Winter is right around the corner be prepared!
Tips for Preparing your Home for Winter Weather:
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or uninsulated areas of the home.
- Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shutoff valve in the basement or crawl space and turn it to "off".
- If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shutoff.
- Ensure gutters are clean and secure. Leaves and debris accumulate, causing a damming effect on gutters, which could lead to roof problems and water damage.
- Proper maintenance of your furnace can help reduce the risk of puffbacks.
How to clean your gutters
Take action to keep downspouts running freely before those shade trees start shedding in earnest. One of these guards won’t totally free you of ladder duty, but it could buy you time between checkups.
How to Clean your gutters:
1. Climb a ladder and use a variety of tools to grab and remove the leaves and debris at eye-level.
2. Attach tools to a wet/dry shop vac to suck up the leaves or to blast them out of the gutters.
3. Attach tools to your water hose to spray leaves out of the gutters.
4. Use a long-reaching pole to remove leaves from the gutters while standing at ground level.
Being prepared when a hurricane or flood happens
Tips on flooding
During a Flood Watch or Warning
- Gather emergency supplies.
- Listen to your local radio or television station for updates.
- Have immunization records handy or know the year of your last tetanus shot.
- Store immunization records in a waterproof container.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks, gallon jars, and plastic soda bottles so that you will have a supply of clean water.
- Sanitize sinks/tubs first by cleaning them using a solution of one cup of bleach to five gallons of water. Then rinse and fill with clean water.
- Bring in outdoor possessions (lawn furniture, grills, trash cans) or tie them down securely.
- If evacuation appears necessary: turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
- Leave areas subject to flooding: low spots, canyons, washes, etc. Rememberavoid driving through flooded areas and standing water.
After Flooding Has Occurred
- Avoid driving through flooded areas and standing water. As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- Do not drink flood water, or use it to wash dishes, brush teeth, or wash/prepare food. Drink clean, safe water.
- If you evacuated: return to your home only after local authorities have said it is safe to do so.
- Listen to water advisory from local authorities to find out if your water is safe for drinking and bathing.
- During a water advisory, use only bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking, etc.
- When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any food and bottled water that comes/may have come into contact with flood water.
- Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Use generators at least 20 feet from any doors, windows, or vents. If you use a pressure washer, be sure to keep the engine outdoors and 20 feet from windows, doors, or vents as well.
For more tips on flooding contact your local SERVPRO.
Like it never even happened
Is your roof ruin after a storm
After your home is damaged by wind, hail, or other natural elements, the storm isn't necessarily over in fact, it might be just the beginning. Here's what you need to know about the storm-induced insurance process from diagnosing the damage to filing a claim and making repairs so that weathering your home's recovery is as painless as possible.
- Know what is cover before the storm hits. Call you insurance agent.
- Document potential damage.
- Make Temporary repairs
- Make sure you hire a creditable contractor.
- Check with your local SERVPRO to see if they have a contractor or teams that can help..
- Work with your insurance agents to go over claims.
Are you ready? Be prepared!
Severe weather can happen any time, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms*:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,000 tornadoes
- 2 landfalling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. * Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
How to be prepared:
- A gallon of water per person per day.
- Supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a manual can opener.
- Change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
- Blankets and sleeping bags.
- First aid kit and prescription medications.
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
- Credit cards, cash and extra set of car keys.
- List of family physicians.
- Special items for infants,elderly or disabled family members.
Call SERVPRO of Reading for to get a ERP in place for your facility can help minimize business interruption in the event of a disaster.
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When Storms or Floods Hit SERVPRO is Ready!
Our Disaster Recovery Teams
SERVPRO of Reading & Pottsville specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit Berks or Schuylkill County, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today At 610-779-8189 or 570-622-8991
The Dangers of Dryer Lint
Don't forget to remove lint in your dryer!
An estimated 2,900 residential fires per year identify a dryer issue like lint or electrical malfunction as their cause.
A clothes dryer works by forcing hot air through a turning drum. The wet clothes then pass through the drum to be dried by the hot air. Most wet clothes contain one and half gallons of water. While most of the lint goes into the lint filter some of lint is carried through the vent system along with moist air. Lint is a very combustible material that can accumulate both in the dryer and in the dryer vent. Accumulated lint leads to reduced airflow and can be a potential fire hazard.
Here are some tips to keep your dryer clean:
- Have your dryer cleaned and installed by a professional.
- Do not use your dryer with a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before and after every load of wash.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
- Don't leave the house when the dryer is on.
- If your clothes are not drying then call a professional to come look at your dryer.
Lightning can be fatal, be cautious during storms!
Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. Though the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000 some factors can put you at greater risk for being struck.
What causes lighting- Heavier, negatively charged particles sink to the bottom of the cloud. When the positive and negative charges grow large enough, a giant spark - lightning occurs between the two charges within the cloud. This is like a static electricity spark you see, but much bigger.
What to do after lighting strikes-
- Never drive through a flooded roadway.
- Stay away from storm damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
- Continue to listen to a Weather Radio or to television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
- Help anyone who needs help, check on your neighbors.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
- Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.
- Make sure you have your Emergency kit near by.
Help Prevent Outdoor Cooking Fires
Did you know?
Grill fires cause an estimated $37 million in property damage each year.
- Almost half of all home grill fires happen between 5-8pm.
- 57% of home grill fires occur during months of May, June, July, and August.
- Patios, terraces, screened-in porches and courtyards are leading home locations for grill fires.
- 79% of all home grill fires involve gas grills.
- "Mechanical failure, malfunction" is the leading factor in the start of grill fires. Leaks and breaks of containers or pipes are often to blame.
Grilling fire safety tips:
- Only use grills outdoors, away from siding and deck railings.
- Clean grills often and remove grease or fat build-up.
- Make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting.
- Have a 3 foot safe-zone around grills and campfires. Keep kids and pets clear of the area.
- Dispose of coals after they have cooled in a metal can.
- Never leave grills, fire pits and patio torches unattended.
The Dangers of Toxic Mold
Mold growth on attic ceiling.
Facts about mold:
- Mold in your home, school, or workplace is a serious concern for your health, since up to 40 percent of American schools and 25 percent of homes have mold infestations.
- Mycotoxins, or the toxins some molds produce, can cross into your brain from your nose and eyes. Some of the more neurotoxic molds can cause central nervous system effects, such as cognitive and behavioral changes, ataxia, and convulsions.
- Two of the better-known toxic molds include Stachybotrys chartarum ("black mold"), which can cause everything from headaches to cancer, and Aspergillus, which can cause severe lung infections, or progress to whole-body infections.
- Mold is particularly dangerous for infants and children. There is evidence that some cases of SIDS may be related to toxic mold exposure.
Stachybotrys Chartarum: The Dreaded 'Black Mold'
Stachybotrys chartarum (SC)7 is a greenish black mold that grows on material with high cellulose content, such as wood, straw, hay, wicker, cardboard, fiberboard, etc., particularly when these materials become water-damaged. It needs a good deal of dampness to flourish. According to Mold-Help.org,8 the toxic effects of Stachybotrys chartarum were first reported in the 1920s in Russia when horses and cattle that had eaten moldy hay began dying. The "Yellow Rain" attacks in Southeast Asia in the 1970s were associated with aerosolized trichothecenes, the type of mycotoxin produced by this highly toxic type of mold.
SC is typically dark in color and wet and slimy to the touch. It can also appear grayish or sooty, with a powdery appearance.
However, it's important to remember that molds cannot be identified visuallyâ€”many molds are similar in appearance.
Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Alternaria, and Drechslera, can be mistaken for Stachybotrys. The only definitive way to identify a species is by examination of the spores under a microscope, which is why professional testing is so important.
According to Mold-Help.org:
"Most people are not aware that harmful molds come in a variety of colorsâ€”they can be white, or orange, or blue, for instance. The color of a mold generally has to do with the spores it produces, and has no bearing on whether it is dangerous or not. There are some white molds that grow on walls and other surfaces that can be just as bad as the harmful black molds."
Mycotoxin poisoning by Stachybotrys is referred to as stachybotryotoxicosis. In animal studies, trichothecenes are 40 times more toxic when inhaled than when ingested orally. But even if SC is present in your environment, you may not be at risk because it may not be currently releasing toxins.
Again, according to Mold-Help.org:10
"Laboratory studies indicate that molds such as Stachybotrys that have the ability to produce toxins do not always do so. Whether a mold produces a toxin while growing in a building may depend on what the mold is growing on, conditions such as temperature, food, pH, humidity or other unknown factors. When mycotoxins are present, they occur on spores and the small mold fragments that may be released into the air."
The spores from SC can survive temperatures up to 500 degrees F, as well as surviving caustic agents like bleach and acid. According to Dr. Michael Gray, spores from molds removed from two million year-old sedimentary rocks have grown when placed in a favorable media!
If your home shows any signs of mold give SERVPRO a call today at 610-779-8189 or 570-622-8991 and let us give you an estimate and protect your health!