Summer brings longer days, and opportunities to share fun family activities together like boating, swimming, fireworks, the zoo, vacationing, and much, much more. It's challenging to focus on ideas which would demand an evacuation plan from your home or business. These are things that we definitely don't want to think about, especially when there's so much opportunity for summer fun. However, disaster can strike at any single unexpected moment, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take about 10 or 15 minutes to have a family meeting, and discuss logical plans to escape the building, and please absolutely agree on a meeting locale outside the home--so often, family members will re-enter a burning home, searching for a family member who may already be out, and they don't know it. This sort of unplanned event would become all you can think about: the unplanned expense, finding a reliable contractor, plus the inconvenience to you and your family. We are always here to help. Estimates are free.
Mold is bigger than us. Our professionals use advanced water detection equipment to locate the source of the problem and remediate (remove/take away) any mold or water damage. It's important to note that mold--just like us--needs fed. Areas with moisture, darkness, and no ventilation are ideal to feed mold, and help it grow and thrive. Remember to find the food source for the mold. You don't want to remove the mold, only to have it return yet again due to a hidden leaking pipe, ground water seeping into the building, absence of a French drain or sump pump, leaking roof, or a cracked foundation--these examples come from a very long list of ways mold can be fed. The source of their food (the moisture) must be solved and removed in order to ensure that the mold will not return.
From 2011-2015, USA fire departments responded to an estimated average of 170,200 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment. Forty-seven (47 %) percent of reported homes structure fires were caused by cooking. Never leave pots and pans unattended on the stove--don't forget to turn the oven off after the baking is completed; double check yourself. Don't believe that running up the street to the convenience store for 5 minutes and leaving flames on, yet low, on the stove, is safe--it's not. For instance, boiling water on the stove, and then going off to check the laundry. The laundry is finished, and you become distracted, wanting to fold the clothes while they are still hot out of the dryer. In an effort to save time later, and complete the task, you continue on to another area of the home, to put all the folded clothes away. How much time has passed? How high was that flame on the stove? How much water was in the pot? It could be long enough to evaporate all the water in the pot, and the flame continues on without the benefit of water in the pot. Most fires are not total losses, and most fires are kitchen fires, however, no one wants to have a fire experience in their lives.
We hope Spring brings you more flowers and less showers, but if you experience water damage in your home or auto, we are here to help with solutions. When it becomes warmer, and we park outside, we may forget to close those windows, and then there is a massive, heavy over night rain storm. Our vehicle becomes water saturated. Then you may begin to have an itchy nose, and smell that mold smell. Next, you vacuum, and put the little scent tree on your rearview mirror--but oh, that smell. The same situation of leaving that open window in the house, and then, oh, that smell! We live in such a damp geographical region, thankful for our abundant drinking water source, but--mold is everywhere, and our mold estimates are free.
Heavy winds can damage literally hundreds of trees and create dangerous conditions. Additionally, heavy winds can cause power outages. Being proactive, and having a first aid kit--with fresh, non-expired products--both in your home and vehicles, walking your property during fair weather days, looking for ill and diseased trees, or hanging or cracked branches which are extremely large and heavy. If you note any of these things, seek out estimates to address and solve these problem trees BEFORE heavy, inclement weather arrives. Also, consider how you and your family would function if you lost power due to heavy winds. Do you have candles and flash lights with working batteries, and an extra sets of batteries? Blankets, and dry or pre-packaged food supplies for 2 or 3 days? Don't forget water--assume one gallon per day for each person and animal.
With all the cold weather, it is hard to conceptualize that spring is nearly here. Purging the home and garage twice a year helps eliminate headaches down the road. Plan for sections, or rooms, and work in phases, so it won't be overwhelmingly time consuming. Work from the top down, inside to outside, to avoid getting what you just cleaned dirty again.
Do one room, or just one area at a time. The satisfaction of seeing one room sparkle will inspire to do more. When tidying, reduce trips around the house by temporarily depositing items in one spot. Don't forget to scrub the shower stall. Make small repairs. If you're not handy, hire someone. Invest in good rubber or vinyl gloves to protect your skin and nails.
Dust before vacuuming or cleaning the floor--floor work kicks up the dust. Household rags are invaluable for jobs requiring a damp cloth – natural fibres work best. Buy mops with a squeeze mechanism (great for vinyl, linoleum or ceramic tile floors) and a decent-size heavy-duty pail. Use a Swiffer for light dusting, or your favorite broom or vacuum attachment to clean hardwood floors. Then damp-mop with a mild cleaner such as Murphy Oil Soap.
When Pipes Freeze
When temperatures drop and stay below 32 degrees for a full three days, it is highly likely that pipes can freeze. The following thaw that comes along after the freeze is when the pipes are likely to burst, and the result is not only a broken pipe, but water damage. Water damage to floors, carpets, dry wall and plaster, personal property, and appliances. The damage list can--sadly--go on and on. Remember, during the frigid, wintery season that you do NOT drop the thermostat below 58 degrees when you go out, and if the building is much older, a light drip, drip in both cold and hot spigots in all locations in the home. Make sure you know where your water main shut off is in your home. Also, does it turn easily? If no, a little spritz of WD-40 on the valve to help it move easily in the event there is an issue where the water main must be shut off, you won't be struggling with an uncooperative valve in an emergency.
Prevent Christmas Tree Fires
There are certain types of fires and injuries associated with holiday decorating, and are much more common during this season. Look for a Christmas tree that is fresh, and has green needles that don't fall out. Brownish needles mean the tree is dried out and more prone to catch fire. Test your lights out BEFORE you add them to the tree for any irregularities. Water your tree daily to prevent it from drying out. Consider the behavior of pets and small children when laying out your tree area. Keep your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, such as a fireplace, radiator, candles or lights. Always turn off lights on a tree before going to bed, or leaving your home. And it is a very wise and practical idea--if you haven't checked lately--that you check to confirm that your smoke alarm(s) are working properly. Remember, safety first.
Ductwork Cleaning And Filter Changes
Not only are we known for fire, water, mold, body fluid/crime scene clean up, graffiti removal, and fast efficient post-fire board ups, we do a variety of residential and commercial and construction cleaning. During the winter months, not only should we remember to ensure that our smoke detector batteries are working on a monthly basis, but what about furnace filters and furnace ductwork in your living space? Ask yourself some of these questions: When was my house built? Have the ducts ever been cleaned? How long has it been since the ductwork has been cleaned, or the furnace filter changed? Can you remember? Additionally, during winter months, windows and doors are shut, and sometimes windows are actually sealed up, making it important to vacuum and dust regularly. Otherwise, air circulated is NOT ventilated and can contain very high levels of dust. You should consider setting up an annual maintenance contract to ensure that your ductwork remains free of dust and dirt.
Where does all the stuff come from? And more importantly, how can we--as individuals and families--manage all the stuff? SERVPRO of WEST HILLS helps individuals and families when the stuff gets totally out of control. We assist on HOARDER clean outs. Estimates are free. Even now, with some many communications being electronic in nature, there is still a mountain of paper and things out in our Universe. Some tools to help manage, or prevent, the build up of stuff in our homes and worlds may be getting a home shredder and using it every single day in conjunction with the US mail delivery. Also, remembering to send out boxes and magazines with bi-weekly recycle pick ups can help diminish the pile up of paper. No recycle pick up? Magazines and periodicals can be donated to hair salons, etc. Blocking out an hour of time a week, to go through things: clothes, shoes, knickknacks, papers and other items, and being realistic about whether they are needed or used, and then unneeded items can be donated to charity, or perhaps friends or family may enjoy receiving the items.