Use Precaution During The Grilling Season!

For many households, the return of warm weather signals the beginning of the outdoor cooking season. Before people fire up the grill, we ask them to take a few moments to think about grilling safety. Doing this at the start of summer can go a long way toward limiting grill accidents. A key concern with gas or charcoal grills is inappropriate placement: NFPA explained that more than one-third of all gas and charcoal grill home fires begin on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch. U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 8,800 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues per year, including an average of 3,800 structure fires and 5,000 outside fires. These 8,800 fires caused annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 140 reported injuries and $96 million in direct property damage. (nfpa.org data) Here are the following safety tips for reference when grilling: Make Fire Safety a Priority Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.Keep children and pets away from the grill area.Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.Never leave your grill unattended. Charcoal grills There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat...

Can You Sell a House with Mold?

Can You Sell a House with Mold? It would be up to the buyer, but why take the chance! Ask yourself, if you were a buyer, knowing or not knowing, would this affect your decision of buying the home? Could it affect your decision? A mold remediation specialist removes and cleans mold colonies and excessive mold growth, returning the air humidity in your home to what’s considered acceptable. Mold remediation involves using anti-fungal and antimicrobial cleaners on hard surfaces; sending removable soft surfaces such as sofa cushions and curtains out for cleaning; and replacing porous surfaces such as drywall. The area also is dried with fans and dehumidifiers, then sealed with plastic and negative air pressure. When getting ready to put your house on the market, it’s not uncommon for sellers to spend an average of two months on repairs and improvement projects. As you walk through your home, take a room-by-room inventory of what might need to be done. While noting down peeling paint or carpet that’s pulling up, don’t forget to glance up at your...

Spring is here, and so is Spring Cleaning

Spring is here, and so is Spring Cleaning. A year’s worth of food, bad Christmas gifts, clearance rack clothing, and junk items are no match for a motivated individual who wants to de-clutter. What will getting rid of junk and wiping down my tables and counters do?  Researchers have found that a cluttered, dirty home contributes to stress and anxiety. Aside from the mental benefits that come with a clean and tidy home, you are also reducing your risk of coming in contact with a surface that has been contaminated with infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.  Ok, that sounds great. Where do I start?  When it comes to decluttering your home, you are going to want to follow a few simple steps:  Set Goals – create a plan that will help you reduce frustrations as you go.Create a Sorting System – create three separate piles: Keeping, Tossing, and Storing.Disposal – properly dispose of the clutter from your “Tossing” pile. I am ready to do this! Any other tips that I should know? Here are a few good tips to follow when Spring Cleaning: We generally only use 20 percent of the items we own 80 percent of the time. Try to focus on getting rid of anything that you don’t use 80 percent of the time.Don’t spend time worrying about the cost of something when you purchased it. The money has already been spent and is non-recoverable. Instead, think of the value you will add to your daily life while living in a clutter-free home.Ask yourself if you truly love it. If you don’t, chances are you don’t need...

Common Myths About Water Damage

Water damage in your home can happen when you least expect it, leaving you caught off guard. When it comes to water damage cleanup, falling victim to these three common myths could actually make the damage caused even worse. Cleanup Can Wait When dealing with water damage, speed is critical. Water can soak into your floors, walls and furniture, and the longer it sits, the worse damage can get. The longer materials in your home are exposed to water, the odds of saving them are greatly decreased. And within 24 hours following water damage, mold growth can begin. The best way to minimize damage and avoid the risk of mold growth is to respond to water damage immediately. The Musty Smell Will Go Away When materials in your home like carpets, drywall and furniture are exposed to water and become saturated, they will hold on to an odor unless treated properly. And as mentioned above, within 24 hours following water damage, the growth of mold can begin. Mold will produce a musty smell which will linger in the affected area and can eventually spread throughout your home. Without proper water extraction, drying and sanitation, these odors can linger in your home and won’t disappear on their own. If The Water Isn’t Visible, It Must Not Be There Water damage that you can see may be the least of your problems. It may not look bad yet, but what is behind walls, in the ceiling, under floors or anywhere else hidden, can be worse than expected. These materials are all porous and will absorb water that you may not see. Even...

Preparing Your Home For Frozen Pipes

Preparing your home for winter is an important annual ritual for homeowners. For instance, did you know that adding insulation in your attic could help prevent ice dams this winter? And don’t forget that tuning up your heating system ahead of time can help prevent more costly emergency repairs at the height of a storm, when it can be difficult to find supplies and licensed contractors. The following winter maintenance tips can help you prepare your home to withstand another cold season and avoid the disaster frozen pipes can bring. Which Pipes Are Most At Risk Pipes that are the most exposed to the elements, including those outdoors and along the exterior walls of your home, may need extra protection during winter months. These include the following: Outdoor hose hookups and faucets.Swimming pool supply lines.Lawn sprinkler lines.Water pipes in unheated, interior locations such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages and kitchen and bathroom cabinets.Pipes running against exterior walls with little or no insulation. How to Prevent Frozen Pipes Before the winter: Check your home for areas where water pipes are located in unheated or poorly insulated areas. Be sure to check your basement, attic, crawl space, garage and within cabinets containing plumbing. Hot and cold water pipes should both be insulated. During the winter: Close inside valves supplying water to outdoor faucets and hookups.Open outdoor faucets to allow residual water to drain; be sure to keep them open during the cold weather months, while the water supply is turned off.Keep garage doors closed to help protect water pipes located in the garage.Open the doors on cabinets where plumbing is...

How to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

Festive celebrations, flickering lights, and winter greens are hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also present fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one. Here are 3 hazards that can put you and your home in danger this Holiday season. Holiday Lights and Candles Every year, more than 50,000 home fires are started by electrical problems, according to the NFPA. So, when it comes to hanging lights, follow the directions on the box closely. Follow the obvious: Only use outdoor lights.Always inspect lights before you hang and plug them in. Check for frayed wires, broken bulbs and sockets, and loose connections. Also, be sure to keep a watchful eye on candles; keep them away from the tree, decorations, and other things that can burn. The U.S. Fire Administration states that candles cause more than 10 deaths, 175 injuries, and $20 million in property damage each holiday season. The Fireplace Fireplaces can lead to hazardous fires. Follow the list below to prevent fireplace fires: Be sure your home has working smoke alarms on every level.Dispose of ashes with great care to assure that an unexpected fire will not start due to hot ashes.Only burn seasoned firewood, meaning wood that is low in moisture.Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet.Never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace.Do not throw wrapping paper into the fireplace.When cleaning out the fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal.Have a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean the fireplace...

Tips for Avoiding Cooking Fires This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is one of the most important celebrations, but did you know that it’s also the leading day for home cooking fires? That’s why Thanksgiving fire safety should be our top priority during this holiday season. So, as you begin preparing for your holiday feast, keep these fire safety tips in mind and keep yourself and your family safe. Top Safety Tips Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.When cooking, keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Put it out by sliding the lid over the pan and then turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. Never throw water onto a grease fire!Keep flammable items, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels and food packaging away from the stovetop and oven.Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a cabinet.Use a cooking timer to remind you when it’s time to turn off the stove or oven (or to switch the pans).Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.Keep a fire extinguisher approved for cooking and grease fires nearby. Thanksgiving Fire Facts Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Eve.In 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,630 home cooking fires on...

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Water Damage

Floods, sewage backup, plumbing issues or a broken washing machine hose can mean water in your home where it shouldn’t be. Whatever the cause of water damage in your home, it’s important to take necessary steps to prevent further problems. Structural Damage Ignoring signs of water damage for too long can lead to structural damage to your home. Cracks in walls or foundation of your home can become bigger problems down the road. Health Problems Lingering water damage in your home can create the damp environment needed for mold to grow. Inhaling or touching mold spores can lead to health risks for you and your family. Mitigating water damage immediately is your best chance to prevent the growth of mold. Bad Odors Lasting water damage in your home can lead to musty odors, which can also be a sign of mold and mildew growth. Don’t just try to cover it up, address the damage to prevent further issues. Electrical Damage If you don’t address water damage in your home, it can lead to electrical damage which can be a threat to your home and your family. Increased Repair Costs Addressing water in your home right away can help keep damage to a minimum. Ignoring signs can lead to further damage which means higher repair costs in the future. Insurance Coverage Could Be Affected Home insurance can help you cover the costs of damage due to water in your home. If damage is neglected for too long, it can lead to difficulty when making a claim. Unseen Damage Water damage that you can see may be the least of your problems. It...

Common Causes of Mold in Homes

The microorganisms that turn into mold colonies are always in the air around us, so mold growth will start quickly—within 24 to 48 hours of water exposure. Mold will continue to grow if the moisture level is high. In buildings, mold is most fond of organic porous surfaces.  Heavy rain and flooding can bring water into your home, which can lead to water damage and even mold growth if not treated properly. Mitigating water damage immediately after a disaster is your best chance to prevent the growth of mold. Humid weather and heavy rain can cause increased humidity in your home. Good ventilation in your home can help keep humidity down and help prevent mold growth. Opening windows and doors and the use of fans will help ventilate your home when needed. Roof leaks can allow unwanted water to enter your home which can lead to the growth of mold. If water stains appear on your ceiling, inspect for water damage in your attic and have your roof inspected for any leaks. Leaking pipes can be a common issue in your home. Because leaks can often occur inside walls and often hidden from view, inspect walls for water stains to prevent further damage and mold growth. Condensation can occur when warm air collides with cold surfaces, or when there’s too much humidity in your home. Condensation can be visible on walls, concrete floors, windows, or metal pipes. Due to colder temperatures, poor ventilation, and water leaks or flooding, basements provide the conditions for mold to grow. Regularly inspect your basement for signs of moisture or mold growth. If you detect...

Our Most Common Emergency Call – Sump Pump Failures

The most common emergency services call we receive during heavy rains is for sump pump failures. If your sump pump fails to operate correctly during a storm, it can result in flooding. Here is a list of common reasons for a sump pump failure and precautionary measures.  Power Failure – Your primary sump pump is no different than any other electric appliance in your house — without power, it is completely worthless.  As a safeguard, invest in a high-quality back-up sump pump. Stuck Switch – There are several different types of sump float switches.  Vertical and tethered floats are the most common.  We strongly prefer vertical floats because tethered floats are notorious for getting stuck on the side walls of the sump pit, which can result in a flooded basement.  Some sump pumps also have mechanical pressure switches that are prone to failure. Overwhelmed Pump – A common misconception is all pumps are created equal.  They’re not!  In sump pumps, as in life, you always get what you pay for.  Minimally, you need a 1/3 horsepower sump pump capable of pumping 35 gallons of water per minute.  Much less than that and your sump pump might not be able to keep up with the flow of water.  If your house sits in a higher water table and / or if you hear your sump pump running frequently, I’d advise upgrading to a ½ horsepower pump (which can typically pump about 60 gallons per minute).  And to be completely safe, buy a battery back-up pump! Frozen Sump Discharge Pipe – This is a very common occurrence with our brutal Midwest winters...