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Keep Your Commercial Property Safe During the Winter

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

Keeping your commercial property safe for residents, employees, and visitors during the winter months require careful planning long before cold weather arrives. Consistent maintenance, property repairs, and seasonal improvements will ensure the safest environment throughout the harsh elements of the season for your patrons.

- Inspect your property. Have your landscape management or maintenance team perform a property wide safety check. An inspection of sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and hand rails will ensure that anyone walking the property in slick conditions are kept safe.

-Drop Salt and Sand. Untreated ice creates s slippery layer that is unsafe for tenants and progressively harder to clear as it thickens during sustained cold temperatures.

- Light Things Up! If you don't have it already installed, lighting to high traffic locations throughout your property, adding enhanced lighting to all main entrances, walk ways, stairs, and parking lots adds an additional level of safety and security.

- Remove Snow. Snow plowing of parking lots and driveways and snow blowing of all walkways are both quick methods that can be contracted in advance through a local service. 

- Make a plan. It is important to be prepared well in advance. Outline a winter weather procedure so that all employees, residents, and visitors are ready when the time comes.  

Winter Fire Safety

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

People are at greater risk in the winter season when they cook holiday meals, display decorations, and may use unsafe heat sources. The threat of winter fires is real; winter home fires amount for about 8% of the total number of fires in the U.S. Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires. A heat source to close to combustibles is the leading factor contributing to the start of a winter home fire. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe:

- Place candles in a sturdy candle holder that will not tip over. Think about using battery operated flameless candles.

- Use holiday lighting safely; throw away light strands with frayed or pinched wires. Turn off all your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house.

- Water your Christmas tree everyday. A dry Christmas tree is dangerous because it can catch fire easily.

- Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packages, towels, and curtains- away from your stove top.

- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food to prevent fire. 

- In case of oven fire, turn off the oven and keep the door closed until it is cool.

- Use turkey fryers outdoors. Never use them on a wooden deck or in a garage. 

- Keep snow and ice 3 feet away from the fire hydrant. In case of fire, the firefighters need to be able to get to the hydrants quickly to protect people and property.  

5 Tips For Mold Prevention in The Winter

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

Although seasonal outdoor conditions have little effect on mold growth inside enclosed environments of a home, airborne spores that spawn mold may infiltrate the house any time of the year. Controlling certain factors specific to the cold season can at least reduce the odds of household mold contamination. Here are 5 tips preventing mold in the winter:

1. Run ceiling fans in the reverse (clockwise) mode for winter. A ceiling fan rotating clockwise pulls warm air upwards and pushes it across the ceiling and down walls and windows. This air circulation dries out condensation, eliminating another source of mold triggering moisture. 

2. Humidify sparingly. Winter air is often dry and irritating to certain individuals. To alleviate these symptoms, humidifiers are commonly utilized to add water vapor to indoor air. Maintain indoor humidity levels at 60% or below to discourage mold.

3. Dry wet areas. Many parts of the house tend to be damp in the winter- windows, mirrors, pipes- due to condensation. By quickly removing moisture with a towel it prevents them from becoming potential for mold.

4. Check the attic. While your roof shingles may shed summer rain effectively, stationary seepage from melting snow on the roof is another matter. Roof leakage due to snow melt or ice dams on the roof is a common cause of mold growth in the attic. 

5. Upgrade your insulation. Some house have minimal or no insulation inside exterior walls. Condensation forms on and inside cold, uninsulated walls in contact with warm, moist indoor air.  

4 Ways to Save Water During Winter

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

We all would like to be good stewards of our resources; but the question is asked, "How can we remember to save water?" Let's break it down:

1. Let it thaw, let it thaw, let it thaw! Save water and the energy used by the hot water heater, by thawing foods in the microwave or overnight in the fridge, instead of running hot water over them.

2. Never lighten the load! Holiday fun means party attire, snow gear, and a whole bunch of laundry. Save water and make that pile disappear faster by only washing and drying full loads every time. By using cold water whenever possible, it can reduce the energy needed to wash your clothes, as well help you save on your energy bill. 

3. Keep the tap tight! If you are pulling out the fine china this holiday season chances are you will have to hand wash those beauties. When you are ready to roll up your sleeves, do not let the tap constantly run; plug the drain, fill the sink with soapy water and scrub away.

4. Give the gift of rain. The rain barrel is not a new concept. However, improvements over time have produced models capable of offering maximum effectiveness and durability. Having a barrel specifically designed for rain water collection means you may be able to collect a greater volume of water. 

Snowstorms & Extreme Cold

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

A winter storm occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. A winter storm can range freezing rain and ice to moderate snowfall over a few hours, to a blizzard that lasts for several days. 

Winter storms can cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walk ways extremely dangerous, impassable, and deaths could occur. Follow these steps to prepare your home in case of a winter storm:

- Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.

- Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.

- Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in the home knows how to use them.

- Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe burst.

- If you have a wood burning fireplace, consider storing wood to keep you warm if the winter storm knocks out your heat. Also make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.

*Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:

 -Extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm winter coats;

 -Fireplace or wood-burning stove with plenty of dry firewood, or a gas long fireplace. 

Winter Water Tips

11/1/2017 (Permalink)

Winter weather brings icy winds and dipping temperatures which can do a lot of damage to your home by freezing pipes and leaving you without flowing water. 

Before Freezing Weather:

- Disconnect and drain hoses from outside faucets. If your home has a separate shut-off valve for outside faucets, then use it to shut the water off to your outside faucets. Then go outside and turn on the faucets to drain water from the line. If your home does not have a separate shut-off valve for outside faucets, then wrap each outside faucets with insulation or newspaper.

-Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas such as the garage, crawl space, or/and attic. Check with your local home improvement store for which materials to use to insulate your pipes.

-Turn off and drain irrigation systems and backflow devices. Wrap backflow devices with insulating material.

-Cover foundation vents with foam blocks, thickly folded newspaper or cardboard.

-Show household members how to turn off water to the house in case of emergencies. The main shut-off valve is often located near the water heater or washing machine. If a pip burst anywhere in the house - kitchen, bath, basement, or crawl space - this valve turns it off. 

During Freezing Weather

11/1/2017 (Permalink)

There are many precautions you can take to help you avoid the expense and inconvience of frozen pipes during an extended cold spell.

 1. Leave the heat on at least 55 degrees and open cupboard doors under sinks, especially where plumbing is in outside walls, to let interior heat warm the pipes.

2. Temporarily, keep a steady drip of cold water at an inside faucet farthest from the meter. This keeps water moving, making it less likely to freeze.

3. If you are away for any length of time, you may consider shutting off your home’s water to reduce the chances of frozen or broken pipes. Contact your water provider for more information on how to do this.

4. Have your plumber and water provider’s telephone number handy. During an extended cold spell, your pipes might freeze despite the best precautions.

If Your Pipes Freeze

1. Determine which pipe(s) are frozen. If some faucets work but others don’t, that means pipes inside your home are likely frozen. If none of your faucets work, there may be a problem at the street - contact your water provider.

2. Find the frozen pipe(s) and attempt to thaw them with a hair dryer using a low setting. Wave the hair dryer back and forth along the frozen area. NEVER thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame.

3. Shut off water and power (or gas) to the water heater if you have a leak or a broken pipe. Contact your water provider if you are unable to find the shut-off valve or the valve doesn’t work. 

After the Fire

8/18/2017 (Permalink)

Surrounded by your soot-covered and flame-damaged possessions, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: Everyone got out safe! 

From the get-go, it’s imperative to stay organized amidst the chaos of your scorched surroundings. A three-ring binder with pockets is your new best friend. Take notes on every conversation and online correspondence with your insurance company and restoration professionals, because in any stressful situation, miscommunication can happen. Save all receipts and original documents; only give photocopies upon request. Binder in hand, your first call should be to your insurance agent. Here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:

  • Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces
  • Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris
  • Do not use food items or canned goods exposed to heat
  • Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked

What to do after a storm

8/18/2017 (Permalink)

Severe weather like hail, thunderstorms, and tornadoes can spell disaster for your home or business. If your building has been damaged by severe weather, it’s important to act quickly to repair the damage and keep yourself, your family, and your employees safe. 

If your home/business has been damaged in a storm, follow these steps to keep safe:

  • Evacuate severely damaged areas of the house.
  • Check for injuries and seek medical assistance if needed.
  • Keep children and pets away from any damaged areas.
  • Use caution when inspecting damage: wear gloves and heavy shoes, and stay away from downed power lines and other hazards.
  • Monitor a battery-powered radio for emergency information.
  • Call your insurance company to see if you are covered.
  • Contact us to begin the cleanup process

Once you give us a call, we will send a team to assess the damage and sart the repair process. Even if the damage appears minor, like shingles that are torn or bent, it can cause serious damage over time. 

How to remove mold & the smell from clothing

8/18/2017 (Permalink)

A very unusual approach would be to use vinegar in removing mold stains and its smell. Vinegar is very useful and effective in removing the ‘moldy’ smell from clothes. Add 3/4 cup white vinegar to a load of wash.

The vinegar will remove any moldy smell from clothing. Repeat this process until all traces of mold and its smell are gone. Use detergent afterwards to thoroughly clean your clothes.

What’s so interesting about this process is that vinegar itself is made through fermentation with the help of a certain type of mold. 

Take all clothing that have mold or have been exposed to mold, outside and one by one, brush off any loose mold growth. By doing this outside you prevent mold spores from spreading inside the house.

Always remember to wear a protective mask and gloves when dealing with mold contamination. Remember that if you choose to use a mildicide to remove mold and its odor from your clothes, always read the label for proper techniques. Mildicides are still chemicals and can be harmful to your health if not used properly.