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What A Property Inspection Checks For

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

A Property is probably the biggest purchase you'll ever make, so when you buy a Property it's important to be sure your potential new Property has a proper inspection before you sign the papers. Getting a qualified home inspector can be an important first step.

A home inspector is a qualified professional who visually inspects the structure and components of a home and looks for any immediate or potential problems. They provide a written report to you with a description of problem areas and may also include recommendations for further evaluation.

You can go over the report with your real estate agent to decide how the results may affect the purchase of your potential home.

What they inspect

Home inspection requirements vary greatly from state to state, but the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has a Standards of Practice page that outlines minimum and uniform standards that you should expect from an inspection. They include the following:

  • Structural elements: Construction of visible foundation, evidence of sagging or bowing of the structure, and window alignment
  • Safety: Operating fire and carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, condition of stairs, hand and guardrails, and garage door openers.
  • Grounds: Leaks from septic tank, proper drainage, and condition of the house's driveways, fences, and sidewalks
  • Roof: Condition of shingles, any repairs/patches to flat roofs, clear vents, damage to chimneys, and properly working gutters
  • Exterior surfaces: Correct clearance between ground and siding material, condition of exterior paint or siding, and properly working lights and electrical outlets
  • Attic: Sufficient insulation, proper ventilation, and any sign of leaking or water damage
  • Interior plumbing: No damaged or leaking pipes, proper hot water temperature, as well as functioning toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers
  • Electrical system: Up-to-code condition and type of visible wiring, and proper function of circuit breakers, outlets, light fixtures, and fans
  • Appliances: Proper function of stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer, and all other appliances
  • Heating and cooling systems: Condition of furnace, air conditioning (temperature permitting), water heater, chimney, and fireplace
  • Basement: Solid foundation, walls, and floors, with no signs of water intrusion or damage
  • Garage: Solid foundation, windows, ceiling, framing, and roof; working garage door opener; up-to-code electrical system; and proper function of outlets

What they don't inspect

Again, while there is variation of what home inspectors look for, there are areas that are generally not covered by a home inspection. If you suspect any problems or concerns in the following areas, you may want to schedule an evaluation by a certified specialist:

  • Pest control
  • Swimming pools
  • Asbestos
  • Radon gas
  • Lead paint
  • Toxic mold

What will it cost?

The inspection fee for a typical one-family house varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of the house, its age and possible optional services such as septic, well or radon testing.

Do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. The sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspection is not necessarily a bargain. Use the inspector’s qualifications, including experience, training, compliance with your state’s regulations, if any, and professional affiliations as a guide.

Why can't I do it myself?

Even the most experienced homeowner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector. An inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety. He or she knows how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail.

Mold Prevention Tips

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

The most common places for mold growth in your home are basements, bathrooms/showers, attics and craw spaces. You can help prevent your home form becoming an environment for mold growth. Here's how:

  • Moisture control is KEY. Keep areas clean and dry. Dry wet or dam areas within 48 hours.
  • Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix the source of moisture problem as soon as possible.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60 percent relative humidity.
  • Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
  • Vent moisture generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.

If you are not experienced with home/building repairs you may want to consider a professional mold specialist when making repairs.

If Mold damage, threatens your home or office contact SERVPRO of Washington /Woolwich. We are here to help and care for not only your home or office, but for you as an individual.

DIY Mold Removal

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

Suit up for safety: Protect yourself from the mold you're removing by wearing rubber gloves, a long sleeve shirt and paints while cleaning. Also, use a mask or respirator to avoid inhaling spores into your lings.

Dehumidify

Inspect Plumbing: All leaky faucets, pipes and other plumbing items need to be repaired. This keeps moisture out of your house and avoids mold from water damage.

Assess Mold On Wood

Disinfect Problem Areas: Once you've remove the mold you can see, disinfect the area with something like a mixture of bleach and water that has 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water. Apply the mixture to the problem are and let it set for 15 minutes. Rinse off the solution and let it dry.

Keep Your House Dry

However, SERVPRO professionals are near by if you'd rather to leave your home or office mold damage to them, contact SERVPRO of Washington/Woolwich. We are here to help and care for not only your home or office, but for you as an individual.

Water and Flood Damage

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage describes a large number of possible losses caused by water intruding where it will enable attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, and many others.

The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface, or it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to loss of property.

An insurance policy may or may not cover the costs associated with water damage and the process of water damage restoration. While a common cause of residential water damage is often the failure of a sump pump, many homeowner's insurance policies do not cover the associated costs without an addendum which adds to the monthly premium of the policy. Often the verbiage of this addendum is similar to "Sewer and Drain Coverage".

Those individuals who are affected by wide scale flooding may have the ability to apply for government and FEMA grants through the Individual Assistance program. On a larger level, businesses, cities, and communities can apply to the FEMA Public Assistance program for funds to assist after a large flood. For example, the city of Fond du Lac Wisconsin received $1.2 million FEMA grant after flooding in June 2008. The program allows the city to purchase the water damaged properties, demolish the structures, and turn the properties into public green space.

Causes

Water damage can originate by different sources such as a broken dishwasher hose, a washing machine overflow, a dishwasher leakage, broken/leaking pipes, and clogged toilets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 13.7% of all water used in the home today can be attributed to plumbing leaks. On average that is approximately 10,000 gallons of water per year wasted by leaks for each US home. A tiny, 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day.

According to Claims Magazine in August 2000, broken water pipes ranked second to hurricanes in terms of both the number of homes damaged and the amount of claims (on average $50,000 per insurance claim costs in the US. Experts suggest that homeowners inspect and replace worn pipe fittings and hose connections to all household appliances that use water at least once a year. This includes washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories, refrigerator ice makers, water softeners and humidifiers. A few US companies offer whole-house leak protection systems utilizing flow-based technologies. A number of insurance companies offer policy holders reduced rates for installing a whole-house leak protection system.

As far as insurance coverage is concerned, most damage caused by bad weather is considered flood damage and normally is not covered under homeowners insurance. Coverage for bad weather would usually require flood insurance.

Categories

Category 1 Water - Refers to a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as "clean water". Examples are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involves water supply lines.

Category 2 Water - Refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to. Known as "grey water". This type carries micro organisms and nutrients of micro organisms. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.

Category 3 Water - Known as "black water" and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affects the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination regardless of visible content or color.

Classes

Class of water damage is determined by the probable rate of evaporation based on the type of materials affected, or wet, in the room or space that was flooded. Determining the class of water damage is an important first step, and will determine the amount and type of equipment utilized to dry-down the structure.

Class 1 - Slow Rate of Evaporation. Affects only a portion of a room. Materials have a low permeance/porosity. Minimum moisture is absorbed by the materials.

Class 2 - Fast Rate of Evaporation. Water affects the entire room of carpet and cushion. May have wicked up the walls, but not more than 24 inches.

Class 3 - Fastest Rate of Evaporation. Water generally comes from overhead, affecting the entire area; walls, ceilings, insulation, carpet, cushion, etc.

Class 4 - Specialty Drying Situations. Involves materials with a very low permeance/porosity, such as hardwood floors, concrete, crawlspaces, plaster, etc. Drying generally requires very low specific humidity to accomplish drying.

Restoration

Different removal methods and measures are used depending on the category of water. Due to the destructive nature of water, chosen restoration methods also depend heavily on the amount of water, and on the amount of time the water has remained stagnant. For example, as long as carpet has not been wet for longer than 48 hours, and the water involved was not sewage based, a carpet can usually be saved; however, if the water has soaked for longer, then the carpet is probably irreparable and will have to be replaced. Water damage restoration can be performed by property management teams, building maintenance personnel, or by the homeowners themselves; however, contacting a certified professional water damage restoration specialist is often regarded as the safest way to restore water damaged property.

Standards and regulation

While there are currently no government regulations in the United States dictating procedures, two certifying bodies, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the RIA, do recommend standards of care. The IICRC-recommended standard is IICRC S500.

Fire and Water Restoration companies are regulated by the appropriate state's Department of Consumer Affairs - usually the state contractors license board. In California, all Fire and Water Restoration companies must register with the California Contractors State License Board.  Presently, the California Contractors State License Board has no specific classification for "water and fire damage restoration."

Procedures

Water damage restoration is often prefaced by a loss assessment and evaluation of affected materials. The damaged area is inspected with water sensing equipment such as probes and other infrared tools in order to determine the source of the damage and possible extent of area affected. Restoration services would then be rendered to the residence in order to dry the structure, sanitize any affected or cross contaminated areas, and deodorize all affected areas and materials. After the labor is completed, water damage equipment including air movers, air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, wood floor drying systems, and sub floor drying equipment is left in the residence. Industry standards state that drying vendors should return at regular time intervals, preferably every twenty-four hours, to monitor the equipment, temperature, humidity, and moisture content of the affected walls and contents.

Tenant, Renters Insurance in Washington Township, NJ

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Many renters are under the impression that their landlord’s insurance policy will cover their belongings, unfortunately that generally is not the case. Your landlord’s policy covers the building itself, but it may not include your personal belongings, and may not cover injuries sustained within the structure. That’s where renters insurance comes in.

Renters insurance protects your personal property in a rented apartment, condo or home from unexpected circumstances such as theft, a fire or sewer backup damage – and will pay you for lost or damaged possessions. It can also help protect you from liability if someone is injured on your property.

Renters insurance is similar in scope to homeowners insurance, with the exception that it does not provide coverage for the dwelling itself or other structures.

How does Tenant, renters insurance work?

If you experience a covered loss in your rented space, renters insurance can help to cover the associated costs. The amount covered will depend on the type of loss that occurred and the amount of coverage you have.

There are two types of coverage options under a typical renters policy: Actual Cash Value coverage and Replacement Cost coverage. Here’s the difference between the two:

  • Actual Cash Value coverage will reimburse you for the value of the items at the time of the damage or loss.
  • Replacement Cost coverage covers the cost it takes to replace the items lost or damaged.

What does Tenant, renters insurance cover?

A renters insurance policy offers you coverage for the loss or destruction of your personal belongings in the event of a covered peril such as:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • A frozen plumbing system
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Impact by a vehicle

Renters insurance may also cover you if:

You are forced to temporarily move out of your home: In the event your home becomes unlivable due to damage caused by a covered instance such as a fire or vandalism, renters insurance can help cover the cost of alternative living arrangements while your home is repaired or rebuilt.

A person is injured on your property and requires medical attention: Personal liability coverage is designed to protect you, as well as other individuals who visit your home, if an accident were to occur. This type of coverage will help pay for medical costs and legal fees that you could end up incurring.

Items you keep inside your car are damaged or lost: Depending on your renters insurance policy, you may be covered for belongings that you keep inside your car. Note that this coverage does not include equipment or systems installed in the car.

What does Tenant, renters insurance not cover?

Now that you have a basic idea of what renters insurance covers, it’s important to understand what a basic renters insurance policy does not cover so that you’re prepared:

  • Valuables. Expensive collectables and valuables such as jewelry may not be covered under a basic renters policy and may require additional coverage.
  • Home business. Operating a small business out of your home doesn’t mean it will be covered by your renters insurance. For instance, if your business laptop is stolen from your apartment, there’s a chance it could be considered business property and therefore, won’t be completely covered by your renters insurance. Check with your provider to see if your policy covers a home business or if you need additional coverage.
  • Motorized vehicles. Use or ownership of a motor vehicle will not be covered by your renters insurance even if it is parked on your property (this also applies to aircraft and specific watercraft). Personal belongings kept inside the vehicle, however, are typically covered.

Also, remember to always make sure to thoroughly read through your policy so that you have an understanding of what is and isn’t covered.

Essential Property Selling Tips, Woolwich Township, NJ

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Crank up the curb appeal

Pull weeds, rake leaves and trim overgrown shrubs, especially if they block windows or the path to your front door.

Paint

It's important to make your house generic. A fresh coat of neutral paint will make your home appear larger, brighter and more appealing to potential buyers.

A clean and uncluttered kitchen is a staple of home staging.

Make repairs

Fix things like leaky faucets and sticky cabinets, and replace old screens. They may seem insignificant, but minor repairs add up in the mind of a potential buyer. They tend to overestimate how much repairs cost. You don't want to give them any reason not to put in an offer.

Rearrange

Lighten up your home with natural tones and a neutral dose of style.

Make sure your furniture placement allows for easy traffic flow and shows the purpose of each room. If you have too much furniture, rent a portable storage device to hold things until you are ready to move into your new place. If you don't have enough furniture, borrow or rent.

Pack up

This includes personal photos and portraits. Less is always more. The less clutter and knickknacks you have lying around, the more potential buyers will be able to see your home and what it offers. Remember, you are selling your house, not your stuff. Plus, getting a head start on packing will eliminate some stress down the road.

Tip: Print out this checklist, and mark each item off as you get your house ready to sell.

1. Eliminate half of your belongings as clutter can cost a sale. Rent a storage unit or portable pod for extraneous pieces of furniture or knickknacks. Another idea is to ask a friend if you can borrow some space in his or her garage.

2. Use "home wash" (hose attachment available at home improvement stores) to clean the outside of the house.

3. Clean rain gutters as well as outside windows and screens.

4. Make sure the front door is inviting. Paint the door if needed. Also, replace any outdated outdoor lighting fixtures.

5. Buy new house numbers if the old ones are dated or faded. Be sure buyers can see the new ones from the curb.

6. Buy a new welcome mat.

7. Organize all closets and drawers. Buyers might look there.

8. Make any necessary repairs so that buyers don't have to add that to their list of expenses.

9. Rearrange furniture to make rooms appear as large as possible.

10. Make every surface shine, from ceiling fans to baseboards. Don't forget interior windows, mirrors and floors.

11. Scrub every inch of the kitchen and bathrooms.

12. Depersonalize each room, removing photo frames and posters or artwork.

13. Buy new linens and pillows if necessary. Be certain they are a neutral color.

14. Buy air neutralizer and spray it often.

15. Let go emotionally of you, and get ready for an offer!

Sewage Cleanup in Woodbury NJ

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Sewage Cleaning in Woodbury NJ, Sewage Backup in Deptford NJ, and Prevention Tips..

Backed up sewers can wreak havoc on a home, causing thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Sewer backup coverage is available from most insurers for a nominal cost—usually an additional annual premium of $40-$50. 

For homes that have been severely damaged and are uninhabitable, homeowners policies may provide Loss of Use coverage, which provides reimbursement for lodging, food and other living expenses you may incur as a result of having to live outside of your home. Loss of Use coverage also reimburses you for the lost rental income if you rent out part of the house.

Causes of Sewer Backup

Aging Sewer Systems: The Civil Engineering Research Foundation reports that the number of backed up sewers is increasing at an alarming rate of about 3 percent annually. In addition, a recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers indicates that the nation's 500,000-plus miles of sewer lines are on average over thirty years old. The increase in the number of homes connected to already aging sewage systems has also contributed to rapid increases in sanitary sewer backups, flooded basements and overflows.

Combined Pipelines: Problems also arise in systems that combine storm water and raw sewage into the same pipeline. During many rain storms, the systems are exposed to more volume than they can handle, and the result is a sewage backup situation that allows sewage to spew out into basements and other low lying drains.

Blockages Due to Tree Roots: Shrubs and trees seeking moisture will make their way into sewer line cracks. These roots can cause extensive damage. They may start out small, getting into a small crack in the pipe; but as the tree or shrub continues to grow, so does the root. Tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and cause blockages. Tree roots can travel a long way, and roots from different types of trees act differently. If city trees are suspected, your plumber can contact the city, and samples of the roots will be used to help identify the trees and who is responsible for cleanup. Sometimes the blockage is a result of a combination of city and private trees. In this case costs are split between the city and the property owner.

Sanitary Main: A blockage can occur in a city sanitary main. If the blockage is not detected in time, sewage from the main can back up into homes and businesses through floor drains. Usually this happens slowly, giving the owner time to call a licensed plumber to assess the damage. If water is entering into your basement at a rapid rate, call the city public works office and report the problem immediately.

Water in Basement: Most basement flooding is not related to the sanitary sewer system. In many cases, soil settles adjacent to the building and, if not corrected, leads to rainwater flowing towards the building and down the outside of the foundation wall. This is particularly true in older buildings, where cracks may have developed in the foundation or floor slab that allow water to enter the basement. The cement floor and basement walls of these structures may have deteriorated to the point that they are no longer waterproof. In these cases, water can show up in a basement that has never had a water problem. This will usually happen after a number of rain storms, when the ground is saturated. Drainage can be improved by making sure that water drains away from the building. Owners may also be able to prevent flooding by water sealing the basement.

Most homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street—and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way. A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the problem.

How to File a Claim

For insurance purposes, take before and after photos of the affected areas and itemize any property losses. Save all receipts related to repair, cleaning or damages and contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Backups In Your Lateral and in the City Main

Dispose of Grease Properly: Cooking oil should be poured into a heat-resistant container and disposed of properly, after it cools off, not in the drain. Washing grease down the drain with hot water is unsatisfactory. As the grease cools off, it will solidify either in the drain, the property owner's line, or in the main sewer causing the line to constrict and eventually clog.

Dispose of Paper Products Properly: Paper towels, disposable (and cloth) diapers and feminine products can cause a great deal of trouble in the property owner's lateral as well as in the city main. These products do not deteriorate quickly, as bathroom tissue does, so do not put them down the drain or toilet.

Replace Your Line with New Plastic Pipe: One way to prevent tree roots from entering your line is to replace your line and tap with new plastic pipe. If you have continuing problems with tree roots in your lateral, you may have to have the roots cut periodically.

Correct Illegal Plumbing Connections: Do not connect French drains, sump pumps and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It is illegal, and debris and silt will clog your line. Consult a plumber to correct any pre-existing illegal connections. French drains are common drainage systems, primarily used to prevent ground and surface water from penetrating or damaging building foundations.

Install a Backwater Prevention Valve: A backwater valve is a fixture installed into a sewer line, and sometimes into a drain line, in the basement of your home or business to prevent sewer backflows. A properly installed and maintained backwater valve allows sewage to go out, but not to come back in. Property owners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of backwater valves. The cost to install one depends on the type of plumbing in the building and the difficulty of installation. Check with a qualified plumber.

What to Do If You Experience a Sewer Backup

A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, damage to your house or business, and can even result in electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup of affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and prevent mold or further damage. If you experience a sewer backup situation, immediately arrange for the cleanup of your property. This should include:

  • Wet-vacuuming or removal of spillage
  • Mopping floors and wiping walls with soap and disinfectant
  • Flushing out and disinfecting plumbing fixtures
  • Steam cleaning or removing wet carpets or drapes
  • Repairing or removing damaged wallboard or wall covering
  • Cleanup of ductwork

Moisture rides on air currents, and warm air carries more moisture than cool air

6/8/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Moisture rides on air currents, and warm air carries more moisture than cool air Humidity, Water Damage in Washington twp., NJ, Condensation, mold, and indoor air quality in Woolwich Twp., NJ

To control air flows, make sure the air barrier is continuous

An air barrier helps control airflow both through and within the building enclosure. By controlling airflow, you also control moisture.

If moist indoor air contacts a cold surface — for example, exterior sheathing in cold weather — condensation can result. An air barrier prevents those cold surfaces from being connected with humid indoor air.

Air has a maximum storage capacity for water vapor which depends on temperature. Warm air can store lots of moisture, while cold air can store very little.

As the temperature falls from 90°F down to 20°F, the amount of moisture that can be stored in the air changes by a factor of ten.

Leaky homes didn’t have condensation problems

Older buildings rarely had condensation problems in cold weather because they were so well ventilated — meaning leaky. The relative humidity in an old home would rarely rise above 25%. As we have built tighter houses (and in some cases failed to provide mechanical ventilation), the indoor relative humidity has gone up.

In a heated, tight, unventilated house, the amount of moisture in the air and the amount of condensation that can occur are dramatically different than in an old leaky house. Condensation can occur wherever water vapor can find a cold spot — on roof or wall sheathing, on the inside faces of the windows, and inside the walls.

Let's say it’s 40°F outside and the outdoor relative humidity is 50%. If you allow that outdoor air to enter a building and heat it up to 70°F, the amount of moisture in the air stays exactly the same, but the “tank” gets bigger because the storage capacity of the air increases with the temperature. As a result, the relative humidity initially drops. Then, as moisture is added to the air, the relative humidity rises, and the absolute moisture content rises as well. How do you add moisture to the air? You breathe, sweat, boil water for spaghetti, take hot showers, grow houseplants — and all of those activities generate moisture.

When does indoor humidity become a problem?

Let’s say that air leaks out of a house through holes in the enclosure. As it reaches surfaces colder than 52°F or 53°F, the air will cool. Once it reaches its full capacity to store moisture, condensation occurs.

If the temperature of the outdoor air is around 30°F, the indoor air will drop all of the moisture that it gained on the way out, dumping it on the cold sheathing surface. That’s a typical example of the air leakage condensation cycle. Since condensation in walls can cause puddles — and in extreme cases, rot the framing — condensation is something you want to avoid. Installing an air barrier is one way to help prevent condensation.

Air conditioning can also create condensing surfaces

The same phenomenon can happen in reverse in the summertime. Let’s say the outdoor air is 85°F and the relative humidity is 75%. When outdoor air leaking inward contacts a surface below about 76°F, the moisture in the air will condense. So if you have an exhaust fan in your home, the air leaking in may cause condensation on the air-conditioned surfaces — for example, on the back side of vinyl wallpaper.

If moist air leaks into a house through gaps in the wall or roof, you can have problems. But in a tight house with a good air barrier and a supply-only ventilation system, most of the air that’s drawn inside is drawn in through the air conditioner, so the first cold surfaces it sees are the cooling coils.

If you have air leaks in your building envelope, you usually can’t see the condensation —Unless you have an Infrared Camera with a Visual Inspection. However, condensation is sometimes visible in the attic; all you have to do is look for frost or dampness forming on the underside of the OSB or plywood roof sheathing.

Help your pets overcome the fear of storms

6/8/2018 (Permalink)

Storm phobia. You call it your worst nightmare. Either way, we all want the same thing: A calmer dog who doesn’t have to suffer the psychological damage done by booming thunder, wicked lightning and plummeting barometric pressures.

And it’s not just their psyche at risk. We all know that dogs are capable of doing serious damage to themselves during stormy times of the year. Fractured claws, lacerations, broken teeth and bruises are but a few consequences. I’ve even seen broken limbs and witnessed one dramatic case of deadly hit-by-car when a neighbor’s dog ran wildly into the street (so you know, they do this...thinking they’re fleeing the storm).

So how do you handle thunderstorm phobia?

Here are tips:

1. Handle it early on in your dog’s life

Does your dog merely quake and quiver under the bed when it storms outside? Just because he doesn’t absolutely freak, doesn’t mean he’s not suffering. Since storm phobia is considered a progressive behavioral disease, signs like this should not be ignored. Each successive thunderstorm season is likely to bring out ever-worsening signs of fear. It’s time to take action...NOW!

2. Don’t heed advice to let her “sweat it out” or not to “baby” her

I’ve heard many pet owners explain that they don’t offer any consolation to their pets because they don’t want to reinforce the “negative behavior” brought on by a thunderstorm. But a severe thunderstorm is no time to tell your dog to “buck up and get strong.” Fears like this are irrational (after all, she’s safe indoors). Your dog won’t get it when you punish her for freaking out. Indeed, it’ll likely make her anxiety worse. Providing a positive or distracting stimulus is more likely to calm her down.

3. Offer treats, cuddling's and other good stuff when storms happen

This method is best employed before the phobia sets in––as pups. Associating loud booms with treats is never a bad thing, right?

4. Let him hide...in a crate

Hiding (as in a cave) is a natural psychological defense for dogs. Getting them used to a crate as pups has a tremendous influence on how comfortable they are when things scare them. Having a go-to place for relaxing or hiding away is an excellent approach, no matter what the fear. Another approach to try, whether he’s a pup or not.

5. Get him away from the noise...and compete with it

Creating a comfy place (for the crate or elsewhere) in a room that’s enclosed (like a closet or bathroom) may help a great deal. Adding in a loud radio or white noise machine can help, too. Or how about soothing, dog-calming music? Not only does this approach muffle sounds, it also means pets can avoid the...

5. Electromagnetism

Though it may sound like Voo-doo, your dog can also become sensitized to the electromagnetic radiation caused by lightning strikes. One great way to shield your dog from these potentially fear-provoking waves is to cover her crate with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Another method involves clothing her in a commercially available “Storm Defender” cape that does the same work. If she hides under the bed, consider slipping a layer of aluminum fold between the box-spring and mattress.

6. Desensitize him

Sometimes it’s possible to allay the fears by using thunderstorm sound CDs when it’s not raging outside. Play it at a low volume while plying him with positive stimuli (like treats and pettings). Increase the volume all the while, getting to those uncomfortable booming sounds over a period of weeks. It works well for some.

7. Ask your veterinarian about drugs

Sure, there’s nothing so unsavory as the need for drugs to relieve dogs of their fears, but recognize that some fears will not be amenable to any of these other ministrations without drugs. If that’s the case, talk to your vet about it––please.

8. Natural therapies can work

For severe sufferers there’s no doubt it’ll be hard to ask a simple flower essence to do all the heavy lifting, but for milder cases, Bach flower extracts (as in Rescue Remedy), lavender oil (in a diffuser is best) and/or “Dog Appeasing Pheromone” (marketed as D.A.P. in a diffuser, spray or collar) can help.

9. Consider seeing a board certified veterinary behaviorist

If nothing else works, your dog should not have to suffer. Seek out the advice of your veterinarian and, if you’ve gone as far as you have with him/her, consider someone with unique training in these areas––perhaps a board certified veterinary behaviorist.

The Mold Remediation Process

2/12/2018 (Permalink)

The Mold Remediation ProcessRelated Mold Services

In addition to causing significant property damage, mold can produce allergens and irritants that can cause health effects. SERVPRO  Professionals understand mold and mold growth and have the training and equipment to remediate the mold in your home or business.

Have Mold Related Questions? 
Call Us Today 

856-686-0100

Understanding Mold

Microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors, so removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air, and they may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. 
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise the mold may return.
  • Let your nose lead the way. Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher than normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

Understanding The Mold Remediation Process

Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate the “typical” process:

Step 1: Emergency Contact 856-686-0100

The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call our National Call Center. Our representative will ask a series of questions to help us determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel.

Step 2: Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment

SERVPRO Professionals will carefully inspect your property for visible signs of mold. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view. They use various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.  

Step 3: Mold Containment

They use various containment procedures to prevent the spread of mold. They may use advanced containment procedures like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. All fans and heating and cooling systems will be turned off to prevent the spread of mold.

Step 4: Air Filtration

Their specialized filtration equipment allows their Professionals to capture microscopic mold spores out of the air. They utilize powerful “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process.

Step 5: Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials

The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. SERVPRO Professionals use antifungal and antimicrobial treatments to eliminate mold colonies and to help prevent new colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and carpeting, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.

Step 6: Cleaning Contents and Belongings

SERVPRO  Professionals clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, clothing, and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. They’re also trained to remove odors and deodorization using fogging equipment.

Step 7: Restoration

Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, sub floors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.