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Archived Blog Posts

Hurricanes

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Hurricanes

The strongest winds in a hurricane are generally found in the right side of the hurricane’s eye wall, the area closest to the center.

Once a hurricane makes landfall, wind speed will begin to decrease, and within 12 hours will have slowed significantly. However, winds can remain at hurricane strength well inland.

Hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes, which can increase destruction. These tornadoes generally occur in the right front quadrant of the storm, and in thunderstorms embedded in the hurricane, but not immediately near the center.

Not all hurricanes produce tornadoes, while some develop multiple tornadoes. According to the National Hurricane Center, “studies have shown that more than half of the land-falling hurricanes produce at least one tornado.

How Are Hurricanes Named? One reason hurricanes are named is because more than one may exist at the same time. Names make it easier to keep track of and talk about storms.

A storm is given a name if it reaches tropical storm strength. That name stays with the storm if it goes on to become a hurricane.

Each year, tropical storms are named in alphabetical order as they occur. The names come from lists of names that are maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization.

There are six lists of names. Each year starts with the next list. The same lists are reused every six years. Names of storms that are very deadly or costly are removed from the lists and replaced with new names.

What Are the Parts of a Hurricane?

  • Eye: The eye is the "hole" at the center of the storm. Winds are light and skies are only partly cloudy, sometimes even clear, in this area.
  • Eye wall: The eye wall is a ring of thunderstorms swirling around the eye. The wall is where winds are strongest and rain is heaviest.
  • Rain bands: Spiral bands of clouds, rain and thunderstorms extend out from a hurricane's eye wall. These bands stretch for hundreds of miles and sometimes contain tornadoes.

Preparing Your Home

  • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
  • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.

After a Hurricane

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

Article source: http://hurricanesafety.org/storm-stats/wind-damage/ and https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-are-hurricanes-58.html and https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

Guide to Mold Colors and What They Mean

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Guide to Mold Colors and What They Mean

Green, brown, yellow or black, mold has no place in your home

Mold works non-stop to keep the planet going by breaking down organic matter — but we still don’t want it in the house, and for awfully good reason. Whether it’s black, brown, green or pink, experts agree you should get rid of it. “Any visible mold should be removed, no matter what its color or species,” says Tiina Reponen, PhD, professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati. “In a healthy building, you don’t have visible mold.”

Like most fungi, molds grow best in damp conditions — think bathrooms and basements. If the spores find a moist surface to land on, they grow.

Although “toxic mold” is a misnomer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency notes some molds do produce toxic substances called mycotoxins.

Here, a color guide to molds commonly found in the house.

Green

If you see green mold, it could be just about any type of unwelcome fungus. There are more than a hundred thousand types of mold — and thousands of species of green mold. So what does the color green tell you? Not much.

Olive-green, brown, grey or black

These are common molds in the Cladosporium genus. Outdoors, they lurk on plant leaves. Indoors, they're often found on walls and insulation and can grow on damp carpet, too.

Blue, green, or white

These molds, also common, belong to the Penicillium genus. You’re right if you think that a type of this mold was used to make penicillin many years ago. It’s usually found on food and walls.

Yellow, green or black

These may be Aspergillus molds. People breathe in these molds every day.

Black or grey

These could be Alternaria, which is most common as an outdoor mold, growing around damp, dusty areas, soil and plants. But it has made its way indoors. In one study, Alternaria was found in more than 90 percent of house dust samples.

Pink

The pink “mold” often seen in the bathroom in the form of a slimy, pinkish discoloration on sinks and tubs is actually bacteria, not mold. Specifically, it's Serratia marcescens. It thrives on soap and shampoo residues.

Greenish-black

This mold, of the Stachbotrys genus, is the infamous “black mold”. It's less common than the molds described above — and possibly less dangerous than news reports would have you believe. It prefers to live on high-cellulose, low-nitrogen surfaces, which include drywall, gypsum board, paper, dust and lint that is regularly exposed to moisture. The CDC notes, "Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth."

Article source: http://www.safebee.com/home/guide-to-mold-colors-what-they-mean

The Dangers of Fireworks

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

The Dangers of Fireworks

Fires   Fires are a huge risk when it comes to big festivities like Christmas, Bonfire Night and New Year. They take seconds to occur, yet they can leave a permanent mark on properties and individuals affected.   When it comes to fireworks, the biggest cause of fires is inadequate space. If you don’t have enough space to set off fireworks safely, you risk it hitting a tree or surrounding property. This will increase the risk of fire, especially if the firework hasn’t cooled down or is still lit.   These risks are not the only problems caused by fireworks, but they are the most common. To avoid them, it is best to prioritize safety and find a wide, open space for your fireworks display. If the worst happens though, you should enlist the help of a professional fire restoration service. At SERVPRO Parma/Seven Hills we specialize in Water Mitigation, Mold Remediation, and Fire Restoration.

Animals can also cause harm during fireworks

When frightened by fireworks, horses and dogs have been known to injure themselves and others by running away, potentially causing accidents and damage to property.

Fun but dangerous

Even if you have the right home insurance coverage, setting off fireworks on your property entails explosive risks. Fireworks are designed to shoot hot sparks in every direction and can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Fire Protection Association NFPA).

More fires are reported on the Fourth of July than on any other day, according to NFPA, and more than half of these fires are caused by Americans shooting off rockets in their backyards. In 2008, fireworks caused about 22,500 fires and $42 million in property damage.

In addition to putting your home and your neighbors' homes) in danger, fireworks can cause serious injuries. In 2008, hospital emergency rooms treated about 7,000 fireworks-related injuries, according to NFPA. About 40 percent of these injuries happened to children younger than age 15. Hands, fingers and eyes were the most injured body parts -- and sparklers and small firecrackers were the most common culprits.

Things that can go wrong:

Fireworks tipping over

Shots going off at ground level

Part filled fireworks

Fall out over the audience

Cross ignition

A fuse lights but nothing happens

Article source: http://www.relkogroup.com/fireworks-what-are-the-risks/ and https://www.qld.gov.au/emergency/safety/explosives-fireworks/fireworks/effects-of-fireworks and https://www.netquote.com/home-insurance/fourth-of-july-firework-safety

Pets with storm anxiety

11/28/2017 (Permalink)

Storm anxiety with pets

Clinical Signs Vary Based on Animal

While clinical signs vary, the most common reported include panting, pacing, hiding, drooling and following people through the home.2 Some animals, perhaps more severely affected, may be destructive to items in their environment. Although there have been several studies on dogs in storms, far less information is available on cats. In one study on firework anxiety, dogs exhibited more overt signs like pacing and panting, while cats hid and cowered.3 This difference is likely to occur during storms as well. While it is difficult to miss a 90-pound Labrador jumping on your bed during a storm at 2 a.m., it is easy to miss a hiding cat. This does not mean cats are any less afraid than their canine counterparts. Instead, owners have to be more vigilant for subtle signs of anxiety because cats are equally in need of treatment.

What about scolding or punishing my dog?

Do not punish your dog when he is scared, it only confirms to him that there is something to fear and will make him worse. In addition, if you are upset or anxious about your pet's behavior, this will also make your dog more anxious.

Can I do anything to reduce the impact of the noise and flashes from the fireworks or storms?

Treatment should focus first on reducing anxiety and providing an appropriate environment during storms. Once that is accomplished, the behavior can be modified through training. Behavior modification helps change the way the pet feels when it experiences the storms. However, without reducing anxiety, most pets have a difficult time learning how to be calm during storms. There are several different avenues to pursue for decreasing anxiety, including behavior training, creating safe spaces, pheromones, pressure wraps and supplements.

At the approach of thunderstorm season, try to ensure that your dog has access to a well-curtained or blacked-out room when the storm begins. Blacking out the room removes the additional problems of flashing lights, flares etc.

Provide plenty of familiar toys and games that might help to distract the pet.

Try to arrange company for your dog rather than leaving him alone in the room.

Close all the windows and doors so the sound is muffled as much as possible. Try taking your pet to a room or area of the house where the stimuli will be at their mildest and the dog can be most easily distracted. Sometimes placing nested cardboard boxes or a blanket over the cage can greatly mute the sound. Be certain however that there is enough air circulation so that the pet does not overheat.

"Ignore the noises yourself and try to involve your pet in some form of active game."

Provide background noise from the radio or television. Rap or similar music with a lot of constant drum beats does help. The volume does not have to be loud as long as the music has a strong beat that acts as a distraction and prevents him from concentrating on the noises outside. Other background noises such as a fan running or even "white" noise devices can help to block outdoor noises.

Article source: https://www.texvetpets.org/article/storm-anxiety/ and https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/helping-dogs-with-severe-phobias-during-storms-and-fireworks 

How Long Does it Take Mold to Grow?

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

How Long Does it Take Mold to Grow?

Interesting question. As a technician who has performed many water damage mitigations and mold remediations, the answer to this question has always been elusive.

When performing water damage mitigation work on some projects that had been wet for two or three days when we arrived, there was minimal indication of microbial growth.

If there were any indications, it was usually that “musty” odor, which we know are microbiological volatile organic compounds (MVOCs). We normally associate these odors with mold growth.

But, with no visible signs of mold growth, was mold contamination an issue? Or could the problem have been something other than mold?

On other jobs, upon arrival it was immediately apparent that the building had more issues than just being flooded. In these instances, we observed visible growth, assumed it was mold and determined that the site would have to be properly remediated.

From the 2002 New York City Guidelines of Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments, the inference was that mold would begin to grow in 24 to 48 hours. That statement was removed in the 2008 version. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its publication, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, references the time line of 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth and states that “even if materials are dried within 48 hours, mold growth may have occurred.”

While both publications do not specifically state that mold begins to grow in 24 to 48 hours, this is the generally accepted time frame used by water damage responders to determine when mold begins to grow.

So we have the inference from the guidance documents that mold can begin to grow in 24 to 48 hours. We also have personal conflicting evidence: On some losses mold seems to grow, and on other losses mold does not seem to grow.

Article source: http://www.cleanfax.com/restoration/how-long-does-it-take-mold-to-grow/

How to identify common types of mold in your household

11/20/2017 (Permalink)

How to identify common types of mold in your household

Mold is an unwanted fungus. Untreated mold is a common problem in the average household. Do you know what type of mold you’re looking at?

Why bother with a Professional Remediation Company?

You may be able to clean up certain kinds of mold in small quantities, but most people are not equipped to perform a proper mold remediation no matter what the size. Simply wiping down the evidence is not good enough. Mold removal can involve setting up containment barriers, use of commercial size air filtration devices, wearing proper personal protective equipment, vacuums, and specialized cleaning agents. So give the SERVPRO team a call today at 440-887-9000. SERVPRO specializes in the cleanup and restoration or residential and commercial properties.

Alternaria

Alternaria grows in damp spaces, like showers and under sinks with leaky pipes. It sometimes grows in carpets that have been damp for a while, too. However, it can grow in areas with only minimal moisture. It can be found outdoors as well as indoors and spreads easily

Cladosporium

Cladosporium grows on both wooden surfaces and fabrics, like carpeting. It can also be found outdoors, where it mainly grows on plant material. It typically enters the house through HVAC systems or simply through open windows or doorways.

Penicillium

Penicillium is frequently found in things like insulation, carpeting, wallpaper and rotting fabrics (things like old mattresses, couch cushions, etc.). It’s known to spread rapidly and easily from one place to another. It’s one of the most common of all the different types of mold, and is actually the substance from which the antibiotic penicillin is made.

Stachybotrys chartarum

Stachybotrys chartarum, sometimes referred to as “black mold” due to its slimy black appearance, typically grows in places with continuous moisture, like around a leaky pipe or in air conditioning ducts where there is a great deal of condensation. It can spread to other areas, though. Laboratory tests can determine which mold type you have in your house, but it may not really matter. Any type of mold that’s obvious to you needs to be removed. You may be able to remove small amounts of mold yourself, but we suggest you have a mold removal specialist assess the situation for you.

Article source: http://smkazoo.com/2017/04/28/how-to-identify-5-common-types-of-mold-in-your-household/ and https://www.black-mold-guide.com/types-of-mold.html

Why cold Weather makes your water pipes burst

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

The cold weather is quickly approaching

Why Do Pipes Burst the Way They Do?

Why do water pipes burst, and why do they always fail the same way? These are two interesting questions.

Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands is it gets close to freezing, and this causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe. When the pressure gets too high for the pipe to contain, it ruptures.

We grew up with water all around us and so this expansion phenomenon seems natural, but interestingly, it is a chemical anomaly. Most liquids do not expand just before transitioning to solid. You should be thankful for this; it is one of the reasons that life exists.

When a liquid cools the molecules slow down (temperature really is just a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules). This slowing down allows the molecules to get closer together and increases the density of the liquid. This happens with water too, and when water is cooled down, it gets denser and denser, down to 3.98°C then, something interesting occurs; it starts to expand again.

Because of the shape of a water molecule, it is slightly polarized. The electrons buzzing around it are more likely to be on one side of the molecule than the other (called a dipole), and this asymmetry creates a slight potential. Water molecules are attracted to each others' opposite sides. These potentials create weak bonds that are called Hydrogen Bonds. Hydrogen bonds, whilst not as strong as covalent bonds or ionic bonds, are stronger that van der Vaals forces.

This extra hydrogen-bond 'glue' holding water molecules together is the reason why water is a liquid at everyday temperatures and pressures (another one of the reasons life exists). Other chemical compounds similar to H2O, but without the benefit of Hydrogen bonds, are all gases in typical Earth temperature ranges.

The Hydrogen-bonds in water are also the reason why water has such a high specific heat capacity (the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of water one degree); this helps dampen our weather and stops the Earth changing in temperature too rapidly. It also means that water is great for carrying energy around (like in power stations and hydronic central heating systems). It's also why it takes a lot of energy to boil a kettle to make a nice cup of tea!

As water cools, like other liquids, the molecules slow down and get denser. A competing force, however, is the desire for the water molecules to align with other water molecules based on their Hydrogen bonds, and this causes expansion. Below the temperature of 3.98°C down to 0°C, this alignment expansion process wins out against the desire of slower molecules to get closer, and density decreases.

Whilst not completely understood, it is this expansion that causes beautiful snowflakes to form with their characteristic six points.

This decrease in density continues until the water finally freezes to form ice. Water expands to form ice which has a volume up to 9% greater than the water it came from. It is this reason that icebergs float (being less dense than the water they displace).

Again, it seems natural to us that ice floats, because we grew up this all effect all around us, but this is atypical.

Most other liquids, when freezing, do not form a solid 'crust' on top. As they cool, the solid formed, being denser, drops to the bottom of the cooling liquid and the solid grows up from the bottom!

This irregular behavior of water is yet another reason that life exists. When water freezes, it floats to the top, forming a skin which insulates the water below. When a river or lake freezes on top, life continues below in the liquid left underneath.

In other words, insulate your pipes this winter!

This post was originally published on Data Genetics, a site created by Nick Berry was educated as a rocket scientist and aircraft designer, graduating with a Masters Degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, and currenty works as a Data Scientist at Facebook. You can follow DataGenetics on Twitter here or on Facebook page here.

Article source: https://gizmodo.com/why-cold-weather-makes-your-water-pipes-burst-1480690222

Preventing root intrusion into pipes

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

Preventing root intrusion into pipes

How to prevent sewer line problems before they start?

Know where your sewer line is before you plant! Contact a marking service that can locate and mark the location of your yard if you don’t know where it is.

Do not plant on top of or too close to the pipe. It could cause potential harm to the pipe in the future

Right plant, right place!

Ensure a tree has enough room for the root system to grow without coming in contact with pipes. Figure this out BEFORE planting any new trees.

Keep in mind, a young tree may be small at first and pose no threat to pipes, but may do so in the future.

Tree selection and placement

It is possible for any species of tree to cause damage to pipes, but some trees have certain physiological characteristics that make them more likely to intrude into sewer lines. Trees that grow quickly above ground also do so below ground.

If you must plant near a pipe, select a tree that is not known to be an aggressive or fast grower.

In general, trees should not be planted near sewer lines, but some trees have shown to have comparatively less reports of damage to pipes.

Many fruit trees including cherry, plum, and peach

Some evergreens including cypress

Diagnosis if tree root intrusion

If your home repeatedly experiences plumping stoppages, you may have roots impeding your sewer line.

If the land surrounding your home is heavily wooded, or large trees are present and are close to the sewer line, a root intrusion is possible.

Many plumbing companies can verify a root intrusion by inserting a video camera into the sewer line to view the blockage.

Controlling tree root intrusion

The best way to control tree root intrusion is to completely remove the entire sewer line, but other options are available such as:

Chemical herbicides, Mechanical root removal from pipes, sewer line repairs or installation of liner inserts. Many chemical herbicides can be routinely used to kill roots that may be growing inside pipes. This is typically a temporary solution, and will not eradicate the problem completely.

If a root intrusion has become too serve for herbicides, plumbers resort to “snaking” the line. A flexible metal auger is inserted into the pipe to mechanically remove the built-up roots. This is a temporary solution as roots will grow back and will need repeated removal. The only permanent method to solve a tree root intrusion is to completely remove the damaged pipe. If the problem is very server, complete removal of the tree may also be necessary, as the excavation of the pipe and removal of roots may have deadly consequences on the tree in the near future. If tree removal is necessary, plant a new tree farther away from the pipe that is known to be less invasive

Article source: https://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/videos_posters/breeze/tree_roots_and_sewer_lines.pdf

What to do if your roof is leaking

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

What to do if your roof is leaking

With winter coming upon us and snow sitting our roofs, there’s a chance for some possible roof leaks. A leaky roof can certainly cause a rain on any homeowner’s parade. Rainy weather or snow is often when roof leaks get discovered. That's when it's too late for anything but a repair. No time to contemplate, no time to plan with the rain causing interior damage right now, just get to the phone and get a roofer there as soon as possible. But what can you do to temporarily stop the leaks from causing more damage until help arrives?

First Things First - Deal with inside the house to minimize interior damage

In most cases, a leak will slowly pool at the ceiling until it finds an escape route -- usually a penetration point like at a light fixture or heat register. After several hours, the leak will start to find multiple escape routes, making the leak look much worse than it actually is. To minimize your ceiling damage, find the wettest spot or a bulge in the ceiling and poke a small hole in the middle. Use a bucket to collect the draining water. 

Second Step – Locate the point of entry

Start with the inside, such as an attic. It will prove to be quite difficult to stop a leaky roof in the rain. Try to locate the leak but keep in mind that the leak in the ceiling and the leak in the roof may not align. If your roof covering is over a layer of plywood, then you should keep in mind that water will generally travel from the leak in the roofing material to the nearest joint in the plywood, depending on how the roof slopes.

Third Step – Maintain the situation until help arrives

Once you locate the point of entry from the inside, there are a couple of options for temporary repair such as roofing cement, roofing tape or a tarp. Available for purchase at any home improvement store, roofing cement or tape can be applied to the inside of the roof decking inside your attic, as well as to the outside of the roof. If you feel confident enough scale your rooftop, tarping is a quick and easy option to control any further leaking until your roofing contractor arrives. When using a tarp to cover your roof, a good rule of thumb is to cut the tarp so that it adequately covers the damaged area. Leave at least an extra four feet of tarp on each end to cover the roof damage. Secure the tarp with 2 x 4 boards. You can staple or nail the tarp to the boards, but be sure to use nails that are not so long that they will go through your roof.

These steps will help you prevent further damage to your home until a professional can arrive. Keep in mind when hiring a roofing contractor you want to have a reputable company, someone who is going to stand behind their work. Your roof will last a long time so you don’t want someone working on it who is not a local, reliable company.

Article source: http://blog.redriverroofing.com/what-to-do-with-your-leaky-roof-until-help-arrives

How to prevent sump pump overflow in the basement

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

How to Prevent Sump Pump Overflow in the Basement

We are now entering the time of year with the heaviest rainfall and many homeowners are concerned that their basements will flood.  Installing a sump pump in your basement is a great way to prevent floods during heavy rains, but there are a number of ways the sump pump can fail and eventually overflow.  The following are common problems that can cause sump pumps to overflow and the best solutions for solving these problems.  Keep in mind that you should unplug the sump pump from its power source before attempting to correct any of these problems.

The following tips will help prevent sump pump overflow in your basement:

  1. Debris in the Basin: Sometimes debris such as children’s toys and other household objects may fall into the basin and interrupt the float mechanism which can cause it to malfunction.  The float mechanism can also fail naturally over time.  To test this mechanism, fill up the basin with water to make sure the sump pump starts like it should.
  2. Check Valve: The check valve prevents water from going back into the sump pump in the event of a failure.  Make sure to check this valve because it is not always installed properly; the arrow should be pointing away from the sump pump.
  3. Weep Hole: Sometimes sump pumps may have a weep hole between the pump and the check valve.  You can clean the weep hole with a tiny object such as a toothpick, just be careful not to break anything off in the hole.
  4. Clean the Impeller: The impeller is a small filter that may become clogged and when this happens it can cause the sump pump to suddenly stop running or make a whining noise.  Cleaning or replacing the impeller can get the sump pump to function properly again.
  5. Back Up Power Source: Sump pumps are only useful when plugged into a power source and if the power goes out during a thunderstorm, the sump pump will stop working.  Installing a backup power source for the sump pump is the best way to prevent this from happening in the middle of a thunderstorm when the sump pump is needed the most.

As the season of heavy rains arrives, make sure to check your sump pump for these potential problems so that you are prepared when it rains.  If your home does experience some flooding due to heavy rain fall or a sump pump failure, make sure to call for professional water damage restoration immediately to help limit the damages.

Article source: http://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/how-to-prevent-sump-pump-overflow/

What to do if your sump pump overflows

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

What to do if your sump pump overflows

  1. Tap the discharge line coming out of the sump pit. "Sometimes" when I would tap the line very gently with a rubber mallet the primary submersible pump would turn on. Why? because the float switch on an automatic would stick due to corrosion on the top metal rod that activates the motor. If this does work then wait till the basin is empty to see if you can locate the cause of the failure. If their is no obvious reason why the submersible pump failed, you should still replace the pump. If it happened once it will happen again and you may not be home when it does.

If that does not work, then try this:

  1. "Power" Check the fuse box to see if you have blown a fuse. If you have blown a fuse then reset the breaker by turning the breaker off then back on again. Or, you can plug in a light in the outlet where the sump pump is plugged into to see if you are getting power. If you are getting power then hurry up and replace the pump if you can or call a professional plumber. Do not stick your hand in the basin when the pump is plugged in, if their is a short in the wire then you may be electrocuted.

If that does not work either, then try this:

  1. Unplug the motor and put your hand down in the basin until you reach the pump. Feel around the sump pump to see if you can feel any debris stuck near or on the submersible pump. If so, then gently dislodge the object. After you have removed the object, simply lift the float switch to make sure it is going up and down properly. Quickly plug the pump back into the outlet so you don't flood.

I hope these tips will aid you in saving your basement from flooding. You may want to consider getting a backup pump for more security.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ross_Waniolek/533206

Toaster can be fire hazards

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

Toasters can be fire hazards

Under the right circumstances, just about any electric appliance can be a fire hazard. Lately, electric toasters are falling into that category.

Joni, of Cleveland, Ohio, suffered a house fire about a year ago. Once repairs had been made she received a Black & Decker toaster as a house-warming gift.

“Put a pita bread in it yesterday and set the timer for 10 minutes,” Joni wrote in a Consumer Affairs post. “Went to the bathroom and when I came out the thing was on fire. From all these posts, I don't think this is an isolated incident.”

An anonymous consumer from Edgewater, Md., posting under the name “Visitor,” reports having the problem more than once.

“My husband and I had one several years ago,” she writes. “It caught on fire, so we complained and took the free replacement. That one caught on fire and we took another free replacement. That one I left in the basement for a long time before being brave enough to try again. Guess what? That one caught on fire also. These were different models and each had the same problem. I give up. These are dangerous and need to be recalled.”

Black & Decker toasters aren't the only ones triggering complaints about fire hazards. Stacie, of Vancouver, British Columbia, reports purchasing a Kenmore toaster about a year ago.

Blew up

“Today I went to make some toast, and without any notice, it literally blew up, sparks flying and caught fire in my kitchen,” Stacie posted at Cosmographers. “I literally had to unplug it at the chance of getting injured, and while it was on fire run it out to my balcony and run back inside to get pitchers of water to put the flames out. I am very upset.”

December 2011 Hamilton Beach recalled about 14,000 chrome two-slice toasters because of a potential fire hazard. Safety experts found that when the appliances are plugged into an electrical outlet, the heating element can be energized although the toaster lifter is in the up or off position, which can pose a fire hazard if the toaster is near flammable items. The company said it had received five reports of the toasters causing fires.

Toasters have been around nearly as long as electricity. The first electric toaster was developed in Scotland in 1893. Before that people used metal frames to hold bread in place over a heat source, usually an open fire. Electric toasters replaced fire with heat generated by electric current. Westinghouse developed the first two-sided toaster in 1913.

By their nature, toasters can cause fires because of the heat they produce. They are, after all, designed to generate enough heat from electricity to brown pieces of bread placed in the slots. If the electric elements that generate the heat do not turn off on schedule, they can burn the bread.

Problem with crumbs

At the same time, toasted bread is fragile and tends to generate crumbs that often fall to the bottom of the toaster. If these crumbs are allowed to accumulate, they can easily catch fire during normal toaster operation. Most toasters have removable trays for easy cleaning. Consumers should make sure they clean their toasters on a regular basis.

While crumbs might explain some toaster fires, consumers insist others are related to mechanical faults. Several consumers posting at Consumer Affairs have mentioned that their toaster's timer did not shut off when it was supposed to.

“I was making a piece of toast and I smelled burning,” writes Joya, of Brooklyn, N.Y. “It wasn't toast burn I smelled though, it was the toaster burning. The toast setting had gone to the end of the cycle and didn't turn off. I had to unplug it to get it to shut off. I'm confident that if I hadn't gotten to it in time it would have caught fire.”

What to do

Just to be safe, consumers should probably unplug their toasters when not in use. When using them, it's also a good idea to monitor them and not walk out of the room.

Regular cleaning will also reduce the risk of a fire during normal use. In case of a fire, do not use water to try and put it out. Use a kitchen fire extinguisher or smother the blaze with a heavy towel or blanket.

You don't have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? You should.

The kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house when it comes to fires, and it's not only objects that can burn. People often set their clothes on fire while cooking -- a life-threatening emergency that requires instant action.

Having a fire extinguisher mounted on the wall or someplace else in plain view is the best hope of meeting such an emergency effectively. Don't put the fire extinguisher in a cabinet or cupboard. It needs to be someplace you can see it and grab it immediately. 

Article s ource: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/toasters-can-be-fire-hazards-042313.html

How to prevent dryer fires

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

How to Prevent Dryer Fires

Every year, firefighters across the country respond to around 14,630 home fires caused by clothes dryers, according to the National Fire Protection Association. An accumulation of lint causes one out of four fires, which means that not cleaning your dryer is more of a threat than a mechanical or electrical malfunction.

Some dryers have indicators designed to alert you when lint has built up and blocked the vent. Our clothes dryer tests have found that LG’s Flow Sense and Samsung’s Vent Sensor detect completely blocked vents, but aren’t as good as detecting partially blocked vents. The same is true for the check-vent feature on Whirlpool and Maytag dryers.

“Dryer fires are responsible for nine deaths, 420 civilian injuries, and $222 million in property damage annually,” says Marty Ahrens, a spokesperson for the NFPA

Given these numbers—and the fact that more dryer fires occur in the fall and winter—we asked CR’s experts for advice on reducing your risk of a dryer fire. Below, four simple steps for laundry-room safety.

Clean Your Lint Filter

Not once a month, or even once a week: “Remove lint from the dryer’s lint screen every time you use your dryer,” says Emilio Gonzalez, the test engineer who oversees CR’s laundry appliance lab. It doesn’t matter if you take this step before or after running a load, but remove any lint from the screen at some point during each use. “This helps prevent a fire, but it also helps your laundry dry faster,” Gonzalez says.

Replace Accordion-Style Ducts

Generally, dryers are equipped with a 4-inch vent in the back, which homeowners or installers connect to the exterior vent with a duct. But not all ducts are created equal.

If you see a plastic or foil accordion-style duct connecting your appliance to the vent, it's a good idea to replace it.

“These are risky because they can sag, allowing lint to build up at low points,” says Gonzalez. “And the ridges on this style of duct can trap lint.” He recommends using a metal duct, whether it’s flexible or rigid, since it won’t sag, and lint is less likely to accumulate. Use the shortest length possible, and refer to the manual’s instructions.

Inspect Vent and Exhaust Duct Periodically

If you notice that your dryer takes longer to dry laundry than it used to, it’s a clue that there may be a blockage. Another clue: When you’re drying a load, head outside, and take a look at the dryer vent, if you have access to it. Do you see or feel exhaust air? If not, the vent or exhaust duct may be blocked with lint.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends disconnecting the duct from the dryer, cleaning it out, and reconnecting the duct to the dryer and outside vent. While you’re at it, clean behind the dryer and underneath it—lint builds up there, too. In winter, be sure that snow isn’t covering the outdoor vent.

Take Care When Washing Stained Items

Clothes stained with flammable chemicals or substances, such as gas, cooking oil, cleaning agents, or paint thinners, need special care. The CPSC recommends washing the clothing more than once to minimize the volatile chemicals, then hanging to dry. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that concludes with a cool-down period.

In the event that a fire does start, keep the dryer door closed, warns Ahrens—a fire needs oxygen to keep it going.

Article source: https://www.consumerreports.org/clothes-dryer/how-to-prevent-dryer-fires/

How to prevent a Turkey fryer fire. Safety tips

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

How to prevent a Turkey Fryer Fire. Safety Tips

It's hard to beat the speed of deep-frying a turkey-or the irresistible flavor and juiciness that result. But turkey fryers have the potential to cause fire and serious injury, which is why organizations like Underwriters Laboratories and the National Fire Protection Association advise against using them.

If you plan to deep-fry your holiday bird, be sure you know how to safely use the fryer, and take these precautions to protect yourself, your guests and your home:

  1. Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
  2. Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
  3. Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
  4. Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it's in use.
  5. Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
  6. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
  7. Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
  8. Never leave fryers unattended.
  9. Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
  10. Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
  11. Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher close by.
  12. Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
  13. Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  14. Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
  15. Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.

Article source: https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/residence/15-turkey-fryer-safety-tips

What is mold

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

What is mold?

Molds are various types of fungi (singular = fungus) that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores that can travel through the air. The term mildew is sometimes used to refer to some kinds of mold, particularly mold in the home with a white or grayish color or mold growing in shower stalls and bathrooms. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season.

The most common types of household mold that are found indoors include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra and sometimes referred to as "black mold") is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors, although it is less common than the other types of mold found in homes. Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. There are types of mold that can grow on substances as different as foods and carpet.

Molds reproduce by forming tiny spores that are not visible to the naked eye. Mold spores are very hardy and can survive under conditions in which mold cannot grow, such as in dry and harsh environments. These spores travel through outdoor and indoor air. When the mold spores in the air land on a surface where moisture is present, mold can then start to grow.

Outdoors, molds play a role in the decomposition of organic material such as dead trees, compost, and leaves. They are most common in damp, dark areas or areas of decomposing plant life. Indoors, mold is often found in basements or shower stalls. Indoor mold in residential areas has the potential to cause health problems and can destroy surfaces and objects where it grows.

Article source: https://www.medicinenet.com/mold_exposure/article.htm

You can control mold. Mold prevention tips

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

You Can Control Mold

Inside your home you can control mold growth by:

Controlling humidity levels;

Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;

Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;

Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.

Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you can not rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth.

MOLD PREVENTION TIPS

Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.

Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.

Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.

Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.

Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.

Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.

Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.

Article source: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm

Free Family Summer Activities

5/12/2017 (Permalink)

Because if Anyone Needs a Time Out, it’s Your Wallet

Listen, we’ve been there. Family vacations can be an exercise in personal sanity for many parents. There’s the mini-van that took hours to pack, the endless Elmo videos playing on the DVD player, the fear of the impending temper tantrum and the desire to just have a vacation everyone will love.

But the need to spend an arm and a leg shouldn’t be on that list.

Thankfully, a visit to Cleveland ensures that you’ll get a fun (for kids AND parents) vacation that won’t require you to refinance your home. The city offers a series of free – yes we said “FREE” – family-friendly summertime events, attractions and activities that strike the perfect balance of cool and no-cost experiences.

Browns Training Camp
So, who is this Johnny Manziel anyway? And, why is my kid so obsessed with seeing him play? Head on over to the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio to watch Cleveland’s NFL team prep for the season. Watch the team gear up for the season on the outdoor training field at no cost.

Observatory Park
The Observatory Park, located in Geauga County, just 45 miles southeast of Cleveland, is a certified Dark Sky Park (it’s only one of nine in the entire world). This 1,100-acre park inhibits light pollution to create an unbelievably starry sky. This means that kids and adults can learn about how galaxies and the natural world connect in a completely one-of-a-kind outdoor setting. Observatory Park has a variety of fascinating educational programming, an on-site planetarium, outdoor exhibits and telescopes.

University Circle

Parade the Circle
Don’t be alarmed when elaborate puppets standing two-stories high cross paths with a steel drum band being mobilized by only human feet. You’re at Parade the Circle, an uncanny mix of art and music coming alive right before your eyes. This completely family-friendly parade is void of anything you’d expect with a typical parade, but filled with a fantastic array of whimsy and one-of-a-kind art.

Rockefeller Greenhouse
An afternoon walk through the Rockefeller Greenhouse offers the right escape from the rigamarole of the typical vacation sights and sounds. The greenhouse features a wide variety of exotic gardens, flowers and other plants indigenous to Cleveland.

Museums

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland – Learning Center & Money Museum
Ever wondered how we bought things before money existed? And, who makes our money anyway? All these answer and more answered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Learning Center and Money Museum. Kids can get a look at the Money Tree where they can track counterfeit money and follow the history of money through the ages.

Cleveland Police Museum
Got a kid who loves to play cops and robbers? Delve into the history of Cleveland law enforcement at the Cleveland Police Museum—free of charge. See confiscated firearms, uniforms, artifacts and more from Cleveland’s past including things from the legendary crime fighter, Eliot Ness.

International Women’s Air and Space Museum
The International Women’s Air and Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport documents women’s past and present accomplishments and contributions to the fields of aviation and space. A collection of memorabilia and historical artifacts preserve the memory of women aviation pioneers.

Exploring History – Outdoors

Take a Hike Tours
Ever wanted to meet John D. Rockefeller? Well, here’s your chance. Take a Hike Tours are unique walking tours of downtown Cleveland that come “alive” with costumed characters from Cleveland’s past. Enjoy the beautiful Cleveland summer, walk off some of those vacation calories and get schooled on the history of this destination.

Stearns Homestead
Turn off the electronics and start learning about life before YouTube. Get up-close with farm animals and learn about agricultural life from the early 1900s. Stearns Homestead is a working farm complete with animals, museums, gardens and a display of historical farm and household items.

Lake View Cemetery
Taking your family to a cemetery may not initially seem like a great idea. But Lake View Cemetery is different. This incredible place is filled with sculpture, architecture and tributes to those who made great contributions to the area’s industrial and civic development. Lake View Cemetery counts J.D. Rockefeller and African American inventor Garrett Morgan among its famous residents. And here’s a tip: on a clear day stand atop the memorial for President James A. Garfield for a fantastic view of the city. While there, be sure to take a tour of Wade Oval Chapel and the Garfield Monument (where you can take the stairwell down to the basement to see Garfield’s tomb).

Amish Country?
Perhaps what our children need is an understanding of life without technology. Enter: Amish Country. Geauga County, located just a 40-minute drive from downtown Cleveland, offers families the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in this unique culture. Think: horse-drawn buggies, homemade pies, handmade goods and exceptional craftsmanship.

Music

Lakewood Front Porch Series?
Do the kids need to burn off some of that post-dinner energy? Head on over to the urban neighborhood of Lakewood to enjoy music on the front steps of the Lakewood Public Library. Entertainers range from jazz and indie music to early 60s Americana and folk music.

Blossom Music Festival
Each summer, the internationally renowned Cleveland Orchestra takes its talents south – to the Akron area that is. The orchestra performs outdoor summer concerts at Blossom Music Center, situated in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. While there’s a small admission fee for adults, kids under 18 years old are admitted free for lawn access. Pack the picnic basket, grab a blanket and enjoy a really cool repertoire of family-friendly music (The Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, Sci-Fi, The Beatles).

Wade Oval Wednesdays
Every Wednesday this summer, enjoy live music in the heart of University Circle. Reggae, jazz, rock – Wade Oval Wednesdays (WOW) has it all. Bring a picnic basket or relax in the beer and wine garden with a great view of the stage. Great for little ones who need to let loose.

Convene With Nature

Many new visitors to Cleveland are often amazed by the impressive amount of natural greenspace the region has to offer. Take advantage! The Cleveland area has a number of nature centers that are FREE and perfect for kids. Why not learn a thing or two on summer vacation?

Cleveland Area Beaches?

While surfing in Ohio might sound crazy, the truth is that Cleveland offers a variety of accessible (and FREE) beaches along its Lake Erie coast with swimming, sailing, surfing and some of the best walleye, perch and bass fishing in the world. Check out some of these notable beaches:

 

blog credit: http://www.thisiscleveland.com/articles/view/free-family-summer-activities/742/

photo credit: http://www.redskeltonmuseum.org/sites/redskeltonmuseum.org/files/styles/top_image/public/parade%20pic_0.jpg?itok=OYuU8nCi

Winter Weather Damage

4/5/2017 (Permalink)

Winter and the snow and cold that it brings can do some serious damage to a home’s exterior.

There are several very common problems usually brought on by the winter months, including damage done to roofs, foundations and pipes.

 

Insurance agents can share this list with their clients to help them check their homes for damage and give them an idea of what the costs will be to remedy these common problems after winter:

 

1. The roof

Ice dams and winter storms can do a lot of damage to your roof.

An ice dam occurs when snow on the roof melts, runs to the edge and refreezes there, forcing water back up under the roof where it can cause leaks and shingles deterioration.

At the same time, high winds, hail and winter storms can tear off shingles or drive moisture beneath them, causing further damage.

If you’ve found leaks in your roof, you’ll need to repair them to help prevent a complete roof replacement.

Cost

The average cost to repair roof leaks on a 10 foot by 10 foot area of asphalt shingles is around $650.

The total costs range from $500 for simply replacing the shingles to $1,750 to repair and apply a sealant.

The costs to repair a tile roof are around $,1500 for damaged steel tiles.

The total costs for this type of repair range from $450 for repairing metal flashing to $8,000 if the underlayment needs replacing.

Money-saving tips

  • Minimize the damage to the roof by tacking a tarp over the damaged area until it can get repaired.
  • Remove ice dams as soon as possible to prevent water from backing up beneath the shingles and causing more damage.
  • Remove the snow on the roof as soon as possible to prevent new ice dams from forming and causing future problems.
  • Look into getting better attic insulation, as this will help to prevent ice dams in the future as well.

 

2. Gutters

Ice dams can do damage not only to your roof, but to gutters as well.

That’s because the heavy ice building up on the edge can pull gutters away from the roofline.

At the same time, water freezing inside the gutters and downspouts themselves can lead to separations in some areas, which means that they’ll need to be replaced.

 

Cost

The costs of gutter repair range from new downspouts to a complete gutter replacement.

The average cost of installing new downspouts is $160, with a total range of $4 for a do-it-yourself job to $160 for a medium-size house.

The average cost of installing new gutter guards to help prevent damage is $200 for do-it-yourself on 200 feet, with a range up to $3,600 for 200 feet of luxury product installed.

The average cost of replacing your gutters is between $1,050 and $2,400 for 200 feet, with total costs ranging from $625 for a do-it-yourself job to $2,400 for professional installation. Money-saving tips

  • You can help lower costs by cleaning the gutters before winter begins and removing ice dams in a timely way.
  • PVC gutters and downspouts cost less than aluminum or copper, but you should choose what best fits your house’s aesthetic.
  • Heating elements are available that can help melt ice in your gutters all winter long; you may want to invest in these while having repairs done to help prevent problems.
  • Gutter screens are the easiest thing to install do-it-yourself, which can save installation costs in the future as well.

 

3. House exterior

Cold, snow and hailstones can also take a toll on the outside of a house.

 

This can result in peeling paint, which if left long enough, could mean that your siding can become susceptible to moisture infiltrating it, which in turn can lead to wood rot and future repairs.

Repainting your exterior in the spring can help prevent these problems.

Cost

The average cost to paint a home’s exterior is between $2,500 to $3,000 for a 1,500-square-foot home.

The total costs range from $500 for a do-it-yourself paint job to $4,000 for homes that have a lot of trim and woodwork to paint.

Money-saving tips

  • Using multiple colors on your home can increase its aesthetic, but can also increase the total cost, as can having a lot of different architectural features or trim to paint.
  • Do-it-yourself jobs can save a lot of money. Be sure to scrape the existing surfaces well, then apply a primer and two coats of paint to avoid having to repaint again soon.
  • Aluminum siding and fiber cement can be painted to freshen up their colors and give a home a new look without replacing the siding.

 

4. Siding

If the paint has peeled enough on the siding of the house, moisture can begin to infiltrate, causing the wood to begin rotting.

In addition, hail stones or fallen tree limbs can damage siding, whether denting aluminum siding or cracking vinyl. Because the siding is a home’s first line of defense against the elements, it needs to be repaired in a timely way.

Cost

The average costs to repair siding range from $300 to $1,000, depending on the type of the siding being damaged, and the extent. Vinyl is the least expensive material to repair, as well as one of the easiest to do yourself, while aluminum is among the most expensive to repair with costs ranging from $500 to $900.

Money-saving tips

  • The cost to hire a carpenter to repair siding is around $40 to $50 an hour. If you are able to repair it yourself, you can usually save a considerable amount of money.
  • Both aluminum and vinyl are often replaced during repair jobs. Shop around to get a good color match so you don’t need to replace as large a section.
  • Repairing wood siding almost always will require the new section to be painted as well. Painting it yourself can help save on labor costs.

5. Driveway

A little known problem that can occur during the cold winter months is damage to a driveway.

Small cracks that develop naturally over time are the perfect place for water to collect. When that water freezes, it expands, causing what’s known as a frost heave. Frost heaves are responsible for large cracks, as well as potholes in your driveway, making just getting home a bumpy adventure.

 

Repaving your driveway can correct these issues and help prevent additional damage by eliminating those small cracks as well.

Cost

The average cost to pave a driveway in either gravel or asphalt ranges from $800 to $1,990 for a 38-foot by 16-foot driveway.

The total costs range from about $300 for a gravel do-it-yourself job to $14,880 for a driveway laid with brick pavers.

Money-saving tips

  • If you have a lot of curves or grades in your driveway, this can increase costs.
  • Sealing an existing driveway with tar can help prevent potholes and major cracks by filling up the smaller cracks before they have a chance to expand.
  • Gravel is a less expensive way to fill a driveway, but the small stones frequently get scraped away by plows, allowing rainwater to form potholes. Therefore, paving a driveway with asphalt may be a longer term solution, saving money in the long run.

6. The foundation

The same freeze/thaw cycle that causes cracks and potholes in a driveway can also affect a foundation.

Hairline cracks in the concrete of a foundation that develop naturally over time because of a home settling can expand during the winter months, causing major structural issues if they aren’t taken care of in a timely way.

Getting a foundation repaired in the spring can help prevent more problems from developing as time goes by.

Cost

 

The average cost to repair a foundation that has been badly damaged ranges from $5,000 to $7,000.

Costs can be affected by the need for an inspection, how widespread the damage is and what types of repairs that may needed. Small cracks that only require sealing can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, while major cracks will require more extensive work.

Money-saving tips

  • If you need extensive work done on the foundation, you may want to get at least three estimates from different repair companies to try to find the best pricing for the job.
  • Remember that landscaping may be affected by foundation work. Nearby shrubs or plants may need to be replaced after the work has been done.
  • Having a trench dug for a well pump at the same the foundation work is done can help prevent problems such as flooding.
  • Always inspect the foundation each spring and seal any minor cracks you find to help prevent more extensive work.
 

7. Trees

Your home isn’t the only area that can sustain damage during a winter storm. Trees in your yard can also take a hit.

Heavy snow and high winds can knock down tree limbs, taking out power lines, damaging siding, and generally making your landscaping look a mess.

Getting your trees trimmed can help prevent this type of damage, as well as keep your trees healthy and looking great.

Cost

The average cost of tree trimming is around $591 per tree, assuming a total of five trees to be trimmed at once.

Costs range from about $227 per tree for a do-it-yourself job to $709 per tree for large trees during peak trimming seasons. All costs should include the equipment necessary to do the job and hauling away the cut limbs.

Money-saving tips

  • If you have a large number of trees on your property, and are considering having some of them removed, you can sometimes get your trimming done for free by allowing the company to remove a certain number of trees for their own use.
  • To ensure that the work is done properly, always hire a company that is registered with the Tree Care Industry Association. Do not allow workers on your property that wear spike-soled shoes, as these can damage the trees.
  • Check with your utility company before hiring someone to do the job, as some companies will trim trees located near power lines at no cost to you.

Take care of your home

Winter damage can become worse over time if you don’t take care of it in a timely way. Always make sure to inspect your home in both the fall and in the spring to repair any damage that could affect your home’s condition. By taking care of minor issues before winter, you can help prevent larger ones, while taking care of any damage after the cold weather has passed can help your home be ready for anything.

 

Severe Spring Weather – Prepare with Red Cross Tips

3/31/2017 (Permalink)

Spring brings the threat of severe weather, which can mean heavy rain, flash flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes. The American Red Cross offers safety steps to follow if your area is affected.

 

 

FOLLOW THESE LIFESAVING SAFETY STEPS

 

TORNADOES Tornadoes can strike without warning and destroy a community in seconds. Before a tornado warning is issued for your area, here are some things you should do:

1. Know your community’s warning system.

2. Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.

3. If you are in a high-rise building and don’t have enough time to go to the lowest floor, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.

4. Remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees.

5. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

 

THUNDERSTORM SAFETY STEPS Thunderstorms injure an average of 300 people every year, and cause about 80 fatalities. Here are the top thunderstorm safety steps you should follow:

1. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

2. As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.

3. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.

4. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.

5. If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.

 

FLOODING Heavy rains could fill rivers and streams, bringing flooding to the area. If your neighborhood is threatened with the possibility of flooding, here are some things you should do:

1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.

2. Stay away from floodwaters.

3. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

4. Keep children out of the water.

5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

 

People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

 

blog credit: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Follow-Red-Cross-Safety-Steps-If-Severe-Weather-Possible

photo credit: http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/science-of-storms.htm

How to protect your home from burglaries: Thieves tell all

3/6/2017 (Permalink)

Nicholas Kyriazis estimates he's burglarized at least 100 homes, maybe as many as 150. So who better to explain how to protect your home from burglaries?

TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen went inside the walls of New Jersey State Prison, where Kyriazis is serving a 70-year prison sentence, to get tips on how to keep your home from being a target for people like him:

10 Things a Burglar Doesn't Want You to Know

  • Have a neighbor collect your mail when you're away. Mail in the mailbox signals burglars that no one is home.
  • Leave your car outside. "If there's no cars in the driveway, there's a good chance there is no one home," Kyriazis said.
  • Thieves often strike in the morning. Kyriazis told Rossen he typically did burglaries between 8 a.m. and before 2 p.m. More than half of convicted burglars surveyed by WNBC in New York also said they target homes in the morning.
  • Don't assume an alarm system will protect you. "Alarm system alerts me that the people are not home when the alarm is turned on," Kyriazis said.
  • Don't assume home security cameras will protect you. "People got money for security cameras, they got something in there they're protecting."
  • Have a neighbor watch your house. Kyriazis called neighborhood watch "one of the best things they ever started for burglary prevention."
  • Lock up when you leave. Many people leave doors and windows unlocked, and thieves take advantage. "I've never carried burglary tools," Kyriazis said.
  • Dogs can be a good deterrent. Kyriazis said a barking dog would give him pause.
  • Never engage a burglar. Thieves and experts agree that if you come upon a burglary in progress, the best option is to leave, find a safe place and call 911 immediately

blog credit: http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/home-and-garden/how-to-protect-your-home-from-burglaries-thieves-tell-all/ar-AAnThQM

photo credit: http://www.kgw.com/news/investigations/we-asked-86-burglars-how-they-broke-into-homes/344213396

8 terrible places to be when lightning strikes

3/1/2017 (Permalink)

What’s the worst place to be during a lightning storm?

Standing in a wading pool at the top of the Burj Khalifa while holding a metal rod into the air would probably be the most correct answer to that question, but listed below are some more practical places to avoid when lightning strikes.

Under a tree

When a thunderstorm suddenly hits an open outdoor area, people naturally look for shelter. However welcoming a tall, isolated tree may seem during a downpour, it’s best to stay clear of it if you hear thunder.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lightning will typically strike the tallest object in a given space, as it requires the shortest distance between a cloud and the object with a positive electrical charge. Trees are also likely to be struck by lightning because the water and sap inside some of them acts as a conductor.

On a sailboat

Cruise ships and well-equipped yachts are no picnic to be aboard during a lightning storm but with a lightning protection system installed, the electricity will mostly be diverted to the water. However, less sophisticated boats like sailboats and rowboats are dangerous to be aboard when a storm hits.

The NOAA warns that when a boat’s masthead is seen glowing red, it’s a sign of an extreme electrical buildup that can attract a lightning bolt in minutes. That phenomenon, called “St. Elmo’s Fire,” is a sign to get below deck or off the water immediately.

Inside, talking on a land-line phone

Being at home or inside a building when a thunderstorm hits is the best place to be but it doesn’t mean immunity from lightning strikes. Weather safety experts recommend staying away from plumbing, walls that may have electrical wires and the telephone when lightning is in the area.

According to the National Weather Service, talking on a land-line phone during a storm is one of the leading causes of lightning-related injuries in the U.S. Using a computer that's plugged into a power source can also lead to injuries.

On open farmland

Any open space is a bad place to be during a lightning storm but farmers seem to be especially susceptible to fatal strikes. Some of the most common activities victims are engaged in include herding livestock and baling hay, according to the NWS.

Outside, a few minutes after a storm passes

Many lightning-related injuries occur once the weather has cleared, as people step back outside. Bolts can strike miles away from a storm and for this reason, it’s recommended to wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before going back outside.

On a covered porch

Covered shelters are fine for protection against rain but they don’t protect against lightning strikes. The same goes for open garages or carports, where it’s safer to be inside a car with the windows up. Any shelter that isn’t fully enclosed, with a roof, walls and a floor, isn’t a safe place to be during a lightning storm.

In a tent

Campers have limited options when a lightning storm hits but staying inside a tent is one of the worst options. According to Environment Canada, “Lying on the ground in a tent during a lightning storm would maximize the chances of being hurt.” Experts recommend getting inside a hard-top car with the windows up in one of these situations.

On metal bleachers in central Florida

There’s a reason outdoor sporting events are quickly postponed at the first sign of lightning. Metal bleachers would obviously be a bad place to be during a storm but this goes especially for people in central Florida. The state sees more lightning strikes each year than anywhere else in the United States. In fact, an area from Tampa to Orlando has been dubbed “lightning alley.”

 

blog credit: http://www.newsnet5.com/news/national/the-worst-places-to-be-when-lightning-strikes

photo credit:http://coinjournal.net/a-simple-explanation-of-the-lightning-network/

 

Rivers in the sky causing widespread chaos in California

2/21/2017 (Permalink)

Yes, there are rivers up in the sky, and they're responsible for up to 65% of the western USA's extreme rain and snow events — such as the storm that blasted Northern California on Monday — a new study finds.

Made visible by clouds, these ribbons of water vapor known as atmospheric rivers extend thousands of miles from the tropics to the western USA. They provide the fuel for the massive rainstorms and subsequent floods along the U.S. West Coast.

The study released Monday, which appeared in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Geoscience, said it's not only the USA that sees these weather troublemakers: Globally, up to 75% of extreme precipitation events come from atmospheric rivers, said study lead author Duane Waliser, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In western Canada, northern Europe, New Zealand and southern South America, atmospheric rivers occur on 30 to 35 days per year, Waliser said.

Though beneficial for water supplies in the western USA, these events can wreak havoc on travel, bring deadly mudslides and cause catastrophic damage to life and property, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

One well-known nickname for an atmospheric river is the "Pineapple Express," which occurs when the source of the moisture is near Hawaii.  A single strong atmospheric river can transport up to 15 times the water vapor compared with the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River, according to NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory.

This winter has been especially active for atmospheric rivers in the West, said meteorologist Jeff Zimmerman of the National Weather Service. As many as 10 separate rivers have been identified.  On average, Northern California gets five to seven atmospheric rivers per wet season, the weather service said

The onslaught has knocked out the five-year drought in Northern California. Much of the Sierra Nevada saw its rainiest and snowiest October-February period on record, the weather service said.

Though their influence on rain and snow has been studied before, one surprising new finding from the study is that up to 75% of extreme wind events in the western USA are due to atmospheric rivers.

In Europe, of the 19 windstorms that each did at least a billion U.S. dollars in damage from 1979 to 2003, 14 of those storms were due to damage from atmospheric rivers, Waliser said?.

 

blog credit: http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/02/20/atmospheric-rivers-california-storms-floods/98154504/

photo credit: http://rightweather.com/2012/09/severe-flash-flooding-in-fall-river-pictures/

 

Skier Goes Off 150-Foot Cliff, Survives Without a Scratch

1/27/2017 (Permalink)

A 25-year-old skier in Utah got the shock of his life when he accidentally went off a 150-foot cliff in a heart-stopping moment that was caught on his helmet cam. 

The harrowing situation occurred last week as Devin Stratton was following another skier’s track on Utah's Mount Timpanogos when he suddenly went over the cliff.

His helmet cam shows the complete fall before he hits the snow-covered ground. Miraculously, he walked away unscathed.

"I didn’t know that it was there and then mid jump and realized, ‘Oh, I am going to be paralyzed,' he told InsideEdition.com. "I thought I was dead for sure. In my head I was praying, and when I landed and was still alive I was pretty stoked."

Stratton, who has been skiing since he was 14, is still in shock.

“I can’t believe it. I was more than lucky, it was definitely a miracle,” he said.

The student from Utah Valley University credited his survival to his sister, Rachel, who he says “died a little over a year ago of cancer,” and “was probably looking out for me.”

The fall lasted 3.08 seconds, the equivalent of falling off a 15-story building.

Stratton, who is also an avid climber, was with his buddy when the accident occurred.

“I first started yelling at my friend, Matt, to watch out because I felt that if he landed on me we would both die,” he recalled.

Stratton said his friend skied around the cliff and was shocked to see his friend alive.

The video, which was posted by his cousins, YouTube stars Brooklyn and Bailey, has gone viral.

Following the accident, Stratton went to the doctor, who at first questioned why he wanted an X-ray since nothing was broken and he was fine.

Stratton said he showed the video to the doctor, who then ordered the X-ray and showed the video to the nurses.

Stratton recalled that the doctor said, “I can’t believe you didn’t get hurt” and, “It is a miracle.”

Following the accident, he had this advice for fellow skiers: “Know where you are going and don’t trust people's tracks.”

 

blog credit: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/good-news/skier-goes-off-150-foot-cliff-survives-without-a-scratch-it-was-definitely-a-miracle/ar-AAmhPrd?li=BBnb7Kz

 

photo credit:http://workoutheadphonespro.com/hit-the-slopes-hard-with-the-best-sports-headphones-for-skiing-or-snowboarding/

Preventing & Thawing Frozen Pipes

1/10/2017 (Permalink)

Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. The American Red Cross provides information and suggestions around how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze.

Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
To Thaw Frozen Pipes
  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
Future Protection
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
  • Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.

 

blog credit:http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm/frozen-pipes

 

photo credit: http://www.watersignal.com/thaw-frozen-pipes/

It’s cold but I can’t bring my pets inside! What do I do!?!

1/10/2017 (Permalink)

Once adopted, pets become members of our families and should be treated as such. This often means letting them come in the house to be with the rest of the family safe from the elements, cars, insects and other perils. However, we understand that every family is dealing with a unique set of circumstances.

For some families (families who do indeed love, care for, and worry about their pets) it is simply not feasible to bring them in the house all the time or even at all. Maybe you have a child who has developed a spontaneous allergy, but you’re also committed to your pet and don’t want to give them up. Or maybe you’re  renting a house and have a strict landlord who will allow pets in the yard but not in the house.  

During the winter, these families go through an intense moral dilemma. Do they leave their pets outside and subject them to the harsh elements? Or do they bring them in and risk eviction from their homes or even a hospital visit if their child’s allergy is bad enough? Whatever your situation, we want to help you care for your pets.

When should I bring my pets in? How cold is too cold?

If it is possible for you to bring your pets inside when it’s absolutely necessary, a good rule of thumb to follow is, “If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them.” All dogs and cats need to be indoors when the temperature drops close to 32 degrees or below. At those temperatures, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite increase significantly. An animal’s fur coat is simply not enough to protect them from these frigid temperatures. Animals more vulnerable to the elements like puppies, kittens, shorthaired animals, and senior animals, need to be brought in when the thermostat drops to 40 degrees.

Look for a middle way.

The best possible solution for those who absolutely cannot bring their pets in is to find some sort of middle ground. Do you have a heated garage or tool shed ??  This way you can protect your pets from the elements, keep them warm, and protect your allergic child and/or your lease. You may also consider purchasing an outdoor rated heating pad. Many stores that sell pet supplies carry heated mats specifically for cats and dogs. You may also find a dog house heater created with cords already protected from chewing animals and automatic shut offs just for your pet.

Take special precautions.

If there is absolutely no way for you to bring your pets in at all, there are steps you can take to make sure they are safe in the winter weather. First and most importantly, you need to ensure that they have some type of shelter. You’ll need a dog house, preferably one that is insulated and will protect your pet from being blasted by the wind and soaked by the snow. Bigger is not better when it comes to dog houses. If your dog’s house is too big, it won’t retain your dog’s body heat and keep him warm. If your dog can stand up and turn around in his dog house but not much else, it’s the perfect size for him.

Your dog house needs to be several inches off the ground so snow and rain water do not leak inside. If you cannot find an insulated dog house, stuff yours with hay leaving just enough room for your dog to burrow inside. Do not insulate a dog house with blankets.  If the blankets get wet and freeze, they will only make it worse on your dog. Also make sure to keep the doorway covered with plastic or some type of waterproof canvas to prevent a draft.

Cats also need shelter in the winter. They are just as susceptible to the cold as dogs. You can learn how to make a shelter for outdoor cats out of a simple plastic tote and hay by clicking this tutorial: How to Build a Feral Cat Shelter

Second, fatten them up. Increase the amount you feed your outdoor pets significantly in the winter months. Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food because they deplete much of their energy just trying to stay warm. Gaining a few extra pounds can help protect their insides from the cold weather.  Also make sure your pets have fresh water to drink. Check your pet’s water as often as you can to ensure that it doesn’t freeze. Prevent your pet from knocking over their water by digging a small hole in the ground to place their water bucket in. Also, be sure you are using plastic water buckets and food dishes. In the cold, your pet’s tongue could stick to metal dishes.

Lastly, check on your pets often and look for signs for frostbite and hypothermia. Watch to see if your dog begins:

  • Whining or acting anxious
  • Can’t stop shivering
  • Seems weak
  • Has ice on his body
  • Stops moving or slows down
  • Looks for a warm place to burrow

Also, check your dog’s ears, nose, and paws as these are areas usually not protected by thick fur.

If you notice any of these signs, bring your pet to a warm spot and call your veterinarian immediately.

 

blog credit:http://www.tupeloleehumane.org/2016/12/cold-cant-bring-pets-inside/

photo credit:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175147872982558749/

Texas couple sues Apple because FaceTime is a distraction to drivers

1/4/2017 (Permalink)

If you clicked on the headline above thinking you were in for a tongue-in-cheek, fake news story, we're sorry to disappoint you, but it's all too real and all too tragic. This is #notTheOnion.

This is how the story goes: on December 24, 2014, Bethany and James Modisette were driving near Dallas in their Toyota Camry with their two daughters, Moriah and Isabella, in the car's back seat. Due to some police activity on the road ahead, traffic had all but stopped.

 

Behind the Modisettes, however, Garrett Wilhelm failed to notice that the cars around him had slowed. The Modisettes claim that that's because he was FaceTiming with someone on his iPhone. 

Wilhelm's Toyota 4Runner collided with the Modisette's Camry doing 65 miles per hour, causing the sedan to lurch forward and spin 180 degrees. The 4Runner then hit the Camry again, with the SUV driving up and over the length of the driver's side of the car.  

James Modisette, who was driving, and Moriah, who was seated behind him, were both rushed to medical facilities, but sadly, five-year-old Moriah died from her injuries shortly thereafter.

At the scene, Wilhelm told police that he'd been speaking with someone on FaceTime at the time of the crash. When police found the iPhone, FaceTime was still open.

Wilhelm has been free on bail since August, awaiting his trial for manslaughter, which begins on February 27, 2017.

In the meantime, however, the Modisettes have filed suit against Apple in a California state court. The suit argues that Apple had the ability to prevent FaceTime from being used on iPhones when the devices were in cars traveling at high speeds, but the tech company failed to do so. 

Our take

Let's be clear: if reports of the incident are accurate, Wilhelm is responsible for the crash. FaceTime aside, he rear-ended the Modisette's car, which would be a pretty clear indicator of his liability. The fact that Wilhelm was distracted and failed to brake before hitting the Modisettes only makes the effects of his actions that much more severe and tragic.

As for whether Apple can be held liable for the collision--either in whole or in part--that will be up to the court. To the best of our knowledge though, in the case of distracted drivers, the drivers themselves have typically been found responsible for crashes, not the distractions themselves.

That said, it's worth noting that this isn't the only distracted driving case Apple is facing at the moment. A second--also stemming from an incident in Texas--should go to trial soon. Depending on how the two cases go, and depending on how Apple's talks with U.K. regulators proceed, Apple could be forced to roll out some software updates soon.

 

blog credit: https://www.yahoo.com/news/texas-couple-sues-apple-because-163700322.html

 

photo credit: http://www.bargainteers.com/author/admin/page/33/

9 Tips To Get Your Christmas Tree Home Safely Without Damaging Your Vehicle

12/7/2016 (Permalink)

Strapping a Christmas tree to your vehicle can be tricky, and many of us have witnessed some downright dangerous attempts during the holiday season. Not only is safety important, but an auto insurance claim because of scratched paint or a traffic accident may put a damper on your holiday spirit.

Each year, 30 million to 35 million American families celebrate the holiday season with a fresh, farm-grown Christmas tree, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. One of the main challenges many of these households face is getting their perfect tree home without extra expense, damage to their automobile, physical injury, or leaving unsafe debris on the roadway.

 

Avoid auto insurance claims and ensure the safety of your passengers, other motorists and pedestrians by following these 9 tips.

 

1. Take measurements

Make sure you know the size of the tree you can accommodate. Before you leave the house, measure the height of the room where you plan to display the tree; it should be at least a foot taller than the tree you buy. Know the width of the space to help you gauge how much tree you can handle.

Also, make sure to measure your vehicle's interior storage area and roof. It doesn't do much good to know you can fit an 8-foot tree in the living room but can only handle a six footer on your Toyota.

 

2. Dress properly

Wear jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, jacket or sweatshirt, and don't forget work gloves. The branches, needles and other sharp tree parts can poke you in all the wrong places. And wear comfortable shoes with nonslip soles. 

 

3. Items to take with you

You'll need a tarp, old blanket or heavy plastic sheets to protect your vehicle. Also, be sure to grab the right materials to secure the tree: good rope, twine, ratchet-style tie downs or bungee cords.

Many lots won't tie the tree on the car for you to avoid an insurance nightmare for the lot if an employee damages your vehicle, so bring a friend to help carry and secure your tree.

 

 

 

4. Wrap the tree

Most trees are sold in netting, which you should leave on so that the branches stay tightly bundled and so that carrying the tree is more manageable.

No net? Shake the tree to rid it of loose needles, then wrap it in a blanket or tarp.

 

 

5. Cover your vehicle 

To avoid paint scratches, lay your tarp or blanket out on the roof of your vehicle before placing the tree up there. Spread it out to cover the entire top to also protect from pieces that fly off while driving down the road.

If you’re hauling the tree in the back of your SUV or minivan, lay down a blanket or tarp to protect your interior from sap stains. 

 

 

 

6. Pick the perfect tree (for hauling)

Yes, that 10-foot Evergreen looks amazing on the lot, and it may even fit inside your living room with a bit of trimming, but will it fit on the roof of your SUV? Can you lift it once you get it home?

Be sure that you’re picking out a tree that is not only free of bare spots, but will also realistically fit on top or inside of your vehicle without extending too far past the bumper. 

 

 

7. Position the tree in the right direction

To keep your tree stable and avoid wind damage when driving, center the tree and arrange it so that the stump end faces the front of your vehicle. The best way to transport a tree is to cover it completely to keep the wind from drying it out, so if you have a second tarp handy, roll the tree up in it before hauling it onto the roof.

 

 

8. Secure the tree to your vehicle

If you have a roof rack, secure the tree from where the branches start to its tip, with bungee cords or rope.

It's not recommended that you put your tree on your car's roof unless it has a roof rack. However, if you do so, first open all their car doors—not the windows—then tie the tree snugly to the roof with rope. 

For trees that extend more beyond your car's bumpers, tie a reflective flag to the end to alert ?other drivers.

If you're hauling your tree in a pickup truck, there could be hot spots in the truck bed—from the exhaust pipe, for example. This can damage the tree's needles, so put something under it, such as an old blanket.

Before you leave the lot, make sure to give the tree a firm tug to ensure that it’s not going anywhere. If it budges, you probably need to pull the ropes tighter.

 

 

9. Take it slow and easy

Once you get on road, take it slow and put on your hazard lights. Avoid the highway, especially if you're not used to hauling heavy objects on your car's roof. Highways are not your friend when you have a potential six foot flying, green missile on top of your vehicle. 

Remember, roof cargo affects your vehicle's center of gravity and emergency handling.

 

blog credit: http://www.icontact-archive.com/pz2I-TZeO-2xz5ARDV5aGdQHNQ0Aww0G?w=3

 

photo credit: http://www.thecottagejournal.com/find-your-christmas-tree-fresh-from-the-farm/

 

 

Relatives have invaded your home!! Need help keeping everyone entertained? Read on for a fun Family Game.

12/1/2016 (Permalink)

This game comes with a warning.  You will laugh.  Hard. 

Here is what you need:

 

A bowl

Scissors

Paper

And something for everyone to write with

And a stopwatch – we usually use someone’s phone

 

 

Cut up the paper into slips and divide them evenly amongst everyone

5-10 slips per person

Then have everyone write down 1 name per slip of paper

They can be dead or alive, fiction or real

You just don’t want to write down a name in which you are the only person in the room who knows who that person is

 

 

Here are some examples

Then fold up every piece once and put them in the bowl

 

Now divide everyone up into 2 groups

Sit in a circle, and sit so you are between members of the other team

There are 3 rounds to this game

 

Round 1

Give the bowl to 1 person

They have 30 seconds to try and get their team to guess as many names as they can

They pull the names out one at a time and they can say anything to give clues to their team (except the name itself)

Once their team guesses the name, they keep that slip and then they reach in and get another name

Once 30 seconds is up, they throw whatever name they were currently working on back into the bowl, and then they pass the bowl clockwise and the next person (who is on the other team) does the same thing

Each team should keep a pile of the slips they have guessed

When all the names have been guessed, count them up and write down what the round 1 scores are

 

Round 2

Put the same slips back into the bowl

Start with whatever person would have gone next

Again, they have 30 seconds to get their team to guess, but THIS time they can only say one word

ONLY ONE WORD

If they say more than one word they have to put it back in the bowl

Choose your one word carefully

Wise players will use a word that was said in round 1

When the bowl is empty, count up the score and add it to the scores from round 1

 

Round 3

Put the same slips back into the bowl

Start with whatever person would have gone next

And again, they have 30 seconds to get their team to guess – but this time it is Charades – so you act out the name

No Talking!

Again, wise players will act out words used in round 1 and 2

When the bowl is empty, count up the score and add them up for a final winner

 

And the losing team has to do the dishes.

 

 

 

blog credit: http://www.icontact-archive.com/pz2I-TZeO-2xz5ARDV5aGTkBA5PVH5dN?w=3

 

photo credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/cf/97/e6/cf97e6ce4fc2e19051ec559dabb049df.jpg

 

11 Unusual Pet Insurance Success Stories

11/4/2016 (Permalink)

Whether it’s purchased individually or acquired through an employer-based plan, pet insurance is still a perk enjoyed by only a tiny fraction of American pet owners.

Out of 174 million cats and dogs in the United States at the end of 2014, only about 1.4 million were covered by an insurance policy, according to a pet insurance trade group. That is nevertheless a significant increase from 2008, when only 680,000 were covered.

 

About 81 percent pet insurance policyholders are dogs. The majority of the rest are cats, but there is also a small group of people who have purchased plans for other types of pets.

Steady increase in U.S. pet population


Pet health insurance works pretty similar to human health insurance. The policies are priced based on a number of risk factors, including age and breed. Purebreds are often more expensive to insure because, ironically, they are typically anything but pure when it comes to health.

 

A report last year on pet insurance attributed its growth partially to increasing prices charged by veterinarians as well as the steady increase in the country’s pet population.

On its face, pet insurance may seem to be a product marketed uniquely to the wealthy. But in fact, its greatest appeal may be to middle income people who can’t bear the thought of having to put a beloved pet to sleep if they’re hit by a huge vet bill they can’t pay.

Most unusual pet insurance claims


A recent press release by Nationwide, which says it has nearly 600,000 insured pets, documented the most unusual (and occasionally comical) insurance claims that it processed for pet owners over the past year, nominating them for its annual “Hambone Award.”

The animal hospital that treated the winner of the award will receive $10,000 that it can use to cover the care of pet owners who can’t afford to pay their vet bills. 

 

Among the claims Nationwide nominated for the award:

 

 

A ruff encounter with Ruffles

A cocker spaniel nearly died after getting her head stuck in a bag of potato chips. She required a plasma transfusion and an overnight stay at the animal hospital. Miraculously, the near-suffocation the dog suffered did not leave her with brain damage.

Paying out the nose

A blue heeler mix shattered his snout after jumping into a cement barrier in a park, separating his nasal cavity from his mouth. The surgery called for veterinarians to reattach his snout with the assistance of a specialist and the entire process took hours, no doubt leaving his owners with a bill worth many thousands.

After six weeks of “grueling recovery,” the playful pooch was back at the park, although hopefully with a heightened sense of the risks of jumping off elevated platforms.

 

Too cozy for comfort

A Cavalier King Charles spaniel slipped between couch cushions while napping and dislocated his hips trying to get out. The dog required two major operations on both hips. Anything short of surgery would have left him unable to walk again.

 

 

Game of chairs

A Sphynx cat in Texas was severely injured when a reclining chair closed on her. The hairless feline had been hiding inside a reclining chair and was nearly crushed when her owner, unaware of her presence, put the chair back into the upright position. It turned out her injuries were not serious, although discovering that required X-rays. She was prescribed antibiotics for her bruises and cuts and made a full recovery.

 

He did inhale

A giant schnauzer picked up his owner’s asthma inhaler and made the near-fatal mistake of biting down on it. He inhaled almost the entire dose of asthma medication that had just been loaded, provoking his heart rate to double. Ultimately, after spending a night at the vet, the dog’s condition improved and he was able to return home without undergoing any major interventions.

 

Terrible taste in jeans

A Great Dane swallowed an entire pair of kid-sized jeans. At first there were no clues besides the sudden disappearance of the pants, but the dog began to vomit uncontrollably later on, prompting his owners to take him to the vet. He received emergency surgery to remove the jeans, which were as good as new after being washed.

 

A sucky injury

A border collie got her mouth caught inside the suction tool of a vacuum cleaner, breaking off teeth and injuring her mouth in the process. The wound required oral surgery, which ain’t cheap. Luckily the dog made a full recovery and her owners were sure to take precautions to keep her away from the vacuum in the future.

 

Stuck between a tree and a neck brace

A Tibetan terrier got her head stuck in an opening of a solid oak coffee table. The dog was contorting its body as it attempted to dislodge her head, to the point that her owner thought she was going to break her neck. The owner delivered the dog, still stuck to the table, to an emergency vet clinic, where the vet administered a sedative that relaxed the dog’s body to the point where they were able to squeeze the pooch out of her table.

 

A heroic dog

A Jack Russell terrier intervened during a home invasion, in which both he and his owner were stabbed by a burglar. Both underwent surgery and survived serious knife wounds. The dog likely saved the life of his owner by attacking and distracting the intruder.

 

Unsafe for all creatures

After a faulty carbon monoxide detector failed during a leak on a cold winter day, a cat and poodle suffered from major carbon monoxide poisoning, along with their owners. While their human owners were attended to by human physicians, the pets were placed in an oxygen chamber at the veterinary hospital. Both pets recovered the next day.

 

A pain in the tail

A cat jumped off his “cat tree” and got his tail caught in the blinds of a window. His owners’ frantic attempts to free his tail were successful, but they knew he wasn’t right when they finally got him free. His tail was severely wounded, although happily he did not suffer any nerve damage, something they discovered after taking him through extensive examination and X-rays at the vet.

 

 

blog credit: http://www.icontact-archive.com/pz2I-TZeO-2xz5ARDV5aGUHj31jaUSaG?w=3

 

photo credit: Bethaney Albright

7 Tips for Raking Leaves Like a Pro

11/4/2016 (Permalink)

Raking is a fall task that, love it or hate it, has to be done.

These tips will help you achieve more efficient raking.

 

Work With (or Avoid) the Wind

If you have the leisure to choose your raking day, try to pick a calm one so there's no wind to interfere with your work. If you have only one day of the week to rake and it happens to be windy, rake your leaves in the same direction that the wind is blowing. Raking into the wind just helps the breeze pick up your leaves and blow them around.

Patience

Clear your pathways and high-traffic areas of leaves on an ongoing basis, but don't bother raking your whole yard until all the leaves are down. It might bother you to sit idly by and let the leaves pile up, but waiting until the branches are bare will save you hours of work. Be patient and get the yard work done when it's necessary, not every week.

Use the Right Tools

That rusty metal fan rake in your shed might seem like an old friend, but perhaps its useful days are over. Some great new raking tools out there, such as the Lee Valley Power Rake, and can save you lots of time on yard work. There are also rake alternatives, including push-power leaf collectors that help take some of the backache out of raking.

Take Care of Your Body

Speaking of backache, be sure to practice proper raking technique before, during, and after your work. Raking is a real workout, and you need to warm up your body by stretching before you start.

While you're raking, be sure to keep a good posture and stand upright. Switch your main (bottom) hand on a regular basis, and always bend at the knees (not the back) when you stoop to pick up a pile.

Also, don't try to do too much at once. Divide your yard into sections and work on them over a period of days. Or, if you have limited time, take breaks in between each section to drink water and rest.

Work Smart

This is the key to efficient raking. Rake your leaves into small piles on top of a tarp or a piece of plastic, then drag that pile to your main pile or compost. Raking all the leaves into a single, big pile takes extra time, and when it's done, you have to move the big pile off your lawn to another location.

Rake When It's Dry

This one is simple but important. Wet leaves are heavier than dry ones, so try to do your raking during a dry stretch of weather. This will not only save you time and energy, but also prevent you from handling a morass of slimy, wet leaves.

Use a Mulching Mower

This is kind of like cheating but is ultimately an effective way to clean up your leaves by turning them into mulch that's bagged by the mower. If you don't like the smell, sound, or environmental impact of gas mowers, there are some great electric mowers out there that have mulching capability.

 

blog credit:http://www.icontact-archive.com/pz2I-TZeO-2xz5ARDV5aGang1Oi2aHrX?w=3

 

photo credit: https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/fall-leaves-rake-27689917.jpg

Rivers Still Rising in North Carolina

10/14/2016 (Permalink)

Rivers Still Rising in North Carolina

Rivers are still rising in North Carolina where river flooding has inundated much of the state. 

 

Story Highlights

Matthew's heavy ended over the weekend, but flooding will last for days in North Carolina.

Records have been broken and some locations will not crest until late this week.

Record-breaking flooding has occurred in North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew dumped extreme amounts of rain on eastern parts of the state. 

 

Though the rain ended on Sunday, and it should remain dry for many days ahead, rivers are still rising in some locations or will at least remain high for many days.

 

In some cases, the flooding rivals that of Hurricane Floyd's in 1999.

This flooding is the result of 6 to 18 inches of rain that fell in eastern North Carolina from Matthew. The top total was 18.38 inches near Elizabethtown, followed by 15.65 inches at William O Huske Lock 3 and 14.82 inches in Fayetteville.

 

At least five river gauge locations have seen record flooding in North Carolina, including:

  • Lumber River @ Lumberton West 5th Street: Crushed previous record crest by roughly three-and-a-half feet, as of Monday.
  • Lumber River @ Lumberton: Exceeded record crest by nearly four feet on Sunday. This topped the previous record from the remnants of Hurricane Frances in 2004. The river is forecast to remain in record-flood stage into the weekend.
  • Lower Little River @ Manchester: Topped old record set Sept. 19, 1945, by more than two-and-a-half feet. Dropped below flood stage early Thursday.
  • Neuse River @ Smithfield: Exceeded record crest by over a foot-and-a-half on Monday. Dropped below flood stage Thursday.
  • Neuse River @ Goldsboro: Crested Wednesday at over 29.5 feet, topping the previous record set after Hurricane Floyd (28.9 feet).

One location in South Carolina has set a new record crest:

  • Little Pee Dee River @ Galivants Ferry: Crested Wednesday just above 17 feet. The old record was 16 feet.

Another record was set in North Carolina Thursday and the river continues to rise:

  • Neuse River @ Kinston: The record of 27.71 feet, set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, was broken late Thursday. The river is forecast to crest near 29 feet on Friday. The National Weather Service says "disastrous flooding" occurs at 27 feet.

Also notable is that the Tar River in Greenville, North Carolina, could reach its second highest crest on record.

The forecast calls for the river to reach about 25 feet Friday into Saturday.

According to the National Weather Service, here are some possible impacts when water reaches the following levels on the Tar River in Greenville.

  • 24 feet: Devastating flooding for all areas adjacent to the river and tributaries. Water will begin to flood the Pitt-Greenville Airport. Water will overflow into the city of Greenville. Nearly all major roads countywide will become flooded and impassable.
  • 22 feet: Water will overflow into the city of Greenville. Several secondary roads will also flood. Some homes along the river will flood. Evacuations will be needed. Water will begin to flood the Tar River Estates and Beech Street villas next to the river. On the north side of the river, water will flood up to the intersection of Mumford Road and Highway 33. Numerous tributaries will flood roads and homes countywide.
  • 20 feet: Water will flood several homes near the river. Water will begin to flood town commons and adjacent areas in Greenville. Many acres of farmland flooded.

The flooding caused by Matthew will still be a major concern for many days ahead. Please take action if you are in an area that is being affected and follow what local authorities instruct you to do.

 

 

blog credit:

https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/matthew-river-flooding-carolina-records

 

photo credit:

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/151004111058-07-east-coast-flooding---restricted-super-169.jpg

 

 

Call the CLEANUP TEAM that's faster to any size disaster.

9/23/2016 (Permalink)

October is Fire Prevention Month and serves as an excellent time to examine your emergency preparedness.

Do you have a fire escape plan?

Have you changed smoke alarm batteries within the last year?

Do you know the main causes of fire?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on fire prevention as a way to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  The tragic event killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.  The 2014 theme is “Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month.” According to NFPA, smoke alarms can cut the chance of dying in a home fire in half.  Meanwhile, NFPA data shows that home fires killed more than 2,300 people in 2012; many of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper smoke alarm protection.

  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

Your SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills Professionals wants you to stay safe and prepare now to ensure that you are ready for any disaster.  Please tune in for Fire Safety Tips this month and remember that if a fire does occur we are here to help twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at (440) 887-9000.

Blog Credit:http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/people-at-risk/people-with-disabilities/educational-materials/people-who-are-deaf-or-hard-of-hearing

Why Use a Professional Clean Up Service?

8/18/2016 (Permalink)

Professional Clean Up Company

Deciding to tackle a hoarding clutter situation can be a challenging feat. If you are a hoarder or want to help a loved one with hoarding tendencies, it is important to be aware of what to expect. In order to efficiently clean up clutter it is necessary to go through the belongings and sort them, deciding what to discard and what to keep. When attempting to start this sorting process solo, it can be difficult to truly evaluate the possessions and come to appropriate decisions. Let a professional clean up service help you. Here’s why you should look into hiring a professional:

  • A hoarding cleanup company is trained to handle the situation. The staff is professional, compassionate and effective when working with the hoarder, family, and the situation at hand.
  • Companies specialize in sorting, organizing, discarding and cleaning up the clutter. They will work with you to decide what needs to be discarded, what can be donated, and what is acceptable to keep.
  • A professional company is quick and efficient. Attempting to work without help can take a while and there can be many setbacks along the way, of which you may be ill prepared to handle alone.
  • Hoarding is a mental condition that needs to be addressed with patience. A professional will not only have patience but will also be equipped to explain and assist with the process.
  • Professionals also know how to handle the situation in a safe manner. A house of a hoarder could, in some instances, have hazards such as waste, sharp objects, etc. The professional clean up service will know how to treat the circumstance and discard the items without exposing people to potentially threatening situations.
  • It’s good to have support. A professional hoarding cleanup service is here to help and is understanding about the conditions.

If a hoarder is open to the idea of cleaning their clutter, do the research. It is helpful to be aware of the hoarding condition and how to help.

blog credit: http://www.hoardinghelp.com/use-professional-clean-up-service/

photo credit: http://lifeisfullofchoiceseurope.com/tag/hoarding/

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From A Fire

8/2/2016 (Permalink)

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From A Fire

When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.

While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house
. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.

These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks
. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.

The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.

This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative
.

blog credit: http://www.iicrc.org/why-professionals-should-clean-smoke-damage-from-fire-a-38.html

photo credit: http://chathamvoice.com/2013/10/11/water-and-grease-dont-mix/

Mold Inspection

7/19/2016 (Permalink)

Mold Inspection

If you see signs of mold in your home you need to have a mold inspection performed.

 There are two goals of a mold inspection. The first is to find any mold growing in your home. The second is to find the moisture problem which caused the mold to grow.

 Why You Should Have a Mold Inspection

When it comes to mold problems in the home, the earlier you can detect them the better. The longer mold is left the more it will grow and the harder it will be to remove. This is why it's best to have a mold inspection performed at the first sign of mold in your home.

One of the main reasons to have a mold inspection is if you smell moldy odors in your home but you can't find any mold growth.

 If you've had water problems, such as flooding or leaks, or if you notice signs of water damage it can also be a good idea to have a mold inspection. In these, and other, cases a mold inspection should be performed to find any hidden mold that might be growing.

 Even if you've already been able to find some mold growth in your home it is often a good idea to still do a mold inspection. This is because finding mold can often mean there is more mold hiding somewhere else. For example, mold growth on a wall, floor or ceiling can mean there is a mold colony on the other side of the material which has grown through.

 Even if there are no signs of mold in your home there can still be good reasons to have a mold inspection. If you're selling your house, for example, a thorough mold inspection could save you a lot of trouble in the long run. By finding any mold problems you can remove them before you sell your home, avoiding a potentially bigger problem later on.

Hiring a Professional Mold Inspector

If at all possible you should hire a professional mold inspector to inspect your home. Professional mold inspectors know the best places to look for mold. They can also immediately recognize subtle signs of mold growth and signs of water problems.

Professional mold inspectors are not only experienced but they also use sophisticated equipment. This equipment is very effective at finding hidden mold with minimal impact to your home. Some of the tools and techniques professional mold inspector use are infra-red inspection, borescopes (fiber optics), moisture meters and hygrometers.

Many professional mold inspectors also have a developed sense of smell for mold or they use mold sniffer dogs to quickly sniff out hidden mold. By hiring a professional mold inspector you can be sure that if there is any mold in your home it will be found.

Equipment for Mold Inspection

Moisture meters are used by many professional mold inspectors. Moisture meters have a narrow probe which can be used to test moisture levels by inserting it into, or pressing it against materials such as carpets, drywall, bricks, wood or concrete. By finding damp areas the mold inspector can work out places in your home where mold is most likely to be growing.

 Another piece of equipment used in mold inspections is a borescope. Borescopes are useful for finding hidden mold behind walls and other surfaces. First a small hole is drilled in the surface and then the borescope, which is a fiber optics probe, is inserted to look for mold on the other side. This way borescopes can find hidden mold while minimizing the damage to the wall or other surface.

 Mold is more likely to be growing in areas of your home with high humidity. Hygrometers can measure the humidity of the air, giving the mold inspector a better idea of where mold might be growing.

 If it's not practical to hire a professional mold inspector and you have to perform the inspection yourself you won't have access to the above equipment. In this case your most valuable tools when it comes to finding mold will be your eyes and your nose to see and smell mold in your home.

History of Water Problems

Even the most experienced mold inspector cannot perfectly spot signs of every single past water problem in your home. This is why you should think of a list of any past water problems, such as leaks and floods, including how much water was released and how long before the water was removed. You should let the mold inspector know this information before they begin the mold inspection process.

Finding and Fixing Water Problems During the Mold Inspection

If you have mold in your home then it must have had a moisture source to grow in the first place. Make sure you've fixed any existing water problems you know about. After that you should look for new causes of moisture problems. Look out for things like leaks, humidity problems, condensation or floodwater.

 Finding moisture can also lead you to find new mold growth. And, vice versa, finding mold can lead you to the moisture problem that caused it.

 It is important that you find and fix the water problems which caused the mold to grow in your home before you begin the mold removal process. After all, you do not want to spend time and money removing mold only to have it return because there's still a water problem.

Finding Mold

Next it's time to find the mold. If you are performing the mold inspection yourself you should begin by thoroughly searching every room in the house. Carefully look for visible signs of mold growth and remember to pay attention to any damp or moldy odors.

If you are suffering allergic symptoms take notice of which rooms upset your allergies more. You may already have an idea of which rooms your allergies have been worst in in the past. If so then there is a good chance that mold is lurking in these areas.

 Also look carefully in places where water flows, such as near pipes and sinks, or places which you know have had leaks or flooding in the past. Check spots where moisture accumulates such as surfaces with condensation, humid areas or any other places where you often see moisture. Rooms where surfaces are regularly wet such as the bathroom, laundry and kitchen are common locations for mold growth too.

 You also need to look for signs of water damage. Water damaged materials usually have abnormal surfaces such as warping or bulging. Discoloration, stains, and cracked or peeling paint are also signs. Small dots of mold growth can be a clue there's a larger mold colony nearby.

 The materials most suited to mold growth are ones high in cellulose, like drywall. And finally, mold often grows in air ducts so check them out as well.

 If you do find mold make sure not to disturb it. Large mold colonies should not be removed without properly sealing off the room first and following best practice removal methods.

Inspecting for Hidden Mold

Most people have a mold inspection because they have hidden mold in their home. The above signs can help with finding visible mold, but they also help to narrow down where hidden mold is probably growing. If you think you have worked out a location where hidden mold is probably growing you will then have to use invasive inspection techniques to look into the area.

 Invasive inspection techniques usually involve removing parts of surfaces to look behind them for hidden mold, for example: a hole drilled in a wall to insert a borescope to look for mold in the wall cavity.

This is where it's a big advantage to hire a professional mold inspector since they can check for hidden mold with minimal damage to your home. You might also want to turn to mold testing to make certain you have hidden mold before you begin invasive inspection.

 If you are doing invasive inspection yourself you should wear protective equipment. This is because there is a good chance you could trigger the release of large amounts of mold spores into the air.

Invasively inspecting for hidden mold also includes lifting carpet to check for mold underneath, looking behind paneling, looking behind ceiling tiles, looking under wallpaper, looking inside air ducts and moving furniture or insulation to check behind.

Your house could have hidden mold if you've had flooding or leaks. Leaks in pipes which run behind walls are an especially common cause of hidden mold. Another sign of hidden mold is if you can smell mold or you have allergic symptoms but you can't see any mold growth.

After the Mold Inspection

After the mold inspection you have the option of either having mold testing performed or moving on to the mold removal.

Mold Testing

There are a few reasons you might want to have mold testing done after a mold inspection. One reason is if you could not find any mold - or you found some mold but suspect there is more. In this case mold testing can confirm whether you have mold in your home and help you locate it.

 Secondly, if you found what looks like a toxic species of mold then you need to have it tested by an expert to identify it. Removing toxic mold is dangerous and should only be handled by professionals. This is why you need to know for sure if the mold is toxic before you begin removing it.

 Lastly, sometimes you might not be sure if what you've found is actually mold. For example, soot or dirt can sometimes look like mold. You might want to test what you have found to be sure.

Mold Removal and Remediation

Once you have found all the mold growth in your home you can start to plan for mold removal.

blog credit: http://blacktoxicmolds.com/mold-inspection.php

photo credit: http://leap-va.org/energy-ed-center/moisture-mold/

What Happens When Your Sump Pump Fails?

7/19/2016 (Permalink)


Most houses with a sump pump rely on the pump to keep the basement from flooding.  When a big rain storm comes through, the sump pump will really be needed... and that's also the time that the power to a neighborhood is most likely going to get knocked out, disabling the sump pump and allowing the basement to flood.  I have a sump pump in my own house, and it's been going off about once every two minutes after the heavy storms last night, which got me thinking about this topic.


If your sump pump quits working, will you know about it before your basement floods?  Do you have a backup in place?  Does it work?  Are you sure? If you depend on a sump pump to keep your basement from flooding, it's important to have a backup system in place, just like it's important to back up the hard drive on your computer.  Possibly even more important.


It's one of those things that most people don't think about until it's too late.  If you want to protect your basement from flooding, get a backup system.  There are a few different backup systems available.


Secondary Electric Pump

A secondary electric pump would be a good option to keep your basement from flooding in the event that your primary sump pump failed.  The secondary pump would need to be installed a little bit higher in the sump basket than the primary pump.  The downside to installing one of these is that if the power to your house went out, the pump would be useless.



Battery Backup

By far, the most common type of backup is a battery powered system.  This consists of a big heavy battery that's about the size and shape of a car battery, as well as a backup sump pump that sits in the sump basket a little bit higher than the primary pump.  This system will save your basement from flooding if your sump pump fails or your power goes out.

If you already have a backup battery for your sump pump and it doesn't have a warning to tell you if the battery is dead, you should test it periodically.  You can simply unplug your standard sump pump and fill the sump basket with water using a garden hose to test the backup pump.


Hydraulic Pump

Another backup option for your sump basket is to install a pump that is powered by the municipal water pressure coming in to your home.  The nice thing about hydraulic pumps is that you don't have to worry about keeping a battery charged all the time, and if you have an extended power outage, you won't have to worry about the pump failing.

The downside to using a hydraulic sump pump is that they're not nearly as powerful; the video below shows just how slow they pump water.  The original video was nearly three minutes long, so I cut out the middle, as it got a little boring. If the water at your home is supplied by a well, a hydraulic backup pump obviously wouldn't be any good, as a power outage would also knock out your well pump.



High Level Alarm

No matter what type of system you have installed, it's a good idea to have a high level alarm installed in your sump basket.  These alarms will sound off if the water level in your sump basket gets too high, and you can buy one for under ten bucks at Home Depot.  If you don't have a backup system in place, these alarms will at least tell you that you have a problem and you need to jump in to action.

I inspected a very nice home last year with a completely finished basement that definitely could have benefited from one of these high level alarms.  This house had in-floor ductwork; when the sump pump failed, the ducts ended up filling up with several inches of water.  The water level in the sump basket never got high enough for the basement floor to get wet, but the standing water in the ducts acted like the worlds largest whole-house humidifier, which caused major condensation throughout the basement; even the outlet covers were dripping with water.  If the sump basket had been equipped with a cheap little high level alarm, this never would have happened.

If you want to have a backup sump pump professionally installed, hire a plumber to do it.

blog credit: http://www.startribune.com/what-happens-when-your-sump-pump-fails/153532145/

photo credit: http://www.echo-ca.org/sites/default/files/Rain%20on%20a%20House%20Roof.jpg

Are You Ready for High Winds or Tornadoes?

6/3/2016 (Permalink)

Are You Ready for High Winds or Tornadoes?

Would you know how to protect yourself and others from destructive high winds or a tornado? ReadyOhio encourages everyone, young and old, to learn what to do to prepare for and recover from all hazards, including tornadoes.

Know the Terms.
A tornado watch means the potential or conditions exist for a tornado to develop. Prepare to move to shelter in the lowest level of a sturdy building. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or a local television or radio station for up-to-date weather information, including the development of tornado warnings.

A tornado warning means a tornado or funnel cloud has been spotted or is about to happen in or near your area. Take immediate action to seek safe shelter. Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or a local television or radio station for up-to-date weather information. Stay sheltered until the tornado warning has expired for your area.

Prepare a home tornado plan. Pick an uncluttered place in your home that is on the lowest level with no windows. The safest place is in the basement under a staircase. In the event of a tornado warning in your area, your family should know where to go in order to stay safe. If you are outside or in a mobile home, find immediate shelter in a nearby sturdy building.

Make a kit. Include a flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, bottled water (at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days), nonperishable food, manual can opener, blankets or sleeping bags, protective clothing.

Protect your home against high winds. Remove diseased or damaged limbs from trees. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans and anything else that could become a missile-like object if picked up by strong winds or a tornado.

Consult with professionals about a "safe room". If you are building a new home or remodeling, ask about having a structurally reinforced space constructed for your family’s protection during a tornado or high winds.

Article Credit: http://ready.ohio.gov/ReadyForTornadoes.stm

Photo Credit: www.farmanddairy.com

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