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5 Tips for Sump Pump Maintenance

9/9/2019 (Permalink)

A sump pump A sump pump is one of the most important parts of your Valley Center home

5 Tips For Prolonging The Life of Your Pump

Your sump pump is crucial to your home's well-being. It executes two important jobs:

Preventing groundwater from entering your home
Expelling water during a storm or other weather event in Valley Center, KS.

Performing regular pump maintenance — at least once a year, if not more often — can mean the difference between a dry home and a soggy one. Here are five tips for prolonging the life of your pump.

  1. Check the electrical connection. In order to run, all sump pumps rely on a GFCI electrical connection. Ensure that it's on and providing power to the pump.
  2. Clean the pump and the pit. Removing dirt and debris from both parts of the unit will boost the pump's productivity.
  3. Make sure the pump is vertical. When the sump pump runs, it vibrates. That shaking can cause the pump to tilt to one side. While you're making sure the pump isn't leaning like a certain tower in Pisa, check that the float gauge has freedom of movement, too.
  4. Confirm that the pump is cycling water. Pour water into the pit — enough to engage the pump. The pump should promptly empty the pit and turn off.
    While you're sticking around to confirm that the water empties and the unit shuts off, you should also listen for the sound of running water. If you hear any, that may indicate that the pump's check valve is malfunctioning, since the check valve's job is to prevent water from flowing back into the unit.
  5. Consider a tank level alarm. If your pump stops working, the alarm will sound, letting you know that there's a problem. Some tank level alarms can also send you an alert via text message or email using Wi-Fi.

It may not be glamorous, but your sump pump is one of the most important parts of your home. By performing regular maintenance and inspections, you can give yourself peace of mind and avoid having to keep your local water mitigation professionals on speed dial.

Cleaning Electronics After a Fire

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

A camera with someone cleaning it after it has suffered smoke damage Cleaning electronics after a fire

Undergoing an electrical fire at your business in Winfield, KS, can cause untold damages and revenue losses. If you have electronics that were damaged directly by a fire, they may not be salvageable. Electronics can also be damaged by smoke, but with the proper restoration techniques, they may be salvageable.

Smoke Damaged Electronics

It might sound unlikely, but smoke can cause serious problems for electronics to function correctly.

  • Smoke Film: Smoke can easily get into the cracks and ventilation holes of electronics and leave behind a black film which insulates the components. This can cause these items to overheat more frequently and decrease their life span.
  • Soot Acidity: Soot left behind by smoke is acidic, and this will slowly eat away at your electrical items, also causing a shorter life span.
  • Magnetic Smoke: Smoke carries a magnetic charge, which has the potential to short out circuits in TVs, computers, and appliances.

Safely Clean Your Damaged Electronics

When it comes to restoring your business’ property after an electrical fire, the information stored on damaged electronics can be very valuable, especially any information that was not backed-up. To handle computer cleanup, it is often recommended to hire a professional fire restoration company. The components in computers are sensitive to begin with, so adding smoke damage can put them into a very fragile state. When priceless business information is at stake, the professionals can use their expertise to safely restore your computers.
If you want to collect the information you can before any restoration is done, you can remove the memory or storage devices, such as USB drives or the hard drive inside the computer, and move the information onto another device while a professional cleans the rest of the machine.
As for other devices, it is best to turn them off and unplug them until they can be fully cleaned out. This will help avoid any permanent or further damage.
If you have current warranties on any of your equipment, check to see if they cover fire damage.

Professional Cleanup

Let a professional restoration company handle the cleanup after an electrical fire to recover important assets such as computers and other electronics. This can give you peace of mind and a higher likelihood that many of the items will be restored nearly to their pre-fire condition.

Checklist for Landlords After a Storm

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

Ceiling damaged after a storm Ceiling damaged after a storm in Haysville, KS

A multifamily unit can be a profitable commercial property. When a storm hits in Haysville, KS, however, you have a responsibility to your tenants to act quickly. Their renter's insurance covers their property but your insurance is responsible for yours. Here are four things you need to do as soon as possible when an emergency occurs.

Establish Communication With Tenants

This may be your business, but it's also your tenants' homes. It is important to keep them informed of every facet of the storm cleanup process that affects them:

  • Extent of damage
  • Timeline for restoration
  • Whether or not they need temporary housing
  • When they can expect to return

Keeping the lines of communication direct and open can help ensure your tenants' willing cooperation.

Call Repair Professionals

You want to get the restoration process started as soon as you can. The best way to do that is to call local flood cleanup specialists as soon as the storm is over. They can help distinguish between the items that are covered by renter's insurance and the ones covered by your property policy. They can also give you an estimate of the expected cost of the restoration.

Contact Insurance Company

Another important call to make is to your insurance company. An adjuster can come out to assess the damage and validate your claim. Assuming you have the proper insurance coverage to pay for the repairs, this can help ease some of the financial burden.

Keep Up With Finances

Your flood insurance may not cover all the costs of the repairs necessary to make the property habitable again. Keeping meticulous financial records of the costs, your insurance coverage and the excess that you have to pay out of pocket is useful. You may be able to deduct the amount that isn't covered from your taxes as long as you've documented it properly.
Renter's insurance and your property policy may cover a lot of the costs of repairs. The key is to act fast and stay in contact with your tenants.

Does Your Water Heater Need Flushing?

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

Somebody flushing a water heater Water heater flushing in a Fort Scott, KS home

Like any major appliance in Fort Scott, KS, your water heater needs regular maintenance. Following are step-by-step instructions to help you flush the tank and refill it with clean water ready to be heated.

The Annual Flush

A water heater flush is a pretty basic exercise in home maintenance. To quickly accomplish this task, follow these simple steps:

  1. Turn the tank thermostat to off: Located near the bottom of the container, turn it to off or to “pilot” if your heater is gas-fueled instead.
  2. Turn off the gas flow: Gas-run heaters have a pipe with a red handle to feed fuel. If you turned the thermostat to “pilot,” skip this step.
  3. Turn the cold water flow off: This is found toward the top of the water tank.
  4. Run the hot water from a sink or tub: This will help drain the tank and prevent a vacuum from forming.
  5. Open the pressure relief valve: While not necessary, it can help water to flow more easily.
  6. Connect a garden hose to the drainage spigot: Make sure the other end leads to another container to collect the water.
  7. Turn the spigot on and drain: The water will probably look brown or dirty, this just means you’re cleaning the tank.
  8. Reactivate the cold water to flush out the sediment: Let it run for a couple of minutes or until the collected water becomes clear.

Once finished, simply reverse these steps, remembering to light the pilot on gas-run heaters and to close the pressure valve when done.

It Isn’t That Hard

Even Fort Scott, KS, can’t escape ”hard water,” a term used to signify the presence of increased minerals. If left unchecked, this will eventually produce leaks and the possibility of severe water damage. By flushing your tank at least once a year, you can remove mineral deposits that have accumulated within the tank, keeping the water fresh and avoiding a buildup of sediment.

Depending on the size of your hot water heater tank and the last time it was flushed, this process could take some time. If you continue with regular maintenance, this yearly chore shouldn’t take very long at all!

The Three Ps of Fire Safety

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

Run drills regularly

Protect Your Kids Safety From a Home Fire

One of the best ways to protect your kids safety from a McPherson, KS, home fire is to teach them about fire prevention. As part of your efforts, cover basics such as these three Ps of safety from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Fire Administration, and several other children's safety organizations:

Prepare – This step focuses on reducing the risk of fire damage situations
Practice – This step covers conducting fire drills and overall fire safety habits
Prevent – This final step includes teaching your children about getting out safely

You should also include a fire escape plan in these efforts.

Prepare Your Home

There are several situations that are common to just about any home, and many of these could easily lead to fire damage, such as overloading electrical outlets, leaving lit candles unattended, setting clutter near a hot stove, neglecting old and damaged wiring, and using old appliances. When you involve your children in this first step of fire prevention, the whole family is safer.

Practice Fire Escape Plans

Establish a fire escape plan and for your kids safety, run drills regularly. These drills should include what to do if the primary escape route is blocked. During these drills, watch out for things such as clutter in the hall. Take time to practice how children should escape if their doorknob is hot, signaling that it isn't safe to open their bedroom door. Discuss the importance of remaining low to the ground, so children don't inhale smoke while exiting.

Prevent Injuries During Fire

This part of the plan should include discussions about not playing with matches or lighters but telling an adult about them. Teach your children the Stop, Drop, Roll technique in the event their clothing is on fire. Talk about never going back into a building that's on fire. Teach children that fire damage cleanup is not their responsibility.
There are many resources available for kids safety practices and fire prevention habits. If you talk with fire and smoke damage remediation professionals about fire cleanup, ask them for further advice. Consistently review the three Ps of fire safety to protect your family from harm.

Worried About Mold Growth in Your Business? Here Are 3 Tips for Addressing It

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

Mold spores thrive on moisture

Three Tips For Detecting and Preventing Mold

Mold prevention is crucial in ensuring the success and stability of your business in Winfield, KS. The presence of mold does not only make the surrounding environment musty and unpleasant for your customers and employees, but it can also have long-term damaging effects on the structure of your building. Here are three tips for detecting and preventing mold:

1. Learn How To Identify Mold

Mold spores thrive in damp environments. If there is an area in your business that is constantly exposed to moisture or high humidity levels, keep your senses heightened for signs of mold growth. The presence of mold is usually signaled by a musty or unpleasant odor. Keep an eye out for visible indications of mold, which can vary from clusters of black spots to even orange, pink, or purple markings. An unusual spike in allergic reactions from your employees and customers can also suggest mold in your building.

2. Banish Signs of Existing Mold

Excess moisture guarantees the presence of mold. If you’ve been able to identify the beginnings of growth in a certain area, the mold may be eliminated with a wipe-down using a cleaning solution. If the resulting mold is extensive, you may want to look into acquiring the services of a professional mold prevention and remediation company to ensure a higher level of expertise and access to specialized equipment to tackle mold completely.

3. Take Preventative Measures

Moisture control is crucial for preventing mold. Humidity must be controlled in your work environment, ideally within the range of 30–60% according to the EPA. The building must be well-ventilated to allow proper air flow, which prohibits the occurrence of mold. Any leaks and water damage must be fixed immediately, and special attention must be given to work areas that are consistently exposed to dampness.

Something as simple as mold can turn into an expensive and complex problem to fix if addressed incorrectly. Mold prevention will go a long way toward creating a healthy environment in which your business can thrive.

Property Management Tips for Hurricane Season

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

Gather survival supplies in your building

Hurricane season can hit hard in Newton, KS. It is in your best interest to be as prepared as you can be in order to avoid unnecessary hurricane damage. There are several things you can do in advance to endure the high winds with ease.

Gather Survival Supplies

A big part of hurricane preparedness is stocking your building with what you may need to survive if you get stuck there. These items should be kept in a cool, dark and dry place so that they remain functional and don't go bad. Some common supplies to include are:

  • flashlights and batteries
  • plenty of water
  • first aid kit
  • hand crank radio
  • non-perishable food

Form an Emergency Plan

What should everyone in the building be doing in the event of a hurricane? Where will people be the most safe? Create a plan based on the layout of your building and the surrounding landscape. Be sure to account for communication, you should consider using radios or backup WiFi. You can include an evacuation route, in case it becomes necessary. Try to train or practice with your employees or residents. Don't forget about the aftermath, especially in the case of hurricane damage, and research qualified storm remediation services.

Batten Down the Hatches

You should include what you may need to secure your building during a storm in your protocol for property management. Store plywood on the premises to cover as many windows as you can. Keep your yard and landscape trimmed to avoid flying limbs and extra debris. Bring in everything that could possibly get blown about outside: outdoor furniture, garbage cans and decorations. Be sure to clear your gutters and downspouts so they are ready for the downpour.

In order to minimize the hurricane damage that could occur to your property during a storm, take certain precautions beforehand. Keeping people safe should be the priority, but if you plan properly you'll have time to protect your assets, as well. Feel free to share this information with your neighbors to promote a safer community!

The Benefits of Combining Remediation and Restoration Into the Same Process

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

Your insurance adjuster assesses the damage to your building to see how much the insurance company pays

Benefits of Using the Same Company for Remediation and Restoration

When your commercial building in Derby, KS, sustains fire damage, certified remediation experts are your best option for fixing it. Do you need to call another company to rebuild the parts that are destroyed, though? Here are some benefits of using the same company for both remediation and restoration.

Convenience

After a fire emergency, you have a lot of responsibilities:

  • Ensure everyone is accounted for
  • Call insurance company
  • Arrange for repairs
  • Implement your business continuity plan

Why add one more phone call to the list? By combining remediation and restoration into one process tackled by one team, you save yourself the time of vetting two different companies to do work that can be handled by one.

Information

Your insurance adjuster assesses the damage to your building to see how much the insurance company pays. Mitigation and restoration experts can provide a list of costs, but those services sometimes overlap, making it seem like the insurance company is being charged twice for some of the same tasks. Having one company that can itemize a list of both repairs and restoration expenses streamlines the information-gathering process by eliminating this overlap, making your fire damage claim process smoother.

Communication

When fire mitigation and building restoration are completed by the same team, communication tends to be stronger. The restoration experts know exactly what happened during the remediation process. Either they were either there when it happened, or they can easily obtain access to the records of the process details. The team putting up new walls and ceilings in your building doesn't have to guess which materials were repaired and which they need to replace when they are the ones who did the job.
Complete fire damage repair starts with assessment and doesn't end until your building looks as good as it did before the fire. To make this process go as smoothly as possible, it is a good idea to use the same company from start to finish.

Storm Damage Restoration

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

When your home has been damaged by flooding from a severe storm, an experienced remediation specialist in Wichita, KS, can help you repair the water damage. Storm restoration is a fairly involved process that could include having to tear out building materials that can’t be restored, which is why you shouldn’t attempt to do it yourself. Professionals will also have access to specialized equipment that allows them to do the job faster and more efficiently so that your home can be returned to normal as soon as possible. 

The 5 Steps of Storm Damage Restoration

After a remediation team has visited your house to assess the damage and formulate a plan, here are the five steps you can expect as they restore your home.

  1. Water Extraction

Powerful pumps and industrial-grade vacuums are used to extract the remaining flood water from your home. It’s critical that this extraction happens quickly to minimize the damage caused by the water.

  1. Removal of Wet Building Materials 

Sometimes building materials like drywall or wood or laminate floors are too damaged by water to be restored. In this case, the remediation team will tear out the materials, remove them from your property and dispose of them.

  1. Drying 

Once the excess water and unsalvageable building materials are removed, your home will need to be completely dried out. If this doesn’t happen quickly, mold can begin to grow in as little as 48 hours. Specialized fans and dehumidifiers will be employed to get the job done as fast as possible.

  1. Cleaning

Flood waters can carry contaminants that are harmful to humans and animals, so your home will need to be properly cleaned and disinfected. This includes furniture, carpets and any personal items exposed to flood water. 

  1. Restoration

If the remediation team in Wichita, KS, had to tear out flooring or drywall, they will replace it. Once the restoration stage is complete, your home should be completely returned to its original state.

Ways to Prevent Flooded Toilets in Commercial Buildings

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

Buy thinner toilet paper

Ways to Prevent Flooded Toilets in Commercial Buildings

A clogged toilet at a commercial property in Emporia, KS, is not only a nuisance, but it can also turn into a serious problem. Bathrooms can fill with contaminated water, which is unsanitary and potentially harmful. Taking these preventative measures can help you avoid water damage in the building's restrooms.

Buy Thinner Toilet Paper

One of the main reasons that you have a toilet overflow is because it gets clogged up with too much toilet paper. Single-ply paper is thinner than what most people use at home, and it is not as likely to clog up. It is also used in commercial buildings because it is less expensive than the thicker paper.

Put in Waste Baskets

If people do not have somewhere to throw away their trash in the bathroom stall, they may just try flushing it down the commode. The system is not made to dispose of items such as sanitary napkins, so they end up causing a clogged toilet. Installing waste baskets in each stall gives people a discrete way to get rid of unwanted trash and can reduce bathroom flooding problems.

Put up Signs

Many people may not be aware of what can and cannot be flushed down a toilet. They flush damaging debris without even realizing the problems it can cause. Putting up signs that politely ask customers to dispose of feminine hygiene products in the waste baskets may save you from having to deal with another backed up commode. It may also be beneficial to give information on who to contact if someone does clog the toilet or sees that there is a flood in the restroom so that the problem can be taken care of right away.

Although these can help to prevent a clogged toilet from happening, there is no guarantee. If sewage problems do occur, it is best to call a professional restoration service right away. Getting the damage fixed immediately can help avoid further flooding and contamination of the area.