Recent Posts

Ice dam damage is real

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Ice dam damage is real Ice dams do not often make it through the insulation. Damage can go unnoticed for a long period of time. Allowing mold to grow and wood to rot

With Colder weather approaching Ice dams are a common problem … Have you had ice dams in the past?

  1. How does an Ice dam form: Heat Loss from sides or roof of your home.
  2. How can it damage my home? When you get an ice dam it can damage your home if it gets big enough…The ice that is closest to the house will start to melt and follows the path of least resistance. Many times that is under your shingles. It will continue to follow that path which can be into your insulation, down onto a ceiling or exterior walls. As it moves through maybe behind an eave it can damage the wall and the paint. The Ice Dam can break free from your home it can pull on parts of the roof, shingles or gutters. As it falls many things could be in the way. Kids playing outside, cars, shrubs, other parts of the house. If the area remains wet and not fully dry mold and rot can start to take hold.
  3. What steps can I do stop an ice dam? There are steps that you can do to prevent an Ice dam from forming. A roof rake is a good tool for this. ( We recommend hiring a professional who uses a safety line) You have to be careful as there are really only 2 ways to use it. The first is from the roof itself pushing the snow off onto the ground. This means you have to be on a roof that has ice and snow on it. DANGEROUS>>>> The other is to keep your feet planted on the ground and pull what you can reach off of the roof. Which means you are in the path of falling snow and ice again DANGEROUS>> which again is why we recommend a professional. Replacing your roof with metal or standing seam is one way to get snow not to stick to it. While that may be expensive you could replace a smaller portion of your roof that is close to the gutters Approx. 3 ft with a drip edge. Keep in mind the incline on your roof will determine how effective or ineffective these options will be.

While all the above information will help you understand ice dams and how to work on preventing them, none of actually solve the problem of the heat loss. You have to deal with the ice dam once you have one. Let us tackle how to find out why they form to begin with and how to solve that problem.

Heat loss is how they form.. A warm roof or warmth seeping out from an unsealed edge of your home means snow has a chance to melt it will drip down to a point where it reaches the outside temperatures again and freezes again as Ice. Water follows the path of least resistance if that is down to the gutter or down into your home that escaping warmth will melt the snow and water will go to work. Should it drip down your roof it will eventually reach the colder outside air temperature. This build up over a period of time forms the ice dam. Heat loss is a very expensive problem that many do not notice until it is too late. There are many reasons for hear loss. The majority of the time it is through poor insulations or venting directly under the roof. The best solution is to work on insulation and preventing any convection through ceilings. Properly venting the space where the insulation and roof sheathing meet ensures that heat that seeps through is distributed away from the roof. Make sure you seal all living areas. A great resource is to have an energy audit with Thermograpic inspection so that you can see where the problems lie and properly seal insulate and vent in the right areas.

Obviously solving the problem is the best way to just not get an ice dam.

They do happen and when they do you have to deal with the problem. Our team is highly trained on dealing with the damage that an Ice dam can cause and are here for you 24/7. We will be here for you getting back to normal. Like it never even happened.

Ice Dam Damage

The Cause

The Fix

The solution.

Cause ..When you get an ice dam it can damage your home if it gets big enough…The ice that is closest to the house will start to melt and follows the path of least resistance. Many times that is under your shingles. It will continue to follow that path which can be into your insulation, down onto a ceiling or exterior walls. As it moves through maybe behind an eave it can damage the wall and the paint.

Should the Ice Dam break free from your home it can pull on parts of the roof, shingles or gutters. As it falls many things could be in the way. Kids playing outside, cars, shrubs, other parts of the house. Should the area remain wet and not fully dry mold and rot can start to take hold.

Prevent ..There are steps that you can do to prevent an Ice dam from forming. A roof rake is a good tool for this. ( We recommend hiring a professional who uses a safety line) You have to be careful as there are really only 2 ways to use it. The first is from the roof itself pushing the snow off onto the ground. This means you have to be on a roof that has ice and snow on it. DANGEROUS>>>> The other is to keep your feet planted on the ground and pull what you can reach off of the roof. Which means you are in the path of falling snow and ice again DANGEROUS>> which again is why we recommend a professional. Replacing your roof with metal or standing seam is one way to get snow not to stick to it. While that may be expensive you could replace a smaller portion of your roof that is close to the gutters Approx. 3 ft with a drip edge. Keep in mind the incline on your roof will determine how effective or ineffective these options will be.

Cure. Guess what Yes you have to deal with the ice dam once you have one..How about finding out why they form to begin with an how to solve that problem. Guess what a warm roof is how they form.. A warm roof means snow has a chance to melt it will drip down to a point where it reaches the outside temperatures again and freezes again as Ice. This build up over a period of time forms the ice dam. A warm roof means you are losing valuable heat from your home. Be in through poor insulations or venting directly under the roof. Work on insulation and preventing any convection through ceilings. Properly venting the space where the insulation and roof sheathing ensures that heat that seeps through is distributed away from the roof. Make sure you seal all living areas. A great resource is to have an energy audit with Thermograpic inspection so that you can see where the problems lie and properly seal insulate and vent in the right areas.

Obviously Solving the problem is the best way to just not get an ice dam. The do happen an when they do you have to deal with the problem. Our team is highly trained on dealing with the damage that an Ice dam can cause and are here for you 24/7.

Frozen Pipes

10/29/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Frozen Pipes Frozen pipes make a huge mess and really affect the home. Many homes with out heat are looking at a potential disaster.Do what you can to prevent this

It is that time of the year again here in New England. Winter storm season. This 2018-2019 season is predicted to be much colder due to a weakened La Nina. NOAAs’ prediction is that the northern states will see a lot more snow than last year. Which was one of the warmest winters in 121 years. This year is predicted to be riddled with frequent storms and cold temperatures.

These colder temperatures and increased chance or more storms mean there could be more storm damage. This damage could be from the cold getting into your homes and freezing your pipes to heavy snow collapsing roofs. Now is the time to prepare and take steps to reduce the chances of damage to your home. Freezing pipe, ice dams and fires are the most common forms of damage during the winter season. Here are some key tips for helping to prevent major problems.

Insulate pipes.. ( this step is essential)

                We have said it before and we will say it again get some cheap foam from a home improvement store that rated for the type of water pipes you have. Put them on as many as you can find. Make sure you leave room when you get close to the heating units so that there is no risk of fire. Ok so this is something we do not normally have to worry about but the pipes in homes with no heat are looking at a unique situation. Get the pipes inside your home under your cabinets going up through your walls and into any heating units you have insulated. This is not a normal step but being with out heat one does not all of a sudden want to deal with a burst pipe and water damage.

Open Cabinet doors

                When the really deep cold sets in make sure you open cabinet doors. Ensuring under sinks, in bathrooms, cabinets and hutches that have piping running from one level to another are all open will help keep your pipes more warm

Run the water

                Yes run the water. A slow moving water drip will help prevent freezing because moving water takes more time to freeze. This is not a full on high running water it is a slow stead stream. Know the difference. Remember that it is one and if you can collect the water and place in front of your heat source so that you can introduce moisture back into your home and conserve a little water in the process.

Search for Gaps

                Look at pipes, vents especially dryer vents and electrical outlets that come in from the outside. If there are drafts fill the edges with caulking or spray foam. This will help keep the cold out.

Space heaters:

While they are not ideal as many fires are caused by them it is essential for those looking towards the winter months with out heat. Opening your cabinet doors will not do too much good if you do not have heat but if you place a space heater in the middle of the room and point it towards the open cabinet it will help keep the pipes more warm.

Properly setting your thermostat            

                Many of you looking to escape the dull gray skies will go on vacation. In an effort to save money so many turn their heat way down or off. ***DO NOT DO THIS*** Keep your thermostat at a minimum of 55 degrees we like 60 or better, and open any and all cabinet doors. The last thing you want at the end of your vacation is to come home to a soaking wet house that has been running for days.

Knowing your home:

                Where is your water shut of valve. Sure most of us know how to turn off the water if something happens to the toilet or the washing machine it is the valve right next to it. What about a pipe on the 2nd floor to mitigate your damages. Do you know where the main shut off valve is for the house? How about how to turn off your water heater? Learn where these things are and show everyone who is old enough how to do it as well. The sooner the water is shut off the less damage it can cause.

Ok so your home should be ok now we did not forget about your garden. We love the pops of color in the spring. The Home grown vegetables from the summer and the atmosphere of the leaves in the fall create a home outside for you and your family. It is important to take care of it during the winter months. Sure it will get covered in snow and there is not much you can do but before that happens here are few tips.

Before the first Frost:

                Any attempt to protect plants should be done before the first frost. You can usually find some information online about your area and when that typically happens.

Cultivation Protection:

                You can do a variety of things with the plants and their placement to aid in the winterization. Choosing sheltered spots will protect from wind damage and the sudden onset of cold weather. Know the North, South facing spots as well as how much sun these spots get this will aid in placement.

Mulching

I know mulching in the winter? It acts as a great insulator and holds a lot of soil from being washed away as the rain and snow move and.

Planters and containers

Create a portable garden that you can place anywhere based on the season.

Special wrapping & Structures

Insulating wrapping can be obtained to protect susceptible plants to keep the more warm during the freezing temperatures of the winter. Structures can also be built to protect from the heavy weight of the snow and any that could fall off of a roof onto plants near the house. “A” Frames are the easiest and most effective. Creating a windbreak or barrier can aid many plants as well. This can be achieved from other plants such as dense bushes or hedges. You can make one with some netting and posts staked into the ground

Drainage

It is important that you do not have pooling water in any areas of your yard. Extra wet soil just like extra dry soil will prevent the roots from holding firm and could have trees uproot. Ensure that your lawn is level and pooling does not occur.

Keeping these things in mind will help you have a worry free winter. Filled with family, friends, and fun. When spring comes you will ready to go with a lot less fuss. Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the winter.

Freezing temps... Result in Freezing pipes

10/22/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Freezing temps... Result in Freezing pipes Frozen pipes cause a lot of damage during the coldest temperatures of the year. Knowing how to prevent them is your best defense.

Frozen Pipes:

With the first frost having settled in the area this AM.. We are looking to Frozen pipe season.

Frozen pipes are scary. If you have ever lived through a burst pipe due to frozen water, you know just how damaging and devastating they can be. If you have not, follow the steps below to help prevent them. Should you have a pipe burst please make sure you call someone immediately .In as little as two days you will start to get mold growth creating an even larger issue

What causes frozen pipes?

The recent extreme cold temperatures coming in have will create an increased risk for a frozen or burst pipe. As the temperatures drop, water in your pipes starts turning to ice. The problem will be not when it is frozen but on Monday and Tuesday when the temperatures start to warm up and the ice melts and water starts to flow out of the cracks in the pipes.

Ice causes pressure and blockage. Over time, the pressure can cause a pip to burst. This ends water flow to fixtures, causes leaks and will end in a major damage not only to the pipe but to your home or office. It does not matter what the pipe is made out of the increased pressure occurs to all pipes, including plastic, copper or steel.

Even a tiny crack in your plumbing line can release more than 250 gallons of water in a single day. That much water gushing out of your plumbing system can cause significant damage and high repair costs. Any delay in remedying the situation can result in a more costly delay.

How can I prevent frozen pipes?

  • Open the cabinet doors under your sinks and in storage areas to allow heat from the room to circulate around un-insulated pipes.
  • Allow a trickle of water to drip overnight; however, be careful not to run the water into a drain line that is exposed to the extreme cold because that line might freeze.
  • Insulate all pipes in unheated areas or against un-insulated outside walls, in garages or crawl spaces.
  • Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing.
  • If you are leaving for the a vacation it is very important that you make sure your heat is turned on and is set no lower than 55 degrees.

What should I do if I have frozen pipes?

Sometimes, despite the best efforts, things happen. If you know or suspect you a problem with frozen pipes, here are some immediate steps to take:

  • Shut off the water main to reduce pressure on frozen pipes and minimize flooding if the pipes burst.
  • If you don’t know where your water main is or have the tools to shut off the main, now would be a good time to get prepared.
  • Do not use an open flame to thaw your pipes. If your pipe is exposed, you can try a hair dryer.
  • If you suspect frozen pipes, contact your plumbing experts right away.
  • If you notice slower water flow that may mean your pipes are starting to freeze, call a plumber immediately. Typically, issues like this can be resolved before any damage occurs.

 STAY SAFE, WARM, AND HAPPY!!!

House fires prevent plan survive.

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage House fires prevent plan survive. Get out.. Surviving a house fire is understanding you don't have the time you think you do. Get out then get help.

Getting out of the house is the most important thing to do when a fire breaks out. Time is not on your side. Having a plan, mapping escape routes, and doing practice scenarios can save your life. Make sure you call 911 as soon as possible, preferrably once you are outside. Have a central meeting point for your entire family a safe distance away from your home. Our partnership with the American Red Cross is to ensure you are prepared for anything, including fires.

Our friends at the National Fire Protection Association have some very interresting facts about fires we think you should know. You can always visit their website for this and other imporant information about fires at.

http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/fire-prevention-week/fast-facts-about-fire

Home fires

  • Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
  • One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • In 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 367,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 civilian injuries, and $6.8 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2014, 15 home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 88 deaths.
  • During 2009-2013, roughly one of every 335 households had a reported home fire per year.
  • Smoke alarms
  • Three out of five home fire deaths in 2009-2013 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.  Escape planning
  • According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, more than half never practiced it.
  • One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
  • Cooking
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 162,400 cooking-related fires between 2009-2013 resulting in 430 civilian deaths, 5,400 civilian injuries and 1.1 billion in direct damage.
  • Two of every five home fires started in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Ranges accounted for three of every five (61%) home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 13%.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than of being hurt in a cooking fire.
  • Children under five accounted for 30% of the 4,300 microwave oven scald burns seen in hospital emergency rooms during 2014.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 18% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • More than half of people injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
  • Frying is the leading activity associated with cooking fires.
  • Heating
  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean. This usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.
  • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) home heating deaths.
  • Just over half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
  • In most years, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries.Once you are safe, the fire is out, and the emergency services are gone, what happens next? You have to focus on the clean up and getting back to normal. There is a lot more into cleaning up after a fire than you can imagine. Knowing who can work with fire restoration to get your home back to normal is so important. They must know how to get the smoke odor removed, what to remove that is not salvageable along with what can be saved. Here is to keeping you happy, healthy and safe as we approach the holiday season..

So you had a fire now what?

10/9/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage So you had a fire now what? There a lot of steps that need to be taken after a fire. Do not go it alone find local resources to get you through it all.

SO you had fire. Help came and put it out. Now you have a layer of mud and soot on your floor and all over everything in your home. Even areas of the house that were not actually affected by the fire. What are your next steps. Breathe, and make sure you take care of your self. There will be a lot of things that will come up it will get stressful, overwhelming and excessive. It will all need to be done but keep in mind it does not have to be done in one day.

The first responders came and saved the day. Saved your home, lives and maybe even pets. The next call you make can be the difference between restoring vs. replacing things in your home. A timely beginning to mitigation of the soot, fire damaged areas as well as the smoke damage reduces your losses. The first 48 hours is crucial to minimizing your damages. Fire damage is especially devastating due to the fact that there is also water damage along with soot and smoke damage. Many times throughout the entire home in some fashion.

Our human brain says this needs to be cleaned up right away. Our attempts to restore order can be far more harmful than we realize. Why I am cleaning up the mess. Wiping all the counters, walls and cleaning the floor. Yet doing this improperly can cause permanent damage along with a lot of problems.

Who do you call? Who is the most important person to call after the fire is out? Where do you begin to get back to normal? What can you do to start cleaning up the mess?

Did you know that improperly cleaning any porous materials can actually push the soot deep into the material. This causes the odor to set below the surface and become permanent.

There area few things that you can do before the professionals arrive. Below is a key list of things that SHOULD be done.

                Limit the movement in the home. Restricting access to the most damaged parts of the home is an essential part of not spreading the contamination.

Reduce the number of items you move around to wash and clean ( Particles will become airborne and settle in areas of the home that were not previously affected)

                Use towels or old linens to line high traffic areas. Such as rugs, and walk ways and furniture

                Coat all chrome faucets any trim countertops or appliances with Petroleum jelly or oil.

Place a barrier between all furniture legs. Wrap aluminum foil around blocks of wood to prevent absorption. Then prop up all of your furniture on the covered blocks. This will reduce the water absorption deep into the wood allowing it to dry more effectively.

Take photos of everything. If you have items that are beyond salvageability before you through them away make sure you photograph them and write a log of each item.

Documentation and Receipts

                Find any receipts you have for the items lost.

If you have loss of use to your home, kitchen or bathroom areas requiring you to get a hotel room or eat out a restaurant. Make sure you keep all receipts as well a full calculation of what your normal weekly food expenses are. You will need to submit them to the company for reimbursement.

Log every call you have with all your contractors, insurance agents, adjusters and public officials. This may be needed when and if a difference in coverage allowances are presented.

Below you will find a list of things that you should not do.

DO NOT … DO NOT...

Wash any walls or painted surfaces. This will push the soot deep into he pores of the paint rendering it impossible to remove.

Shampoo anything upholstered or carpeted.

Clean any electrical equipment

Send clothing to a dry cleaner, Most do not know how to deal with soot and smoke damage. It will set the smoke deep into the fibers and will have to be tossed out.

A fire is a devastating disaster. Many times it is easy to become overwhelmed and just want to get back to normal as soon as possible. While this is the end game and the goal. Going to quickly or taking matters into your own hands can result in more of a problem.

Having a plan ahead of time and preparing for what could happen helps us all get through if something happens. Developing things like emergency evacuation routes out of the house. Collective meeting area a safe distance away from the home. Keeping an emergency bag in your car with some basics like a flashlight, blanket, toiletries and such.

Remember you do not have to go it alone. Reach out to local organizations for advice, guidance, direction and solutions. Many cities and towns have local resources. If you have pets local humane societies are a great resource for helping with your pets. Your insurance company agent and the adjuster will be able to provide you will valuable information.

Knowing who to call first, what services you will need coupled with the preparedness plan will bring you out back on top in no time.

Hot Plates and Fire Risk

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Hot Plates and Fire Risk Hot plates are a great way to add extra cooking areas to your home. They can be dangerous. Know how to stay safe and what to do incase of an emergency

Fire safety week is coming up. We will have safety tips through out the next few weeks. This first one revolves around hot plates. With the recent events in and around the area this is essential information.

Thousands of homes in and around Lawrence MA were given hot plates. Within hours of receiving them fires had already been broken out.

They are not stoves and do not have the same levels of safety built into their design. It is essential for you to understand how to use them while staying safe.

Hot plates should not be used to add heat to a room they are not heaters. This can pose an increased risk of fire.

People need to be safe when using any cooking device. With one that is portable there are extra precautions that need to be taken.

  1. Read all directions and familiarize yourself with how to use the device.
  2. DO NOT leave unattended at any time.
  3. Never use near any flammable materials. This includes but is not limited to curtains, carpets, clothing etc..
  4. Always use on a stable steady surface
  5. Do not set hot plate to a setting higher than needed.
  6. Reduce the flammable materials that you cook with (Example: Cooking oil)
  7. Keep any paper materials away from them (Plates, Cups, ect)
  8. Check the cords and sensors for damage prior to each use.

As always, we highly recommend that you have a fire extinguisher. Keep it within arms reach of the hotplate. Should you not have one and fire breaks out*****DO NOT******DO NOT***** use water. This is powered by electricity and will make the fire worse. Use flour, baking soda, baking powder or even just bath powder. Getting a lid to contain a fire within a pan is helpful too.

Remain calm, breathe and know what you have to do. Practice ahead of time and be prepared.

Many people were given one to use. This reduced the ability to choose the best one for their needs. We found a good housekeeping article that was able to asses those that are out there. Check out the results below. If you are thinking of getting one or received one. Know what you have or what to look for to stay safe.

The Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) decided to investigate hot plates and warming trays that are sold online to see what dangers they might pose.

Electrical safety is so key that the first thing we do when we evaluate any product that has an electrical component is make sure it has a UL mark (see below) on it. The UL emblem signifies that the product has been third-party tested by Underwriter's Laboratories and meets national safety standards for electrical appliances. (Other marks that qualify as UL alternatives are: CSA-US, an emblem from the Canadian Standards Association and ETL-US, a European mark signifying that Intertek, an independent organization, has vetted the product for safety standards in the U.S.)

Online, we found four products sold as warming trays or hot plates, with no mention that they're UL listed. We ordered them and confirmed firsthand that they have no UL or other safety logo. (Some were marketed specifically for Sabbath purposes, which was the reason the hot plate was being used by this Brooklyn family). Two of the warming trays carry a CE mark, an emblem that is merely a self-certification symbolizing that the company says it has conformed with legal requirements to be sold in Europe.

To add to consumer confusion: Some products manufactured in China are labeled with a very similar CE mark and all it stands for is "China Export." (The differences, which are hard to distinguish, are that the C and E are closer together, see below, and the line in the middle of the E extends further

While the absence of any approved safety logo does not mean a product is dangerous, it does deprive you of the reassurance of knowing a product has been safety tested by an independent lab.

The Good Housekeeping Institute advises against using any electrical device that doesn't have a UL, CSA-US, and ETL-US mark on them.

We also recommend adhering to the following safety guidelines:

  1. Regularly check the cords and plugs of your electrical appliances to see if they're frayed, damaged or worn out. If they are, discard them. And make sure any electrical cord is kept away from heat.
  2. Leave enough space around any electrical appliance to allow for heat dissipation. Also, keep any heating device away from flammable materials and combustible fuels.
  3. Never leave turned-on appliances unattended.
  4. Always unplug unused appliances.
  5. Make sure bathroom, kitchen, and garage outlets are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI).
  6. Install smoke detectors outside each bedroom and make sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, including your basement. Test your alarms monthly, replace batteries at least once a year, and replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

Miriam Arond is the Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute.

We want you all to stay safe while you are trying to get back to normal. If you are not sure how to properly use a hot plate ask for help. These are not toys and with fires already erupting from use within hours of being received. It is important that people understand proper use.

Hot Plates and Fire Risk

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Hot Plates and Fire Risk Hot plates are a great way to add extra cooking areas to your home. They can be dangerous. Know how to stay safe and what to do incase of an emergency

Fire safety week is coming up. We will have safety tips through out the next few weeks. This first one revolves around hot plates. With the recent events in and around the area this is essential information.

Thousands of homes in and around Lawrence MA were given hot plates. Within hours of receiving them fires had already been broken out.

They are not stoves and do not have the same levels of safety built into their design. It is essential for you to understand how to use them while staying safe.

People need to be safe when using any cooking device. With one that is portable there are extra precautions that need to be taken.

  1. Read all directions and familiarize yourself with how to use the device.
  2. DO NOT leave unattended at any time.
  3. Never use near any flammable materials. This includes but is not limited to curtains, carpets, clothing etc..
  4. Always use on a stable steady surface
  5. Do not set hot plate to a setting higher than needed.
  6. Reduce the flammable materials that you cook with (Example: Cooking oil)
  7. Keep any paper materials away from them (Plates, Cups, ect)
  8. Check the cords and sensors for damage prior to each use.

As always, we highly recommend that you have a fire extinguisher. Keep it within arms reach of the hotplate. Should you not have one and fire breaks out*****DO NOT******DO NOT***** use water. This is powered by electricity and will make the fire worse. Use flour, baking soda, baking powder or even just bath powder. Getting a lid to contain a fire within a pan is helpful too.

Remain calm, breathe and know what you have to do. Practice ahead of time and be prepared.

Many people were given one to use. This reduced the ability to choose the best one for their needs. We found a good housekeeping article that was able to asses those that are out there. Check out the results below. If you are thinking of getting one or received one. Know what you have or what to look for to stay safe.

The Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) decided to investigate hot plates and warming trays that are sold online to see what dangers they might pose.

Electrical safety is so key that the first thing we do when we evaluate any product that has an electrical component is make sure it has a UL mark (see below) on it. The UL emblem signifies that the product has been third-party tested by Underwriter's Laboratories and meets national safety standards for electrical appliances. (Other marks that qualify as UL alternatives are: CSA-US, an emblem from the Canadian Standards Association and ETL-US, a European mark signifying that Intertek, an independent organization, has vetted the product for safety standards in the U.S.)

Online, we found four products sold as warming trays or hot plates, with no mention that they're UL listed. We ordered them and confirmed firsthand that they have no UL or other safety logo. (Some were marketed specifically for Sabbath purposes, which was the reason the hot plate was being used by this Brooklyn family). Two of the warming trays carry a CE mark, an emblem that is merely a self-certification symbolizing that the company says it has conformed with legal requirements to be sold in Europe.

To add to consumer confusion: Some products manufactured in China are labeled with a very similar CE mark and all it stands for is "China Export." (The differences, which are hard to distinguish, are that the C and E are closer together, see below, and the line in the middle of the E extends further

While the absence of any approved safety logo does not mean a product is dangerous, it does deprive you of the reassurance of knowing a product has been safety tested by an independent lab.

The Good Housekeeping Institute advises against using any electrical device that doesn't have a UL, CSA-US, and ETL-US mark on them.

We also recommend adhering to the following safety guidelines:

  1. Regularly check the cords and plugs of your electrical appliances to see if they're frayed, damaged or worn out. If they are, discard them. And make sure any electrical cord is kept away from heat.
  2. Leave enough space around any electrical appliance to allow for heat dissipation. Also, keep any heating device away from flammable materials and combustible fuels.
  3. Never leave turned-on appliances unattended.
  4. Always unplug unused appliances.
  5. Make sure bathroom, kitchen, and garage outlets are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI).
  6. Install smoke detectors outside each bedroom and make sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, including your basement. Test your alarms monthly, replace batteries at least once a year, and replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

Miriam Arond is the Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute.

We want you all to stay safe while you are trying to get back to normal. If you are not sure how to properly use a hot plate ask for help. These are not toys and with fires already erupting from use within hours of being received. It is important that people understand proper use.

Fall decluttering??? Yes it is a thing

9/10/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning Fall decluttering??? Yes it is a thing Fall is a great time to make room for holiday decorations, family and friends

Fall Declutter

We have all heard of Spring cleaning and while it is nice to open the windows let the air circulate and remove the cobwebs of winter, But a fall cleaning???? The leaves are starting to fall, the weather has turned cooler and gone are blistering days in the sun. So what do you.. You De-clutter of course!!! Fall is not just for yard debris and leave raking. The fall is a perfect time to de-clutter, Why?

We are so glad that you asked. Attics and basements have started to cool off making it more manageable to get things done. With the holidays coming up organizing what you have to make the holidays less chaotic. If you have less stuff there is less cleaning that needs to be done daily and there is less to worry about.

Just like any project it is important to not get overwhelmed and stay organized. Take it one room or section at a time. Create an area where you can set up 4 sections to create a donate, sell, keep and trash pile. Make sure you are prepared to have a yard sale and once it is over everything that did not sell will not become donate or trash.

Making decisions can be daunting especially if money has been spent on a item. A good rule of thumb for many items is have you used it in the last 3-6 months, if it is not holiday or seasonal items and the answer is no chances are you do not really need it. With clothing if it does not fit, or in your eyes is out of style and you just will not wear it let it go.

Once you have gone through everything tackle the pile of trash, call a company that does junk removal . This will allow you to free up space immediately so you can sort through the sell pile. Organize and price the items you want to sell. A few noteworthy bits of advice, once you set the date for the yard sale call a donation company to come within the week following the yard sale so you do not delay the process. It is always advisable to keep your donation pile until after the yard sale so that they only have to come out once. Many places will come out for free so do your research and check out the dates that they have available try and coordinate your yard sale within the same week.

Your keep pile will be the last pile you put away as you could change your mind as you go and will not have the best view of how much space you have until the rest of the stuff is gone. Once you are done and have only the keep pile you can best assess where to put it all. However there are still steps to take before you put it all away.

The next phase is cleaning and no I do not mean sweeping the room. A good solid deep clean washing ceilings, walls light fixtures, switches, fans, floors anything in the room and yes you should move any remaining furniture and clean all around it. Windows and window sills are often overlooked but are as important to the total cleaning process. If this is too daunting or time consuming many companies are out there that can take care of this for you. While some companies come weekly there are companies out there that will do a once over from time to time, such as SERVPRO’s.

If you are starting to feel overwhelmed already its fine breathe look at one room make a checklist and start organizing your piles. You will be amazed at what happens when you get going.. Happy fall and say tuned for our next update.

  1. Attics and basements are not as hot so it is easier to work through.
  2. You get to see those Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations ahead of time and really plan to show it all off.
  3. You can make some room for the new things you will receive during the holiday season.
  4. Company will have more space to move around with less clutter.

What you don't see....

8/28/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage What you don't see.... Mold does not always show up right away .. and it may be hidden under paint, wall paper, between a wall, or ceiling.

Your home should be your place of rest.

When water begins leaking – even small leaks in areas you can’t see inside your home could quickly become a source of stress. The possibility of harmful mold, rot and unseen damage may affect the value of your home and the health of loved ones. Professionals understand how disruptive water damages can be for your entire family and will help ensure the water is identified, regardless of where it hides. That’s why we offer 24-hour

emergency response by trained, uniformed restoration professionals. With top-of-the line equipment and time-tested cleanup and restoration techniques, and have the expertise to help make your house feel like home again.

After all, when it comes to your home and family even a small disaster can feel like a huge problem. So if water damage occurs in your home just call a professional and get the job done right the first time.

The professionals you call should be able offer the following. Please keep in mind these professionals while adept at water damage and clean up they are not plumbers and cannot fix the underlying cause of the water.

Identify the Source/Type of Water.

Measure Temperature and Humidity for Drying Analysis.

Survey the Extent of Damage and Inspect the Premises For Hidden Moisture.

Perform Emergency Water Extraction.

Move and Block Furniture and Contents.

Inspect Carpet Pad/Carpet and Provide Service.

Apply Necessary Treatments (Disinfectants/Deodorization).

Utilize Advanced Drying and Monitoring Equipment.

Dispose of Refuse.

Water damage that you do not see is the most worrisome to us. People are always looking to save money and we get that. This results in attempts to clean up water damage themselves. Not only is this a bad idea it can be dangerous.

Water backup is from improper drainage to the sewer lines on the streets. Think about that for a moment. ..Sewer line back up, Contamination bacteria and a host of other hidden potentials. The other problem with this self clean up all too often people forget about what you cannot see. For example water comes in through the home, passes through your wall to get into your home. What is in your wall that you do not see? Insullation, Drywall, electrical wiring, maybe even insects and animal dropping or carcasses can all be behind there. When dirty water passes through there a lot that can go wrong, especially when you do not know it is even there.

Water restoration companies have special equipment that allows them to determine how wet certain materials are behind the scenes. They also have the training to understand water migration and that what is not always visible can still be there. Special training and equipment allows them to know to pull off baseboards, proper angle of fans in conjunction with industrial styled dehumidifiers to properly push the water out from behind walls into the air and extract it directly out of the air. There is a lot more to water remediation than getting it off the floor. You must then have the proper cleaners and anti-microbial sprays to rid the surfaces of all the bacteria and contaminants the water touched.

Please make sure you reach out to your local remediation company whenever you have water intruding into your home so that you can get back to normal as quickly and safely as possible.

Why should you have Mold testing?

8/10/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Why should you have Mold testing? Air quality in your business or home can really affect how effective you and your employees function. Having good air quality can reduce sick days.

All this summer heat and humidity can take its toll on a lot of us. Many use AC inside their home to provide relief. Shutting up the house to hold it all in. That can result in very old stagnant air circulating. It can also provide ripe conditions for the things to grow in your duct work, or inside insulation that may have moisture from the condensation differences between the inside and outside temperature and humidity levels. 

Getting your home tested for mold can be a very wise investment to catch potential problems sooner rather than later.

Mold Testing

When to have an indoor air quality test done, and how the test is done. The word mold is not as bad as everyone thinks it is. The only time it becomes a problem is when there is too much of it. Too much mold can cause health problems or damage to your property. Not every home needs testing and not all testing is the same.

What sort of things should you be on the look for to decide if you need any mold testing.

  • Any general concerns about the house where something just does not seem right and you cannot put your finger on it.
  • When a home has been empty with no occupants for an extended period of time
  • Past water damage that was not cleaned up by a professional or you suspect was not done properly
  • No home inspections have been done in a while you see or suspect there is mold somewhere
  • A musty smell that is notice upon entering the home
  • Anyone in the home that has repertory problems
  • Mold Remediation was done and you want to ensure it was effective.
  • Visually seeing anything that looks like mold
  • If mold removal or clean up was done
  • When a 3rd party is effecting repairs and you need to make sure they are done correctly

There are 3 main options for testing

Surface Testing

                This is done to look for evidence of actual current or past mold growth. The tester will use either a swab or a tape lift to obtain their sample. These tests can tell if the growth is from actual water damage and intrusion or if it is excessively humid in the home. Dark and discolored growth is not always microbial and would mean it is not from a water damage situation. When you see visual growth it is always important to get a sample of it as well as an air quality sample to ensure spores have not been released into the air.

Indoor air quality testing

                This is done by taking numerous samples from within the inside of the home as well as a base line sample of the air quality on the outside of the home. These samples will be able to tell if you have hidden moisture leaks.

Indoor Air Quality with Comprehensive moisture evaluation.

                This testing is done to provide a full scope picture of what is really going on in the home. It is able to locate sources of moisture that overtime could damage the property or become a health concern. Mold and moisture damage can drastically affect the value of a home over time. So it is important to stay on top of things and help prevent any major damage. Identifying the damage early can save you in the long run.

Remember when you have any doubts or questions about mold in your home talk to a professional get your results and get it right the first time.