Devastating floods occur throughout the U.S. every year. Ninety percent of all presidentially declared natural disasters involve flooding. Flooding is usually divided into two categories: flash flooding and river flooding. Both can cause death, injury and property destruction. If you are building or retrofitting your home consider these recommendations and consult with your building official:
- Elevating your home above the base flood elevation (the elevation associated with the "100-year flood") is the best method of protecting your home. For new and Substantially Improved homes, it is a requirement and is the only allowable option. The term “100-year flood” is misleading. It is not the flood that will occur once every 100 years. Rather, it is the flood elevation that has a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year.
- Elevating your home at least one foot above the base flood elevation. This additional elevation is called freeboard and is a required minimum provision of today’s model building codes. This minimum elevation has many proven benefits including reduced physical damage and lower flood insurance premiums.
- Wet flood proofing your home allows flood water to flow through the uninhabited parts of a structure. An example of wet flood proofing is installing flood vents that create permanent openings in the foundation. Another aspect of wet flood proofing is raising utilities above the base flood elevation.
- Dry flood proofing your home prevents floodwaters from entering the building. Dry flood proofing involves a combination of measures such as installing new brick veneer over asphalt coating, applying polyethylene film over existing walls,installing watertight shields over doors and windows, and installing a drain system. Dry flood proofing has some limitations to discuss with your building official.
- Construct non-supporting, break-a-way walls designed to collapse under the force of water without causing damage to the foundation.
- Use flood damage-resistant materials below the base flood elevation.
Regular carpet cleaning not only means cleaner carpets, but can also contribute to a healthier home environment.
Regular carpet cleaning not only means cleaner carpets, but can also contribute to a healthier home environment.
Carpet cleaning can improve the appearance of your home and extend the life of your carpet, but perhaps the most valuable benefit from the process is improving you and your family's health.
According to the American Lung Association, if members of your household suffer from conditions that can affect their breathing, such as snoring or asthma, it's especially crucial that you vacuum your carpets at least three times a week.
Beyond vacuuming regularly, you may also benefit from having your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year. If you're not fully convinced of the benefits of professional carpet cleaning, consider the following top three ways the process leads to a healthier home:
1. Carpet cleaning eliminates trapped pollutants.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a dirty carpet can retain several sources of indoor air pollutants, including pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead, particle pollution, and everyday dirt and dust. Toxic airborne gases can adhere to these particles and also get trapped within the carpet.
These toxic gases can be released through everyday activities such as vacuuming and walking across the carpet, which can cause them to contaminate the air in your home. Professional carpet cleaning services kills these bacteria through special shampooing formulas and can remove deeply trapped pollutants with high-powered vacuums.
2. Carpet cleaning can clear out dust mite infestations.
Many homes have dust mite infestations, yet most homeowners aren't aware of the infestation, because the creatures are microscopic. Dust mites themselves aren't allergens, but they often leave behind feces and body fragments which are.
Because of the microscopic size of these particles, they can easily be inhaled when the area is disturbed, which can exacerbate allergies. Many professional carpet cleaning companies utilize a technique known as steam cleaning when performing carpet maintenance work, which exposes your carpet to high temperatures that dust mites can't survive.
3. Carpet cleaning can help prevent mold growth.
Especially in areas with high humidity levels, dirty carpets are at a high risk of developing mold growth when exposed to moisture. In precipitous weather, moisture frequently gets tracked into the home and can sink deep in the carpet fibers if not dried and vacuumed immediately.
Having your carpet cleaned regularly can prevent mold and mildew growth, because professional carpet cleaners have high-powered drying tools that annihilate moisture. By eliminating moisture, you can prevent mold growth that can be harmful to your health if ignored for too long.
When you're ready to call on a carpet cleaner, call on your friends at SERVPRO of Southern Scioto and Lawrence Counties.
Vandalism and Graffiti Cleanup
Vandalism and Graffiti Cleanup
Vandalism and graffiti can be very upsetting. It can range from relatively minor pranks to malicious destruction of property. Often simple acts of vandalism, like breaking a window, can cause significant water and mold damage if not addressed in a timely manner.
Need Vandalism and Graffiti Cleanup Services?
Call Us Today 1-740-534-9210
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals will act quickly to remove vandalism and graffiti from home and commercial spaces. In addition to removing spray-painted graffiti from exterior walls, they can also clean driveways, walkways, asphalt, metals, wood, glass, plastic, and masonry. Their highly trained technicians can offer the following services:
Did you know that SERVPRO also cleans up sewage backups?
Did you know that SERVPRO also cleans up sewage backups?
Sewer backups should be considered an emergency since the water may contain viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that cause serious illnesses. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have specialized training and equipment to quickly and safely clean contaminants like sewage.
Water damage can be classified by the three types of contaminated water. SERVPRO technicians will inspect your home or business to determine the appropriate plan of action for the type of water encountered.
The three types of contaminated water:
Category 1: "Clean Water"
Category 1 water is from a clean source like a broken water supply line or leaking faucet. If not treated quickly, this water can turn into category 2 or 3, depending on length of time, temperature, and contact with surrounding contaminants.
- Water from a clean source like a broken water line
- If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3
Category 2: "Gray Water"
Category 2 water is contaminated and could cause discomfort or illness. Examples include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.
- May contain bacteria and viruses
- Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated
Category 3: "Black Water"
Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. Examples include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
- Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
24 Hour Emergency Service
Water contaminated with sewage backup should be considered an emergency situation and dealt with as quickly as possible. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our specialists are always here with specialized training, equipment and protective gear to safely restore your home or business.
Toilet Overflow or Sewer Backup?
Call our office today 1-740-534-9210 or 1-740-442-4631
Mold Damage Tips
In as little as 48 hours, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business when there’s a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line. Mold can cause health effects and can also cause significant damage to your property. SERVPRO of Southern Scioto & Lawrence Counties Professionals have the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem.
Have a Mold Problem? Call Today 1-740-534-9210
If you have a mold problem in your home or business, your primary focus should be safety:
- Significant mold growth can occur in 48-72 hours.
- Mold may present a greater risk to children, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory problems.
- A strong, musty odor may indicate hidden mold behind drywall or under carpeting.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact a SERVPRO of Southern Scioto & Lawrence Counties for mold remediation services.
What NOT to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
SERVPRO Commercial Services
Your commercial property’s appearance speaks volumes to your clients. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have the training and expertise to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
- Retail Facilities
- Education Facilities
- Property Management
- Healthcare Facilities
- Hospitality Facilities
- Food Service Facilities
Have Questions? Call Today 1-740-534-9210
Commercial Building Restoration Services
We are available 24 hours a day to get your business back up and running. Our expertise includes restoration services for fire and water damage, including electronics restoration and document drying. We are also your business’s best resource for mold remediation. Learn more about our commercial restoration services:
Commercial Building Cleaning Services
Whether your need is removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring or carpets, you can depend on a SERVPRO Franchise Professional to get the job done right the first time. They’ll respond promptly and make your workspace look its very best. Learn more about our Commercial Cleaning Service.
Safely Using Cords and Electric Outlets
Be smart about how your use your outlets.
Electric plug and cord safety
- Only use certified extension cords listed by a recognized certification organization such as Underwriters Laboratories ("UL listed").
- Don't drape electrical cords or wires over radiators, pipes or other metal objects.
- Don't overload wires. Electrical wires are designed to carry only a certain amount of power. Overloading causes wiring to overheat and creates a fire hazard. Make sure the cord is large enough to carry the electricity necessary to operate the tool or appliance.
- Never cut off the third prong. Three-pronged plugs ensure proper grounding for appliances and power tools.
- Replace older cords that have non-polarized receptacles and don't have safety closures. These cords expose young children to shock hazards as well as mouth and burn injuries.
- Use proper extension cords outside. They should be specifically marked for outdoor use. Improper use could result in a fire or shock hazard.
- Check the wattage rating on cords to avoid a potential for a cord overload. Then, add up the wattage ratings of all the products that will be operating at the same time on the cord. If the wattage rating on the cord is lower than the wattage rating of the products, eliminate one load, and check to see if the cord can handle the remaining products. For cords that don't have a wattage rating, multiply the number of amps by 125.
- Don't run extension cords under rugs or carpeting.
- Replace frayed cords.
- Pull the plug, not the cord, to disconnect an appliance.
- Don't overload circuits with too many plugs.
- Install socket guards in all outlets not in use. This helps avoid injury to small children.
How Often Should You Change Your Furnace Air Filter?
Knowing When Is The Safest Bet On Changing HVAC Filters
“I only change my furnace filter when it looks dirty.” Although this is a common assumption of how to know when to replace a furnace filter, it is not good advice. If you can see a buildup of particulates on your filter then it should have most likely already been replaced. A dirty filter not only reduces the efficiency of your furnace but more importantly, negatively impacts the quality of the air you and your family breathe.
But how do you know when to change your filter? The correct answer is: it depends. Many manufacturers recommend that you change your furnace filter every three months. But this is only meant as a guideline. As you might have guessed, every household is different.
A variety of factors may determine how often you change your filter. They include the type of filter, specific conditions in the home, and furnace usage patterns, to name just a few.
If you’re looking for a quick and simple answer to when to replace your furnace filter, skip on down to the “Basic Guidelines …” section. But if you’re the inquisitive sort that wants to know everything there is to know about furnace filters, well, you’re on the right site. Feel free to read on.
DO YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR HVAC FILTER?
Air filters in your home central heating/cooling unit don't last forever. They filter dust, pollen, bacteria and mold from your air, so what you breathe is clean. A clogged-up air filter kills your unit's energy efficiency. If neglected long enough, it can send air pollutants, dust and spores all over your house, and can eventually clog the vents as well. Clogged vents can cause pressure to build up, causing leaks in several places over time, which effectively defeats the purpose of having them. If you have recently discovered having allergies, or sinus or breathing issues, it could be due to not having clean air running through your house.
Additionally, having your system running efficiently helps it do its job better in extreme weather. During the summer, when you're faced with extreme heat, a cleaner air filter is going to allow your AC to run more efficiently, keeping you safe, and costing you less. During the winter, clean filters will help you stay heated without your central heating system working too hard, saving the motor and again, saving you money.
FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO FILTER REPLACEMENT
Not all homes are alike, a number of factors can determine when to change the air filter. The type of filter, the number of occupants in the home, the number of pets, the amount the furnace/AC is used, and whether or not doors and windows are left open are some of the main factors to consider when deciding to change an air filter. Be aware of the size and thickness of the filter as well, as it will contribute to the filter’s effectiveness and lifespan.
In addition to these factors there are individual needs and preferences to consider when deciding to change an air filter. For instance, if a person in the home has Asthma, severe allergies, or other respiratory conditions changing the air filter more frequently is recommended. A fresh filter can help relieve or prevent some potential issues and should be considered when determining a timeframe for filter replacement.
BASIC GUIDELINES FOR REPLACING A FURNACE FILTER
As mentioned earlier, a number of factors will determine when to change your furnace filters. However, below are some guidelines you can use as a general reference.
- Average suburban home w no pets – 90 days
- Average home w pet – 60 days
- More than one pet or allergies – 30-45 days
- Vacation home or single occupant (no pets, no allergies) - up to 6 months
There you have it. When to change your furnace filter depends on more than the thickness and appearance of the filter. Although every three months is the standard, it will ultimately depend on a variety of individual factors. But in general, it is a good idea to err on the side of caution. Changing your filter more often will only ensure the quality of the air you breath while also saving you money on the operation of your furnace.
7 Ways To Help Prepare Your Home For Winter
Protect your largest asset from the weather.
Winter is on its way and, for most of the country that means freezing temps, wind, snow, ice and heavy jackets.
To prepare your home and your household for the colder months ahead, review this handy checklist, which is designed to help you be more prepared for whatever old man winter has in store. Please keep personal safety in mind when checking items off this list, and connect with a trusted professional or contractor for help with anything you are unable to do yourself
1. Invest in weather stripping
Weather stripping is a good way to help seal warm air in and cold air out of your home. Available in almost any hardware store, weather stripping installs quickly around windows and doors and can help prevent air leaks.
Before winter arrives, check the following parts of your home for leaks or drafts:
- Vents and fans
- Plumbing areas
- Air conditioners
- Mail chutes
- Electrical and gas lines
2. Clean your gutters
Clear gutters help drain water away from your roof and your house. If they're clogged however, especially in colder months, they're more apt to freeze, causing additional blockages. Blocked gutters can allow melting ice and snow to seep into your roof, or flood your home's foundation, causing damage.
If it's safe to do so, take some time before winter hits and clear out your gutters, or work with a trusted roofing professional or contractor to have your gutters cleaned.
3. Evaluate your roof to prevent ice dams
While a roofing professional is cleaning the gutters, see if he or she can evaluate your roof for ice dams too.
In cold weather, heat escaping your home can melt and refreeze ice and snow on your roof, leading to ice dams. These block off drains, and let water and ice continually build up on your roof – and possibly under it – weakening your roof and putting your home at risk.
To help prevent ice dams:
- Insulate your attic - Your attic should have plenty of insulation to prevent too much heat transfer from your living areas to the attic. Check parts of the attic that may not be well insulated, like:
- Pipes and vents
- Chimney systems
- Light fixtures
- Ventilate your attic - If your attic wasn’t built with a ventilation system, contact a trusted professional or contractor about ventilating your attic before winter. Proper ventilation allows cold air into the attic, while the insulation seals heat in your living areas. This can help prevent warm air from melting ice on the roof, leading to possible damage.
4. Buy a roof rake to keep snow from building up
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IIBHS), an average roof can handle up to four feet of fresh snow before it’s stressed. However, as snow packs down from multiple storms, could cause a roof collapse!
If you expect a lot of snow this winter, invest in a roof rake. It can help you easily clear snow off your roof and protect your home during those blizzard months.
5. Prune trees around the house
If there are long tree branches hanging near your house, your roof, or your gutters, prune them before it gets too cold. Branches broken from heavy snow and ice can cause all kinds of damage to your home. A few hours with the pruner now could save you thousands of dollars in damages later this winter.
6. Stock up on basics
You know what happens when the news calls for bad weather; stores flood with people, all buying milk, bread, batteries, flashlights, and duct tape by the truck load. How do you avoid this mess?
Stock up on basic supplies before winter, and stay cozy in your home.
Strong winds, blizzards, ice, and snow can cause blackouts and power outages, which can wreak havoc on your home in the winter. To prepare, keep supplies on hand, and read more about the types of alternate heating sources available for purchase.
7. Protect pipes from freezing
According to the IIBHS, a burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage! Thankfully, you can do something to help protect your pipes from freezing in bitter cold weather.
Don't turn the heat down too much when you’re out of the house. You may not be there to enjoy it, but your pipes need the heat to prevent freezing.
Let faucets drip during serious cold snaps to provide relief for your pipes.
Give your home a once over for any exposed or vulnerable piping, and wrap them with insulation. Hardware stores usually carry foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves for pipes, which are easy to install.
Caulk up cracks or holes in your walls to keep cold air away from pipes. This might not be practical for the average homeowner, so speak to a trusted contractor.
If your pipes do freeze, and water stops flowing from faucets, call a plumber immediately!
Safety Tips on Using Space Heaters
Safe Use of Space Heaters
Space heaters can be very effective, but they have a bad reputation as fire hazards. Here are some tips for using portable heaters as a safe alternative to heating the entire house.
When Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose, it's time to turn up the heat. For many people, this just means raising the temperature on the central heating system's thermostat. In many cases, though, you only need heat in a small area for a brief time, and it makes more sense to use a space heater than to heat the whole house.
The best way to use a space heater to save money is to only heat one room, but leave the rest of your home cooler. That said, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reminds us that space heaters account for 1/3 of all home fires and 4 out of 5 home heating fire deaths, so paying close attention to safety is a must.
Whatever your reasons for using a space heater, here are tips to help you choose, use, and maintain yours so you can stay safely toasty warm, even when the weather outside is frightful.
No matter what type or brand of space heater you opt to use, follow these safety tips from the NFPA to reduce the chances of fires and injury:
- Keep anything that can burn, including bedding, furniture, and curtains at least 3 feet away from a space heater.
- Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around space heaters and never use a space heater in a child's bedroom.
- Run power cords on top of carpet and step over them to avoid abrading the cord. Do not use extension cords.
- Turn off space heaters when going to bed or leaving a room.
- Don't use a space heater in a damp or wet area unless it's specifically made for that purpose.
- Turn space heaters off before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Never put a space heater on a countertop unless it's specifically designed for it.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and test monthly.
- Only purchase "UL Listed" heaters which display the UL mark on their label. This is an independent organization which tests for safety.
- Don't use gas- or oil-burning space heaters indoors, only outdoors or in spaces open to the outdoors like tents or porches.
- Read and follow all manufacturer's directions for your space heater.
HOW THEY WORK
Space heaters heat you and the room they occupy in two ways: through radiant heat and convection. Radiant heat is like the warmth you feel when sunlight hits your skin. The closer you are to the space heater, the more of the radiant warmth you'll feel. Convection happens when air surrounding the heater is heated. That hot air rises toward the ceiling, pulling surrounding cool air toward the heater, where that air is heated and also begins to rise. Air at the ceiling then begins to cool and fall, until it's drawn toward the heater once again. This is called a convection loop and, while air toward the ceiling will tend to feel warmer, the convective loop will eventually help to heat the whole room. A heater with an integrated fan will naturally spread more of the heat farther from the heater than relying on convection alone, warming a room more evenly and quickly.
GAS- AND OIL-BURNING SPACE HEATERS
Gas/propane/kerosene space heaters, due to the fact that they produce dangerous combustion gases from burning fuel, should only be used in well-ventilated areas open to the outdoors. This includes areas like tents, screened porches, or new construction homes before the windows and doors are installed. It's best to find a model with a low-oxygen shut-off or oxygen depletion sensor. This safety feature automatically detects when oxygen levels are getting dangerously low in a space, and stops fuel from flowing to the heater, shutting off the flame.
Output for gas- and oil-burning space heaters is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). Smaller heaters may have outputs of 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs, which is enough to heat a 200 square-foot tent. Medium-sized heaters will have outputs of 12,000 to 30,000 BTUs, which will heat a space of 600-800 square feet. Larger, commercial grade propane heaters combine propane heat with a powerful electric fan to heat much larger spaces. These units can reach 150,000 to 200,000 BTUs and can heat spaces over 3,000 square feet.
Caution: While "vent-free" gas heaters for residential use do exist, they are only safe if very carefully monitored and maintained. The safety of vent-free units relies on all of the catalytic and safety elements to be clean and in good working order to function properly at all times. If sensors or elements become dusty or dirty, the performance of a vent free unit can be compromised. Even with a properly maintained unit, burning of gas creates not only dangerous combustion gases, but also a surprising amount of water vapor. Aside from safety issues, excessive use of a vent-free gas heater indoors can result in moisture problems like mold, mildew, and condensation damage of wooden windows. Ideally, all gas heaters for indoor use should have sealed combustion chambers which are properly vented to the outdoors.
ELECTRIC SPACE HEATERS
For indoor use, electric models come in many shapes and sizes, but all work in a similar way. They pass electricity through a poorly conducting substance, which resists the electricity passing through it, producing heat. That's why this type of heat is also called "resistance heating." Regardless of whether the heater uses wire, ceramic, quartz, or radiator-type elements, they all work essentially the same way. Some will use a highly reflective backing to concentrate radiant heat in one direction. Ceramic and quartz heaters aim to keep the surface of the heater cool to the touch.
The best electric space heaters employ safety features like a tip-over switch, overheat sensor, and touch sensor (which shuts the unit off if the grill is touched, to prevent burns), to make them as safe as possible. A space heater that features a longer, heavy-duty power cord will mean you won't need an extension cord. Under-sized and frayed power cords are a major source of fire danger.
To determine how much heat an electric space heater will produce, look at the output, which is measured in watts. Generally speaking, outputs range from 400 to 1,500 watts. Most modern models will allow you to adjust the output over a given range.
One of the more advantageous features on an electric space heater is a built-in fan. A built-in fan will spread heat over a wider area as it circulates air through the heater and the room. An integrated fan also means that a heater will heat up an area faster. Space heaters with a thermostat will automate the heater's operation, so you don't have to continually turn it on and off manually to keep a space from getting too warm for comfort. Larger units may even include faux wood cabinets and faux flames for a warmer, fireplace-like look.
THE LONG RUN
If you've turned to a space heater because your home is constantly cold and drafty in the winter, you may end up spending more money on energy in the long run than necessary. Electric space heaters are inherently inefficient as a heating source. As a matter of fact, the Department of Energy's EnergyStar program doesn't certify space heaters in the EnergyStar program for this reason. A central heat pump or gas furnace, even an older model, is likely much more efficient at heating your home. That's why it's important not to use a space heater as anything more than a temporary bandage for spot heating. Instead, solve the real problem: the poor efficiency of your home's shell. Spend a modest amount of money to insulate and air-seal your home to stop cold air infiltration and retain heat from your existing central heat system. Improving the energy efficiency of your home's shell will save you money and make your home a more comfortable and safer place to live in the long run.