While you are away on vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is water damage to your home. Unfortunately, a water loss can strike at any time, whether or not you are present for it. Here are a few tips you can use to minimize the potential of water damage to your home while you are away.
Quick pre-departure home inspection
After you have bought your plane tickets and packed your luggage, make sure to do a quick inspection around your home for potential problematic areas. Have a look at the pipes under your sinks, look for any issues with your water heater or furnace, inspect the supply lines that connect your major appliances and check the gutters and roof for any leaks, blockages or abnormalities.
This quick step can greatly reduce the potential for damage while you are away and give you peace of mind in the process.
Turn off the water main
An easy way to insure that you have no water related issues while you are away is to simply turn the water main off. It may be days before someone discovers standing water in their home, and turning off the water main on the way out the door will eliminate the potential to find unwanted surprises when they return.
Hire a house sitter
It’s always a good idea to have a trusted friend, family member or neighbor keep an eye on your home while you are away. Even better if they can stop in once or twice a day to make sure everything is in order. Make sure that whoever you choose receives adequate instructions and emergency contact information.
Nobody wants to return to their home after a fun vacation to find water damage, but sometimes, despite best efforts, they can still happen.
If you do return from your vacation to find water damage in your home, stay calm and contact a reputable water restoration contractor such as SERVPRO of Olympia immediately. The longer you wait, the more there is a chance for secondary damage.
We are water damage specialists who get started promptly to get your property dry and back to pre-water-damage condition. We use advanced water removal and drying equipment and implement the art of drying principles to get your property dried quickly. If you have experienced a water related disaster in your home, don't delay, call us today 360-754-9689
It can happen unexpectedly – a squish when you step on the carpet, a rising suspicion as water bubbles up from underneath. With a (hopefully!) quick examination, the source is found: a pipe break. Water damage is a woe for all homeowners, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your carpet.
When Might it be Saved?
There are 3 categories of water damage used for cleanup and repair purposes:
• Category 1 comes from clean sources and has no threat of toxins or harmful material. A pipe break, overflowing sink or tub, or appliance malfunction are all examples of clean water. • Category 2 is dubbed grey water for its potentially harmful contaminants. Dishwasher overflow, washing machines, or sump pump failures are often culprits of this water damage. • Category 3 contains high levels of toxins and can be dangerous if contacted or ingested. This includes broken sewage lines and any flooding from the outdoors.
If the water in your home can be classified as category 1, then your chances of restoration are excellent, with the appropriate timing and attention.
What determines when a carpet may be saved?
A professional water cleanup and restoration company will have the appropriate training and supplies to address your pipe break and resulting damage. With a quick response time and industrial strength machines they may salvage your carpet with minimal issue to you. Of course, every water damage situation is different, but here are just a few examples of what the professionals can do:
• Truck-mounted wet/dry vacuums can remove tons of water in a short amount of time. • High-tech moisture detectors alongside infrared cameras can source remaining moisture embedded in places unseen to the naked eye. • Industrial strength fans and dehumidifiers will circulate air more rapidly in your home, speeding up the vital drying process. • Professional cleaning and sanitizing can ensure your carpets are fully restored and safe.
Time is of the essence when water damage infiltrates your home. Be sure to know the number for a cleanup and restoration company in Olympia, WA, SERVPRO of Olympia (360)754-9689
For more information, please visit us at www.SERVPROolympia.com
When a potential source of danger occurs, SERVPRO of Olympia is ready to clean up any bio-hazard situation
Bio Hazard Cleanup and Restoration
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences. A failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are trained to safely clean and remove biohazardous substances and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.
Equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are here to help transform any unsafe environments back into clean, safe homes and offices.
Need Biohazard Cleanup? Call Us Today (360)754-9689
The decontamination of a home or business due to trauma, sewage backups, chemical spills, hoarding, or other biohazards can be both dangerous and emotional. Specialized training and experience is key when choosing a cleanup company to resolve these circumstances.
The SERVPRO Franchise Professionals provide cleanup and recovery services for many biohazard situations. These include the following:
Sewage backups and dark water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly deposits – these damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a structure. SERVPRO of Olympia will remove the sewage, contaminants, and moisture, and help ensure the structure is properly cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized.
People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.
Hoarding is not the same as collecting. Collectors look for specific items, such as model cars or stamps, and may organize or display them. People with hoarding disorder often save random items and store them haphazardly. In most cases, they save items that they feel they may need in the future, are valuable or have sentimental value. Some may also feel safer surrounded by the things they save.
Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2 to 6 percent of the population and often leads to substantial distress and problems functioning. Some research show hoarding disorder is more common in males than females. It is also more common among older adults--three times as many adults 55 to 94 years are affected by hoarding disorder compared to adults 34 to 44 years old.
Hoarding disorder can cause problems in relationships, social and work activities and other important areas of functioning. Potential consequences of serious hoarding include health and safety concerns, such as fire hazards, tripping hazards and health code violations. It can also lead to family strain and conflicts, isolation and loneliness, unwillingness to have anyone else enter the home and an inability to perform daily tasks such as cooking and bathing in the home.
Individuals with hoarding disorder have difficulty discarding items because of strong perceived need to save items and/or distress associated with discarding. The symptoms result in the accumulation of a large number of possessions that congest and clutter living areas of the home or workplace and make them unusable.
Specific symptoms for a hoarding diagnosis include:
Lasting problems with throwing out or giving away possessions, regardless of their actual value.
The problems are due to a perceived need to save the items and to distress linked to parting with them.
Items fill, block and clutter active living spaces so they cannot be used, or use is hampered by the large amount of items (if living spaces are clear it is due to help from others).
The hoarding causes major distress or problems in social, work or other important areas of functions (including maintaining a safe environment for self and others).
An assessment for hoarding may include questions such as:
Do you have trouble discarding (or recycling, selling or giving away) things that most other people would get rid of?
Because of the clutter or number of possessions, how difficult is it to use the rooms and surfaces in your home?
To what extent do you buy items or acquire free things that you do not need or have enough space for?
To what extent do your hoarding, saving, acquisition and clutter affect your daily functioning?
How much do these symptoms interfere with school, work or your social or family life?
How much distress do these symptoms cause you?
Mental health professionals may also ask permission to speak with friends and family to help make a diagnosis or use questionnaires (rating scales) to help assess level of functioning.
Some individuals with hoarding disorder may recognize and acknowledge that they have a problem with accumulating possessions; others may not see a problem.
In addition to the core features of difficulty discarding, excessive saving and clutter, many people with hoarding disorder also have associated problems such as indecisiveness, perfectionism, procrastination, disorganization and distractibility. These associated features can contribute greatly to their problems functioning and overall severity.
SERVPRO of Olympia has been trained to handle and clean up after these unfortunate situations. Call Today (360)754-9689
Your home's gutters help catch rainfall and ensure that it stays far away from the foundation of your home. However, they can't effectively perform their job if they're clogged with ice or debris that piled up over the course of the seasons. Clean gutters by spraying a hose through them from the bottom up. You can also use a trowel to scoop out anything that's clogging your gutters, or purchase a cleaning tool specifically designed for your gutters and attach it to your hose.
Before the rainy season begins, it's crucial that you check your home for signs of leakage. It's best to fix a leak early on, as leaving it to worsen could result in flooding, mold and mildew, and even collapsed ceilings. Scan your ceilings for water marks and look for peeling paint. You should also venture outside of your home and look at your roof for telltale signs. Check out the ridges and see if there are any cracks. Look for loose, curled or missing shingles, which can signal roof damage and allow water to enter the home.
Sick Building: Fungi Release Toxin Directly Into The Air
Sick Building: Fungi Release Toxin Directly Into Air, Study Finds
by MAGGIE FOX
Toxins from mold can aerosolize directly into the air, which may help explain one cause of sick building syndrome, French researchers said Friday.
Mold growing in buildings can make people sick, especially people who are allergic to various fungi. It’s also known that various molds and fungi produce mycotoxins — chemicals that can sicken and even kill people and animals.
What’s not been entirely clear is how mold growing in and on walls or elsewhere in buildings might make people sick.
Jean-Denis Bailly of the University of Toulouse in France and colleagues tested three common types of fungi that can grow inside buildings and found that their mycotoxins could and did disperse into the air until normal conditions.
“These toxins can subsequently be aerosolized, at least partly, from moldy material,” they wrote in their report in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, published by the American Society for Microbiology.
“This transfer to air requires air velocities that can be encountered in ‘real life conditions’ in buildings.
The three species they tested were Penicillium brevicompactum, Aspergillus versicolor and Stachybotrys chartarum, all of which grew on wallpaper in their lab.
“It is estimated that, in Northern Europe and North America, 20 percent to 40 percent of buildings display macroscopically visible (visible to the eye) fungal growth,” they wrote.
“For instance, Aspergillus versicolor, a potent producer of sterigmatocystin (STG), is one of the most frequent fungal contaminant of indoor environments that can be found together on building materials, in dust or in the air samples.”
Mold growth and the circulation of particles that carry their toxins.
Researchers Find Mold Toxins Can Easily Become Airborne Indoors
This could be making people sick.
MIKE MCRAE As if a sensitivity to their spores wasn't enough of a problem for some people, new research has found the toxins produced by mold sprouting in the damp corners of your house can also become airborne.
The discovery could help explain what is referred to as "sick building syndrome", a broad collection of symptoms that appear to increase in severity the longer a person occupies a room or building.
A team of French researchers has found evidence that particles shed by several species of fungi (that we'd commonly think of as mold) can contain chemicals called mycotoxins, and that the toxins themselves can also become airborne.
For people with asthma and other allergies, the mold particles themselves can be a nightmare, inflaming the lungs and sinuses and causing anything from sneezing and itchy eyes to restricted airways and asthma attacks.
Usually, mycotoxins are substances we'd associate with food contamination as they leach out of fungi growing on fruit or grains. Nobody is sure why fungi produce them, but consumed in high enough concentrations they can be deadly.
While their effects on the body after being ingested have been studied extensively, less is known about the effect of breathing in mycotoxins, or whether it's even something to consider as a potential health concern for most of us.
Of the little data that does exist, most research has focused on the kinds of fungi found in agriculture. These numbers have contributed to what's called a concentration of no toxicologic concern (CoNTC), which is 30 nanograms per cubic metre for agricultural mycotoxins.
Based on this, there's little evidence that airborne mycotoxins can reach high enough concentrations to cause health problems for most of us.
But indoor environments could be different, and mycotoxins just might be playing a role in making those of us who spend a lot of times indoors sick.
The study involved controlling the air movements around a piece of wallpaper that had been contaminated with the different moulds.
The researchers then analysed the air that came off the wallpaper.
Each species of fungus shed particles at different air speeds, most probably due to their unique structures and spore arrangements.
"Most of the airborne toxins are likely to be located on fungal spores, but we also demonstrated that part of the toxic load was found on very small particles – dust or tiny fragments of wallpaper, that could be easily inhaled," says Bailly.
The fact that there are levels of mycotoxin that can be inhaled on particles smaller than spores, and that these particles can become airborne at the low wind speeds you'd find in most indoor environments, are factors that could be taken into consideration when evaluating limits of toxicity.
"The presence of mycotoxins in indoors should be taken into consideration as an important parameter of air quality," says Bailly.
The research doesn't come to any conclusions on what kinds of concentrations are commonly found in our homes and offices, or how these might compare with agricultural limits.
THE RIGHT (AND WRONG) WAY TO CLEAN YOUR WASHING MACHINE
As much as we hate doing laundry, most of us can’t imagine life without a washing machine. These trusty machines are there for us through minor stains and major ones — food spills, sweaty socks, and even the most disgusting stains we get on our clothes. But like everything else in our homes, even our washing machines get dirty. Really dirty.
Have you ever noticed that gunk that builds up around the washing machine door jam? What about the grains of dirt and sand that accumulate inside of the machine’s drum? Let’s not forget to mention the bacteria you can’t see with your naked eye, like mold and mildew. When you have dirt and grime inside of your washing machine, this can impact your machine’s performance, and the cleanliness of your clothes. It’s time you washed your washer.
To avoid damaging your washer or your clothing, you need to maintain and care for your machine properly — and that’s true whether it’s brand new and beautiful or the reliable one you’ve had for years. We’ve put together some tips on how to correctly clean your washing machine, as well as some washer-cleaning methods to avoid. Here are the right (and wrong) ways to clean your washing machine.
HOW TO CLEAN A TOP-LOAD WASHER
Step 1: Leave the door open after you remove your clothes, and allow your washer to dry out completely when you’re not using it. This helps prevent mold and mildew from growing in your washing machine.
Step 2: Use a damp cloth and a small amount of liquid detergent to wipe the inside of your machine.
Step 3: Wipe up any dirt, spills, and grime from your machine’s exterior and from the door jam with a damp cloth and mild soap.
Step 4: Change the fill hoses on your machine every five years, per the recommendation of GE. It’s a good idea to label your fill hoses, indicating the date you replaced them. Just label some masking tap with a Sharpie.
Tips: We asked GE for suggestions on how to clean top-load washing machines properly. The appliance company suggested we use Tide Washing Machine Cleaner once a month to clean and freshen the unit, and to refer to the washing machine’s owner’s manual for additional cleaning and maintenance instructions.
What not to do: It’s best to avoid using harsh cleaners, notably those that contain ammonia. You should also shy away from anything that’s too abrasive, like gritty cleaners or Brillo pads. Harsh cleaners can damage you machine.
HOW TO CLEAN A FRONT-LOAD/HE WASHER
Step 1: Leave the door ajar after you remove your clothes with a front-load washer as well, and allow it to dry out completely when you’re not using it. This helps prevent mold and mildew from growing.
Step 2: Clean the washer door by wiping it down with a damp cloth.
Step 3: Clean the door seal. Gently pull back the seal between the door opening and the drum, and check for foreign objects; remove any you find. After that, check for stains or dirt buildup. Clean dirt buildup using either washing machine cleaning wipes, Finally, allow the washer to air dry completely with the door open.
Step 4: Clean and sanitize your detergent tray. Take the tray apart (if applicable) and soak it in hot water and mild soap for about 20 minutes.
Step 5: Clean the inside of the washing machine. Most HE washers have either a “clean cycle” or a “clean with Affresh cycle.” To run a clean cycle, add ¼ cup of Benifect to the bleach dispenser and run an empty load.
Tips: It’s best to use HE detergent when you have an HE washer, and to avoid using too much detergent, as this can cause excess buildup. Lastly, use warm and hot water washes periodically (but not all of the time), as warmer water can help control soil and detergent buildup, per the recommendation of Maytag.
What not to do: Some HE washer owners run a clean cycle only, and neglect the other steps. You should try to clean your HE washing machine every 30 wash cycles, and follow all of the steps to make sure you are not allowing dirt and grime to accumulate in other parts of your machine.
HOW TO CLEAN A SELF CLEAN OR SMART WASHING MACHINE
Step 1: Clean the control panel with a damp cloth.
Step 2: Clean the mesh filter of the water hose once or twice a year. To do so, soak the filter in water until it is clean (make sure the threaded connector is also submerged). Then allow the filter to dry completely in a shaded area.
Step 3: Clean the dispensers. Rinse the inserts in warm water to remove traces of accumulated detergent and other laundry products. Then clean the recess with a toothbrush to remove residue.
Step 4: Clean the interior: You can wipe it with a damp cloth and a washer-safe cleaner. Also, run the self-clean cycle when the indicator light comes on. Self-clean helps get rid of mold that grows inside of your washing machine.
Notes: These instructions are for a Samsung top-load self-clean washing machine. Your machine may have different parts and cleaning instructions. It’s best to refer to your owner’s manual to obtain the specific cleaning instructions for your washing machine. If you misplaced your owner’s manual, you can likely locate it online by visiting the manufacturer’s website and searching for it using your model and serial number.
Tips: Clean the outside of stainless steel machines using stainless steel cleaner, vinegar, or Windex. When you clean stainless steel, it’s best to go with the grain. You can also use a little bit of rubbing alcohol to dissolve oily finger prints, per Better Homes and Gardens. Also, if you have a shiny metallic finish on your washer’s exterior door, you can clean that surface using a small amount of Cerama Bryte and a clean, damp, non-abrasive cloth, per the recommendation of Samsung.
What not to do: Do not use harsh or abrasive cleaners when cleaning the control panel, and avoid using bleach cleaners on stainless steel surfaces. Also, do not run self-clean cycles while you have laundry in your machine.
Ask Angie's List: Can you get rid of home pests with essential oils?BY PAUL POGUE, ANGIE'S LIST Angie's List
Sometimes the most natural methods work best. You can get rid of mice using a reliable old snap-trap, and nothing takes out spiders like a rolled-up newspaper. But if you want to get rid of spiders and mice with minimal force, essential oils may be the solution for you.
Peppermint oil pest control is an effective means of repelling spiders and mice. Spiders smell through their legs, and so they're very sensitive to oils on the surface. Mice rely on their sense of smell, so they tend to be turned away from distinct essential oil odors. Mice tend to follow pheromone trails left by other mice, and peppermint oil confuses those senses.
As a bonus, essential oils are environmentally friendly and safe for your family and pets compared to toxic chemicals.
HOW TO PREPARE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR PEST CONTROL
You have three options for setting up essential oils to repel mice and spiders: sprinkling it directly, spraying it or soaking cotton balls.
If you know where pests are coming in, or have a suspicion – such as crevices, cracks, windows, and other hiding places – you can apply a line of undiluted oil across that entrance point. You can also create a diluted mix of water and a small amount of peppermint oil and spray it across a wider area. This is particularly useful if you're not sure where they're getting in and want to cover an entire corner or window.
You can also soak cotton balls in undiluted oil and place them near the entrances you want to block.
PEPPERMINT OIL: SPIDERS
Peppermint is the most effective oil to repel spiders. Besides peppermint and spearmint, essential oils for spiders include citrus elements like orange, lemon and lime. Citronella, cedar wood, tea tree oil and lavender can also be effective.
However, consider whether you want to get rid of spiders at all. You obviously want venomous spiders to be far away, but in many cases, especially if they're outside windows or doors, spiders are effective pest control all their own! There is no better natural insect exterminator than the spider, and no more potent bug repellent than a spider's web.
PEPPERMINT OIL: MICE
As with spiders, peppermint oil is an effective deterrent, but you need to keep several drawbacks in mind. Essential oil is not a long-lasting product; it will need to be replaced every few days. And especially in the case of mice, you want to check those peppermint-soaked cotton balls every so often. Once the odor fades away, that cotton will make attractive nesting material for the mice.
You want to make sure you place the essential oils right where mice are entering, rather than where they're already getting in.
Generally, you want to combine peppermint oil pest control with other measures. For mice, plugging up holes with steel wool tends to keep them out, since they have a hard time chewing through it.
Peppermint oil pest control may seem like a low-impact and simple approach, but it can be very effective. If you place the oils correctly, they should act as a virtual force field, telling pests in no uncertain terms to go the other way.
Paul Pogue is a reporter for Angie's List, a trusted provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit AngiesList.com.