Touchy Subject: Just how dirty are the things you use the most?

You wash your hand after you use the restroom, or handling raw meat, or riding the subway. That’s a great start. However, our handsimmediate surroundings harbor more bacteria than we like to imagine – and not just the usual suspects. The fact is, germs are all around us – it’s their world, we’re just living in it. Often they’re harmless, but not always, and it’s a good idea to avoid taking any unnecessary risks.

It all starts with awareness – knowing which items, areas and surfaces are likely to harbor unwanted bacteria. From there we can take measures to disinfect those spaces and prevent potentially disease-causing germs from invading our bodies. Read on to learn which everyday items tend to be the most infested. The results may be surprising.

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Protecting Important Documents

 

It’s natural. It’s human nature. You don’t really think about this very often.

What are we talking about? Water, fire and smoke damage.

When you do think about what may happen to your home, and then take action to prepare, what you do is usually minor and easy to do… such as turning off your outside water supply when winter approaches and testing smoke alarms and replacing fire extinguishers on a regular basis.

Yet there is one very important action you should take right now in preparation for the unthinkable. That’s right, protecting your important documents, such as your birth certificates, marriage license, financial papers, insurance policies and social security cards. 

Most homeowners keep all their important papers and documents in what they consider a safe place, such as in an organized folder in a home office or secure location where they know exactly where everything is. Unfortunately, that’s not really very safe when there is flooding or fire and
smoke. Others might utilize a water and fire proof safe, which is a great idea.

Yet there is something additional you can do to 100% guarantee your important documents are safe no matter what happens.

Scan them and put them on the “cloud.”

You may already do this, and if so, congratulations. No matter what happens to your home, your documents are safe and can be accessed from any device connected to the internet.

But if you don’t, get a cloud-based storage account that has plenty of storage space for your needs and start scanning those documents. Keep them organized in online folders, and make sure those in your family who should have access to them have username and passwords they can use in an emergency. You should still keep the originals as safe as you can, of course.

And when the unthinkable happens, when you do have a fire, flood or mold damage, don’t forget there is professional assistance for you: Call your disaster restoration pro for help.

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Detergents, Soaps and More (What’s the Difference?)

Detergents, Soaps and More

When it comes to your home, you usually have two prime, important goals in mind: Keep your home clean and keep your home healthy. Family is important to you.

To do that, it takes a lot of thought. Not about your cleaning technique… but about the products you choose to do the cleaning.

When you wander the cleaning supply aisle at your favorite department or big-box store, the options are endless. The list of ingredients is long and the descriptive words are confusing. While a scientist working in a laboratory knows what those ingredients are, it’s not your fault that they mystify you.

What do you really need to know? The basics. Here they are. Continue reading “Detergents, Soaps and More (What’s the Difference?)”

Sensitive to Mold and Other Allergens?

DID YOU KNOW that even the healthiest of individuals can still feel negative effects in the presence of some common things around the house?

It’s not something that necessarily has to start growing in the basement of your house after a flood. It’s something that can “just happen” and it’s not good news. But it can be easily fixed.

First of all, what are we talking about?

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Safe or Not Safe?

Have you ever walked or drove down a road and came across a sign that declared, “Floodplain Zone!”

If it was near your home, you might have panicked. But if it was somewhere far from your home, you felt safe.
A floodplain can be dangerous because any home in or near one is subject to flooding. If you have a basement, you have more to worry about.

But did you know that even if you live outside a floodplain, there are flooding issues that you must be aware of? Continue reading “Safe or Not Safe?”

Fire Prevention Safety Tips

While a water damage occurring in your home from a rain or windstorm, a broken pipe or perhaps an overflowing sink or toilet is a terrible event to experience, virtually nothing is as devastating as a fire. And while statistics indicate a downward trend in house fires, mainly because of better, modern safety protocols, it is still a huge issue that must be addressed. For example, in 2013 there were more than 1,200,000 home fires, nearly 3,500 deaths and 16,000 injuries reported by the National Fire Protection Association. More than half of home fires start in one of your favorite places: The kitchen. That’s right. Cooking is an everyday occurrence and it is the number one cause of fires. Usually on the stove. Other causes include candles, Christmas trees, overburdened electrical cords/outlets, appliance malfunctions and cigarettes or cigars, to name just a few. What can you do to make things safe in your home and protect your family?
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Leaks Happen – Be Ready!

You know the normal sounds your home makes.

The air conditioner kicking on as the dog days of summer begin. The heating system starting up on a cold, winter evening. The creak of a loose floorboard as someone rises early in the morning.

What you don’t normally hear — and you do not want to hear — are the sounds of spraying water from a broken pipe or hose, or a malfunctioning hot water tank or water filter system. Even worse is when this happens when you are nowater-leakst home and upon arrival you wade through inches of water on the floor, or duck from the dripping water from an upstairs leak.

When water damage occurs (and statistics say water damage claims are among the highest with
insurance companies) you need to act quickly. The #1 concern is to think “safety first.” Before entering into any areas of the home that are damage from flood waters, be sure that the power is turned off. Nothing is worth getting an electrical shock!

Next, find the water turn-off valve and stop the flooding. Many homeowners aren’t sure where the water turn-off valve is located. Now is the time to figure that out, and even put a tag on it so it is easy to find, especially in the dark or in the beam of a flashlight. Don’t delay… find that valve and mark it!

It’s always best to be prepared. Contact your water damage restoration contractor and get the info you need to be safe… just in case.

The Effects of Mold on your Health and Property

Mold and your Health

Mold is ever-present in our world. It contains tiny spores that commonly grow within household dust. When these mold spores become greater in quantity, they pose a health hazard to humans. As a result, humans face serious health hazards such as respiratory issues and allergic reactions.

They may also manifest something called mycotoxins.  High exposure to these types of spores can cause serious health concerns such as neurological problems.

Since the spores are toxic to humans, a variety of harmful health problems can develop over time. Some people are more sensitive to the spores than others. Consequently, there is a higher risk for people with any sort of chronic lung illnesses, which will result in more caustic reactions when they are exposed to mold.

Some other troubling health concerns include:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion, with a constantly runny nose.
  • Eye irritation, including itchy, watery eyes.
  • Wheezing, difficulty breathing and chest tightness.
  • A lasting cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Skin irritation, often a rash.
  • Headaches.
  • Sneezing.

In most properties, the air conditioner will act as a dehumidifier, removing the moisture from the air. Basements, closed in porches, and crawlspaces need to have moisture removed from it different since air conditioning does not reach these areas in most cases.

Mold Prevention

Any water damage that occurs in a building needs to be treated quickly. The spores can grow quickly in right conditions.  Mold will begin to grow within 24-72 hours once moisture and contaminants are present. As soon as water is found, remove the source of the water. If the roof is leaking, place a tarp over the roof. If a pipe is leaking, change the pipe. After the source is stopped, drying the property can take place. Most of all, it is highly important to have a certified and trained water damage technician be the one to dry it. When moisture spreads, it goes to places that are unseen. A trained technician will know the right method to dry all of the affected areas.

Keep Mold at Bay: Take Away its Food

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes how water damage situations (such as from a flood, leaky or broken pipe, sewage backup, etc) can be potentially hazardous… not just initially, but over time as well.

Why? Because of the potential of mold and how it affects human health. Exposure to damp and moldy environments and materials can be especially harmful to those sensitive to irritants common to mold contamination. Some find that even being outside near plant life in the process of decomposition is a problem. Mold and mildew can run rampant under certain conditions, causing allergic reactions.

So when a water damage does happen in your home, don’t take chances. Mold needs moisture. It needs to be fed. It will grow on organic materials that are wet. If you take away its “food” you inhibit the ability of mold to grow.

Important reminders

Remember that mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, anywhere there is a leak. This can be around windows, behind walls where water has intruded, from leaky roofs, and especially from leaky pipes – especially those that are leaking and you didn’t knptp_info_moldow about it!

Many homeowners are tempted to clean up water that comes into their home, such as when a sump pump might fail or when a toilet might overflow. Good intentions for sure. But if you don’t get it really dry, really fast, there can be problems.

Here’s a scary thought: Some professional water damage experts won’t even do a water removal job if they can’t get to it within 24 hours. They know mold could have started to grow and that means more work than simply extracting water and drying the home could be required.

You don’t want all that headache. When any water intrudes into your home, remember it’s more than water. It’s breeding ground for mold. Do what’s best. Call your water damage pro!