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Are You Ready for Fall & Winter?

10/9/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Are You Ready for Fall & Winter? Prepare & Prevent

1. Clean and Stow Your Mower

If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, get to know it. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it.

1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole.

2. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated and ensures an easy start come spring.

3. Turn the mower on its side and clean out accumulated grass and gunk from the mower deck.

2. Remove Garden Hoses From Faucets

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.

Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet. 

While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

3. Drain Your Sprinkler System

Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

  1. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve. 
  2. Shut off the automatic controller.
  3. Open drain valves to remove water from the system.
  4. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.

If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.

4. Seal Air Leaks

Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around  your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.

5. De-Gunk Your Gutters

Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.

Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.

6. Eyeball Your Roof

If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.

Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.

Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.

A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.

7. Direct Your Drainage

Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.

8. Check Your Furnace

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.

An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.

Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.

9. Prune Plants

Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service

10. Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over

To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.

Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.

You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.

/https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/fall-checklist/

Hurricane Florence

9/22/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Team

Hurricane Florence 

Hurricane Florence made landfall causing major flooding and wind destruction in North and South Carolina. In addition to the 90 local Franchises in the Hurricane Florence affected areas, SERVPRO also has a national network of over 1,700 Franchises across the country. Our designated Disaster Recovery Teams have been deployed to the affected areas bringing hundreds of crews from across the nation to help.

SERVPRO 

The Disaster Recovery Team at SERVPRO  traveled to the Carolinas to provide restoration and mitigation services for homes and businesses affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. 

The Disaster Recovery team is IICRC WRT certified, and can handle any size job. Our team of dedicated professionals understand that time is crucial, and they will go to great lengths to get your home or business back up and running in a timely manner. 

Services Include: 

Residential Services

With over 1,700 Franchises in the U.S. and Canada, SERVPRO is a trusted leader in the restoration industry and is dedicated to providing quality service. Our highly trained technicians respond quickly, whether you need water damage restoration or simply need your upholstery cleaned.

You can depend on SERVPRO for these residential services:

Commercial Services

If fire or water damage sidelines your business, you need a professional restoration company to quickly restore your property. Every hour spent restoring your business is lost revenue and productivity. Commercial restoration presents unique challenges and we have the training, experience, and resources to handle any size disaster.

Learn more about our commercial services:

For more news on Hurricane Florence please visit: https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/19/us/florence-wednesday-wxc/index.html

National Preparedness Month

9/7/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial National Preparedness Month Be Prepared

September is National Preparedness Month 

National Preparedness Month (NPM), recognized each September, provides an opportunity to remind us that we all must prepare ourselves and our families now and throughout the year. This NPM will focus on planning, with an overarching theme: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.   

Take time to learn lifesaving skills − such as CPR and first aid, check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as flood, earthquakes, and tornadoes. Make sure to consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency. Also, know how to take practical safety steps like shutting off water and gas.

The devastating hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters.  Often, we will be the first ones in our communities to take action after a disaster strikes and before first responders arrive, so it is important to prepare in advance to help yourself and your community.

SERVPRO offers a number of resources which help homeowners & business owners be prepared when a disaster happens.For more information please call us at 303-576-6868 ask for Danielle Neff. 

SERVPRO also offers an Emergency Ready Plan for commercial & residential apartments. 

Benefits of the Emergency Ready Plan?

  • Have a plan of action before an event occurs.
  • Identify and eliminate hazards and risks to help prevent potential disasters.
  • Identify major water, electrical and gas shut off locations.

https://www.ready.gov/september

Labor Day

8/31/2018 (Permalink)

Community Labor Day Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day in the United States is a Public Holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American Labor Movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend and it is considered the unofficial end of summer in the United States. It is recognized as a federal holiday.

Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movement grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. "Labor Day" was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty states in the United States officially celebrated Labor Day.

Canada's Labour Day is also celebrated on the first Monday of September. More than 80 countries celebrate International Workers' Day on May 1 – the ancient European holiday of May Day – and several countries have chosen their own dates for Labour Day.

To Learn more about Labor Day, please visit: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Day

Do You Have an Odor Coming From Your Fridge?

8/31/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning Do You Have an Odor Coming From Your Fridge? Smelly Fridge?

Step 1: Empty Fridge 
Even if you think you’ve identified the item causing the odor, you need to empty the entire contents of the refrigerator and freezer. If you have a second fridge, stash perishables there. If the odor is the result of a power outage, don’t take any chances by hanging onto food that may have spoiled. A refrigerator will keep food at safe temperatures for about 4 hours, if it’s left unopened, according to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Services.

Step 2: Hand wash Bins and Shelves
Take out the shelves, bins, crisper drawers, ice trays, and any other loose components and wash them.

Step 3: Deodorize the Interior
Now you’re ready to wash the inside of the refrigerator.  Stay away from abrasive cleaners and pads, which can scratch the interior of the refrigerator.

Step 4: Air it Out
Here’s where the patience piece comes in. For best results, you need to unplug the refrigerator, leave the door open, and air it out for at least one day. 

Step 5: Clean the Evaporator
If there’s a lasting funk that just won’t go away, chances are the refrigerator smells have permeated the evaporator coil, which produces cold air for the fridge and freezer. The coil, along with the fan that distributes the air, are typically located on the back wall of the freezer.

For more tips please visit:

https://www.consumerreports.org/refrigerators/how-to-get-rid-of-funky-refrigerator-smells/

Hurricane Preparation Tips

8/20/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Preparation Tips Hurricane Season

Hurricanes

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters and move toward land. Potential threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, tornadoes, and landslides. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The Pacific hurricane season runs May 15 to November 30. Hurricanes:

  • Can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.
  • Can affect areas more than 100 miles inland.
  • Are most active in September.

IF YOU ARE UNDER A HURRICANE WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY

  • Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
    • Evacuate if told to do so.
    • Take refuge in a designated storm shelter, or an interior room for high winds.
  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.

Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk of hurricanes.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • If you are at risk for flash flooding, watch for warning signs such as heavy rain.
  • Practice going to a safe shelter for high winds, such as a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not subject to flooding.
  • Based on your location and community plans, make your own plans for evacuation or sheltering in place.
  • Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the evacuation route, and shelter locations.
  • Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
  • Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies.
  • Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.

When a hurricane is 36 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Review your evacuation zone, evacuation route and shelter locations. Plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
  • Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

When a hurricane is 18-36 hours from arriving

  • Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
  • Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

When a hurricane is 6-18 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

When a hurricane is 6 hours from arriving

  • If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
  • Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
  • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

Survive DURING

  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not drive around barricades.
  • If sheltering during high winds, go to a FEMA safe room, ICC 500 storm shelter, or a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor that is not subject to flooding.
  • If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
  • Listen for current emergency information and instructions.
  • Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.

Be Safe AFTER

  • Listen to authorities for information and special instructions.
  • Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.

Prevent Water Damage Before it Happens

8/16/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Prevent Water Damage Before it Happens Prevent Water Damage

1. Be careful where you plant

Some plants and trees, like weeping willows, have pretty invasive roots. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.

2. Clean out roof gutters

You know it’s on your to-do list anyway, so if you can, take a safe climb up to your roof next Sunday and check out your gutters. If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and whatnot up there, your gutters may not be doing the job you hired them for. And on a rainy day, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. That could cause some serious water damage! So next time you’re doing some seasonal cleaning, make sure those gutters are clean. And if your gutters are too high, be safe and get a professional to check them.

3.  Keep an eye on your water bill

With so many water pipes hidden behind walls and in the floors in your house, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is done. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your monthly water bill. If you see it starting to creep up, or get one that’s uncommonly high, it’s a pretty good sign that you may have a leak somewhere.

4. Use a drain snake instead of unclogging chemicals

No matter how crazy clean you are, from your shower to your kitchen sink, clogs are going to happen. And chances are at some point in your life you’ve used one of those powerful chemical drain cleaners to get things moving again. But as convenient as they may be, most folks don’t realize those caustic chemicals are also eating away at their pipes (and they might not be too good for you either). If you rely on them a lot, you could be setting yourself up for leaks. That’s why owning a drain snake is a good solution to clear away clogs. They’re pretty inexpensive, you can get them at your local hardware store, and they can cut through most any clog you’ll have without damaging pipes or making your eyes red and teary.

5. Never pour grease down your sink

You’ve probably heard this before, but you should definitely avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. It doesn’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. It can still congeal and cling to your pipes, and could still cause some serious damage and blockage.

Advise from Farmers Insurance and SERVPRO.

Development Boom in Colorado

8/16/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Development Boom in Colorado Denver

Many projects currently underway are multifamily, meaning apartment or condo buildings, with nearly 10,000 new residential units in the downtown area, the report also says.

Some people say developers are overbuilding, creating too many apartments that contribute to worse traffic and overcrowding in the city.

Schippits said one way developers decide whether to build is by looking at the number of apartments compared to jobs available. CBRE is a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate services and investment firm.

Denver's job-per-apartment unit ratio is 5.9, meaning for every 5.9 jobs, there's one apartment unit.

"As a metro area... we're underperforming when it compares to our competitive set like Seattle or Austin," Schippits said. "If you peel the onion away any more...downtown is even further behind."

Downtown's ratio is at 6.6, above the national average of 6.1.

"What we're forecasting is with all the new apartments coming online, plus the jobs that are created downtown as predicted by Moody's [Analytics], our ratio will drop to 5.2," he said.

"So we're not overbuilding," Schippits said, adding that building more apartments is key to controlling for expense. "If we have more supply, there's less pressure on cost."

When Mold Growth is Prevalent in Your Home

8/16/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation When Mold Growth is Prevalent in Your Home Mold Growth

MOLD REMEDIATION PROCESS

While it is important to know when to call in a professional mold remediation team, there are a couple things you can do yourself to get rid of mold if it’s in a small area:

  1. Locate the Mold: Remember that mold spreads, so be sure to check all rooms in your home including, especially dark and damp areas like the basement. Be sure to also check under the carpeting, flooring and behind wallpaper or drywall.
  2. Get Rid of Moldy Materials: Materials that cannot be cleaned and salvaged need to be disposed of. This includes wood, drywall, carpets or anything else that is growing mold. Use safety gear such as gloves, masks, and goggles before handling moldy items.

If the mold infestation is on a larger scale, a professional mold remediation team will likely do the following, in addition to getting rid of moldy items:

  1. Use Commercial Equipment to Dry Out the Affected Area: It’s important to get your home dried out your home as much as possible, since mold thrives in wet and humid environments. Professionals will use air movers, dehumidifiers and HEPA air scrubbers that work together to eliminate moisture and dry out the air and surfaces. They’ll also wear safety gear like gloves, a mask and eye goggles.
  2. Prepare the Room to Contain the Mold Problem: Mold spores can instantly become airborne. To avoid this, professionals will seal off the affected area before they get to work. They’ll use tape and plastic sheets to seal off doorways and vents.
  3. Establish Negative Air Pressure: Establishing negative airflow in the sealed room using an air mover ensures airflows in but not out. Once the area has been sealed using plastic sheets and tape, professionals can poke a small hole in the plastic and insert an air mover duct attachment through the hole and seal it with duct tape. This negative air pressure further prevents mold spores from escaping into the rest of your home.
  4. Use Fungicide on Remaining Materials: If there are any materials that can be salvaged and will remain in the room then it is important to thoroughly clean them. A fungicide product can ensure all the mold spores are removed and that there is no opportunity for a recurrent infestation. Any buildings materials that cannot be cleaned or removed such as porous surfaces should have a fungicide applied to them.
  5. Finish Repairing the Room: Once the moldy materials have been removed and the area has been thoroughly cleaned, any necessary repairs from the water can mold damage can be completed. This may include flooring, carpeting or drywall repairs.

Mitigation and Restoration

8/7/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Mitigation and Restoration Reconstruction

Who Can Provide Mitigation & Reconstruction?

When your home or business suffers water damage it’s important to start the mitigation process as soon as possible. The longer moisture sits in walls and flooring, the more damage the structure of your home will suffer. It’s important to call your nearest mitigation specialist as time is crucial.

In most cases, water damage leads to mold growth. Do you know why? Moist and humid surfaces are the perfect breeding ground for mold growth. Time is of the essence in every water loss.

When the mitigation process is complete you are left with a partially constructed home or business. No worries! SERVPRO can provide mitigation reconstruction. Once all moisture is eliminated from the structure and the non-salvageable walls and flooring are removed, reconstruction can begin.

Rather than having multiple contractors in your home or business, have SERVPRO come in and make it “Like it never even happened.”