Recent Posts

Use Food Coloring to Diagnose a Leaking Toilet,

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Use Food Coloring to Diagnose a Leaking Toilet, Use Food Coloring to Diagnose a Leaking Toilet,

If you have a heavy leak in your toilet, it's easy to diagnose—the faint sound of the toilet tank constantly replenishing is a dead give away. What about a slow leak? Diagnose it with food coloring.

If you have a slow leak in your toilet tank, hundreds of gallons are just slowly and silently cascading down the side of your toilet bowl every month. Fortunately you can easily detect if the uptick in your water bill is from a slow leak or not.

A simple test for toilet water leaks, place a half dozen or so drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. Leave the toilet alone for a half hour or more. Come back and check to see if the water in the bowl of the toilet has become tinted with the food-coloring dye from the tank. If it has, you've got a leak between the tank and the bowl.

How to check your toilet for leaks

  1. Remove the toilet tank lid.
  2. Drop one dye tablet or 10 drops of food coloring into the tank. (Dye tablets are often available for free through local water Providers.
  3. Put the lid back on. Do not flush.
  4. Wait at least 10-15 minutes, and then look in the bowl. If you see colored water, you have a leak. If not, you don't.

How a $10 pipe can cost thousands in water damage to your home,

11/10/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage How a $10 pipe can cost thousands in water damage to your home, How a $10 pipe can cost thousands in water damage to your home,

One of the most common causes of internal flooding in homes is from a burst flexible water hose, or ‘flexi hose’, an increasingly common plumbing items around the world.

The flexi hose is a plumbing connection from the water main to major appliances, sinks and toilets, and has come into the spotlight as one of the top reasons a home is flooded — from water leakages and ruptures, to major water bursts.It’s highly likely you have flexi hoses installed in your home. So just how preventable are flexi hose water leakages, ruptures and bursts?

What are Flexible Water Hoses?

Flexible water hoses, or ‘flexi hoses’, are a versatile hose commonly installed in modern homes and to replace standard copper pipe installations in older homes.

Found in connections from the wall outlet to taps, sinks, basins and tubs, flexi hoses are also used to connect water from the toilet stop tap to the cistern.

Constructed in outer braided layers of stainless steel with a rubber pipe interior, the flexi hose — as its name suggests — is designed for its malleability and can be shaped to meet a range of home plumbing hardware solutions.

So why are so many people experiencing problems with flexi hoses?

In general, there are many reasons why a burst may occur — the main culprits tend to be:

  • The age of the water hose – most hoses have a life span of five years
  • Incorrect installation – over tightening, over stretching, and looseness can cause the pipe to fail
  • Incremental damage through limited or no maintenance – rusting, fraying and kinking can cause the pipe to bust.

While flexi hoses tend to be the preferred option for many installations, there is a general consensus amongst plumbing professionals that they are also a leading cause of house flooding, with spoiled carpets, warping of wooden floors and water-damaged ceilings on multi-floor homes too often the result.

The main reasons behind the widely agreed consensus that flexi hoses are a major cause of flooding in homes is due to four key factors: Questionable products on the market, incorrect installation, a lack of simple maintenance checks and the overall age of the flexi hose — and with that, there is also good news:

Water damage to your home from a burst flexi hose is largely preventable.

What follows is a range of causes that can compromise the integrity of the flexi hoses in your home, followed by ways you are more likely to prevent them.

The Most Important Thing is Prevention

Paramount to preventing flooding in your home is to have a licenced plumber install all flexible water hoses, or check those already installed to professionally confirm the integrity of the product.

It’s also a good idea to show everyone in your home where the main water valve is located so they can stop the water in case of an emergency.

 The Installation Factor

The DIY factor is at the heart of our culture and has intensified with the rise of television shows all about ways to ‘do it yourself’.

However, the installation of flexi hoses requires specialised knowledge that a licenced plumber is best to provide — and while the initial financial outlay may be more than the perceived savings from a DIY installation, you’re more likely to save in the long run.

For example, as with most products, flexi hoses vary in quality and your home can be compromised by the choice of water hose you buy. More expensive does not immediately lend to better quality and a licenced plumber will more likely know which type and brand of water hose is right for your home.

Flexi hoses also vary in length and choosing the wrong size can make the hose too taut, putting the hose under stress by being stretched, or too loose, allowing the hose to become kinked or twisted. Either way, installing the incorrect length of flexi hose will cause it to fray and unravel over time, leading to a major leak.

Flexi hoses are also easy to over-tighten, with excessive force applied to the end fittings of a flexi hose in order to obtain a watertight seal. However, such force can cause a fracture in the rubber seal connection, which, over time, is likely to cause a major rupture.

While flexi hoses are generally seen as robust products, if they are put under great strain due to being damaged at the time of installation, the likelihood of structural breakdown is high.

It’s worth considering a licenced plumber to install any and all flexi hoses around your home — and if you’re in any doubt of the flexi hose systems already installed, consider having a plumber come to your home for an inspection.

Stucco homes, failing at alarming rate, and the fix is costly,

11/8/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Stucco homes, failing at alarming rate, and the fix is costly, Stucco homes, failing at alarming rate, and the fix is costly,

Stucco remediation is extremely expensive because the house has to be torn down to its sheathing and windows replaced.

This is beyond the asbestos plague, the radon plague and the lead paint problem. This is a life changer and scope of this is enormous.

The reason it is failing is because some builders took shortcuts and didn’t’ install flashing properly, installed inferior windows and didn’t apply enough layers of stucco.

Many (builders) won’t put stucco on new houses anymore, not even on foundations. But stucco is a good product, and you can use it anywhere as long as you use good practices like having a good vapor barrier, and proper caulk around all windows and doors.

A failed a moisture inspection, can put a significant amount of work and money into a home, and replaced the stucco with stone because it was one-third of the cost.

A house buyer today would be wise to order a moisture report if considering a stucco home. It’s not required, but sometimes the cost for the inspection falls on the potential buyer.

Some (real estate agents) sell houses to unsuspecting buyers, hoping they won’t get the test. Will the realtor tell you to get a moisture inspection, or will they not tell you and hope to get the sale and the commission.

Homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover issues of mold or rot or shoddy contractor construction. Many carriers eliminated stucco remediation when the problem was first discovered years ago. Insurance typically only covers “Acts of God” such as rain, hail, fire and wind. And Pennsylvania law states homeowners cannot hold the original builder accountable for problems after 12 years.

So in just about every case, the cost for stucco remediation lies with the homeowner. And when that homeowner just bought a house without ordering a moisture test and discovers problems, they are severely “underwater” in their mortgage just after purchase.

A proper remediation, involves tearing off the stucco, taking out windows and replacing them with new windows, replacing damaged sheathing and framing, applying a drainable house wrap, reinstalling new windows with proper flashing, applying extra layers of house wrap, applying rainscreen and applying new stucco.

Homeowners who hire contractors who patch affected areas and do not replace windows will find it will fail again in short order.

Smoke detector Tips, Carbon Monoxide Detector Tips,

11/7/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke detector Tips, Carbon Monoxide Detector Tips, Smoke detector Tips, Carbon Monoxide Detector Tips,

Smoke Detector 

A smoke detector is a device that senses smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial security devices issue a signal to a fire alarm control panel as part of a fire alarm system, while household smoke detectors, also known as smoke alarms, generally issue a local audible or visual alarm from the detector itself.

Smoke detectors are housed in plastic enclosures, typically shaped like a disk about 150 millimetres (6 in) in diameter and 25 millimetres (1 in) thick, but shape and size vary. Smoke can be detected either optically (photoelectric) or by physical process (ionization), detectors may use either, or both, methods. Sensitive alarms can be used to detect, and thus deter, smoking in areas where it is banned. Smoke detectors in large commercial, industrial, and residential buildings are usually powered by a central fire alarm system, which is powered by the building power with a battery backup. Domestic smoke detectors range from individual battery-powered units, to several interlinked mains-powered units with battery backup; with these interlinked units, if any unit detects smoke, all trigger even if household power has gone out.

The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms. The US National Fire Protection Association reports 0.53 deaths per 100 fires in homes with working smoke alarms compared to 1.18 deaths in homes without . Some homes don't have any smoke alarms, some don't have working batteries; sometimes the alarm fails to detect the fire.

Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide detection

Carbon monoxide sensors detect potentially fatal concentrations of carbon monoxidegas, which may build up due to faulty ventilation where there are combustion appliances such as heaters and cookers, although there is no uncontrolled fire outside the appliance.

High levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) may indicate a fire, and can be detected by a carbon dioxide sensor. Such sensors are often used to measure levels of CO2 which may be undesirable but not indicative of a fire; this type of sensor can also be used to detect and warn of the much higher levels generated by a fire. One manufacturer says that detectors based on CO2 levels are the fastest fire indicators, and also, unlike ionization and optical detectors, detect fires that do not generate smoke, such as those fuelled by alcohol or gasoline. CO2 fire detectors are not susceptible to false alarms due to particles, making them particularly suitable for use in dusty and dirty environments.

Check and Test both alarms on a Schedule.

Check with your local Building Code Enforcement, with more details on both items...

Chimney Fires and Smoke damage

11/6/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Chimney Fires and Smoke damage Chimney Fires and Smoke damage

A chimney fire is the combustion (burning) of residue deposits referred to as soot or creosote, on the inner surfaces of chimney tiles, flue liners, stove pipes, etc.

Causes

The process begins with the incomplete combustion of fuel in the attached appliance, usually a wood or coal stove, or open fire. The unburned volatiles are heated to the vapor state but not consumed due to a lack of adequate heat and oxygen within the appliance. These volatile distillates escape into the chimney, where they contact cooler surfaces and condense into tar-like deposits, and soot. Successive layers accumulate until either the chimney plugs completely, or the chimney reaches a temperature and oxygen level at which the deposit will ignite. Due to the concentrated level of volatile material now present, these fires tend to burn very hot.

Alternatively, a chimney fire may be caused by old bird's nests which have fallen into the chimney and lodged there. When a hot ember ignites the nests, the fire can be just as serious as one caused by ignition of soot. In very old houses, the chimney may also be very large and thick enough to withstand the fire.

The high temperatures may affect the strength of the chimney causing distortion of metal structures, and potential failure of ceramic structures.

Causes of the deposits which lead to chimney fires include using green/wet fuels, the operation of appliances with insufficient air intake, and low operating temperatures for prolonged periods followed by hot fires. Such practice typically occurs when mild weather periods are followed by cold snaps.

There are several major issues that are at risk from a chimney fire event. There is of course the danger of burning debris being expelled from the top of the chimney that could ignite other portions of the structure, but the major cause of damage is where the heat of the chimney fire will pass through the masonry materials and overheat nearby combustibles. Even though codes and standards require a specific clearance of the framing members from the masonry materials, often this is not found in actual construction. Many fires reported as chimney fires, are actually structure fires ignited by the overheating of the framing members. These structure fires can be traced to the normal use of the fireplace or sealed combustion chamber.

Prevention

Steps to prevent this buildup of deposits include only running appliances hot during the initial ignition phase regularly, only building short and hotter fires, regular cleaning of flues using a chimney sweep, and only using internal chimney structures where possible versus a chimney attached to an external wall. The latter tends to be cooler, contributing to the problem, as well as creating downdrafts which tend to introduce smoke into the structure as the fire subsides. The nests of birds can be prevented by using a wire guard over the chimney.

Control includes denial of oxygen, addition of extinguishing agents, and removing heat sources. In case of chimney fire, the local fire department should be called immediately: there is a risk of the chimney failing, and/or overheating adjoining structures, which could cause the fire to spread to other parts of the building. Additional hazards include the possible buildup of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide within the structure due to restricted flues.

Remember to Check and Change your Smoke Detectors and Carbon Dioxide Detector Batteries and Replace older one!

The Acidic Nature of Smoke and Soot Require Special Cleanup

10/27/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage The Acidic Nature of Smoke and Soot Require Special Cleanup The Acidic Nature of Smoke and Soot Require Special Cleanup

The Acidic Nature of Smoke and Soot Require Special Cleanup

After a fire, soot damage is very typical. Soot can be a black flaky or oily or powdery substance which forms from incomplete combustion. Fine carbonized compounds cling to surfaces in your home like ceilings and walls, plus your possessions. Soot can be difficult to remove, and sometimes it is not possible to restore the surface to its pre-fire condition.

There are two types of sediment you can find after soot damage home – oily and dry. A quick check you can do to discover the type of residue you have is just to run your finger over a soot-covered surface. It is oily residue if it smears. Try not to make a mess. Better yet, leave it to us to inspect and clean.

You need an experienced fire damage restoration team working with you to clean the soot from your home thoroughly. SERVPRO is standing by to help you as soon as the fire is out and everyone is safe. The longer you leave the smoky substance sitting in your home, the more damage it does. 

Heat from the fire pushes the soot and can cover everything in its way. Smoke looks for a kind of equilibrium and travels until its energy is used and it goes to cooler temperatures. When tested, soot can always be found on the acidic side of the pH scale. Acidic materials are destructive to a majority of elements found in nature. Over time, they keep degrading materials by oxidation which leads to discoloration, etching, corrosion or pitting. Stains over metals can yellow and soften. These reactions are ongoing from soot residues until they are removed. 

We can clean up oily residue with special degreasing agents, while we clean dry soot with cleaning sponges. Sometimes, soot will be oily in one room and dry in another. It all depends on the kinds of materials that were burned, so we check ahead of time before we begin remediation. 

Many varying types of damage occur after a fire, including water damage from firefighting efforts, but soot damage continues to eat away at the surfaces it is covering if left untouched.

Contents Restoration

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals specialize in restoring contents damaged by water, fire, or mold. Their expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. They pretest your belongings to determine what items they can restore to pre-fire condition. They use several methods of cleaning your contents, including:

  • Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
  • Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
  • Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
  • Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
  • Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.

Move-Outs/Pack-Outs

If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning due to fire damage, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can conduct an organized, efficient move-out of the affected area. A move-out has several benefits, including:

  • A quicker remodeling process
  • Protecting items from potential damage
  • Protecting contents from further on-site damage

When restoration is completed, they will work with you to coordinate the move-in according to your needs. The services offered upon move-in may depend on your insurance coverage. 

Electronic Cleanup

Fire-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by fire. Smoke residues can contain acids that corrode metal surfaces. If the residues are not removed, corrosion causes electronic failure in the device. A SERVPRO Franchise will coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including:

  • Television sets
  • DVD players
  • Computers
  • And more

The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. Electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician.

Document / Photograph Drying

When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water or fire, extreme caution should be taken to help ensure the fire damage does not destroy the document. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-fire damage condition, SERVPRO of Woodbury Franchise Professionals can save a great deal and help minimize additional damage.

Depending on the type of documents and the level of fire, smoke, or soot damage, they have five options for the restoration of documents:

  1. Air Drying
  2. Dehumidification
  3. Freezer Drying
  4. Vacuum Freeze Drying
  5. Vacuum Thermal Drying

Contents Claim Inventory Service

When a fire emergency strikes, the damage can often feel overwhelming. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can help ease the worry and confusion during the recovery process by offering our Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS), which provides a detailed and accurate list of your belongings. They take a room-by-room inventory of your contents, including digital photos, and in some instances, bar coding. Learn more about the Contents Claim Inventory Service.

Our Contents Claim Inventory Service:

  • Preloss list and value of contents
  • Detailed and accurate report
  • Better information to settle claims quicker
  • Assistance with burden of proof for claims
  • Peace of mind when you need it most!

The 15 Must-Dos of Fall Yard Cleanup,

10/25/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage The 15 Must-Dos of Fall Yard Cleanup, The 15 Must-Dos of Fall Yard Cleanup,

Autumn means football games and visits to the local pumpkin patch. It also means it’s time to get your yard ready for winter. The right preparation now will save you time and energy when spring rolls around, and will keep you and your family safe in the yard year-round. Make sure you get the most out of your yard next year by following our checklist of fall cleanup musts.

1. Clean out debris.

Fallen leaves and weeds are the perfect place for pests to settle in for the winter. Clear out flower beds to keep the critters at bay. Pay special attention to rose beds, as their foliage can foster disease over the winter.

2. Till the vegetable garden.

After the final harvest, pull out old vegetable plants, remove debris, and completely till the whole plot. If you compost, now is the time to add a layer of compost to help nurture your soil for planting next spring.

3. Trim Rogue Branches.

Trim up any large or out-of-place tree branches that may cause trouble during the winter. You don’t want any branches breaking and falling during the snowfall to come.

4. Clean out the gutters.

Not all fall cleanup is in the yard. This is the perfect time to clear leaves and other debris from rain gutters. Check for proper drainage, clear out any blockages with a small garden trowel, and rinse with a hose.

5. Dry everything out.

Drain all water from hoses, fountains, and drip irrigation systems, and store them in a dry place. Water left standing over the winter may damage your equipment.

6. Aerate.

Break up soil to keep water from pooling and guarantee that nutrients will reach the roots over the winter. A garden fork will do the job for small yards, but larger yards may require a walk-behind aerator, which should be available to rent for a reasonable price.

7. Feed the lawn.

Send your yard into winter with the nutrients it needs to survive the long, cold sleep. Add a fall lawn fertilizer with high phosphorous content to encourage root growth and enjoy a lush, green lawn come spring.

8. Rake and mulch.

Don’t let fallen leaves get the best of you; if left unattended they can suffocate the grass. Rake them up, shred them, and use them as mulch for young trees, shrubs, and flower beds. You might even be able to skip the raking part if you use a lawn mower to mulch the leaves in your yard.

9. Prune trees and shrubs.

Trim any dead branches and cut back overgrown trees and bushes. If you have blooming perennials like clematis or roses, now is the time to prune them and train the branches.

10. Give it one last mow.

Set your mower to a low setting and give the lawn a close buzz before winter sets in. This helps the soil dry out more quickly in the spring, which leads to a lusher lawn.

11. Divide and cut back perennials.

If your perennials really took off this year, go ahead and spread the love. Divide plants and add them to other beds where they will also do well. This saves money and time in the spring. Fall-blooming perennials like chrysanthemums shouldn’t be divided now — wait and divide them in the spring.

12. Protect cold-sensitive plants.

Keep sensitive perennials, shrubs, and roses in top shape through the cold days of winter. Add mulch to the base and wrap plants in cloth barriers to prevent damage from freezing. Depending on the hardiness of the plant and your climate, you can use a single sheet or blanket or wrap them in a combination of cloth and plastic.

13. Plant bulbs, shrubs, and fall annuals.

Some plants do best when planted in the fall. If you want to add new shrubs or spring bulbs like hyacinth, now is the time to get them in the ground. Fall annuals like pansies are also a great addition to keep some color in your yard as other plants go to sleep.

14. Protect the deck.

Prevent the growth of mold and mildew by giving the deck a good power wash. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one from a garden store. Once the deck is clean and dry, add a weatherproofing stain to protect the wood from moisture damage over the winter.

15. Clean tools and store them.

Don’t throw your gardening tools in the shed and forget about them until spring. Take time to give them a good cleaning and add a light coat of oil to prevent rust during the cold season.

If you follow this checklist you’re bound to have a wonderfully winterized yard that will be ready to wow you with lush, green bounty once the warm weather returns.

Basement Water issues, Sump Pump malfunctions, and water damage

10/24/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Basement Water issues, Sump Pump malfunctions, and water damage Basement Water issues, Sump Pump malfunctions, and water damage

Standing water on the floor is easy to see. Less obvious signs of problems include:

Unexpected increases in your water bill

  • Stains on walls, floors or ceilings
  • Damaged or warped flooring
  • Warped bottom panels in under-sink cabinets
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Corrosion on plumbing valves and fittings

Deal with problems as you find them. Clean up any water or moisture, locate the source and make repairs. Tracking down a leak isn't always straightforward — water can travel along components in the building structure, so the indications of the leak may be in a different part of the home than the leak itself. If necessary, contact a professional roofing contractor, plumber or water damage restoration specialist to help with identification and repair.

In addition to the damage that water causes, it can encourage the growth of mold on walls and floors — where it's readily visible — and in ductwork, attics and crawl spaces — where you might not notice it. A musty odor is a sign that mold may be present.

 If the affected area is larger than 3 feet by 3 feet, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends you find a professional mold remediation contractor. For smaller areas, you can clean nonporous surfaces with commercial cleaning products, soap and water or a solution of a cup of bleach to each gallon of water. Follow the instructions and safety precautions for the cleaning product you use and wear appropriate safety gear. Porous surfaces such as drywall need to be replaced. For more information on mold in the home and how to clean it up

Inspecting common sources of water leaks and taking some simple preventative measures can be an effective way to reduce the risk of water damage and mold.

Plumbing

  • Every 6 to 12 months, inspect water lines, shut-off valves and fittings for fixtures such as sinks, toilets and tubs and for appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and ice makers. Check for cracks, loose connections, kinks and corrosion. If you find a leak, turn off the water to the fixture or appliance until you can make repairs.
  • Check around toilets to make sure water is not leaking at the base — an indication that the wax ring between the toilet and floor might need replacing or that there might be a crack in the base.
  • If the temperature drops near the 20°F mark, allow faucets connected to vulnerable pipes — those not protected in insulated spaces — to drip. This helps minimize the risk of burst pipes by relieving pressure if the pipes freeze.

Appliances

  • Replace washing machine supply hoses at least every five years. Consider using stainless-steel mesh hoses. Keep the machine properly balanced — over time, an unbalanced machine can move, pulling free the hose connections.
  • Consider turning off the water to the washing machine when it's not in use.
  • Don't operate a dishwasher or washing machine while your house is unoccupied.
  • Follow the manufacturer-specified maintenance for your appliances, including your water heater. Have the water heater inspected every couple of years.

Roof and Gutters

  • Have your roof inspected every three years by a professional, but also check routinely for damage you can see from the ground — such as broken and missing shingles or damaged flashing. A poorly maintained roof can lead to leaks in the home and additional damage to the roof itself.
  • If your roof doesn't have a drip edge or drip cap, consider having one added. This component helps keep water away from the roof deck and directs runoff into gutters.
  • Keep gutters clear and well-maintained. Gutters that overflow, leak or don't drain properly allow water to seep into your roof and into your foundation, crawlspace or basement.
  • Make sure gutter downspouts direct rainwater away from the home's foundation. Use extensions to carry water at least 6 feet from the house.

Exterior Walls and Foundation

 
  • Inspect the exterior of your home. Caulk around gaps at plumbing and ventilation entry and exit points.
  • Check to see if roots from shrubs near your home have caused damage that can allow water to enter the foundation. You may need to remove shrubs that are close to the house to prevent problems. Roots can also damage and block in-ground pipes, causing leaks near the foundation and sewer backups in the home.
  • Keep shrubbery beds and other landscape features sloped to direct water away from the home.
  • Look for evidence of erosion or settling at the foundation that can indicate water problems.

Additional Tips to Avoid Water Damage

  • Have your attic ventilation and insulation inspected annually and seal gaps that allow warm air into the attic — such as those around access doors and light fixtures. When warm air collects in the attic, it can lead to the formation of an ice dam — ice around the eaves that causes water from melting snow and ice to back up under the shingles and leak into your home.
  • If you have a sump pump, test it several times during the year. Follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions.
  • Check your water pressure with a pressure gauge; typically these screw onto a hose bib. The pressure in an average home is around 50 to 70 pounds per square inch (psi). Higher pressure causes extra stress on pipes and fittings and can lead to leaks.
  • Inspect tile and grout around showers and tubs. Make any necessary repairs.
  • Check for leaks around windows during rains and seal any you find.
  • Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to move excess moisture out of the house. Moisture in the air can condense on cool surfaces and cause problems.
  • Locate your water shut-off valve so you can quickly turn off water to the home in an emergency.

The Big DIY Projects That Will Save on Insurance

10/23/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage The Big DIY Projects That Will Save on Insurance The Big DIY Projects That Will Save on Insurance

DIY projects could save you money on your insurance premiums. Home improvements, whether it’s remodeling to sell or regular repairs, are part of being a homeowner.

With proper preparation and guidance, homeowners can tackle some of the biggest DIY projects without hurting their pocketbooks. We’ll take a look at some of the more costly professional home improvement projects and provide tips on how homeowners can not only do it themselves, but how doing so could lower their home insurance premiums.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC): Staying Current Saves Money

updating and keeping the HVAC system in good working condition, especially in older homes, can reduce homeowner’s insurance premiums. A good rule of thumb is that a system should always be less than 10 years old. If a system is over 10 years old, insurance premiums are likely to rise.

Over time, the insulation on outdoor air conditioner lines can wear, age, and begin to rot — which can cost the homeowner valuable energy. A great DIY project for air conditioner repair is replacing the rotten insulation.

Roof Improvements

With the threat of damage from weather and natural disasters, the roof is one of the most important parts of the home that needs maintaining. Being proactive in roof maintenance is best, and Darras suggests homeowners invest in impact-resistant roofing, especially if they live in an area known for hail, strong winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Doing so can cut insurance premiums as much as 30-40%.

One way homeowners can lower their insurance bill is to choose a Tough Roof.

It’s best for homeowners to talk to their insurance agents to learn about specific discounts for materials other than standard asphalt for the roof. While metal roofing will usually provide the largest discount, it can be much more costly than standard asphalt shingles. Experts suggest considering heavier-grade Class 4 modified asphalt and shake shingles, which include a 30- to 50-year limited warranty. This is a more economical alternative than replacing a roof damaged by storms.

Routine roof inspection and maintenance is important because fixing a roof can be the most expensive home repair an owner may face with full replacements ranging from $2,000 to $12,000.

While many roofing repairs are best left to the experts, some repairs — such as fixing a roof damaged by a tree or branch — can be a DIY project.

Pool and Fence Safety Improvements

Build a fence around a pool is not only is a smart insurance saver — in some states it’s a requirement. Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina have pool fence codes.

In addition to the insurance benefit, this security measure protects the homeowner and neighbors because it reduces the chance of someone wandering into the yard, falling into your pool, and accidentally drowning — which is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Death by drowning is the second leading cause of accidental deaths for kids between 1 and 14. Besides increasing your insurance coverage and building a fence around it, pool owners should keep it covered or drained when not in use.

Fences also help lower premiums by acting as barrier to vandalism or burglary, and some underwriters will classify fences as a form of security like an alarm system.

While building a fence can be a DIY project, there are important first steps to consider. Planning for a fence is more than picking the material. Homeowners need to:

  • Be sure of the property line. Building on the neighbor’s yard — not good.
  • Know where cables are. While this isn’t a DIY, it is free (usually). Ask your utility company to mark the location of buried power cables with spray paint. This helps ensure you won’t ruin your fence building experience by splitting a buried power cable with a shovel and lighting up like a Christmas tree. Additionally, locate any buried water lines to swimming pools, low-voltage lines for decorative lighting, sprinkler systems, and tree roots you don’t want any injury stemming from building your fence.
  • Be a good neighbor. It’s not just a slogan. Inform your neighbors about your DIY construction plans.

Focus on Security

There are numerous improvements homeowners can perform for the purpose of enhancing security, many of which will lower insurance premiums.

A few examples are:

  • Installing home sprinkler systems and putting up smoke detectors.
  • Using shatterproof windows instead of standard window panes.
  • Putting in motion-sensor lighting.
  • Making sure all electrical wiring is up-to-date. Insurance companies pay particular attention to electrical wiring being up to code because this makes homes less likely to experience an electrical fire.
  • Leak detectors can warn homeowners of plumbing failures by using battery-operated or plug-in temperature sensors to detect furnace breakdowns which lead to frozen and bursting pipes. Installing a leak detector can easily be a DIY project. The detector will sound an alarm or automatically shut off the home’s main water line valve when water touches the sensor. This installation can drop insurance premiums by two to five percent.
  • People with homes in areas prone to hurricanes can put up storm shutters — which Darras said can save the homeowner up to 30% on the hurricane portion of the insurance premium and up to 60% in coastal areas.

Before homeowners attempt any DIY improvement projects, they should consult with their insurance provider to get a list of discounts available to them.

Besides added safety, there’s no point in wasting a ton of money if it won’t actually lower premiums. Ask for specifics. It may be that your alarm system has to meet X, Y, and Z criteria in order to lower your premium. You want to make sure you are following these guidelines to the tee before investing in any home improvement project.

If done properly, DIY home improvement projects stand to be of dual benefit — homeowners maintain the upkeep of their homes and shave money off insurance premiums.

Water Damage in Woolwich NJ, Water Damage in Woolwich NJ, and The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage, FREE SAMPLE PROFILE, PDF Document

10/13/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage in Woolwich NJ, Water Damage in Woolwich NJ, and The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage, FREE SAMPLE PROFILE, PDF Document Water Damage in Woolwich NJ, Water Damage in Woolwich NJ, and The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage, FREE SAMPLE PROFILE, PDF Document

As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. And knowing you are "Ready for whatever happens" speaks trust to your clients and employees that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don’t necessarily have to be.

By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

  • A no cost assessment of your facility.
  • This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
  • This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
  • This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
  • Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

Our SERVPRO location can Email you a Sample Copy, of an Emergency Ready Profile!