from frozen water pipes to ice dams in your gutters to water intrusion in the basement — can arise that can damage your home that often require either much of your valuable time and resources to repair, or the services of a disaster restoration company.
At minimum, handle these winter preparedness tasks.
Get a ladder and get to work, or hire a professional to handle it, but you must make sure your gutters are clean of all debris. Disconnect all your garden hoses, and if you can, turn off the water to those faucets.
Inspect any trees and remove branches that may get heavy with ice and fall onto your home.
Look at the caulking and trim around your windows and doors, and make them as air tight as possible.
Have your heating system inspected, and don’t forget the fireplace or insert, if you have them. The wrong time for a heating system to go bad is when it is needed. An honest, reputable HVAC company may be able to prevent the unthinkable — your house losing heat and freezing up, with all kinds of damage occurring as pipes freeze and break, among other issues.
If you have any other heat sources, such as portable heaters, kerosene heaters, etc, inspect them and especially the cords. They are cheaper to replace now than when everyone is running to the store to buy them.
As you did on the outside, inspect the interiors of your windows and doors, and repair them to keep out cold wind. On a windy day, do your inspection with a butane lighter, as any air activity will show up in a flickering flame.
If you have sump pump system, determine how old it is and check with the manufacturer on recommended replacement frequencies. A failure of a sump pump is a guaranteed way to come home to inches — or feet — of water in the basement.
If the unthinkable does happen, don’t panic. Call your favorite disaster restoration company right away. After all, it pays to call a pro.
The Imminent Arrival of Old Man Winter. Floodserv of McAlester, OK.
It may just be the fall season right now, but that’s about to change soon, into… winter.
And getting ready for winter is important, with several aspects regarding your home and protecting what’s most valuable to you. Obviously, winter is outside, but it will want to get inside, and that can cause damage you don’t want.
If your home is typical, you have a lot of glass — windows, that is. Take a tour, inside and out, and look for areas where the weather stripping is damaged, where there are cracks in the caulking, and gaps where gaps should not be.
When the wind blows, do you hear it coming in the windows, or from around the windows? That’s not so bad right now, but when nasty weather strikes, that’s a different story.
Get your windows in shape now, before winter arrives.
You can see some of your roof from the ground, but if you get up and take a close look, you may see shingles that need replaced, areas around the chimney or vents that could use some plugging, or other general repairs that are much, much easier now than when it is zero degrees and icy.
But be safe. If you aren’t an expert and able to inspect, hire someone to do it for you!
Grit, debris, leaves, and obstacles tossed up there from a windy day can build up. When they do that, and winter strikes with cold, snowy bluster, a plugged up gutter can create really expensive restoration work, because if a gutter can’t drain, this might force melting ice into your home. Get a ladder, take a look. But just like with your roof, only do that if you are an expert. Hire it done if you aren’t.
No matter what you do, occasionally water, wind and ice can damage your home. Do the right thing: Call your disaster restoration pro. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Your Very Own Flood. Floodserv of McAlester, OK.
Invasions happen. And as statistics show, it happens often.
No, we aren’t talking about invasions of the criminal kind. What we are talking about is an invasion of… water.
Your own personal flood. In your house.
These events can be devastating, in more ways than one. It’s not just an inconvenience. It’s also damaging to valuable materials, some that just can’t be replaced, and steals much of your time as you clean up after the mess.
When a flood occurs in your home, what’s your natural, spontaneous reaction? Call your insurance agent. That’s what most do. And that’s smart, as you don’t want to spend more time and money on this recovery project than necessary.
But you still have to do your homework. Trusting your insurance company is one thing. Knowing who to hire is another. Remember, it’s your home and your insurance policy. You have some significant input in who is hired to come into your home.
The first thing to consider is being safe. No matter how valuable something is, it’s not as valuable as the health and well-being of your family. Make sure everyone is safe and secure, that the power is turned off in areas affected, such as those with electrical components. But be careful! Just leaving your home and letting the pros go in and take care of everything, scoping out the job, is often recommended. It’s difficult to do because you want to start looking for valuables and protecting your property.
Next is, stand up for your rights. Insurance companies often attempt to limit their exposure and what they will pay. Your typical insurance policy means you have the right to have your home and belongings returned to “pre-loss” condition. Your professional water damage company is on your side. They want to do the work right and they do not want to cut corners.
When a flood happens, it can be an emotional event. Remember, though, if everyone is safe, the “stuff” that is ruined can be replaced.
Do the right thing when your home suffers from any type of water loss. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to Avoid a Moldy Basement. Floodserv of McAlester, OK.
There are many types of mold that can be found in a home, whether the problem is caused by faulty construction, water damage, leaky plumbing, or other issues.
But what some people report is, despite no evident water damage or plumbing situations, no heavy rains, to name a few issues, they still get mold in their basements, often on the inside of their exterior block walls.
Nobody wants that. Mold can be dangerous to people who have exposure sensitivities to it.
What can you do to avoid a moldy basement problem? There are several simple steps and procedures…
Know your numbers
It’s important to understand humidity and monitor those moisture levels in your home. A simple hygrometer you can buy online or in a retail store gives you this information, as easy as a thermometer tells you the temperature.
Use a dehumidifier
Basements are known to be humid and damp, even with no evident moisture intrusion issues. A dehumidifier can remove many pints of water from the air each day. You can choose one that you have to dump the water from on a schedule, or have it drain automatically into a floor drain or sump pump. You will be amazed how much water you can remove and keep mold at bay with a dehumidifier.
Use exhaust fans
Simple fans can be installed that move moisture-laden air from the inside to the outside, like you would do with a bathroom exhaust fan. This might be a chore for the pros, so have them take a look at your home and see what options they might offer.
Inspect outside drainage
One issue that is common is moisture building up on the outside of block walls, and this moisture can seep into the interior walls of those blocks, adding too much humidity in the basement. Ensure all ground water flows away from your home and doesn’t puddle up against the walls.
This advice is for common issues. But if the worst happens, such as a broken pipe or water flooding into your home, now you are into a serious issue. Do the right thing and call your water damage restoration company today. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Categories of Mold Contamination. Floodserv of McAlester, OK.
When things get damp, humid, musty, smelly… there could be trouble brewing, even if you can’t see the source of the issue.
When your nose senses suspicious odors, especially in areas such as dark, enclosed basements, as one example, thoughts often go to, “Do I have mold?”
It’s a concern everyone should have, because specific types of mold, depending on an individual’s sensitives, can be hazardous to health.
While this topic and potential issues aren’t meant to alarm you, being informed is important and a protection to yourself and to your family. And one way to be informed is to know the various types of mold, at least a few of the common ones found in homes.
This type of mold is common as well, and normally shows up in damp areas, such as a shower, sink, under cabinets, and dark areas that may be humid. This type of mold usually, to those sensitive to it, causes asthma attacks and other allergic reactions.
One common mold found indoors is aspergillus. It isn’t considered a substantial health threat, but it can cause issues with those who are sensitive to molds. Some severe reactions can include inflammation of the lungs, infection of the respiratory system, and other symptomatic reactions to exposure to this mold spore.
This mold grows best on wooden surfaces, such as natural wood furnishings, and also in paint and wallpaper, to name a few. It often exhibits a black/pink color. Over time, this mold can cause severe allergic reactions to sensitive individuals.
The last mold we will cover here is often caused by some type of water damage situation. It can usually be found in drywall, especially when wet from water damage or other moisture intrusion. You usually identify this type of mold by its musty or “old” odor in the home.
Often found in soil, cellulose and plant debris, in both cool and warm areas, on various surfaces such as carpet, wood floors, and fabrics. Exposure can cause breathing challenges and respiratory issues.
These are just a few types of mold common to homes. Do your research and you will find a very long list of potential mold threats; some of them sound extremely risky to be around.
Remember, if you have any questions about water damage, mold contamination, mold spores, musty odors, and potential health threats to your family and home, call your disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Categories of Water Damage. Floodserv of McAlester, OK.
Even the smallest amount of water that intrudes into your home can quickly gravitate from a nuisance to a significant issue. And a water intrusion that involves hundreds or thousands of gallons of water may mean you become homeless for a short time, while the repair is performed
Did you know that water losses are given classifications? One water loss isn’t always like the next. There are differences.
Many water damage situations involve a basement, and often a sump pump failure. Others are from leaky pipes or even broken pipes. When this occurs, along with other types of water loss situations, did you know the water type is classified by professional water damage restoration experts as “clean?” That’s right. Even if it looks dirty, because of a lower amount of potentially hazardous contaminants in the water, it is given a “Category 1” classification. However, this type of water loss can quickly escalate into a more dangerous situation, if not removed and affected materials dried out quickly.
Then we have water damage situations that may contain potentially hazardous contaminants and bacteria that could be harmful to your health. An example would be a toilet that overflows, that doesn’t involve raw sewage. This would be a “Category 2” classification. A Category 1 can become a Category 2 if left unattended, because of bacteria and microbial growth occurring over time.
And it gets worse from here. A “Category 3” water damage situation is “black” water and is always considered dangerous to the health of occupants in a home or building. An example would be a raw sewage backup and contamination. Another would be flood waters, since you aren’t sure of the source of the water or where it has been. The contamination involved would dictate wearing personal protective equipment and even respirators. Never risk your health.
For Category 1 and Category 2, there is a chance you could extract and dry the area yourself. Often, it ends up in frustration and even mold growth. But for Category 3, never attempt this on your own. In fact, play it safe. Always call a professional water damage company when you have any type of flooding situation in your home. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Seasonal Mold Removal. Floodserv of McAlester, OK.
There are many types of mold, and you never want to put yourself or your family at risk when you see some in your house. When it is in your home, it’s time to call a mold professional. Fast!
But outside the house? That’s a different matter altogether.
One fact people don’t always appreciate is mold is everywhere. It’s a product of nature, and found inside and outside. When you find it inside, the mold spores can become concentrated, and depending on the severity of allergic reactions, can even be dangerous. That’s why mold contamination in a structure must be remediated by a mold professional.
Mold that is outside your home is especially noticeable when it is on your home, such as the wood, vinyl or brick siding, or horizontal areas such as decking. When that happens, don’t panic… this mold is where it should be and isn’t much of a danger, unless you or those in your household are prone to allergen exposure associated with mold spores.
If you don’t have allergen issues, then a regular cleaning of the exterior of your home should be a simple task. You have several options you can utilize to accomplish this.
Clean and scrub
The oldest, tried-and-true method of cleaning the exterior of your home from soil, debris, and mold, involves a bucket, brush, sudsing detergent, ladders, and hoses. Using a pump-up sprayer to wet down the exterior means you can get better contact and soak time, and your scrubbing and “elbow grease” efforts are minimized.
Choose a small section at a time. If your cleaning solution dries out, you must re-apply solution and start over. Wash the section, rinse it thoroughly, and allow to dry and then inspect. It may take a couple of cleanings to get the results you want. Any moldy soils that you wash away, make sure you don’t get them on your clothing and bring them inside.
This is the most effective, time-saving method of cleaning the exterior of your home and removing mold growth.
You can purchase power washing equipment inexpensively, and you can spend hundreds of dollars as well. The inexpensive version will be electric, and the expensive version powered by gasoline. Either way works well; gas powered versions will be more powerful and faster to use.
As with any surface, apply your detergent and allow it to soak. Then power wash the exterior, washing off soil and mold away from you. Always be safe. Any contact you have with mold, be sure to wash off completely and don’t track it into your home.
Use a pro
Your favorite cleaning and restoration company knows how to tackle this type of chore best. Do the smart thing and save some time and even some money. And headaches as well. Call them up. After all, it pays to call a pro!